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Thursday, 8 October 2015

ℚ♫ Fortytude [1-2] - Shelly Hickman

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about Fortytude, her Romantic Comedy series.   Book one, Vegas to Varanasi is FREE on Amazon!

"Insanely realistic. I think I have found a new author I need to stalk for the rest of her career." -- Big Girls *Heart* Books

"This book had a bit of everything in it - drama, tears, a bundle of giggles, some sexiness and a sweet romance. But most of all it was, well...real." -- Bookworm Betties

"A story that depicts the reality of life and the complexity of relationships...full of depth and emotion that will leave a smile on your face." -- Jersey Girl Book Reviews

Author Q&A | The Series | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops

Hello Shelly, welcome to BooksChatter and many thanks for joining us today!

Shelly Hickman has shared with us her music playlist for Vegas to Varanasi, book one in the Fortytude series - enjoy!

What was the inspiration for Menopause to Matrimony?
"Menopause to Matrimony is my latest book, and to a certain extent my inspiration was my own life.  I’m not going through all the new relationship stuff that Anna is, given that I’ve been married for twenty-five years.  However, I have started experiencing the symptoms of peri-menopause.  It seems there’s not a whole lot spoken about this time in a woman’s life and the changes that can come with it—miserable periods, heightened emotions, diminished sex drive—and I thought it would be fun to explore these issues in a humorous manner."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"Quite a bit of myself is reflected in this book (see above).  Getting older is a strange process.  You still feel twenty-something on the inside, but your body reminds you otherwise.  For instance, I had a hip replacement in my early forties.  My husband suffered a heart attack three years ago and turned fifty this year.  I ask myself, “How am I married to a fifty-year-old?  Fifty! I was just at prom yesterday!”  It doesn’t seem real."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover.  Can you tell us about your covers for Fortytude - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"This tour is for both of my books—Vegas to Varanasi and Menopause to Matrimony—which are part of the Fortytude series.  I’m currently working on the third book, Harmony to Heartburn.  I wanted Vegas to Varanasi’s cover to have a light-hearted feel in keeping with the romantic comedy genre.  Since the story takes place in my hometown, Las Vegas, and then moves into Varanasi, the silhouettes on the cover are of the two locations.  I kept a similar layout for the sequel with silhouettes representing the flames of menopause and a wedding cake for matrimony.  I designed both covers."
Why should we read Fortytude and what sets it apart from the rest?   What makes this series unique?
"What I’ve heard from several readers in reviews is that they were refreshed by the realness of the storyline and characters.  Sure, there are still elements of fantasy in most works of fiction, but for the most part, I try to make the dialogue, conflicts, and relationships as real to life as possible so that readers feel they can relate to the story.  In Menopause to Matrimony in particular, I cover some of the not-so-romantic parts of a relationship as we get older."
Can you tell us something quirky about Fortytude, its story and characters?
"Hmmm.  I can’t really think of anything that’s particularly quirky, except for maybe Anna’s ex-boyfriend, David.  He’s definitely a mess, and some readers have expressed that they couldn’t stand him while others have found him likable, despite his flaws.  Because he’s kind of a lost soul, my intention was for readers to have a bit of empathy for him, but some people just hated him."
Who would you recommend Fortytude to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"I think women in their late thirties or older would most enjoy these books because Anna is in her mid-forties with young adult children, navigating a new relationship and family life.  Though younger women have had complimentary things to say about the storyline, I think women who are a bit older will most relate to Anna.  The only warning I would give is if you are offended by profanity, you may not like these books.  Personally, I don’t feel the language is excessive—the characters use it when it fits the moment.  However, I’m surprised when occasionally a reader says they couldn’t get past the bad language.  I feel my characters speak how people speak in real life, but I suppose it’s a matter of perspective."
If you could / wished to turn the Fortytude series into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"For the lead actors, I would love to see Sarah Jessica Parker play Anna and Indian heartthrob, Hrithik Roshan, play Kiran.  I never thought about a director before, but Rob Reiner would be a good choice.  Locations of course would be Las Vegas and Varanasi.  What a dream it would be to travel to Varanasi and oversee the execution of that portion of the storyline!"
Ahaha!  As I looked for pictures of Hrithik (as I had never heard of him before)... I couldn't help thinking about one of your teasers for Vegas to Viranasi...  I am just going to have to share it... (male readers may want to click here to skip this next part...)

What do you like to write and read about?  Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?

"These days I stick to romcom, however my first two books were more contemplative in nature.  I enjoy trying to incorporate metaphysical concepts into my fiction, but it’s difficult to do, and it’s even more difficult to market.  (At least for me it is.)  Marketing is hard enough as it is, so when you write for an even smaller niche, it becomes even more challenging.  I do enjoy reading metaphysical/reflective topics, though usually non-fiction."
What is your writing process?
"Errrrr… my writing process . At the moment I’m wishing I had a more disciplined, organized writing process.  I don’t set a schedule to write, nor a location.  I pretty much fit it in whenever I can.  Summer is easier because I’m not working my day job as a teacher, and up to this point I’m usually wrapping up my manuscript by the end of summer break.  However, I didn’t quite make that timeframe this go around and I’m only halfway through my current work.  I’m a bit nervous about how I’m going to finish it because I’ve asked my proofreader to save a slot for me in mid-October . I’ve also got a bad case of writer’s block going on at the moment, wondering how I should proceed.  Maybe that’s just because I’ve started a new school year and have been preoccupied with that.  I hope the words start flowing again soon!"
Our fingers are crossed for you!

What is in store next?

"The third book I’m working on involves Anna dealing with more real life stuff, such as her aging parents’ constant bickering, and the possibility of them splitting up after fifty years of marriage.  Her ex-husband, Luke, is having relationship difficulties of his own due to a serious health condition with his partner Richard, and begins leaning on Anna for emotional support.  This in turn creates some awkwardness between Anna and Kiran.  That’s the gist of things so far, and I’m already wondering how I’m going to write the formal blurb for this book."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"Well, saying that my kids are special to me is nothing out of the ordinary, but I couldn’t think of anything else that I had an actual picture to share, so here’s a photo my husband took of me and my kids on Mother’s Day a couple of years ago. :)"

Great picture!  Than you for sharing it with us :-)

Fortytude series - available NOW!

UK: purchase from purchase from Nook UK purchase from Kobo UK purchase from iTunes UK find on Goodreads
US: purchase from purchase from Barnes & Noble purchase from Kobo purchase from iTunes US purchase from Smashwords


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting

Unknown said...

Thank you for hosting. I love the unique way in which you put this post together!

BooksChatter said...

Hi Shelly - thank you! and thank you for visiting us. I had great fun putting this together :-)