Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Writers' Wednesday: An Interview with Shelley Munro

Welcome to Writers' Wednesday...are you getting ready for Valentine's Day?? My featured author today is Shelley Munro. Enjoy!
Hi, Shelley! Can you tell us a little about your background?

My name is Shelley Munro. I live in New Zealand with my husband and a bossy wee dog called Scotty. My favorite hobby is travel, and luckily, my husband shares my love of exploring the world. We’ve visited lots of different countries and continents including Africa, Europe, Asia, America and Central America. I enjoy reading, all sorts of books and genres, and of course, writing. When I’m not writing I enjoy walking, running and cycling.

When did you first begin writing? Was there an event or moment in your life that triggered your desire to write?

I’ve always read a lot and the desire to write followed quite naturally. I wanted to write romance, inspired by New Zealand writers Robyn Donald, Daphne Claire and Susan Napier. Although I started writing a couple of times, I never finished anything. Then I discovered boys and that was it for a while. I found one I really liked and married him. We decided we’d go to Britain on a year long working holiday. We enjoyed the travel so much our trip lengthened into six years. Eventually we returned to New Zealand, and I started thinking about writing again.
I remember waking up one morning and thinking if I wanted to write a book and sell it, I should start straightaway or I’d run out of time. I think the stars were in alignment that week because I came across an advertisement with details of an Auckland University course on writing romance. I enrolled straight away. One of our local ladies’ magazines mentioned Romance Writers of New Zealand. I sent off my check to join the group and started my writing journey.

Exciting! So tell us about your latest writing project or published title.

I’m currently working on stories in my Middlemarch Mates series, stories about black leopard shifters who live in the small New Zealand town of Middlemarch. Cat Burglar, book six came out on 31 Dec 2008 and Leticia’s Lovers is due out in 2009. Cat Burglar features two new characters and introduces the local cops. Leticia’s Lovers features Leticia, with brief appearances from her brother Lucas and his partner Saul introduced in an earlier Middlemarch Mates book called Stray Cat Strut. I’m working on book eight and intend to introduce some new characters to the town. Of course, there will be cameo visits from some of the old characters as well. They give me problems if I try to leave them out!

How do you go about developing your characters?

Generally I start off with an idea for a scene or a snippet of conversation or a line of dialogue. If it’s a new book I’ll mull it over in my head, pulling the idea this way and that until my characters take on substance and become real to me. Sometimes I’ll take months to think about things, and other characters come together more quickly. I’ll think about possible conflicts and flesh out a background for my character. I don’t plot as a rule, but once I have all my main character conflicts sorted out, I can start writing.

What advice would you give to new writers just starting out?

They should read widely across all the genres and look at the way other writers do things. If a book works for you, great. Once you’ve finished reading it, go back and work out why you enjoyed the book so much. If you hated a particular book, look closer to see which things didn’t work for you. Use all the books you read as text books.

The other thing I’d suggest is to get into the habit of writing every day. It will stand you in great stead for later when you’re published.

What do you find most difficult about writing? What do you find most exciting or rewarding?

It’s always difficult to face rejection, which comes with the territory. Writing is a solitary profession. A writer needs to sit in front of a computer and write. It’s not always easy to forgo family, friends and special interests to write.

One of the most rewarding things about writing is the contact with readers. I treasure the notes and emails I’ve received from readers.

Thanks for a great interview today, Shelley! Anything else you’d like to mention?

You can find me at my website or my blog
I also have a monthly newsletter that you can join from my website. Members of my newsletter receive special excerpts, have the chance to enter member-only contests and hear all my news first. A sign-up form is on the sidebar of my blog. And finally, I have a MySpace page at

Thank you!


Diane Craver said...

Great interview, Allie and Shelley!

Your book cover is gorgeous, Shelley. I enjoyed reading how you approach your writing career! That's great you and your husband have traveled a lot.

Shelley Munro said...

Hi Diane - hubby and I LOVE to travel. In fact we're busy deciding where to go next. :)

Allie - thanks so much for having me to visit today!