Monday, 3 May 2010

Interview with Shelli Howells

I hope everyone had a nice weekend. I spent mine fighting off a fever. Try not to be too jealous. Ha ha.

We're starting this week off with a fun interview, so pull up a chair and welcome Shelli Howells.

Tell us a bit about yourself, Shelli.
I am married to the best husband ever. I have a six pack of fantastic kiddos. I've had ME/CFS for a couple years now, and I'm an ME/CFS advocate. Perhaps I am in a mid-life crisis, because I just decided to write a novel.

There are worse things one can do, lol. So, what is the name and genre of your manuscript?

My working title (to be changed at a later date, I'm sure) is A Novel Idea, and it is Women's Fiction.

I actually like the title. What’s your story about?

Jane is the perfect housewife. Devoted wife and mother of five children, her life is dedicated to serving her family. She cooks, she cleans, she drives to and fro. But somewhere along the line, she lost herself. One day, a mysterious note is left on her door, and an anonymous stranger changes her life forever.

Sounds intriguing. I've got all kinds of ideas popping into my head as to what might happen to her. How did the idea of the story come to you?

I think that just about every good mom finds herself lost in her role at some point in her life. Women are natural nurturers, but we aren't so good at keeping a balance. I was remembering some of my adventures as a teenager, and I thought that would be a good way to rediscover yourself.

Is your manuscript complete or still a work in progress?

It's definitely a work in progress!

How far along are you at this point?

I'm just shy of 20,000 words, which is a third of the way toward my goal of 60,000.

Do you have a critique group or beta readers, or do you self-edit?

I have a critique group, but I haven't let anyone other than my husband read any of it yet! And I just read the sex scenes to him. :) I want to make sure I get in at least one edit before I ask anyone to critique it; otherwise, I feel like I'm just asking them to do the hard work for me. Plus, I like the feeling of keeping my baby to myself for a little while.

That's understandable. What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Getting over the self-doubt. I'll be in the throes of writing, and I'll think it's really good. I'll finish and be very pleased with myself ... for about an hour. Then the demons start to get to me and convince myself that it's a disaster.

Yeah, I'm familiar with those demons. Maybe we should form a group of hunters to take them all out! Oh, sorry, there I go again. So, any tips you’ve learned about writing you’d like to share?

I'm always learning new things. I'm sure most of my "aha!" moments are old hat to most of your readers. It's a big leap to go from writing for yourself to writing for an audience. But as I'm learning, I try to remember that I have a unique voice and a unique truth, and as long as I stay true to that, I have something worthwhile to contribute.

Who are your inspirations?

I love John Steinbeck for the way he captures life so simply. My favorite book is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. His imagery is surprising and breathtaking. It reminds me to work a little harder to get past cliches when I'm trying to get my point across.

Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Who would you like to give a shout out to?

My husband is the most amazing man. He has encouraged me for years to take my writing seriously. I love when I have a passage that I think is pretty good, but he thinks is awesome. He is the one who keeps telling me I really can do this.

I'm also grateful to my family, my white trash roots (said only somewhat tongue in cheek). They've given me a gold mine of material to work with. And I love that their reaction, when I announced I was going to write a novel, was, "Well, it's about time!"

And finally, where can people find you online?

I have a blog at
You can follow me on Twitter at

Thank you so much for chatting with us, Shelli. Good luck with finishing your novel, and please let us know when you've ventured further into the publishing world.


Gina said...

Wonderful interview! I too like the WIP title...familiar yet original all in one. The story line sounds interesting as well. Would definitely be curious to see what happens after that note is found...thanks for sharing a bit about your life and dreams! Best of luck on the road to completed WIP to published work!
Thanks Dorothy for another great interview and aspiring author to watch for. Even with the sickness gremlins lurking about, you pull through once again. Sending get well wishes your way!

Marsha Ward said...

Thanks for the good interview, Dorothy. Way to go, Shelli! You make your friends proud.

Tanya Parker Mills said...

I know all about those self-doubt demons. Take a good whack at them and keep writing. Can't wait for you to share your WIP with the group!

Anonymous said...

What a fantastic interview, with skills on both ends. I'll be the first to volunteer to be a beta reader :) seeing as how my mind is already devising all sorts of amazing ideas as to what might happen. Agh! Way to go Dorothy and Shelli. Just fantastic.

Valerie Ipson said...

Hey, Shelli! Great interview. I love your blog, Dorothy. I like that you interview the unpublished! Very nice!

Dorothy Dreyer said...

Thank you, everyone, for your kind comments. I think it's really fun to interview writers-to-be, and Shelli is no exception. :)

Margaret Turley said...

Great blog! Love the format and purpose. Like the questions and answers!

Shelli said...

Thank you so much, Dorothy, to give me a forum to let people know what I'm doing. This was such fun! I'll have to keep coming back to meet more aspiring peers.

DazyDayWriter said...

I also love Steinbeck, Shelli. He captures life with such simplicity, yet, with absolute perfection. I wish you well in your writing journey and hope to see you at Sunny Room Studio whenever you have time! Best wishes on a great interview. --Daisy

Joan Sowards said...

Great interview. Your novel sounds interesting. Best wishes with finishing it!

Anna del C. Dye said...

Thanks that was a really good interview. It is fun to listen to authors talk about their work.

Anna del C.
Author of "The Silent Warrior Trilogy"

Unknown said...

This was a great interview! Those self-doubt demons really are the most evil things! I hope to see Shelli on the bookshelves someday soon!

Sue Jackson said...

Great interview, Shelli...and what a wonderful idea, Dorothy! It's my first visit to your blog (I got here through Shelli's).

I'm plagued by self-doubt, too - it must be the writer's curse. I am a freelance writer, and the constant stream of rejections can really get to me sometimes!

Your novel sounds great so far, Shelli - I like the set-up and can't wait to hear more about it!