Saturday, January 31, 2009

Interview With Shelli Stevens, President, RWA Seattle Chapter

Hello ladies! It's Pandem again, with another wonderful interview!

This week I'm interviewing Shelli Stevens. Shelli is the president of the Seattle chapter of Romance Writers Of America (RWA) and a writer herself. She has several books out there right now, and Dangerous Grounds and Tempting Adam soon to be released in print from Samhain Publishing. Shelli, who calls herself "the author your mother warned you about," lives in the Pacific Northwest with her young daughter, where she is President of her local RWA (Romance Writers of America) chapter. She currently writes for Kensington Publishing, Samhain Publishing, and Cobblestone Press and is represented by literary agent Laura Bradford from the Bradford Literary Agency. When not writing, Shelli enjoy music, reading, being outdoors, exercising, and spending time with her family and friends.

And now. . .hang on, loading up the Question Gun. . .okay. . .and now, the interview!

How did you get interested in reading romance novels?

I stole one off my mom's bookshelf when I was about eleven. Read it straight through with wide eyes. Was a bit shocked and instantly addicted. Went right back to the shelf and grabbed another.

How long have you been in RWA? How long have you been president?

I've been in RWA for seven years now. This is my second year as president and fourth year on the board.

What are your duties as chapter president?

Declare war, veto bad...oh, wait. Wrong pres. Let's see, keep the chapter running smoothly and working with my fellow board members. Be active on the loops, run meetings, help m.c. during conferences, help oversee the conference committee is working out well, gosh there's a lot.

What's your favourite part of the job?

I adore getting to know everyone in the chapter and being so involved. I'm a classic over-volunteerer.

What's your least-favourite part?

It's a bit of a time suck, but obviously I'm willing :)

The romance market is a crowded field, to put it mildly. Do you have any advice for authors on how they can make their books stand out?

I would say....don't be afraid to take a chance. The book I finally sold to NY was one several agents turned down for being somewhat controversial. But my editor snapped it right up. It was a book I wrote that was just burning up inside me. And I knew it was pushing the limits, but it was so fun and exciting I had to do it.

Has reading romantic fiction had any effect on your real-life romances?

Hmm. Probably given me way too high of standards for men. Though I'm getting better. And I think reading too many HQ Presents growing up gave me unrealistic expectations about how an unplanned/unwed pregnancy can turn out. I'm a single mom now. *Grin*

This blog centers around paranormal romance. Are you a fan of that genre, and if so, do you have any particular favourites?

I do enjoy paranormal romance! I enjoy shifter books quite a bit, and am thrilled to be in the upcoming Sexy Beast VIII. I'm generally not a big fan of vampires (blood/puncture wounds *shudder*) but I LOVED the Twilight series. It really was like crack.

What are the benefits of becoming a member of RWA?

It's a really great support group, valuable information, and what I personally find the best part is the local chapter community. I get the most out of that, and know many people feel the same.

What genres of romance do your members like to read/write?

Our members read and write across the board. Romantic Suspense, Urban Fantasy, Futuristic, Erotic Romance, Category. You name it. We're a hugely diverse and talented chapter. I'm so proud to be a part--let alone the president--of the Seattle chapter!

What does your chapter do for fun? Other than dancing all night? (NOTE: I first met Shelli, and several other members of the Seattle RWA, at a dance after a writer's conference. We danced until the place closed down, and I can personally vouch for Shelli's mad dancing skills.)

LOL that dancing--Club Muse during the conference--was a first for us. We also have our monthly meetings, sometimes do lunch after, and of course the holiday party and the conference. We're thinking about getting some fun field trips in.

Any messages for the DV fans out there?

Keep reading and writing. Reading, because without readers we writers would be nothing. And writers, well we all need more good books to read!

If you enjoyed this interview, feel free to check out Shelli's site at!

Our thanks to Shelli for doing this interview, and happy writing to her and all of the DV fans. Till next time,


5 deadly screams:

Margay said...

Great interview! I love the advice for aspiring authors. I, too, think you need to believe in yourself and your work and not take someone else's word as law. Just because some people don't like what you wrote or think it's too controversial to publish doesn't mean everyone will. You're a good example for them.

Marie-Claude Bourque said...

Hi Shelli :)
Great interview. I can vouch for you tirelessness in working for the GSRWA. It is a wonderful group. And thanks for the advice to new writers, as Margay said you are a very good example for us :) Now I am really curious to read that book that burned inside you ! Can't wait!

Sarah Mäkelä said...

Thank you, Shelli. That was a great interview. Thank you for all of the advice and encouragement.

Shelli Stevens said...

Hi, everyone! Thanks for taking the time to read the interview and comment.

And, Pandem, you're a pretty wicked dancer yourself!

Carrie from Wisconsin said...

Hi there,

I just saw this interview and it was great, I really enjoyed it! I learned lots. Now I need to locate my local RWA chapter, if there is one close enough....

Pandem - great questions!

Shelli - great answers!

I just wrote an article for the UWM Leader magazine (you can find it online) about the fact that the men in the romance books do exist! I managed to find one and I'm sure you will too. You just have to stop looking and then he'll find you. That's what happened to me, I stopped looking and he found me.

Of course, maybe he is in another part of the country or world......