Okay, Eric Shelman, This is a little Q & A to get to know a little more about you and thicken up those stalker portfolios.
1 – Milk or dark chocolate?
Both. But keep the rum out of my chocolate, and NO fruity centers!
2 – What are your feelings in reference to LEGO’s?
Of course I played with them, but I was never obsessive. The crap I built was most basic, but functional.
3 – I know a lot of people as what the favorites are in regard to horror movies, but my question to
you...what is your drama comedy and why?
I think The Truman Show, because just looking at Jim Carrey makes me laugh. BUT the entire premise of the movie was just cool. The big dome in which he lived, falling in love making him break free of the barriers he didn’t even know were there, but that nagging suspicion you know he had in the back of his mind. And the people who were cheered him on in his quest for freedom, but then who had no idea what they’d do with their lives when the show was over. Awesome. Now, if we’re getting into horror, then one of my favourites is Poltergeist, but The Shining, Stephen King’s It, Dean Koontz’s Intensity, were also excellent movies.
4 – What is the story/novel you are most proud of?
Kind of depends. I love the writing I did on Dead Hunger and Dead Hunger II, but the story I’m most proud of writing is Out of the Darkness: The Story of Mary Ellen Wilson. The reason it depends is that I feel I’m a better writer today than I was when I wrote that book; I think that while it’s got like 46 5-star reviews out of 52 reviews on Amazon, that it would be a far better book had I written it last year rather than fifteen years ago.
5 – What is the most interesting thing you have learned?
If it ain’t flowing, it ain’t right. If writing is a struggle, then either it’s not time to tell that story yet, or you need to tell a different story. I can tell you that when I was writing Dead Hunger and its sequel, as well as the third book in the series, I had a blast doing it, and the words just flew off the keyboard. I wrote the second instalment in two months. An earlier book I’d written took me over a year just to write the first draft – A Reason To Kill – then I let it sit there for a decade because I was sick of it by the time I got through it! But I also learned that age makes you a better writer. Just plain life experiences enhance your ability to describe emotions – or understand them, really. I would say that I’m a much better writer at age 52 than I was at age 42, and that included 9 years WITHOUT writing.
6 – Do you do a lot of research for your writing?
Yes – if I’m going to discuss something or use it as a “premise” for something else, then I’d better know what the hell I’m talking about when I write it. Even then I make mistakes, but in most cases they’d get by most people – but it only takes one person to call me on it to make me feel like crap for missing it!
7 – Tell me about the novels you have written?
Well, Out of the Darkness could be considered a novel, though it’s based on a true story. I was writing short stories and looking for outlets for publishing them as a break-in into the industry. I was finally paid $2.00 for a short story called “The Crossing.” But soon after, I felt it was time to write a book. In Toronto I was at “The World’s Biggest Book Store,” and I came across a book on amazing but true stories. I thought I could find something “amazing,” take that little piece of a true story, then wrap a supernatural fiction novel around it, which is what I wanted to write. Koontz, King – these were my literary heroes. Well, unfortunately – or fortunately – I came across a little blurb of a story about a child from 1874 who was severely abused and ultimately rescued by the ASPCA – yes, the animal protection society. I was amazed I’d never heard of it, so began researching. I found there were NO books on the case at all, so it was then that I decided to write it. It remains my best-seller. I then wrote A Reason To Kill, which is a serial killer novel with a twist. Then I had a strange idea for a witch novel involving several past lives, and that eventually became Generation Evil. Unfortunately, it became so confusing with each character and their past lives, resulting in a minimum of three characters for each of the four witches. Long story short, after 54,000 words I ended up putting the book down and forgetting it for ten years. Now, in-between all this, I moved from southern California to southwest Florida. I was so busy trying to earn a living in real estate that I completely quit writing, except for a compilation of newspaper articles, court transcripts, etc. that ultimately became Case #1: The Mary Ellen Wilson Files.
Arrive 2011. I bumped into a bunch of folks who loved zombies on Facebook, and I became intrigued. I read one zombie book by an author that seemed very popular, and I was so appalled at all the grammatical errors and clichés in the work that I thought to myself, “I can write a better zombie book than this!” I also felt there was a large contingency of readers out there who loved all things zombie, so for the first time in my writing career, I thought I’d write a specific genre on purpose. I committed to reading or watching NO other zombie stuff, and began coming up with characteristics on my own, and Dead Hunger: The Flex Sheridan Chronicle, was born in about 5 months. It was released late last year, and then I immediately began work on Dead Hunger II: The Gem Cardoza Chronicle. It came out in February, 2012. I’m currently at work on Dead Hunger III: The Hemp Chatsworth Chronicle.
8 –If you could not write, what would be your artistic outlet?
Singing, of course. I have over 200 videos of me doing various types of tunes . . . love singing.
9 – How do you like to tell a story? Character driven, location of importance, or something else entirely?
To me, the characters drive everything, and dialogue is the engine. I always say that if your characters are strong and believable, then it doesn’t matter if they’re fighting aliens, zombies, vampires or were-wolves – or if they’re colonizing Jupiter, deep-sea exploring or just building a house here on earth’s dry land. If the reader becomes attached to them, you’re in, and they’ll keep reading.
10– What kind of music do you listen to when writing?
I go to Pandora.com and enter “Buckethead.” There’s a good mix of blues and other stuff, but I like instrumental stuff – hard rock instrumental is fine, but I don’t want any lyrics messing with my head while I’m writing.
11 – What is the most difficult thing you find about being a writer?
Not letting life get in the way of your writing. It can become easy to do something else, but you gotta write – especially if you’ve got a series where people are waiting for the next book . . .
12 – Something about you that no one would believe.
I’m shy and insecure. Won’t get into it any more than that – I’m blushing.
13 – Unicorns or dragons?
Neither. But give me a giant Ogre with a spiked club. And I ain’t talkin’ Shrek. I want one that kills.
13 – Okay, now promote yourself here, what else have you done that you would like people to know about?
Look, I’d be stoked if you’d just read my books and write reviews anywhere you can. Listen to my music on YouTube at ericandlindashelman (user name) but my ultimate goal is to write enough entertaining books that in my old age – which I’m gaining on quickly – I can rely on for a steady stream of income, and at the same time provide entertainment for folks who love to read.
Also, keep an eye out for a movie on Mary Ellen Wilson – I sold the film rights, and they are VERY serious about making Out of the Darkness a movie for the big screen.