Hello from Shelley Bleackley

Chase TherouxI, too, have a confession: I’ve never thought of myself as a romance writer. After all, my published books are middle-grade fantasies (under a different pen name). There isn’t a lot of romance you can realistically put in the lives of eleven to thirteen year-olds—and rightly so.

But I also think that defining one’s writing as “not romance” is short-sighted. In fact, I’d argue every great story ever written has a romance built into it. (Even The Martian—a book hailed by scifi readers for its science—features a sweet romance between Beck and Johanssen.) Each of us craves the intimacy and connection love provides. We live love. We write love. So here I am.

My first thought to write a book—that I remember—was in the second grade. I had a whole publication plan, a co-author/co-illustrator (another second-grader from church), and who today is an accomplished author-artist, which is interesting isn’t it? We both followed that dream.

My path to publishing started back when I was a corporate author-publisher. I wrote, designed, published, and disseminated volumes of software manuals and online help (aka Click OK). When I mustered the courage to write what I wanted, I started with writing adventures for kids (simple, right? ha). Since then, I’ve learned a lot and have joined the wonderful author co-operative Patchwork Press. At times it’s been thrilling, and at other times difficult, but overall it’s been a journey for which I’m grateful.

I’ve learned that when writing a fantasy series, the bounty of ideas is wonderful, and paring them down while editing is absolutely essential. That while you definitely need to know why you are writing a particular story, you need to express that subtly. And when you come up against a block, chip away at its foundation until the wall is weakened, then take a wrecking ball to it.

I love the old fantasies of George MacDonald, CS Lewis, and of course Tolkien. Anything that is rich with symbol and metaphor, and makes me read a line and then stare off into space as I contemplate its deeper meanings. Makes for slow reading, but it’s wonderful. I’d love to write like that someday.

My current projects include a YA mythical fantasy based on an old Asian myth, and a paranormal mystery featuring werewolves on Vancouver Island. Both have strong romantic elements. The reasons I chose to include love as part of the story—aside from many of my friends being romance writers—was a wish to explore its spiritual side and the eastern idea that love can be used as a vehicle for spiritual development.

My favorite heroes are Dean Winchester from Supernatural and Sherlock Holmes from the present-day BBC production. Favorite heroine? Mary from Downton Abbey. (I’ve got a sneaking feeling I’m spending too much time watching TV!) Who are yours?

3 thoughts on “Hello from Shelley Bleackley

  1. I used to want to be John Wayne when I grew up. I was bitter that I was expected to be Maureen O’Hara instead, wearing all those impossible petticoats and steadfastly keeping the home fires burning while John had all the adventures. When I got older I discovered Georgia O’Keefe and Lillian Helman.

  2. I was an avid Sherlock Holmes fan as a teenager and enjoy the latest versions on TV and in movies. Interest, too, that I also started creating stories at a very early age. Can’t wait to read your next book, Chase!

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