What’s Halloween without a few werewolf sightings, am I right? I had an ARC of this book a couple months ago, and it had been several years since I’d read werewolves. This author put a fresh spin on it, using a scientific perspective I’d never come across in other books. She’s disappointed at having to choose between a haunted graveyard or a haunted house, and also mentions one of my favorite movies, Lost Boys. Welcome Shelley Wilson!
Would you rather walk through a haunted graveyard at midnight or spend the night in a haunted abandoned house?
I’m going to sulk that I’m not allowed to say both. Trooping through a haunted graveyard to get to the abandoned house would be my idea of a fun night out if I’m honest. My family and friends think I’m a bit weird when it comes to this stuff, but the supernatural world fascinates me. Okay, if you’re going to make me choose I’ll go with the haunted graveyard. There’s something incredibly peaceful about cemeteries (whether they’re haunted or not!) and I spend a lot of time visiting various churchyards here in the UK. I’ve always wanted to see a ghost, so I’d be delighted if my graveyard of choice was teeming with spectres. A hotel I used to work at in Warwickshire, England was allegedly haunted. The duty manager woke up to find a ghostly nun sitting on the end of her bed, and when I showed guests around some of them would sense the spirits. I, unfortunately, never got to meet any of the resident ghosts but can you imagine the stories they could tell us.
Would you rather be a vampire of a werewolf?
My answer may seem odd given that my latest book is a werewolf novel, but I would have to go with a vampire for this question. I’ve been obsessed with vampires since I watched the Lost Boys as a kid in the 80s. It’s still my absolute favourite film of all time – and what about that soundtrack! Buffy the Vampire Slayer got me through a turbulent time in my life, and so she (and Angel, obvs) also hold a special place in my heart. There’s something mysterious, cold, and sensual about vampires and I find that interesting. I’ve always said I wouldn’t write a vampire book because I didn’t want to get it wrong, which is how I was drawn to write Hood Academy featuring werewolves. However, I’ve had a rather compelling character dancing around in my peripheral vision for a while, and I know she’s a vamp – so watch this space.
Would you rather be part of the X-Files team or Ghostbusters?
X-Files all the way! I adored that show and loved Mulder and Scully’s relationship. There’s no way we can be alone in the universe, and to be on the team that uncovered alien life would be awesome. Although, I recently saw a meme that made me chuckle – ‘The proof that we are not alone in the universe is the fact that the aliens have stayed away from us.’ Yep, if they’ve got any sense they’ll keep themselves safe in their spaceships and avoid this crazy planet.
If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in the same setting, where would you choose?
I love visiting the places I use as settings for my books as it brings everything to life for me. Hood Academy is set in Nottingham, England, which is a place I’ve always loved because of my fascination with Robin Hood. I’ve just finished a YA book based in Northumberland in 866AD (Vikings) and took a weekend trip to the area so I could stand and look out across the North Sea in the shoes of my main character.
If I were to move anywhere in the world and base a book on that area it would have to be New Orleans. This is somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit, and more importantly, somewhere I WILL be visiting next year when I head to Mardi Gras in February. I’ll be doing plenty of exploring – who knows; I might find that book idea while I’m over there. I’m sure you’ll have guessed by now that the theme would be vampires, voodoo, and the supernatural.
What is your favourite cover of all your books? Why?
I’m incredibly fortunate that my design team are phenomenal when it comes to book covers. I’ve squealed at every single one they’ve sent me over the years. However, the wrap cover for Hood Academy made me cry – happy tears! Initially, this book was two separate novels (Oath Breaker and Oath Keeper), and each had a beautiful cover. We decided to combine the two under one title and re-release in hardback, paperback, and eBook which meant we also had a new cover concept. The haunting image on the front perfectly represents the story, but on the wrap cover you get to see an image of Mia (the main character), and she is exactly as I pictured her in my head as I was writing. Readers who have read the first part of this book told me the new cover was exactly as they imagined Hood Academy to be. Yes, Hood Academy is my favourite cover – so far.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters of the opposite sex?
This is an interesting question, as I’ve seen so many posts in writing groups recently with examples of people getting it wrong. Predominantly they were of men trying to write about women – with hilarious consequences in some instances. Now, before you all jump onto the comments and tell me off for such a controversial statement, I must stress that these were extreme examples. Men will never understand women, just like women will never understand men – there’s an entire self-help shelf in Waterstones on this exact topic!
For my part, I’ve been a single mum for fifteen years without a partner. I literally can’t remember what it feels like to have a man around, so I’ve got no point of reference, and this is where I struggle. That old adage ‘write about what you know’ is fine if you can follow your partner around with a notebook! My young adult novels are aimed at 13+ girls (something I have experience of being and having), so my books always centre on a female protagonist. Fortunately, I have three kids – two boys and a daughter. They are all between 17 and 21, so I can use them as a guide for how young adults act and how they speak. Without looking like a weird stalker mum I’ve observed my sons’ friends when they’ve been over to see how they interact with each other and, more importantly, how they talk. This has helped me understand the opposite sex from the perspective of my novels.
Where I struggle the most is writing about romantic relationships. As I write for a young audience my books contain PG snogging at most, and I even had to check with my editor that I was getting that right! I’m reasonably sure I’ll be single forever, so any chance of researching the opposite sex is out of the question, but if I steer away from writing romance, then I should be okay. Besides, I much prefer writing about werewolves ripping out throats, Viking armies decimating their enemies, or demon attacks!
Nestled deep within the forest lies a mysterious school dedicated to wiping out the werewolf population. But where exactly do werewolves come from? And why are children not bitten by a werewolf turning?
Mia is about to discover the answers to these questions and more. When fifteen-year-old Mia’s father is murdered, it’s her estranged uncle that comes to the rescue—but what he offers her in return for his help could be worse than the life she’s leaving behind. Taken to Hood Academy, a unique school deep in the forest, she discovers friendships, love, the courage to stand on her own…and werewolves.
Is Mia destined to become one of the pack or will she be the hunter chosen to destroy them? This unique twist on the origins of werewolves and werewolf hunters will grab readers by the throat as they are drawn alongside Mia into a dark and mysterious world as she quests to discover her true identify.
Shelley is an English author of motivational self-help titles and young adult fantasy fiction. Her practical side writes non-fiction books to inspire you to survive and thrive, and her playful side writes young adult fiction to remind you to nurture that inner teen. She’s a writing mentor helping professional women to write their book so they can position themselves as an expert in their industry. Shelley also provides blogging support and accountability coaching. You’ll find her sharing book reviews, author interviews, and chatting about writing on her author blog and talking about personal development on her motivational blog. She’s a single mum of three and lives in the West Midlands, England. She loves vampires, history and self-help, plus solo trips to the cinema, and travelling.