Today I warmly welcome T C Shelley to Sunday Spotlight, here to chat about her debut children’s release, The Monster Who Wasn’t.
When did you start writing and what was the catalyst?
I have written all my life. My first love was poetry (I wrote some great pieces on Snails in my early years), but it was reading children’s novels that made me want to write prose, and at ten I found out what being published meant.
How many novels have you written and published?
I’ve written quite a few. I wrote my first 90,000 word YA novel at 18, and have written a few novels, short stories and poems since. It’s been a few decades coming, but ‘The Monster Who Wasn’t’ is my first published work.
What authors and types of books do you love the most?
I love everything. I read literary fiction, non fiction, crime, romance, kids, YA. I’m a complete garbage bin of genres and ages.
What is your favourite childhood book? Did reading as a child have any bearing on your decision to become a writer?
I loved ‘The Narnian Chronicles’, but I seem to have missed a great chunk of children’s books. I didn’t read ‘Wind in the Willows’ or ‘Anne of Green Gables’. When I started reading novels, I jumped into adult novels very quickly. I remember reading ‘Wuthering Heights’ at 11 and wondering why they thought they loved each other when they were so spiteful. I remember wanting to write something that would carry someone away the way my favourites carried me away.
What inspired your book?
My daughter asked me, ‘Mummy, if fairies are born from a first laugh, where do monsters come from?’
How much research do you do? How do you balance the demands of getting the facts right and telling a good story?
Ah, maybe not all the ‘facts’ about monsters, although I did often double check things; but setting definitely, and the way the Irish characters speak. I was thrilled when one Irish woman called me and was shocked at my Australian accent. She thought I was an Irish ex-pat living in Australia.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with negative feedback after spending so much time writing your book?
Good grief, no. I read a couple, even good ones and thought, ‘yes, but they’re not a child, so that doesn’t count’ and a bad one made me paranoid and I reread the beginning to figure out where it all fell apart. I stopped looking after the first two days. I let my editor and agent tell me what’s not working before it’s published.
Have you ever had to deal with a situation where someone feels they recognise traits of themselves in one of your characters?
Not yet! But as most of my characters are children, my daughter’s friends want to be written in. Nearly all my human characters are named after someone real.
You can wear one pair of shoes for the rest of your life. What type are they and what colour?
Oxblood Emmeline Doc Martens (yes, I do own a pair).
What crime would you like to get away with and how would you go about it?
Oh, definitely a jewel robbery or art theft. Something glamorous and Ocean’s 11-y.
The Monster Who Wasn’t
Everyone knows that fairies come from a first laugh, but only a few know how monsters are created. When a creature, both monster and fairy (and looking suspiciously like a human boy) is made, the monster world goes crazy. Wanting to save the little piece of the world he has come to love, this boy will also have to figure out where he belongs.
Published by Bloomsbury
Released on 8th August 2019