Author Spotlight: Shelby Patrick

M.A. Donovan

About the Author:

Shelby_PhotoM.A. Donovan is the author of several published short stories and an article on karate. She has self-published three non-fiction books, a short story collection, and two novels. The Golden Horn is her first fantasy novel of which she has been working on for years, since twelfth grade, and has recently had professionally edited.

Donovan lives in Michigan, where she is currently working on her next novel, with her dog, Sheba. She also writes horror and thrillers under the name Shelby Patrick.

Before undertaking to her own writing, she spent a great deal of time visiting worlds created by such great authors as Piers Anthony, Christopher Stasheff, Clive Barker, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Lewis Carroll, and others. She also spends free time playing fantasy-type role-playing and first-person shooter games via computer and xbox.

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MF: You write horror, thrillers, fantasy and science fiction. Tell us what drew you to these genres.
MAD: My first love is and always will be fantasy. I’m a dreamer and I grew up reading about mythological creatures and worlds that didn’t exist. It’s kept my imagination soaring. Give me a land where magic exists, unicorns roam free, and dragons are feared, and I’ll be happy.

Somewhere along the way, I got sidetracked and hooked on Stephen King novels. That drew me into horror, especially of the supernatural kind. It sort of goes along with fantasy in that monsters are just in the mind. The two can almost be interchangeable.

As for thrillers, the psyche of the human mind and the evil that men can do has been a long-standing fascination of mine. In the past couple of years, I’ve been really into serial killers, so I’ve been studying up on them and reading some of my favorite thriller authors. It was only time before I decided to write my own.

MF: Tell us about about your writing process. For example do you have a routine, are you a plotter or panster, do you sit and wait for a muse to come calling, etc.?
MAD: I pretty much write when I feel like it. I don’t outline; ideas just pop into my head and when it’s time to write them down, I sit and begin. Music, usually rock but sometimes classical, usually puts me in a writing mood and I can crank out more words. I’m most creative at night time. That’s when my imagination comes to life and I can really get into it.

MF: You used CreateSpace to publish When Angels Sing. Would you mind sharing a bit about that experience and would you recommend this avenue to other writers?
MAD: I tried the traditional route, was offered contracts by three different publishers, but didn’t like any of their terms, so at the recommendation of my editor, I published through Createspace. It’s really simple to do and I would definitely tell others to try it; however, it’s a lot more work and if you aren’t prepared to do it all yourself, then this isn’t the avenue for you. You are in charge of everything, from the interior to the cover art to pricing. Createspace has step-by-step instructions, though, and make it pretty easy for even a novice to get published.

MF: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
MAD: Heather Graham. I love her style of writing and her stories are wonderful. It was a great honor to meet her at Thrilllerfest one year and ask her to sign a book for me.

MF: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
MAD: Back in high school, I was short a class and my counselor suggested a creative writing one. I figured it was an easy “A”, so I enrolled and found out how much I really enjoyed it. I’ve been writing ever since.

MF: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
MAD: My toughest criticism probably came from my father when he compared me to a best-selling author and said my writing wasn’t good like this author’s.

My favorite compliment came from my new boss’ husband. He only skimmed my book and said he thought it was going to be his new favorite series.

MF: What do you read? What do you re-read?
MAD: I read as much as possible, from the news to mainly thrillers and horror. If it’s a really good book, I may read it a second or third time in the future. I like authors such as Stephen King, William Johnstone, Kay Hooper, Heather Graham, Christoper Stasheff, and Dean Koontz. Sometimes, if I read a good book and then see the movie, I may re-read the book afterwards to compare notes.

MF: What is your favorite writing tip or quote?
MAD: Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. ~ Anton Chekhov

MF: Do you have any advice for other writers?
MAD: Read everything. Read as much as possible. Read non-fiction or other genres. Never stop reading. You can’t be a writer if you don’t know what’s out there.

MF: If you could jump into a book, and live in that world … which would it be?
MAD: Treasure Island

The Golden HornGalen Hawkeye never wanted to be labeled a hero, but with his father’s undead army casting a shadow over the kingdom, the land needed a legend. From a very young age, he had been groomed as a warrior, so it only seemed right when he strapped on the sword, enlisted his mage friend, and ventured forth to save his people. But he never planned on demonic trackers hunting him nor the love he found with a mysterious girl who happened to be on the same quest as him. Would he be able to stop the darkness descending before it swallowed him whole?

Purchase The Golden Horn:
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  • Thanks so much, Missy, for hosting me today. 🙂

    • M. Frye

      Great to have your here! Thanks for letting me pepper you with questions. 🙂