Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Interview with Shirley Stewart

Today, we will read about an Avalon author who has never been interviewed on our blog before: Shirley Stewart!
I know you'll enjoy getting to know her and her latest western.

Please tell us about your latest release.
In my latest book, "The Untarnished Badge", U. S. Deputy Marshal Luke Cochran is sent to a western town to investigate the mayor's murder and the outbreak of rustling that is plaguing the area. By the time he arrives a councilman has disappeared and his reception by the remaining council members is hostile. He is challenged by the local law as well. Luke unravels a plot to seize the nearby ranches and take control of the town and surrounding area. During his investigation he discovers hidden pasts and relentless greed. He also learns of a stolen fortune that has been hidden away by the one man who knows its location. Luke intends to find it and return it to its rightful owners. First, though, he must unmask the mastermind behind the plot and outwit and outshoot his enemies.

Wow. That sounds as if many surprises are waiting for the reader! Would you also share with us what you like most about this novel?

What I like most is the main character, the way he deals with his inner conflicts, and his determination to do what's right and finish his assignment no matter what it takes.

I agree that the best books have characters that stay with you! How about the plot? Did you develop it from something you experienced personally?
The plot wasn't developed from personal experience. It came about from the question, "What if?"

Have you published any other novels?
I've published eight other novels.

That's impressive! And how did it all start?
In the 90s I entered a writing competition for two chapters of a Western novel at the Ozarks Creative Writers Conference at Eureka Springs, Arkansas. My entry won first place and I decided to finish the story. I submitted the first three chapters and a synopsis to Avalon in mid-March. On April Fool's Day I got a form letter asking me to send the rest of it on spec. I burned rubber getting that manuscript to the post office. I didn't hear again until early September when an editor called and told me the contract was in the mail and that my first novel, "Vengeance Canyon" would ber released in February. I didn't know it at the time but taking less than a year from submission to publication isn't bad at all.

Absolutely. I'd say it's a record! Would you also tell us about something funny that happened to you as an author?
The funniest incident happend with one of my early novels. I had included a little too much romance in the story and my editor at the time insisted that I take it out. She said that a significant segment of my readership was made up of teenage boys and that teenage boys had absolutely no interest in love or romance. She clearly didn't know the teenage boys that I used to know.

Hmmm . . . that's intriguing. Maybe it depends on the exact age? A 13-year-old is certainly less interested in romance than a 19-year-old! One last question: What do you do when you're not writing?
When I'm not writing, I'm thinking about writing. I like to travel in the West in order to refresh my memory and absorb the setting. I also like to eavesdrop in restaurants and other public places. There's no better way to study real-life dialogue. But I'm always anxious to get back to the computer. I think its an incurable addiction.

That's an addiction we all share! Thank you very much for taking the time to be interviewed, Shirley, and good luck with all your writing projects!


Carolyn Brown said...

So there is another author who eavesdrops at restaurants and who can't wait to get home to the computer to write it all down! Bet you carry a notebook and pen in your purse, too!
Loved getting to know you better!

Sandy Cody said...

Nice to meet you, Shirley. Your books sounds like the stories my brothers and I devoured when we were kids. Have to admit I still love them. By the way, I agree with you about teenaged boys.

Good job, Beate, you asked just the right questions to bring Shriley and her books to life.

Sheila Claydon said...

Eavesdropping is a translation of writer. Obsessive need to stay near a computer is another one. I loved reading about your writing history Shirley.

Shirley Stewart said...

Beate, Thanks so much for doing the interview. It was fun. I also appreciate the comments. I feel like I'm getting to know the Avaloners -- a wonderful group.

Kaye said...

I guess eavesdropping in restaurants is a common thing amongst writers. I always thought I was just nosy. Your new book looks like a good read. I was raised on Zane Gray. He was my father's favorite.
Thanks for the interesting interview.