It’s Friday again, and time for another Fabulous Blogger. Our guest today is Young Adult author, Shelley Wilson, but she’s also a whole lot more than that. Shelley, thank you for visiting with us today!
Thank you so much to Marcia for inviting me over to her fabulous blog. I pondered for some time on the theme of my guest blogger piece, worrying when I realised that I talk nonsense ninety percent of the time. However, I’ve been this way for many years so why change now!
I did finally settle on a classic writing topic. It’s the theme many of us resonate with as we learn our craft – ‘write about what you know’. It’s a valuable piece of advice, and it’s perfect if you are capturing a story about accountancy, project management or health, but what if you choose to write about travelling through space, or chasing a zombie ninja down Route 66?
Before I began writing full time, I ran a successful holistic health business. I spent my days offering reflexology sessions, Reiki healing, massage and a range of other alternative therapies. The ‘day job’ came in very handy when I wrote my Wellbeing Workshop handbag guides. Meditation for Beginner’s and Vision Boarding for Beginner’s are based on the most popular personal development workshops that I run. I am proud of these little guidebooks and very pleased that they continue to sell well on Amazon.
Even though I work with alternative therapies, energy, angels and crystals, I don’t dance naked under the full moon or run through corn fields with flowers in my hair. I’m a down-to-earth girl who enjoys keeping it real. If you don’t know a chakra from a chorizo, then I’m the author you want!
When I wrote, How I Changed My Life in a Year it was easy to see how this would fit into the Mind, Body, Spirit genre that was a huge part of my life. The book followed my personal journey as I set myself twelve challenges, or dare I say it, New Year Resolutions. The tasks included weight, fitness, creativity, gratitude, happiness and changing habits. Goals that fit perfectly into the ‘write about what you know’ box.
One of my favourite challenges took place in November, a cold and bitter month where you can’t escape the Christmas hype but aren’t feeling the joy quite yet. A month that is perfect for hibernation. A month where over three-hundred-and-fifty-thousand people chain themselves to their laptop, computer or tablet and attempt to write a fifty-thousand-word novel in thirty days. Yes, I’m talking about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).
I tackled this particular challenge like an SAS mission, with detailed biographies of all my characters, and a rough outline of where I wanted to take the idea. This particular story was my young adult fantasy tale, Guardians of the Dead and included witches, demons and faeries – hang on, I don’t know anything about that!
When I ventured into fiction, and especially fantasy, I felt a sense of freedom that I never experienced writing self-help. I abandoned the rules as I got to create anything I wanted. My fantasy realm still had some order to it, with a hierarchy of soldiers and geography that made sense to the reader, but the boiling rivers of lava and the hulking demons feeding on lava hogs were pure unadulterated imagination.
It was thrilling to shake off the shackles and venture into the unknown. One of my favourite authors, Stephen King, added an interesting slant on the ‘write about what you know’ theme when he said: “Write what you like, then imbue it with life and make it unique by blending in your own personal knowledge of life, friendship, relationships, sex, and work.”
His words make perfect sense to me. I find it easy to use my work and personal life experiences to help others to feel better about themselves, or to find inspiration to be the best they can be. By doing this, I can pour a ton of honesty, trust and love into my non-fiction titles.
With my fantasy work, I added these elements without really thinking about it. The make-believe adventure contains threads of my life, my work and my relationships.
The heroine in my young adult trilogy is a sixteen-year-old supernatural oracle. She works with her energy field and uses her chakras* to feel for her powers. Working with chakra energy was a huge part of my day job, and it felt right to add this element to my fantasy work. My holistic clients were also able to resonate with this part of the book because they had heard me talking about this in their therapy sessions. My fiction readers were able to learn something new without feeling like they were reading a self-help book.
“Write what you like, then imbue it with life and make it unique…”
When I started writing I believed that it had to be one or the other – fiction or non-fiction – but over time I’ve realised that the line is blurred, and the two genres can blend perfectly.
Losing yourself in a fantasy book is one of the pieces of advice I give to my holistic clients as a way to switch off and relax. Channelling positive energy is the advice I gave my fictional heroine as she tackled a monumental challenge.
I’m going to continue writing about what I know, but I’m also going to follow Mr King’s wise advice and make it unique. Hopefully, this means I will be creating a perfect blend of self-help and fantasy fiction for many years to come.
*A chakra is a wheel of energy within the body. We have seven main chakras, which align the spine, starting from the base of the spine through to the crown of the head.
Author Shelley Wilson
Shelley Wilson divides her writing time between motivational non-fiction for adults and the fantasy worlds of her young adult fiction. Shelley’s books combine lifestyle, motivation and self-help with a healthy dose of humour. She works in the Mind, Body, Spirit sector as a practitioner and tutor. Her approach to writing is to provide an uplifting insight into personal development and being the best you can be.
Shelley writes her Young Adult Fiction under ‘S.L Wilson’ and combines myth, legend and fairy tales with a side order of demonic chaos. You can check out all her books here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00G5KPMJI
She was born in Yorkshire but raised in the West Midlands, England. Don’t be fooled by the smile – she has a dark side and exercises her right to be mischievous on a regular basis. She is an obsessive list maker and social media addict. Shelley would love to live in the Shire but fears her five foot ten inch height may cause problems.
The Second book of Shelley’s Young Adult trilogy is available from Friday 22nd January as an eBook or paperback, via Amazon.
Guardians of the Sky (Book 2)
Can one girl sacrifice herself to save the one she loves…
Following their daring escape from the demon realm, Amber and her friends become caught up in a war between good and evil. They must join forces with the Queen’s warriors to overthrow a malevolent force that has spread across Avaveil, the land of the Fae.
As her powers grow, Amber is faced with the real possibility that she is a danger to the ones she loves. Her full strength is yet to be tested in a way she can’t comprehend.
Dragons, faeries and humans stand side-by-side as they are drawn into a battle of cunning, magic and surprising revelations. Can Amber survive long enough to see her dreams fulfilled?