Help Me Catch Your Attention
Have you seen the memes various authors are making now? They usually find a cute picture that fits with their novel and then add a catchy quote from the story itself. When you click on it, it will take you either to their website or Facebook page or possibly even directly to where you can buy the book.
I'd like to make a few for my books, too, but here's the quotes I've come up with so far:
See the problem? I need some help. I love every part of my book, but that's because it came from me. So, for those of you who have read it and loved it, can you think back to a part that moved you particularly, or made you stop and think ... or even sigh in contentment? I'd love to hear back as to why you loved it. Please help me!
It's Just "Kitschy"
You guys know what I mean when I say "kitschy," right? Is it really that archaic of a word? I never thought it was, but I have now had two different editors in two different manuscripts question my use of it.
In "An Unexpected Legacy," Jessica and Chad visit a smoothie shop that is decorated in a kitschy island style, with pineapple candles on the tables and a tiki hut roof over the counter.
In the manuscript coming out next spring, my characters are shopping in San Antonio and wander through several kitschy shops.
I don't think I even realized I had used the word. It just left my fingers and entered the story as I wrote because it was the right word at that time. I didn't even think about the fact that someone might not know what I meant by it. When I tried to explain to them what "kitschy" is, it's almost not easy to come up with terms that mean exactly the same thing. So, I looked it up on dictionary.com. There, it's described as "tawdry" and "created to appeal to popular or undiscriminating taste." It's also derived from a German word which means to "throw together." That's what I'm picturing. It's not going to be classy or simple. It's eclectic and almost overdone, as if an Oriental Trading catalog exploded in the area. It's probably not something you'd want to visit everyday, but every now and then, it's fun to be in places like that.
I rather love words that can't really be replaced by another single word because there isn't another that means exactly the same thing. Don't you?
What about you? Did you know what it meant before I told you? Have you ever run across a word you didn't recognize right away while reading and have to look it up? I'd love to hear about it!
Author Interview: Kristy Shelton
Do you ever have one of those moments when the song "It's a Small World" runs through your head? I do all the time. Mostly because I discover another person who is connected to me through several various ways. Today, I'm going to introduce you to my new friend, Kristy Shelton. Believe it or not, this woman used to be my husband's elementary PE teacher, even though she doesn't look nearly old enough for that to be true. Also, her husband used to coach with my father-in-law. Isn't that fun? Kristy started writing several years ago, and now has several books under her belt with another one coming soon. I'm excited to let you get to know her a little better, so here we go!
Kristy, I get asked all the time how I have time to do everything I do (crochet, craft, Bible class teacher, stay-at-home mom, writer, etc), so now I'm going to turn it around on you. You're a coach and a teacher and a mom and an author. How on earth do you find time to do all of these things?
Honestly, I don’t know! I didn’t start my writing career until my kids were both in college. That definitely helped. I could never have done this while raising children unless I wasn’t working full time. I was always coaching high school volleyball in the fall, so I never did any writing during that time. I purposely would put my books on hold from August to Thanksgiving and pray that I could pick them back up when the season was over. Thankfully, the stories always came flowing back after the season ended. I retired from full time varsity coaching after the 2016 season, but now I’m an assistant athletic director at school while still teaching elementary PE, so slowing down doesn’t seem possible in the near future. When I wrote my first novel I was obsessed—and that’s not my personality. I used every spare minute for writing just to get the story out of my brain as fast as possible—a few minutes at lunch, while cooking dinner, putting on makeup in the morning—you name it. My husband quickly learned to find other things to do around the house so he wouldn’t disturb me. He likes to talk, but realized very quickly when my hand went up he had to be quiet. Sometimes he’d start talking to the dog and I’d have to put my hand up again. After our daughter graduated from college, we turned her room into my writing space, so now Cliff knows when the door is closed I’m probably writing. When I’m working on a book during the school year, I use my Saturday afternoons to write, and then in the summer I’m able to write during the weekday afternoons. I found that writing in the afternoon is best for me—I have a lot of energy in the morning and like to get lots of physical activity in, and I found that writing at night made my story head in directions I didn’t want to go. Bottom line is, I don’t put pressure on myself to write. If I get the creative urge, I go for it, if not or I don’t have time, I don’t worry about it.
Yes, I'm an afternoon writer most of the time, too. I totally get that.
As I've looked up your books, I notice you write quite a few different things, from historical to one set in 2027 and now one aimed at Middle school kids. What is your favorite to write?
Definitely historical fiction! I love researching historical events and visiting historical places. I’m intrigued by the past.
I love reading about historical events, but I think I'm too lazy to do all that research. Good for you!
It sounds like several of your books were literally inspired. Can you tell us about how a dream inspired your writing career?
It really started with a prayer I wrote in a Beth Moore Bible study at our church in 2003. We were challenged to write our biggest desire to Jesus. That was hard for me at first, but my prayer was for God to restore the creativity from childhood I thought I’d lost because of my busy lifestyle, and bring back my adventurous spirit along with a more service-oriented life. The next day I journalled about that prayer and wrote, “I’ve become too safe and comfortable in my life and I’ve asked for God to make my life an adventure again. I can’t wait to get started! I think God has a surprise in store for me.” Little did I know! I folded up that prayer and put it in the journal and forgot about it for 10 years. In 2013 I was going through the journal, which is really a book where I write my favorite quotes, and I found the folded piece of paper. It blew me away when I started looking at how God had answered that prayer. Two years after writing it, I felt called to join a group from our church going on a mission trip to Honduras. When I got back, the head of our missions program at school asked if I would start a mission trip to Honduras with our high school students. Since 2006 I’ve been privileged to take 20 students each year to work in remote villages in Honduras building latrines, putting in concrete floors, building room additions, teaching Bible school to the children, and sharing Jesus with the people who live in the village. I feel we are the ones who have been blessed by these experiences, as we’ve learned so much from the Honduran people. God answered my prayer by combining adventure and service all in one! And then, in 2009, He gave me a dream that I couldn’t let go of. I’ve never had a dream like it before and never since—I literally thought it was real. I was disappointed when I woke up because I wanted to know how it was going to end. I talked about it all week, until Cliff finally said, “If you want to know how it ends, then write it.” I took him up on the challenge, and that’s how Blinders was born. The manuscript was written within a two-month period—that’s how obsessed I was. I truly believe that God sent me that dream. There were times I would doubt the sanity of what I was doing and tell myself to stop, but the next day it would grab hold of me again and wouldn’t let go. It was a blessing to find Innovo, a Christian publishing company, who offered me a contract. After it was published, I was invited to my very first book club meeting and the ladies begged me to write a sequel. I laughed and told them, “No way.” I was afraid of messing up the characters. But a couple of weeks after that, two scenes came to me and I started writing again. Two years later Blind Hope, a sequel to Blinders, was published.
Wow! I love how different things inspire you. Now can you tell us about the song that inspired another one of your books?
I listen to New Age instrumental music every day because if fuels my imagination. My daughter is always looking for songs that she thinks I would like. In the summer of 2014 she sent me a song called "I Give Up" by Elijah Bossenbroek. By the time I finished listening to it, the story for Restitution was running through my head. I knew it would have to take place in the future, and that is definitely not a genre I expected to write since I love history so much. I told the premise of the story to several different people and got a very positive reaction, so I started writing again. It’s a fast-paced thriller with twists and turns, but also very real characters dealing with their past and family issues. I wanted this story to help save someone’s marriage. It’s a redemption story, which is really the theme of all of my books.
I noticed you had lived in Oklahoma growing up, a state I hold near and dear because my grandparents lived there. Do you prefer Georgia or do you sometimes miss the state where the "wind comes sweeping down the plain?"
Oklahoma will always hold my heart. So many great memories of growing up there. I really do miss it. But Cliff and I have lived in Georgia since 1982, we raised our children here, our teaching and coaching ministry is here, our church family is here—it’s our home.
You talked about how you take your students on a mission trip to Honduras every year. Do you think a future story might include something like that?
That’s a possibility. We’ve witnessed some miraculous things down there over the years, but it’s not on my radar screen at the moment.
I'd love to hear more about this new book you've got coming out soon. Can you tell us more about what it's about and about the curriculum you are writing to go with it? That's such a neat idea!
Our Lower School media specialist came to my office one day and basically challenged me to write a book for kids. She started talking about how kids today don’t really know how to have face-to-face relationships and don’t know how to pray. When she said the words, “You can’t text God,” that got my mind racing. As the story unfolded, we realized it would need to be for middle grades. It’s about a 13-year-old girl who gets drawn into a secret Snapchat group called The Double Dare Circle (the name of the book.) By the time she realizes she’s in over her head, it’s almost too late. Her grandmother’s 1960’s memoir is intertwined throughout the book. It’s a fast-moving story with a few twists that will keep kids turning the page. We’re also recommending it for parents, grandparents, teachers, and youth leaders. Innovo Publishing offered me a contract for it as long as I developed a curriculum to go with it. Our school counselor Rebekah Gilliard, helped me write a six-part online curriculum for Christian schools and youth groups, which includes a teacher’s guide and reflection journal for students. The curriculum goes along with the novel and is called LOOK UP. We want the kids to look up from their phones and look up to God. I’m really excited about where this might lead. I feel a burden for the kids growing up now. I’ve often said, “I’m glad I’m not raising kids today,” but in reality, I’m still raising my babies at school and want to point them to Jesus. We’re hoping to have the book and curriculum out this fall. I’ve already started marketing it to Christian schools and churches.
That sounds absolutely amazing. And definitely needed. I just blogged the other day about how we need to spend less time on our screens.
Okay, we've bent your ear for long enough now, but before we go, can you leave us with one little-known fact that hardly anyone knows about you?
I love rocks. Whenever I go hiking or on a special vacation, I nearly always bring back a rock. I had a huge rock collection when I was a kid and it’s still packed away in my house today. I’m also quite an accomplished rock-skipper. There’s nothing like finding that perfectly flat, round rock and a large body of water!
That's so fun! Thanks so much for joining us today, Kristy. We're all looking forward to your books now, I'm sure.
If you'd like to learn more about Kristy, keep reading.
Kristy has three novels available right now. Check them out on amazon by clicking on the Book titles below:
Blinders -- Blinders, a novel by Kristy Shelton, portrays a beautiful relationship between a former slave couple, their love for a boy who wanders onto their farm, and the redeeming forgiveness of the heavenly Father. In this inspirational novel, Eugene, an eleven-year-old boy growing up in Kentucky in 1912, is drawn to a light in the distance that compels him to run away from his abusive stepfather. He is led to the farm of Franklin and Rachel Hawkins who live in a rundown house built on top of a cave yet have magnificent thoroughbred horses grazing in their bluegrass pasture. Eugene is adopted into the family, and as he grows up, gradually discovers secrets from the past that keep Franklin and Rachel isolated on their remote farm. Eugene is severely tested when he is seized from the farm at the age of sixteen and forced into the Great War now raging in France. He embarks on a dangerous journey that will put his life and faith to the test. When he returns two years later as a man, his only hope is to give his incredible burden of guilt to the One who can save him, and allow a mother’s unconditional love to help him fulfill his destiny.
Blind Hope -- The words love, hope, and dreams are synonymous with family—at least that’s what Eugene and Annie Wyatt believe. As they raise two sons on their horse and cattle farm outside of Louisville, Kentucky, life has a way of testing that love, crushing hope, and shattering dreams.
In the face of the Ku Klux Klan, a thousand-year flood, and a wayward son, the family’s strength is strained to its limit and yet able to weather each storm. But when their faith is put to an unimaginable test with the world engulfed in war for a second time, all hope appears to be lost.
Sometimes God plants a seed of hope so strong within a mother’s heart that nothing on earth can snatch it away. Not even death itself.
Restitution -- The year is 2027 and Karissa Gale is a woman who knows what she wants. A name on her Los Angeles law firm’s wall is at the top of the list. Blinded by ambition, everything else in her life is relegated to the backseat—her husband Marc of sixteen years, Ally, her thirteen-year-old daughter, and her mother, the legendary Coach Kathleen Raines.
When Coach Raines is involved in a terrible accident that kills the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, Karissa and her family are thrust into the international spotlight. Desperately seeking to escape Russia’s demands for restitution and not knowing who she can trust, Karissa makes a fateful decision concerning her mother that could ultimately destroy her family, all the while running from the one thing that can save her—God’s incomprehensible grace.
Kristy Shelton has been teaching elementary PE at Greater Atlanta Christian School for three decades. She and her husband Cliff, a high school Bible teacher, met at Harding University and joined the teaching staff at GACS in 1982. She coached varsity softball and volleyball for 34 years. She also leads the annual Honduras mission trip with the high school students at GAC.
In 2009, Kristy was blessed to have her first book published, a Christian historical fiction novel called Blinders. Two other fiction novels followed and currently a fourth novel, The Double Dare Circle, for middle grades, is slated to be out in the fall of 2018.
Kristy speaks regularly in chapel, to book clubs, and at ladies’ retreats. The quote, “To love what you do and feel that it matters—how could anything be more fun?” is her motto in life.
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This is a place for me to tell you about what I'm writing, talk about the process or where some of my ideas came from, or even have other authors come in and talk about their books.
Authors I Love to Read (in no particular order)