It is my pleasure to have Shelley Bates join us today. She is the author of several books including the new release, Over Her Head. Over Her Head is one of those rare books that has stayed with me in between the times I’ve had to sit down and read it. The characters are real and all too easy to relate to. And the scenario is a mother’s worst nightmare…without being a suspense. Watch for my review in the next few days.
Now to the interview with Shelley.
SB: Hi, Cara, and thanks so much for being part of my blog tour!
CP: Shelley, Over Her Head tells a story that is a bit disturbing (at least for mothers of teenagers!). How did you come up with the question that propelled the story?
SB: My books always contain a crime of some kind (too many years supporting the police, I guess!), but I wanted the story to be more than a murder mystery. Since it’s women’s fiction, which revolves around a woman’s personal concerns, family, friends, and community, I wanted the story question to be not so much “Who killed Randi Peizer?” but “What kind of mother suspects her own daughter of murder?” That’s pretty personal! And it also makes a reader stop and think, wow, the stakes are pretty high here–for the mom, the daughter, the family, and beyond. All good reasons to pick up a book 🙂
CP: What are you hoping readers take away from the story?
SB: My Elect trilogy of books and Over Her Head both deal with an issue that’s very close to my heart–the danger of trying to work one’s way to heaven versus depending on the grace of God through His Son. My heroine, Laurie, has a life that’s filled to bursting with works–but at the core there’s an empty space where God should be. Part of her journey is to discover how much she needs to fill that space with true worship. Which is something I’ve had to discover, too, after spending my life in a toxic church that was all about the works.
CP: Which was your favorite character in this book and why? Are there hints of you in this character?
SB: There are pieces of me in every character, I think 🙂 But as much as I loved writing Laurie, she’s not a bit like me. She’s a former prom queen and I never even went to my prom! She loves to cook, and I leave that to my husband, who’s much better at it than I am. She’s very organized,
though, which I am after twenty years of organizing executives in the high-tech industry. My favorite character is probably Nick Tremore, the investigator of the homicide. I like writing strong guys who think their life is just fine–until the least likely woman they could think of rocks
their world. Hee hee!
CP: You’ve written many books. Which is your favorite?
SB: Oh my. Each book is precious for its own reason. Grounds to Believe was written when I was finding my way out of the toxic church. It kept me sane because I sure couldn’t afford therapy. Pocketful of Pearls gave a voice to several abused women who had been forced to be silent for too long–and I love my flawed heroine, Dinah. A Sounding Brass gave me closure and enabled me to leave the past behind. And Over Her Head taught me to stretch my writing–because I didn’t think I could write this book. The subject was too emotional … I didn’t have the experience … you know the kinds of doubts that can set in. But writing it turned out to be a joy!
CP: What are you working on next?
SB: I am so excited about my next project–a series of six “chick lit” books for teens that I’ll be writing under a pseudonym. The Christian answer to Gossip Girl. Heh! :: rubs hands in glee :: Watch for the first book in May 2008!
For another insightful interview with Shelley, check out Robin Carroll’s blog.