Hello all you Couch Potatoes!

I had the pleasure of meeting today guest author, Shelley Gillespie, at Arizona Dreamin’ writers conference and am happy to have her on the blog today.
Shelley Gillespie is an award-winning journalist, former teacher, and marketing consultant. She has been active in her local library organization and currently serves on the Open Space Initiative Group that is advising on use of available land to create recreational opportunities in her area.
Writing is much easier now, after many years of writer’s block. Writing on deadline for a newspaper cured her of that!

Tell us a little about your book.

Hiking for the Couch Potato: A Guide for the Exercise-Challenged is a book to make people get off their couches and try the outdoors – and laugh. It has motivational steps to get going, equipment suggestions, recipes, hikes and a resource guide- and a little nudging– “Come on – you can do this!”

Do you have any tips for new writers?

New writers need to write – there is no other way around just getting down those words! Also, get someone to proof your work who is not directly related.

Where can your readers reach you?


Are you working on another book?

I’m working on several other books – one will be next in the Couch Potato series. Another book will be a romantic novel.

How did you come up with the title?

Titles just come to me – I like the juxtaposition of the two concepts – hiking -for the couch potato? – laughable right from the start!

Do you work on one project at a time or mulitples?

Many projects, plus journalistic projects. I have lots of projects in progress and I also write for a local newspaper.

Is there one particular thing that you find challenging about writing?

Everything is challenging about writing! Start with the invention required and continuing all the way to verifying details – and so much else in between! Add grammar concerns, continuity -do things work- and follow sequentially?- organization, etc. A lot to think about! And, you have to block out distractions. Don’t pay the bills, read the paper, get caught up in personal stuff.

Who is your favorite author?

Mark Twain – I love his irony and most of his work was way beyond his times and still seems fresh today.

What are you reading now?

I just finished reading two romantic historical novels by Kris Tualla.

Are your characters a reflection on you or anyone you know?

My characters are me – and people I know. I was/am the – now reformed – Couch Potato.

What do you do to get in the mood to write?

I get in the mood by sitting down and writing. Just putting words on the paper is the best mood enhancer.

What is your favorite thing about writing?

Being creative and making people laugh, learn something, and enjoy themselves.

How long have you been a writer?

I’ve been a writer since I was little. First, a penpal, newspaper editor, etc.

How many books have you written?

2 to date – more to come!

Are any of your personal experiences reflected in your writing?

Personal experiences are always reflected in a writer’s work. It is reflected in style, word choices and every other aspect of the finished work.

How long does it usually take you to write a book?

This varies – Hiking for the Couch Potato was mostly written and sat in my computer file for years before I finally finished it. Hiking for the Couch Potato Kid: Birds, Bugs, Butterflies and Other Beasties was written within a couple of weeks after being inspired by the woman who begged me to write it to get kids up, outdoors and active. It is an interactive, full-color book to motivate kids to look at everything outdoors with all of their senses.

Do your characters talk to you?

I have written screenplays that I’m now starting to turn into books. The characters do take on their own lives and sometimes, when you write their dialogue, you almost feel like they’re telling you things like –“I wouldn’t say that – say X instead!”

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