Today, I am featuring a debut author on my blog – Mindy M. Shelton! This interview will give a different perspective into the life of a non-fiction true crime author that has recently been featured on my blog!
Mindy M. Shelton has written both non-fiction and fiction in her career including the Ready Research Series and All Tucked Inn: An Elizabeth Burke Thriller. It is such an honor to be able to interview her and be able to feature her books on my blog! Thank you Mindy for such an incredible opportunity and thank you for all of your hard work!
Now onto the hard-hitting questions…
1. For an introduction, can you try to describe yourself in one sentence?
Just a hardworking mother and wife, who loves to spend her time putting ideas to paper (or computer screen!).
2. What got you interested in true crime?
My first short-stint in college was as a Criminal Justice student. My mother was a paralegal and my father a policeman in the Army, so it truly is in my blood. I would have become a CSI, which was known as an ID Tech back then, but my husband and I had twins at the very young age of 19, so I had to delay my college dreams for a few years. By the time I went back, business was a better fit for my lifestyle. But, now I do everything I can to read and write within my first love, criminal justice.
3. How did you choose which murderers to feature in your books?
That’s a great question as I didn’t think at the time to really describe that in the books, but I chose them based on a couple of metrics. The first was that they had to be convicted, or had already pled guilty. I didn’t include anyone who was acquitted. For instance, Casey Anthony was not included in Mommies who Murder, no matter what my personal opinion of her case happens to be. The second metric I used was if there were any accomplices. I tried not to include a Bonnie and Clyde type situation, only because I didn’t want to include Bonnie if Clyde were the true murderer. And thinking on it now, I also tried to balance the well-known cases with the lesser-known, if that makes sense. In Serial Murderers, I made it a point to use a couple we all had heard of, like John Wayne Gacy and Gary Ridgway, but then I also included some I’d never heard of, like Wayne Williams and Robert Hansen. I learned a lot researching all of these books, so it was beneficial for me to include murderers I didn’t remember.
4. Out of all the murders you listed in the books, which were your favourite? Did any leave you speechless?
Many left me speechless! I seriously had nightmares when I was writing Serial Murderers. I think the ones that stick out in my memory though, were the children murderers. There was a case where the child (around 15-years-old, I believe) was being punished. Nothing severe, just a typical “go to your room and think about what you did” situation. Well, he got a gun and snuck up behind his parents, who were just innocently sitting on their couch watching TV, and he whispered, “Close your eyes, I have a surprise for you” and then shot them both in the head! I couldn’t believe it. And the only reason we know he said this was because the poor father lived to tell the tale. What makes a person think through this type of retribution and actually commit the act? It’s fascinating.
5. How long do you spend researching before you begin writing?
I spent a good couple of weeks researching before the writing began and then continued to research throughout the process. I tried to make a list of the people to include before beginning the book, but several times something caught my eye during research and the list changed.
6. What is one fact about yourself that you think might shock your readers?
Both times I’ve been pregnant has been with multiples! My doctor said I could have had a litter, but when it was all said and done, we were blessed with three healthy, wonderful children. I couldn’t ask for anything more. Oh, and thanks to being an odd child myself, I can say the alphabet backwards really fast. Not sure if any of this is shocking, but my husband uses it as my party trick.
7. Is there a genre of book you would like to write in the future?
I’m working on a fiction book right now that I’m extremely excited about. I’ll be sure to request your thoughts when it’s ready to be beta-tested, but all I can say right now is that it’s a YA thriller. Think FBI-meets-a-nonmagical-Harry Potter. LOL, actually it’s about ten teenagers, but I’ll leave it all that…
8. How do you get yourself inspired when going through writer’s block?
That’s such a depressing situation, but it happens to us all. Since I have a full time “non-writer” career, I travel a lot. Through those travels, I have found I do my best thinking while driving on a long trip. So, when things get stagnant, I hit the road and play an audiobook. It gets the brain going and the ideas flowing!
9. If you could collaborate with any professional (writer, actor, director, etc), who would you like to collaborate with?
The expected answer would be Ann Rule, and yes, I’d love to sit down with her, but if I could only pick one person it would be Nora Roberts. I’ve read, and loved, her novels since I was a teenager. I want to work with her and figure out how she can put out so many books in a year and if it really is ghost writers, how did she find so many that can duplicate her format. It’s impressive. No matter the book, or information in the book, I always love it. Not sure if I’ve ever read a Nora Roberts (or J.D. Robb) book I didn’t enjoy.
10. Finally, what question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
I guess I always expect to be ask why I write. It sounds so simple, but it’s not. I write because I have to. I write because I love it. No, sometimes I hate writing, but the outcome is what I crave. But, here’s a funny story. When I was a waitress, and said twins were about three-years-old, there was a Psychic Convention in the city. Not something I ever believed in, but I waited on a psychic who wanted to read my fortune to me. She used cards and as she flipped one over, I saw a single letter in the corner of the card. By the time she flipped five cards, those letters spelled out the word NOTES. She turned to me and said, “Oh, you’re going to be a writer.” I was shocked. Never even thought about writing. Then over the years, no matter my profession, I was always tagged with writing the documents everyone needed. I thought about that psychic and sat down to write a book. All Tucked Inn can be found on Amazon and is a fiction murder mystery. Isn’t it strange how one person can affect your life? I find it so very interesting. Was I destined to be a writer? Or did I become a writer because I was nudged? Fascinating, to say the least.
Oh, and I’ve always wanted to be asked about my least favorite part of the process. It’s definitely the editing, creating a book cover, and marketing. Every single part except writing. I’m not sure the average reader knows what is in involved in self-publishing. When I see a review on a new writer that gives him or her one star and mentions a couple typos, I cringe. It’s so easy to make an error and that poor writer probably didn’t know they’d have to be line editor, copy editor, cover designer, agent, publicist, etc. Just to get a book out there is an accomplishment, so I ask people to be nice if they are taking the time to review a book. Especially if it’s free or very inexpensive. Yes, it should be up to “James Patterson” standards, but he has teams of people telling him where the typos are J And that is why those ebooks are $13.99!
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Blog: Expert of None Blog
Facebook: Mindy M. Shelton Facebook
Amazon Author Page: Amazon: An Elizabeth Burke Thriller by Mindy M. Shelton
Goodreads: Mindy M. Shelton on Goodreads
Thank you so much to Mindy M. Shelton for such an in-depth and fantastic interview! It was a pleasure to be able to interview her and get an insight into her life (on and off the page!).
Interested in Mindy M. Shelton’s books? Here are the Goodreads Links and Photos:
Form Birth to Death: Mommies Who Murder (Ready Research #1)
From Cradle to Grave: Children Who Murder (Ready Research #2)
From First Victim to Last: Serial Murderers (Ready Research #3)
From Playground to Prison: Siblings Who Murder (Ready Research #4)
From Wedding to Funeral: Spouses Who Murder (Ready Research #5)
All Tucked Inn: An Elizabeth Burke Thriller