Posts Tagged ‘shelby patrick’

Shelby Patrick, born and raised in southeastern Michigan, grew up watching classic horror movies of the great Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, and Peter Cushing. She turned her love of horror into the written word during her senior year in high school when she was introduced to her first writing class. She spent a great deal of time attempting to perfect her writing and researching markets. Nine years later, her dream became reality. She had her first short story published in a literary magazine. That same year, she also had an article published on the art of self-defense in Karate/Kung Fu Illustrated.

Shelby has published various articles throughout the Internet and created several e-books that are currently in circulation.

Not only does she work avidly with thrillers, but she continues to work with her other favorite genres: Fantasy and Science Fiction. She is currently working on a supernatural novel involving a serial killer.

Shelby was the founder of the now-defunct Michigan Horror Writers and the editor for several newsletters. Besides writing and dreaming, her other interests include martial arts, animals, and astronomy.

Can you tell us a little bit about your background, and what led you to become a writer?

Well, I was first introduced to writing back in high school. I was short a class and the only one that sounded even remotely interesting was the creative writing class. The teacher pushed us past our limits. She gave out a variety of assignments — script for a play, magazine, short stories, children’s book, etc. I didn’t think I had a creative bone in my body and had to ask family members for help. It really surprised me when it came to the writing part. For a class I felt I was forced into, I actually had fun. Who knew that writing could be so enjoyable? Anyway, I aced the class and was hooked on the written word ever since.

What was it like to have your first thing published?

I was in Heaven. I never thought I could actually become a published writer. I had gotten so many rejections before that I had almost given up. Then one day, it happened. I got the ACCEPTED letter. Oh my God, it gave me such a high. But that was so long ago. I really haven’t had a whole lot published, just a few tidbits here and there, but every time I do, my head spins for days and I walk around with this huge, silly grin on my face that drives my family crazy.

Do you prefer the short story to the novel?

Both are very different. In a short story, you only have a short amount of time to introduce your characters, throw them into the action, and come up with a climax. You don’t have a chance to develop a real relationship with those characters and it’s a lot harder for the reader to get involved.

I don’t enjoy the short story as much as the novel, but that’s probably because with the novel, the writer spends a great deal of time with it and gets to know the characters. The novel gives the author more time to develop those characters. It can take place over many days, weeks, or even span centuries. You can take your time here and provide a real setting for the reader to get lost in.

Who was your favorite author growing up and who are your favorites today?

When I was younger, Stephen King was my idol. I couldn’t get enough of his stuff. I also liked William W. Johnstone’s devil books and other horror authors like Stephen Gresham and Dean Koontz. I also read a lot of Elizabeth Scarborough’s, Christoper Stasheff’s, and Terry Brooks’ fantasy and some Piers Anthony. In high school, my sister shoved some sappy romance novels on me from authors like Nora Roberts and Catherine Coulter. I only enjoyed those if they were historical ones.

I’m also a fan of comic books and superheroes. Wolverine, Batman, Spiderman, Iron Man, and especially Daredevil. A few years ago I went out of my way to locate an old issue of The Blue Beetle in good condition for my dad, who had been a fan of this comic as a kid.

Today, my tastes have grown more sophisticated than just being a Stephen King fan. I have branched out and instead of just liking horror, my new faves are thrillers: Kay Hooper, Iris Johanssen, Tami Hoag.

Tell us what your new book, The Fear Within, is all about.

This is my first fiction book to be published. It’s a short story collection. Twenty-five of my most horrifying tales, twenty-six if you count the 100-word flash fiction story at the front of the book. My editor actually gave me the idea for the cover art. He asked me if all my stories have to deal with death and he said he was waiting for the happy Shelby Patrick story to show up. So I picked the grim reaper pointing to the reader and since the stories are horror, FEAR seemed the best option for the title. After all, who isn’t afraid of death?

Three of the stories are science fiction — mutants, aliens, and super computers. The other stories all deal with things that could terrify anyone, such as ghosts, being trapped in a dark elevator during a power outage, surviving a virus that turns ordinary people murderously insane, demons that thrive on stealing human souls, and well . . . you’ll just have to get the book and read what else is inside. Can’t be giving away all my secrets, now can I?

What was the toughest thing about writing this book?

Putting it all together. I had written each story separately through the years and after it was all added to one collection, I realized how similar each story was. I used the same character names in different stories, the characters pretty much all spoke the same, the settings hadn’t changed much.

When you write a short story collection, each story needs to be able to stand on its own. Every character should have his or her own voice. No one wants to read a collection if everyone sounds like the same person.

Do you have any plans for a novel?

I’m glad you asked. Novels are much more fun to write. I have several of them waiting in the queue, as a matter of fact. So far only one of them has been professionally edited and is awaiting its day in the spotlight. It’s a supernatural thriller entitled When Angels Sing. There’s an excerpt from this novel at the end of my short story collection. Hopefully, it will be out by the end of 2010.

And the big question of the day is, where do you get your ideas from?

The story fairy brings them. Yep, she flies in my window late at night and whispers ideas into my ear while I’m sleeping. She especially likes when I make cute little cut-out cookies shaped like butterflies.

No, really, it’s true!

Well, not all my stories come that way. Take Dead Lines for example. I used to deliver newspapers late at night and had to go inside darkened buildings where my imagination took flight. So one night I imagined dead people sitting in those dark offices, their soulless eyes staring at me as I passed their doors. It creeped me out. After I had left the building, I drove down this one street and someone had put out a garbage bag by their curb. My tired mind wondered what would happen if that hadn’t been garbage but instead was someone’s decapitated head. Wow, right? Well,it gets even trickier. I turned the corner and there was this giant black truck sitting in a driveway. I had never seen that truck before, but what caught my attention was the license plate. It said DEATH. I kid you not! The idea for Dead Lines started to form and when I heard this Billy Squier song on the radio, two words from it stuck in my head: DEAD LINES. Voila! I had my story, came home, wrote it in a couple of hours, sent it off to a magazine, and got my first horror story published.

Of all the stories you have written, which one is your favorite and why?

E-fection was cool and so was Alien on Board. I love my manly heroes.

But those aren’t my absolute favorites.

My first love of any genre is and always will be fantasy. I wrote a novel awhile back, which I haven’t had edited yet or hasn’t been published. It’s my all-time favorite story. I just love a good adventure — magic, dragons, swordsmen. One day soon that story will join my published collection.

If you could share one tip with the beginning writer, what would it be?

Don’t quit your day job just yet.

No, seriously. Writing and getting published are two different things. It’s not a job for the faint of heart. It requires a lot of hard work and focus and you have to be prepared for brutal critiques or rejections. It takes time and a lot of gray hairs, but if you are serious, and stick with it, you can become a published author.

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