I’m so excited to announce I’m going to start posting fun little author interviews as part of this bookish blog as well! And for our first author interview, it’s my pleasure to introduce Shelby Elizabeth, a fellow indie author of young adult novels!

Shelby Elizabeth is an English teacher in Upstate New York. She’s also a major geek. When she isn’t writing about fantasy worlds or romance, she can be found reading, playing with her nephews and spending time with family, or watching just a bit too much television. She is the author of the Celestials trilogy and a standalone contemporary romance novel, Don’t Hate the Player.

Hayley: Hey Shelby! Thanks so much for letting me ask you a few questions! Reading your Goodreads bio, I see you’re a big fanfiction writer! What are some of your favorite fanction works and how do you think that’s influenced or inspired your novels?

Shelby: I started out writing fanfiction, and wrote one as recently as early 2022! I can’t advocate it enough. It really helps you find your voice and hone your craft–and it’s a lot of fun! My favorite fanfics to write let me explore big moments in my favorite characters’ stories. Introspective pieces that really dig into the characters’ thoughts and feelings. I’ve actually reworked pieces of fanfics into my books!

Hayley: Very cool! Hearing you talk about it definitely makes me want to give it a go. I also see that you’re a teacher! How awesome! How does your role as a teacher influence or inspire what you write in your novels?

Shelby: Thanks! Classroom conversations generate a lot of ideas, haha! Whether it’s random side conversations (with colleagues or students) or interpretations of a class text, the environment inspires creativity for me.

Hayley: So, though I have Stars Begin to Burn downloaded on Kindle and Don’t Hate the Player is definitely on my TBR, I haven’t gotten a chance to read either of them yet! What are some common themes or elements we can expect from your books?

Shelby: That’s awesome! I always have found family in my books. It’s one of my favorite tropes, and I love exploring different types of found family dynamics. And at least one character will be a geek in some way. Riley (Stars Begin to Burn) loves Harry Potter. Eli (Don’t Hate the Player) loves music. As for common themes in my books, some favorites are exploring shades of gray and recognizing the power of love (platonic, familial, and romantic).

Hayley: That sounds absolutely lovely. So I see you’ve both finished a series (Celestials) and written a standalone (Don’t Hate the Player), but do you prefer writing one over the other? When you write your series, do you plot the whole thing out from the beginning or do you just see where the story takes you?

Shelby: I love the challenge of writing a series, but I also love the succinctness of having one book tell a whole story. I plan to do more of both–and series of connected, standalone books, as a happy medium. For my Celestials trilogy, I knew how books one and two would end when I started it, and had a rough idea for the end of book three. I knew all of the big events, and filled in smaller arcs as I went. Some projects I outline a lot. Others I outline the big things and fill in.

Hayley: I love the flexibility there! But what’s next? I know from Twitter you’re working on a Pegasi novel for Nanowrimo, and I think I saw a teaser that you might also be thinking about a volleyball inspired romance? When do you think we can expect to see your next work? Do you think you’ll stick to YA or do you have plans for other genres and age groups?

Shelby: I have an idea for an MG fantasy series using Greek myth at some point, but for now I’m sticking to YA. My current focus is a series of interconnected standalone fantasy romance novels called All the World’s a Story. Shakespearean inspired, with magical creatures. The first one, Lady of Dragons, is in the editing phase and should release next year! The second, Lord of Pegasi, is my work-in-progress. I might write the volleyball romance next, and set it in the same school as Don’t Hate the Player. I found I like alternating between contemporary and fantasy, though fantasy remains my focus.

Hayley: Thank you so much for your thoughtful answers! Now it’s time for a Lightning Round!

o    Favorite book you’ve read lately?

A Curse of Hope and Shadows Parts Two and Three by Katherine Macdonald

o    Favorite quote?

“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.” – J. K. Rowling

o    Favorite trope?

Friends to lovers! And found family.

o    Favorite season?

Spring or fall.

o    Advice for aspiring indie authors?

Write what you want, when you need to. Just keep writing as long as it makes you happy. Oh, and before you publish, build up hype for your book by sharing snippets and info about the characters. It makes a huge difference to have people excited to read your book on release day, instead of telling them about it after you’ve published (trust me on that).

Yay! Thanks so much to Shelby for coming on as our first author interview! I really enjoyed your passion, and I can’t wait to read your books! To hear more from Shelby, you can check out her Twitter here for updates. I hope you all enjoyed this interview, and if you’re an author interested in an interview please feel free to drop me a line! As always, thanks for reading!