Shandi Boyes lives in Queensland, Australia, in a coastal community with her husband and children. She has always been an avid reader and recently found the love of writing. Her first penned book was in February 2016 - the 'Perception' series. A modern new adult rockstar romance series that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat. You should consider starting these books first thing in the morning, or you may not sleep. Her focus has shifted to hot alpha men in steamy contemporary reads that sizzle off the pages.
Now, on with the interview...
ME: What is your favoUrite childhood book?
SHANDI: Tough Question. I don’t really have one. I wasn’t much of a reader when I was younger. I know, shoot me!
ME: What is the first book that made you cry?
SHANDI: Taking Chances by Molly McAdam. I may have disliked her a little after that one.
ME: Is writing your primary 'job' or do you have another source of income?
SHANDI: I am a full time writer, and it is my sole source of income.
ME: Do people around you know you write romance/erotica and what do they think about it?
SHANDI: Everyone surrounding me knows what genres I write, but not many are readers. I’ve had a few family members convert to spicy stories in the past two years. I’ll keep chipping away at the rest.
ME: Do you believe in writer’s block? If not why not? And if so what suggestions do you have to start the juices flowing again.
SHANDI: I don’t necessarily believe in writer’s block, but I do believe you can become stumped. I’ve just had that dilemma with book 22’s ending. Trying to maintain original storylines is hard. The best way to overcome the block is to do what I call “word vomit.” Smash out as many words as you can, then come clean up the wreckage after the block is gone.
ME: Are you a plotter or fly by the seat of your pants kind of writer?
SHANDI: I was a panster for the first 12 books. Now I plot. Because all my books are connected in some way, I have to keep track of timelines. Although, I will admit, very rarely do my stories follow the plot I set. The character directs; I follow.
ME: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
SHANDI: I don’t research a book before starting it. Any research I do is conducted while writing. My latest stuff is mafia books, so my search history is scary. Such as, what happens when acid is poured on skin? Can you kill someone with a correctly sharpened pencil? Also, because my books are based in the states, I have to research their laws compared to Australian laws. My editor helps with this, but most of it is done by me.
ME: Would you rather write standalones, standalones with connections to your other works, or multi book series with no true conclusion until the very end?
SHANDI: I would love to write a standalone, but. . . I suck at it. Ask my readers. My latest trilogy was supposed to be a standalone. The four book series before that only going to be one book. I have 22 books, only 7 can be read as standalones, but they are still based on characters mentioned in prior books.
ME: LOL! Where do your story ideas come from?
SHANDI: In my head, lol.
In all honesty, they are the character's story. I’m just telling it. I won’t write a character who refuses to talk. My next book is on a character who has been in nearly every book I’ve written since book 1, but since he was so quiet, his story never got told. Finally, he has started speaking.
ME: Do you ever base your characters, events or locations on real people, events or places?
SHANDI: No. My characters aren’t based on anyone I know. There are a few events in Perception that are based on real life events, such as when Noah runs Emily off the road, that happened in real life.
ME: Is there a character in one of your books loosely based off yourself?
SHANDI: I wish! They are all insanely gorgeous, rich, and kind. The only quality my characters get from me is the concept of one true love. I’ve been with my husband since I was 14, and I truly believe it only takes one person to change your entire world. Thankfully, for me, that is my husband.
ME: Awww, so sweet. What process do you use for selecting the names of your characters?
SHANDI: It’s totally random. I have asked for input in my readers group. They named Nikolai (my mafia prince). I love Nikolai’s name; he hates it LOL.
Cleo was picked by my Alpha Reader, Kelly. Most are just plucked out of thin air.
ME: Who has been your most difficult character to write so far?
SHANDI: Nikolai has been a challenge. He was raised by a monster simply to kill his real father. He is a killer, a cheat, a liar, and a thief, but I have to make my readers fall in love with him. From the replies I’ve received from beta readers and readers in my group, I’ve done that, so I’m happy. He is a baddie that you can’t help but love.
ME: Have you ever killed off someone who pissed you off in one of your books?
SHANDI: No. But I have killed characters, and damn, do I pay for it. Lesson one in romance: don’t kill the heroine. Your readers may never forgive you.
ME: What was your hardest scene to write?
SHANDI: I have two. In Perception, right at the end. Noah has lost everything, then he realises he destroyed the guitar Emily gave him for his birthday. When he crawls across the ground and tries to put it together, that killed me. I’m seriously tearing up now just thinking about.
The second was Second Shot when Hawke tells the reader about meeting his son for the first time. “Ten perfect little toes and ten perfect little fingers on a precious little boy who never had the chance to play catch with his dad, ride a bike, kiss a girl, or take his very first breath.”
Hawke lost his wife and his unborn son in a tragic accident. That entire book killed me to write.
ME: Crap, that just made me get teary... Does writing energise or exhaust you, and why?
SHANDI: It depends on the book. Second Shot killed me. I cried for days while writing that book. The first half of Reality of Life nearly broke me. My husband even had to pull me aside and say, “Don’t let this book destroy you.” But that is how in-depth I get with my characters. They are real people, and I care about every one of them.
But when I do a books like the Opposite Effect, or Fight of Life, I get energised. The cheeky boys are fun. They invigorate me.
ME: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal, and why?
SHANDI: Hmm. . . tough question. Probably a panther. Sleek, smooth, and dangerous.
ME: I love big cats. so time for some writer's advice. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
SHANDI: Start writing sooner. I only started when I was 35. I could have had a gazillion books by now. Also, take time editing. It’s all a learning process. I’ve learned so much in this industry in a very short period.
ME: What are common traps for aspiring writers?
SHANDI: Paying outrageous fees for things like exclusive covers, top range editors who aren’t any better than a standard editor, and over marketing their first book. There is no better marketing technique than the next book. Keep writing. By the time you have a hit, you’ll have an entire catalogue waiting for your readers.
ME: What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
SHANDI: My MacBook and my iMac. Things like Vellum are invaluable for a writer. You can’t access these programs without an Apple product.
ME: Thank you for your time, Shandi. I'm looking forward to meeting you at RTC2018.