Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Shelly Munro Spotlight

Shelly Munro is a native of New Zealand, but luckily we can get her books here in the States. She writes in a variety of romance sub-genres, and with twenty-one books under her belt from four publishers, she shows no sign of stopping. Read on to find out more about this prolific and talented author.

Apart from romance, what do you usually read?

I’m a bit of a romance-aholic. I love romance because of the happy endings and tend to stick to the genre because of that. To vary my reading diet, I do read widely across all romance genres, from historical to romantic suspense and gay fiction. On the few occasions I venture outside romance, I’ll go for a thriller or a cozy mystery. I also read lots of non-fiction books on travel, history, and other various topics I might need to research for my writing.

If you were teaching a course on popular fiction, which books would be on your reading list?

Hmmm, I’d probably give the course a romantic slant to showcase what a great genre romance is and how there’s something for every taste. I get tired of people who are snobby and put down romance with snarky remarks about Mills & Boon.

I’d include a JD Robb book, probably a Nora Roberts, maybe a Linda Howard and Jenny Crusie to highlight humor. A CJ Barry or Susan Kearney for sci-fi. I’d pick some of my favorite authors for each genre.

Switching gears now, what TV show are you embarrassed to say that you like(d)?
You know, I can’t think of a single show I watch that would embarrass me. I love detective shows, comedy (if it’s British), the odd reality show such as Idol and some of our local shows are excellent. Half the time I switch off and read an ebook on my laptop or I’m writing. Hubby likes watching TV, so once he’s home we’ll sit down together. He watches TV and chats with me while I multitask and watch TV, write, read, and chat. It’s surprising how much I manage to write during these times.

You travel a great deal. If you had to leave New Zealand forever and move to another country, which would you choose and why?

Both hubby and I love Britain (England, Scotland, Wales) and also Ireland. I’d happily settle in any of these places. They’re not too different from New Zealand, they drive on the same side of the road, and even better none of these countries are far from Europe and the States. It makes traveling so much cheaper and easier!

And now, back to the writing… tell me about the work-in-progress that you’re most excited about.

For me, it’s always the current book I’m working on—apart from the book I’ve just finished. That book was a problem from day one! I’ve put the problem book aside for a while to gain a little distance and meanwhile have picked up a tiger shapeshifter I’d started. I’m very excited about this story. It’s set in India and the hero is blind but still very alpha.

Do you ever get bored writing sex scenes?

Yes, sometimes I get to screaming point when it comes time to write another love scene. I guess it’s because there’s so many in each erotic romance and they all need to be a bit different and still propel the plot forward. Sometimes I leave a gap and go back and fill it in later or I’ll switch to writing a sensual romance or I read one of my favorite books. All the above methods work, and the truth is that I love writing erotic romance. I get over it and finish the book!

Your Middlemarch Mates series with Ellora’s Cave features, from what I can figure out, a community of shapeshifters. I adore shapeshifter stories. Tell me a little about the shifters, the world you’ve created, and how it’s different.

There’s a small town in the South Island of New Zealand called Middlemarch. The town and its inhabitants came to my attention when I saw a special interest piece on the news. It seems that Middlemarch is short of women of marriageable age. For some reason they all leave to work and live elsewhere while the men tend to stay to farm the land. To combat this problem they decided to hold a special dance in the hopes of attracting women to the area and romance springing to life. I filed the idea away in the back of my mind because I thought it was such a great idea.

Not long after I came across a story in the NZ Herald about mystery black cat sightings in the South Island. The two ideas combined and Middlemarch Mates was born.

My shifters are black leopards. They are a close knit community who live in the town of Middlemarch. Since the community is a mixed one with normal humans as well, their existence is a close-kept secret. My series is centered around the Mitchell family—five brothers who are also shifters. I think it’s a little different because it’s set in New Zealand and includes some of my trademark humor as well as great stories with a hint of mystery. And it doesn’t hurt that the Mitchell brothers are very nice to look at!

I see that you also write M/M stories. What would be the best part of being the opposite sex?

I’d be able to study my spam in greater detail because I’d actually have a penis.

Scenario: You are stranded on a deserted island for a month with one of your heroes. Which one would it be and why? What three items would you take with you?

I think I’d take Nikolai from Summer in the City of Sails. He’s military and knows about survival and stuff. I’m sure the stay would be very comfortable with Nikolai along and I wouldn’t starve to death. Just to make sure I’d take a loaded picnic basket, my Alphasmart so I could write (I get fidgety when I can’t write) and some sun screen because I’d burn to a crisp otherwise and that wouldn’t be very comfy.

Sounds like a good plan to me. Who wouldn't want to be stranded with a hunky soldier? If you'd like to get to know Nikolai out more thoroughly, go to Shelly's website. Also, if you want to delve into M/M fiction, look at Fallen Idol, coming out this month from Ellora's Cave. Or check out her blog.

Thanks for joining me, Shelly!



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