Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
I am very pleased to welcome Shelly Berry today as she has kindly agreed to answer my questions! Read on to find out more about her book, ‘Outreach’, her inspiration and writing process, then continue to read to find how you can enter a rafflecopter giveaway with a chance to win a copy of this intriguing sounding book for yourself. . . .
Where did you get the inspiration for the book/series?
People are my main inspiration. I’ve worked in the public sector since I graduated and have met a huge variety of people from different backgrounds, with different problems in different situations. I find myself pondering why people behave the way that they do and my stories stem from there. In Outreach, Emily works for a service for drug and alcohol users, but the story is about the crush she develops on her boss – not an unusual situation, but I was curious what might happen if someone’s crush got out of hand. In the book I explore what it is about Emily that drives her obsession with David and where it has come from.
What is your writing process?
First I like to plan my story using post-it notes. I create a flow chart that I can easily change as my plot develops. Then I spend some time thinking about my characters and the environment in which their story unravels. I create pen-portraits that I can refer back to throughout the writing process. Then I set a weekly target and get started, and keep going until I get to the end!
Do you write using pen and paper or on a computer?
I do my story development and planning using pen and paper, but write my stories straight onto my computer. However, I usually end up printing them out to edit them – I don’t like reading on a screen and feel the need to scribble on a bit of paper when something needs tweaking!
Who is your favourite character out of your stories and why?
In Outreach, I really like Ian. He isn’t one of the main characters, but one of Emily’s clients. He’s a recovering drug and alcohol user who is struggling with sobriety. He has a whole host of coping mechanisms that he has put in place of his substance misuse, some of which Emily struggles to understand, but underneath his defences he’s an intelligent yet vulnerable man. I wrote him, so I understand him, but can see how his behaviours could be misinterpreted by someone who doesn’t.
If you were a character in your story, which would you like to be?
After finishing reading Outreach, my sister told me that I reminded her of Fran, Emily’s mentor. I was massively flattered! Whilst by no means perfect, Fran is a really strong woman who knows what she wants, but also has a softer, nurturing side. Again, like Ian, she has her defences, but isn’t afraid to be herself – something that Emily is in awe of.
How and why did you choose the names for your main characters?
I don’t really have a set way of choosing names for my characters. I think about their background and age to come up with a few ideas. Then I think about what suits them – I have a picture of them all in my head, and pick something that feels like a good fit. I’m careful not to use names of people I know well for obvious reasons, although since writing Outreach I have started working with an Emily….
Thank you so much for answering my questions, Shelly. I really like your post it initially planning. You sound super organised!
Here’s more information about Shelly’s book, ‘Outreach’:
When Emily was offered a new job in London, she was sure that her life was about to change – new friends, a career in the big city and the boyfriend she always wanted.
Her new life turns out to be more complicated than she expected. Her flat mates don’t understand her. Her colleagues mock everything about her. Even her father doesn’t support her. The only person who offers her any encouragement is David.
He’s married. He’s her manager. To Emily it’s clear that they have something special. As their relationship develops, everyone seems to want to sabotage their chances.
But some things are meant to be…
Author Bio –
Shelly Berry lives in Waltham Forest, London. Having gained a BA Joint Honours Degree in Visual Art and Sociology at Keele University and a Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling, she has since worked in the public sector with vulnerable adults and children – including those affected by mental illness, drug and alcohol misuse, disability, criminal behaviour, homelessness and domestic and sexual abuse. During this time, Shelly developed and nurtured her love of writing. As well as writing fiction, she has previously written for a number of blogs and now writes for the Waltham Forest Echo.
Social Media Links – twitter @ShellyBerryUK
Giveaway to Win – 5 x PB copies of Outreach (UK Only)
*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the link to the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Follow the tour:
Many thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for providing materials for this post and organising the blog tour it is part of and to Shelly Berry for answering my questions.