Tell Us Your Backstory with Shelley Russell Nolan
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love books. I would skip school sporting events to hang out at the local library, riding home with a new book propped open on the handlebars of my bike. Not exactly the safest approach to reading, and I look back now and wonder how I made it home safely each time. When not risking my life for a good book I mastered the one-handed approach to life, and can do most chores with a book in one hand. As a teenager I was seldom seen without my nose in a book, so it was a natural progression for me to start writing my own stories.
My first manuscript, started at age sixteen, featured a butt kicking heroine who winds up on another planet fighting brain eating aliens. (Can you tell I’m a HUGE Speculative Fiction fan?) I was a pantser all the way, the stories just flowing. Five manuscripts later, I was still unpublished but happy to get my stories down.
Then in 2009 I got the idea for a story about a young woman who reluctantly agrees to work for the Grim Reaper in return for being resurrected. After writing the first two chapters I froze. I was so determined to make this story the best it could possibly be, I was scared to write it in case the written version didn’t match up with the one in my head. I needed to become more of a plotter and wasn’t sure how to go about it.
So I enrolled in the Year of the Novel Online Course offered by the Queensland Writers’ Centre. With Alison Goodman as the tutor, and the support of my fellow participants, Lost Reaper was plotted and the bulk of the first draft written. But I was having trouble with the end.
I booked in to Mentoring the Muse, a writing weekend in Bundaberg organised by Sandy Curtis, where I had one-on-one access and feedback from my mentor, Louise Cusack. We went over my chapter outline and discovered I already had the ending for Lost Reaper and the start of the sequel, Winged Reaper. Fast forward a couple of years of writing and editing and both Lost Reaper and Winged Reaper were accepted by Atlas Productions.
Seeing the book babies that I spent so many years agonising over out in the world is an amazing feeling, and I get chills each time I see the gorgeous covers created by Kris Sheather at Two Decade Designs.
Ideas for the third book in the series, Rogue Reaper, are filling my head and I’m looking forward to the time when this book baby will join its siblings on the bookshelf.
Shelley Russell Nolan
Secrets, lies and the Grim Reaper: a recipe for disaster!
Twenty-five-year-old Tyler Morgan is only alive—technically reborn—because the Grim Reaper offered her a job. Now she has to find a way to stop her ‘boss’ from starting a war that threatens the survival of mankind.
Weak and in need of fresh souls, the Grim Reaper has sent his Wraiths to Tyler’s hometown, Easton, and by the time he gets his fill, it could turn into a graveyard.
Tyler’s resolve is tested when old secrets surface and a new betrayal has her questioning where her loyalties lie.
Supported by the intriguing detective, Sam Lockwood; the handsome, wealthy Chris Bradbury; and sources she never expected to come to her aid, Tyler must fight her way to the truth if she is ever to find the strength to harness the powers she has inherited, and vanquish the Grim Reaper forever
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