Today we are pleased to have Featured Author Shelly Thacker join us to discuss writing, inspiration and her novel, His Forbidden Touch. As Ariel pointed out in her review, His Forbidden Touch is the second novel in the Stolen Brides Series and will take readers back to the days where romance novels have a plot, character development and a sense of adventure! So if you are looking for a delightful yet juicy read then this is it! Shelly was also gracious enough to offer 5 lucky M/G/W readers a copy! So good luck, and enjoy the interview!
1. Welcome Shelly to Mother/Gamer/Writer. For those readers who are not familiar with you or your work can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Thanks so much for inviting me to visit! I’m kind of a “new kid on the block”—who’s been around a long time, LOL. I wrote historical and paranormal romances for Avon and Dell in the 1990s before I took an extended maternity leave. After a long struggle with infertility, my husband and I had a beautiful daughter, soon followed by another beautiful daughter, and I wanted to enjoy every minute of mommy time. When my youngest started Kindergarten in 2011, I was ready to resume my writing career—and the self-publishing revolution came along at exactly the right time. I’m now a happy indie author working without a publisher, an agent, or a net! I’m releasing all of my backlist novels in ebook, paperback, and audiobook, and can’t wait to start writing new books.
2. Do you have a particular writing style? Any odd writing habits?
I love “old-skool” romances with lots of danger and adventure and conflict. The “enemies-to- lovers” trope is a favorite of mine: I like to take my characters from “mad enough to kill each other” in the beginning to “so in love they would willingly die for each other” in the end. I’m not a big fan of books filled with polite, civilized conversation between well-behaved people in ballrooms. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; it just puts me to sleep. I don’t want to write about people who follow the rules. People who break the rules are so much more interesting! I’m a plotter by nature, so I create a detailed outline before starting each book. I know where the major turning points will be, and that helps me create a fast pace with plenty of emotion and excitement and Stuff Happening in every chapter. My goal is to keep you up reading until dawn.
3. Who would you consider your favorite authors, or where do you draw inspiration?
My keeper shelf is loaded with Laura Kinsale, Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick, Sandra Brown, Elizabeth Lowell, and of course, Johanna Lindsey and Kathleen Woodiwiss, the authors who made me fall in love with the romance genre when I was 15. New favorites include Pamela Clare and Jennifer Ashley. I’m a total squeeing fangirl for Pamela’s “I-Team” series, and I’ve been glomming Jennifer’s ”Shifters Unbound” series.
For my own books, I get most of my inspiration from movies. I’m a visual thinker and tend to “see” a book in scenes before I “hear” the dialogue. I include a “Behind the Scenes” bonus features in each of my ebooks, where I chat about the movies that inspired the book.
4. What books are currently on your bookshelf?
I read a lot of non-fiction: history and memoir and true-life adventure. Right now, I’m reading To Marry an English Lord, the book that inspired “Downton Abbey,” and enjoying the audiobook edition of Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, her memoir of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. And I just read an interview with Robert K. Wittman, the agent who founded the FBI’s Art Crime Team, and bought his book Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures. I’ve always wanted to write a sexy contemporary romance about an international art thief—sort of “The Pink Panther” meets “Ocean’s 11.”
5. Without giving too much away, can you tell us what were your favorite scenes, chapters, or characters to write?
In HIS FORBIDDEN TOUCH, the scenes in the mountains in Chapter 10-11 were so much fun to write. And of course, the love scene that follows in Chapter 12! The bodyguard plot is a huge favorite of mine—Royce is such an honorable guy, and he’s struggling so hard to do the right thing… but he’s falling in love with Ciara. These two really are meant for each other, but the obstacles between them are just impossible. That conflict really deepens the emotion and the sensuality in this book.
6. His Forbidden Touch is different in many ways from Forever His, where did you come up with the idea for His Forbidden Touch?
After FOREVER HIS, I was “orphaned” at Avon (my editor left) and I was assigned to a new editor—who absolutely hated paranormals. She refused to allow me to include any paranormal elements in HIS FORBIDDEN TOUCH. She was determined to squeeze me into “the Avon mold” and persuade me to write Regency historicals filled with witty conversation in ballrooms. Well, you can guess how that turned out! I ended up leaving Avon and signing with Dell.
HIS FORBIDDEN TOUCH was inspired by three different movies: “Roman Holiday,” “The Bodyguard,” and a Tom Berenger/Mimi Rogers movie called “Someone to Watch Over me.”
7. Did you do a lot of research on the time period before writing His Forbidden Touch?
I love getting lost in the history section at the library. I have tons of research books and a fat 3-ring binder filled with details about life in the Middle Ages—everything from food and clothing to court life and women’s rights. But I’m a storyteller at heart, and I always keep the story front-and-center. I do want to be historically accurate as much as possible, but I try to keep in mind that the historical details are there to serve the story, not the other way around. My first priority is to entertain my readers.
8. I’m always intimidated to write from a man’s point of view because I’m a woman. Is it difficult writing from the male perspective?
That’s so interesting! I’ve heard that a lot from other authors. I must be an odd duck, because I actually love writing in my hero’s POV. It’s so much fun to put on the armor and imagine the world as a man would see and experience it. For writers who struggle to “get inside” the male mind, I think the classic book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus can be helpful.
9. I loved Ciara as a character. She’s very feisty but in a very realistic way. Was she based on anyone or did she come straight from your head?
Thanks! Ciara was inspired by the Audrey Hepburn character in “Roman Holiday,” and she starts out as a classic princess in the beginning: sheltered, rich, somewhat naïve. But as she—and Royce—discover, she’s got so many layers beneath that, so much strength that she never knew she had. The book is really Ciara’s journey of discovery, of claiming her strength and her true self.
10. One of my favorite things about Ciara and Royce’s relationship was the sarcastic/witty banter. There were multiple times I was literally laughing out loud. Do you have a favorite line or scene from the book?
I love it when readers say they enjoy the humor in my books. Drama and poignant scenes come naturally to me, but humor is something I really have to work at. As the old saying goes, dying is easy, comedy’s hard! The scene at the end of Chapter 3 where they negotiate the “rules” before they set off is one of my all-time favorites.
This or That:
- Tea or Coffee? Tea. My family background is all British, so I’m a tea girl. With milk!
- Reading or Writing? Reading. It’s much easier, LOL!
- Walking Dead, True Blood or Game of Thrones? Game of Thrones. I’m counting the days until the next season starts.
- Books or Movies? Books. They last longer. 🙂
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Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions; it has been my pleasure having you on Mother/Gamer/Writer!