HAPPY MONDAY! Oops! I'm yelling. Bad karma. *grin* I'm just so excited to be bringing you yet another awesome author interview from my super amazing series. If you don't have tickets to UtopYA con 2015 yet, you need to get them right now. Go here! Next year is gonna be a four day conference and there's some awesome stuff lined up that I'll be talking about over the next eight and a half months. Wow. Yeah. Just eight and a half months away now... I have so much to do... Anyway, back to my interview! I met this affable lady at UtopYA 2014, and she's so engaging, I kinda accidentally stuck to her. Besides, she was a ton of fun to have around. Without further ado, I give you B. J. Sheldon. Make some noise!
Jo: OMG! I have the fabulous B. J. Sheldon on my blog! I’m seriously giddy as a teenager with a new cellphone. B, how the hell are you? Are you ready to get our interview on?
B. J.: Ready when you are, darlin’. The dog is asleep in the other room, the cats are hiding under my bed, and I’ve bribed my 10-year-old with a lifetime supply of Skittles, so you have my undivided attention.
Jo: Yum! Skittles! *grin* Not sure if you’ve read the interviews I’ve done with other people, but I hope you aren’t too scared of what’s to come. *lets out evil laugh* Ahem. Anyway, let’s get going! So, I read that you have a ton of projects on your mind. I also know you have a WIP rolling along. Care to share some details about all that with us?
B. J.: I’m currently writing book 3 of The Dusty Chronicles trilogy. The series follows high schooler Dusty Vermeer, and her relationship with Jack, the ghost who haunts her home – and her dreams. Book 1 is called Haunting and introduces you to the young couple and their fight to discover the mystery behind Jack’s death. Book 2 is Imprint, the continuation of their love story and the complications that ensue, including an evil force keeping them apart. I mean, after all, Dusty is a normal teenage girl with normal teenage friends. Anyone would find it impossible to balance their real life with their realistic dream life, especially when the only way she can be with her first love is when she’s asleep. But after the series is completed, I will be starting a stand-alone novel about angels. But not just ordinary angels. I’m hoping to tie local Native American lore, the Book of Enoch, and various mythology together to spin a story of story of fear, redemption, and revenge. The story has been bouncing around in my head for weeks now. The problem is (and this is a problem for most authors) that I have to be able to focus and finish the book I’m working on now before I can start my next project. It’s times like these that I wish I had super powers – but that’s a whole different story for a whole different interview.
Jo: Dear me! Jack! He's the guy in I, Zombie, too! He certainly gets around... Haha! Your books are on my TBR list (I'm reviewing a bunch of UtopYAn books at the start of next year), and I can't wait to get to them. *sticks tongue out at readers* I, of course, have those signed copies. Okay, off the bragging. You have three beautiful daughters. Lucky dog! What were some of the challenges in raising them, and how have you used those trials to enhance your writing?
B. J.: My three daughters – the three biggest accomplishments in my life. They are amazing. Challenges? They’re girls, which is the biggest challenge there is! The other challenge was trying to find a balance between raising them and writing. Being a mom is nearly a full-time job, but it’s made even more difficult when you also have a day job. My oldest daughter has been dealing with a medical condition since she was 15-years-old, so I spent a lot of time taking her to and from doctor appointments. But she was also a huge inspiration and one of the driving forces behind Dusty, my main character. Her strength and will combined with her empathetic spirit and love for the kids with special needs was the basis for the protagonist. And then there’s my middle daughter. She is the typical artistic type. Her drawings and paintings are amazing, and I’m not just saying that because I’m her mother. She dreams of one day making a living at either movie make-up, as an illustrator, or an actual gallery artist. But like most artistic types, she never feels like her stuff is good enough and ends up being harder on herself than anyone else could be. This is another Dusty trait. And finally, my youngest daughter, who still lives at home, is my little angel. She drives me every day to work harder, write more, and strive to be a better role model.
Jo: I love that you used them as inspiration for your characters! Mom is one hell of a full time job. I bow to your greatness. You and I had a dance off at the awards party in 2014. Mind sharing where your bad a$$ 80s moves came from? Did winning cause your head to swell?
B. J.: Oh honey…I ROCKED the 80s! I owned the 80s! No one, and I mean no one, could beat my dance moves back then…not even Carlton Banks. Strangely enough, I grew up in Northwest Iowa – a place that wasn’t known for training up-and-coming dance stars. But I lived for American Bandstand every Saturday as a kid. I studied every move and practiced every step until I had the moves down. But don’t tell anyone about that…it’s a little embarrassing. And as for beating your butt on the dance floor – let’s face it – if it had been a hip-hop dance off, you would have kicked my a$$. But when it comes to the 80s, I rule the school. (I’m going to pay for that next year at UtopYA, aren’t I…)
Jo: Maybe. I might be practicing and honing my mad skillz. *grin* You’ve had some epic battles with bugs. Tell us about a couple of the worst ones, please.
B. J.: Epic doesn’t even begin to cover it. I think there is a conspiracy in South Dakota. I keep asking people if there was some kind of nuclear explosion that resulted in the mutation of once normally tiny harmless bugs and itty-bitty spiders into crazy-huge, face eating monstrosities! I spend most weekends chasing enormous spiders through my kitchen, stepping over gargantuan beetles, and running away from pterodactyl-sized mosquitos, moths, and wasps. I even have a broken toilet seat that cracked into 3 pieces in the process of trying to capture a giant wolf spider from the ceiling of my shower. I haven’t fixed it yet in an effort to constantly remind myself of my cowardice. I wish somebody would have warned me about South Dakota and its bugs. But one of my friends told me about these things called “hedge balls”. They’re an ugly fruit-looking thing that you are supposed to place throughout your house to keep out the bugs. I plan on buying a truck load of them and placing them in every window in every room of my house. Die, bugs, die…that’s my motto.
Jo: Oh my... Can't. Stop. Laughing. At the visuals right now. Do you think you’ll ever use any of those experiences in your books?
B. J.: I would hope that my characters are far braver than I am. However, I have used my fear of frogs in the first book when I hinted at Dusty’s aversion to the old shower curtain with cartoon frogs all over it. Who knows – maybe a future book will find one of my characters spending 10 minutes to buck up the courage to get close enough to spray a giant spider in her garage with Lysol before smashing it into a gooey mess with her daughter’s broken flip-flop…not that that ever happened.
Jo: Frogs? What's that? You're afraid of frogs? *evil grin* I know what I'm bringing you as a gift next year. Maybe shouldn't have told me about that one... What’s it like living in The Black Hills of South Dakota? What do you love? What do you hate? Will you ever move?
B. J.: To answer your last questions first – I will never move. This is the end of the line for us. I’ve moved too many times over the past 28 years. I want to put down roots and grow my own family tree – too corny, right? But, I love living in the Black Hills. It’s gorgeous here. The people are great, and I’ve made some amazing friends. People may think that South Dakota is backwoods. But I can drive 15 minutes and see the Rush play hockey, watch Broadway musicals, enjoy a concert, and eat at amazing restaurants. Rapid City is a tourist town with endless site seeing possibilities. It will be years before I see it all. What do I hate? Well, for one…THE GIANT BUGS!! The only other thing I don’t like is the snow. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love the cold weather. There’s nothing I love more than bundling up when it’s below zero…no, seriously! But with my husband gone so much doing his Army thing, shoveling snow from my driveway is one of my least favorite things to do in the world. Shoveling it and driving in it. Actually, I’d have to say driving in it is worse. This past winter was particularly harsh in South Dakota, and there was one day I was trying to get home on the Interstate and I could barely see a car length in front of me. That was a scary drive. But, other than the snow (and the enormous bugs), I absolutely love South Dakota.
Jo: No. Not corny. I totally get it. People think where I live is backwoods. Gotta love the privacy and accessibility all rolled into one, eh? Rock on! Rapid fire question time! Forward or Backward?
B. J.: Forward
Jo: Favorite number?
B. J.: 3
Jo: First crush?
B. J.: Corey Haim and Corey Feldman – You couldn’t love one without the other back in the day.
Jo: That's soooo true! Let’s get to the time travel question of the interview. *grin* If you could go forward in time for one day only, what day would you go to and what would you hope to see there?
B. J.: Hmmm. This was a hard one. I think I’d like to go a thousand years into the future and see how advanced the human race has really become. How people travel, how they dress, the kind of technology we have. Just think about the advancements between the year 1014 and the year 2014. So, I can only imagine what the differences will be between the years 2014 and 3014. Then, after spending the day in the distant future, I would come back and write a Sci-Fi book that would enthrall readers and spark their imaginations causing some of them to begin the early research that will grow and eventually become to launching pad for the technology of 3014, thereby creating the question of “If I hadn’t gone to the future and written the book about the future, would that technology have ever been invented based on what someone read one thousand years into the past, ultimately molding what is now our future?” - - - Yep. I know. I need serious help. Either that or I need to stop watching Doctor Who.
Jo: Oh man. Now we're getting into that whole space/time paradox thing. *brain overload* What was your favorite read over the last year? What was so awesome about it?
B. J.: My favorite read from the last year is Hugh Howey’s WOOL. It’s inventive, creative, and kept me guessing until the final chapter. It’s been a long time since a book had that kind of pull on me. The writing was graceful and powerful, but it didn’t shove the plot down your throat. The writer and the reader all take the same road and get there at the same time. It’s the kind of book I hope to write one day.
Jo: That book is on my TBR list. Hugh and I have a title in common (which I didn't know until the book was written and titled, and no other title fit it). Haha! But his is adult, and mine is young adult. I greatly admire him. I have to know: Why did you choose ghosts as the topic for your novels?
B. J.: I have always been fascinated with the paranormal. Ghosts, spooks, specters, anything that goes bump in the night. I’ve listened to numerous stories from friends and family about their own personal experiences with ghosts. I’ve also had my own experiences. Am I positive they were really ghosts? Maybe – maybe not. The point is, far be it from me to shield my eyes from the mysteries of the universe. For a while there, my favorite shows on TV were Medium, The Ghost Whisperer, and Ghost Hunters. So, it only seemed natural to write about ghosts. There are multiple stories out there about girls falling for vampires, werewolves, or shapeshifters. But there weren’t many stories involving ghosts falling in love with the living. I have tried very hard to make their relationship real – giving the reader the feeling that their kind of relationship could actually happen. I think I succeeded, but only my readers could really tell me that for sure. I mean, thinking about it, a ghost having any kind of real relationship with the living would be impossible – even implausible. But that’s the joy of fiction – anything is possible.
Jo: I adore ghosts (especially ones who aren't all boo! and in your face scaring you). What are you looking forward to most about UtopYA 2015? Why?
B. J.: Number one, seeing my friends. Oddly enough, I don’t do well in social settings. I’m an extroverted introvert – don’t judge – it’s a thing. I’m a nervous talker, but I don’t do well as the anonymous person in a crowd. It takes everything I have not to run and hide in the farthest corner of the room waiting for everyone to leave. However, it you put me in front of a crowd of people where I’m the center of attention, I thrive like I did back when I used to sing in public. There are 2 me’s – one that is comfortable in front of people and one that is terrified of being around people. And yet, somehow, my friends at UtopYA have had a way of making me relax and be myself. I have nothing to fear or prove with you guys, and I love that. I continue to go to gain as much knowledge as I can and squeeze my friends’ brains for as much wisdom as they can spare.
Jo: I'm exactly the same way. How could I judge? Well, that’s all the time we have for today. *frowns* Thanks for joining me on the blog, B! I can’t wait to give you a huge hug next year! Anything I didn’t ask that you wish I had?
B. J.: Well, it would have been nice to have been asked about my Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock, Doctor Who, Christopher Egan, Star Wars, Star Trek, RomComs, and Nathan Fillion obsessions – but we can save that for another time. Other than that, don’t forget to pick up book two in The Dusty Chronicles trilogy. Book three is due out in April 2015.
Jo: We totally didn't have the time (or space) for all that. haha! I'll be on the lookout for that book three though.
Now, it’s time to tell all you lovely readers about the featured book of the week!
Title: HAUNTING: The Dusty Chronicles – Book One
Author: B. J. Sheldon
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Length (print): 152 pages
Buy links: Amazon $7.65 Paperback ~ $0.99 Kindle eBook
Synopsis: After a family tragedy, 15-year-old Dusty Vermeer has to start her sophomore year in a new town and a new school. Rural Iowa introduces her to Mark, a charming football player. Dusty can hardly believe her heart. Then, to her surprise Dusty meets another guy. The chemistry between Dusty and Jack could spark a prairie fire on a rainy day. The only problem? Jack’s dead. The handsome soldier comes to Dusty in her dreams and introduces her to the horrors of a foreign battlefield and the enchantments of first love. While Dusty tries to balance her feelings for the two new guys in her life, Jack steps out of Dusty’s dreams and into her reality. And he wants something. Jack has no memory of how he died more than half a century ago. Dusty vows to uncover the mystery, but her quest for justice puts her in the path of evil, a force that won’t stop until she’s silenced.
Haunting book trailer on YouTube: http://youtu.be/14zyveee3xw
While your fingers are in the clicking mode, why not give B. J. a follow on every social media platform I could think of when writing up the template for these interviews?
Facebook: B. J. Sheldon
Website: B. J. Sheldon
Blog: B. J. Sheldon
YouTube: B. J. Sheldon
Google +: B. J. Sheldon
Amazon Author Page: B. J. Sheldon
Can I just say how much I love the consistency of the nomenclature? *grin*
Now for the best part! B. J. is giving her books away to one lucky ducky reader of my blog! *swoon* Runs through the 19th of October.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
If you have any questions for B. J., pop them into the comments below!
Well, that’s all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!