About author, Shelly Hickman: I have lived in Las Vegas nearly all my life. I’ve been married for 23 years, and I have three children. My oldest would have been 22 this December, however, I lost my Sydney Bean to leukemia when she was eight years old. I have a son who is 17, and my youngest daughter is 12. I teach computer literacy and media technology to middle school students, and though I have a great love for technology, I believe I love writing more.
Welcome back, Shelly! What have you been up to since your first appearance? Thanks for the welcome, Isabella. Basically, I spent most of the summer on my laptop, flattening one of my sofa cushions (as well as my butt) while trying to get as much writing done as possible. I also took a little trip to Utah for a few days with the family, and had a few get-togethers by the pool. Now it’s back to the real world and a new school year. I’m definitely missing my freedom and lazy mornings.
Tell us about your new book, “Vegas to Varanasi”: Since it seems we constantly see movies and TV shows which have average looking men matched up with gorgeous women, I wanted to write a story about just the opposite—an everyday looking woman who attracts the attention of a really hot guy. Anna and Kiran briefly went to high school together, and in those days, Kiran was the overweight, geeky kid. Anna was about the only person who was nice to him, and he never forgot her for that. When they meet up again as adults in their forties, Kiran is jaw-droppingly hot and has quite a crush on Anna. However, Anna is pretty apprehensive, at first, because she doesn’t think she’s cut out for dating someone as perfect-looking as Kiran. As they become more than friends, Anna’s mixed up ex-boyfriend isn’t too thrilled about her moving on, and does everything he can to be a pain in the ass. The book is a romantic comedy that I hope readers will find entertaining.
What was the writing process like for you this time around? My last book had a more complicated plotline, with scenes from past lives that were kind of difficult for me to weave into the present. The plotline of Vegas to Varanasi is much more straight-forward, which made the writing process a little more streamlined for me.
Describe your perfect day: Oh, I have many kinds of perfect days. On the most basic level, that would be a day at work when my students seem to enjoy what they’re learning, they’re treating each other with kindness, and they’re not going out of their way to push Mrs. Hickman’s buttons. I have to say, it’s been a pretty good year so far. 🙂
Where did you get the idea for “Vegas to Varanasi?” As I mentioned, in entertainment I’ve often noticed the pairing of average Joes with very attractive women. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. There’s more to people than their looks, obviously. But the fact that we rarely see the opposite scenario has always kind of annoyed me, and I thought it would be fun to explore that scenario from the plain Jane’s point of view.
What motivates you? I just try to be a kind person. One of my favorite quotes is in my email signature at work: What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?—Jean Jacques Rousseau
Where is your favorite place to write? Honestly, I don’t really have a favorite place to write. I just try to do it when and where it’s convenient.
How was the social media helped your career? It has helped me most by giving me an avenue to connect with and befriend other writers. I have learned so much from fellow indie authors and I really treasure those friendships.
What must every writer have? I think a desire to create and a willingness to put themselves out there. Of course, skill is necessary as well, but that’s an ongoing process anyway.
Do you have any advice for struggling writers? From one struggling writer to a world of struggling writers, I think ultimately, write if it brings you joy. If you sell a few books in the process, that’s just a bonus.
Where do you see yourself in five years? If I’m not still teaching, I see myself doing something in education outside the classroom. If I could also have a nice little following for my writing by then, that would be lovely!
Can you tell us about any of your upcoming projects? I haven’t given the next project any thought yet. Still busy trying to get this one off the ground. 😉
Blurb of “Vegas to Varanasi”:
Anna has never been the beautiful one; she’s always been the nice one. So when the gorgeous man sitting across the table at a wedding reception remembers her from high school—and quite fondly at that—she’s taken off guard. Formerly overweight and unpopular, Kiran has never forgotten Anna, the one person who was kind to him when no one else could be bothered, and Anna’s a bit flustered as she slowly comes to grips with his intense attraction for her. In what feels like a romantic dream come true, all-grown-up, hunky Kiran invites Anna on a trip to Varanasi. But her troubled, whack-a-do ex-boyfriend starts interfering, creating drama at every turn, which begs the question, “Can nice girls really finish first?”
**Shelly Hickman would also like to offer an advanced reader copy of Vegas to Varanasi to anyone who would be willing to share a review on Amazon during the first week of December when the book is released. If you are interested, please contact her at email@example.com, or you can message her privately on my Facebook author page.