Saturday, May 10, 2014


We all know our readers like to read up into different genres so today I would like to introduce my interviewee of choice - Shelley Watters with her NA novel BURN ME!  Caveat:  BURN ME is best suited to our older readers, as it does have some more adult content.

Let's find out what Shelley had to say about the questions I asked her on BURN ME and on writing itself!

1)      Tell us about BURN ME – what was your inspiration?  What gave you the burning desire to write this story down? 

Honestly, BURN ME all started as a crazy Nanowrimo project. I’ve always been a HUGE fan of firefighters, and besides, what girl doesn’t have a firefighter fantasy?  I’ve always written YA, and mostly fantasy/paranormal type at that, so I wanted to give contemporary romance a try. It started as a whole long slew of sex scenes strung together, but after finishing Nanowrimo, I realized just how much I was in love with my characters and that I wanted to explore their story more in-depth. The result? BURN ME!

2)      If you had to pick a favorite character from your book – who would it be and why?

Greyson Neal, hands down. He’s the quintessential firefighter every girl dreams about. Well, at least this girl. He’s the perfect alpha male, in my opinion. I love how strong and sexy he is, but most of all I love how he loves Kat. I love a hero that makes my stomach clench when I think about him, and Greyson does that for me! 

3)      What do you think makes BURN ME different from other books in its genre?

BURN ME is a dark, intense, emotional ride. The mystery and suspense I weaved in with the romantic plot, hopefully, makes it stand out amongst the other contemporary romances out there. A lot of contemporary romances tend to only explore the relationship between the two main characters. I wanted to explore who my characters were, apart from how they interacted with each other. I wanted to explore their world and their career. And I really wanted to explore how far I could push them, how much I could torture them, to see if they were strong enough to pull through it all.

4)      Will we see Katrina and Greyson in a sequel book?

While Kat and Greyson’s story is complete in BURN ME, you will see some cameo appearances in CUFF ME, the intended companion/sequel book to BURN ME. I don’t want to give away the plot of CUFF ME or the ending to BURN ME, but I’ll just say that I do intend to give readers little glimpses of Kat and Greyson in future books. 

5)      You hit upon the theme of grief – did you find that challenging to write?

I don’t really think BURN ME has the theme of grief, but it is one of the catalysts that make my characters the people they are at the start of the book, and ultimately at the end as well and how they changed throughout the story. But yes, the grief was challenging to write. I wanted to stay true to my characters and how they were changed as a result of that grief, resulting in having to consider myself and my reactions to a certain situation. There were definitely a lot of tears shed while writing BURN ME. And in reality, firefighters deal with grief and loss every day, be it their own, or working with victims who have just lost someone, or holding someone’s hand during their last moments. They have to deal with this on a daily basis. So I felt I had the duty to include that part of their lives when writing about them. 

6)      If you couldn't be an author, which career would you choose?

I did it for five years before quitting to be a stay at home mom and pursue my love of the written word: an epidemiologist. I love the data crunching and exploring trends, finding ways to best serve our communities health needs. Yeah, I’m a geek.

7)      BURN ME is termed as a New Adult book, which is a genre commonly read by Young Adults as well as New Adults.  What do you think both target readers can get from your book?

I should throw out there that BURN ME has explicit sex, language and violence. That’s part of the beauty of the NA market – we can explore more in depth things that might be shied away from in the young adult market. This book is definitely NOT about or written for teens, and doesn’t shy away from showing life how it is. I hesitate to say that teens should read my book, for that very reason.
That said, I was reading regency and historical romances when I was thirteen years old and loved them. I didn’t have a problem reading the graphic scenes, and I don’t think my emotional health was damaged by reading those scenes, but with that said, I’d put a “Reader be advised” stamp on my book when younger audiences are considering reading it. 

Readers who are prepared for and can handle the graphicness in a novel will enjoy the mystery and suspense and honesty when it comes to my presentation of the characters and their struggles. Oh, and of course the romance… ;)

8)      What advice would you give to young writers?

Write. Every. Day. That’s the biggest piece of advice. Keep writing. Don’t give up, don’t let the critics tell you that you can’t do it. Read voraciously. The best way to learn to write well is to read, read, read. Know that publishing is a slow industry, and a tough industry. Everyone faces rejection at various parts of the process, and understanding that going in can help keep the process from being devastating. EVERYONE gets rejections, it’s all part of the game.

Oh, and knowing that creative writing is such a subjective industry. Everyone has critics, not everyone is going to love your work. Write for YOU. Write what YOU want to write, not what you think readers want. 

9)      What advice would you give to writers writing for the NA or YA demographic?

Like I said for the previous question, read voraciously in the genre (and age group) you want to write for. That’s the best way to find out exactly how to handle certain situations. Again, consider your audience when you’re writing – make sure your dialog rings true to the teens of today, not how you talked when you were a teen (because that’d be historical YA! Ha!). Above all, respect your audience!  

10)  Last of all – what was the hardest part of writing BURN ME, and what was the easiest?

Hardest part: blending technical accuracy of the firefighting scenes with a narrative voice that doesn’t alienate my readers.

Easiest part: the sex scenes. I loved writing the sex scenes during Nanowrimo, when I turned my inner editor off and just let the words fall out on the page, without worrying about censors and what others would think about what I wrote.

Thanks so much for having me! 

Thank you for being here, Shelley!  I'm a big fan of showing readers books that aren't necessarily strictly in their "genre", because I think it's safer for readers to experience more challenging topics and issues within the confines of a great book that handles them with respect.  As Shelley said, BURN ME is a more adult content book, but I would say that older teens with overly curious minds would be better served learning these topics in a book like BURN ME than somewhere else!!!

Burn Me by Shelley Watters

When Katrina Hale's brother dies in a house fire, she's determined to prove she's stronger than everyone thinks she is. But grief can do strange things to a person and Katrina knows all too well how the death of a loved one can change a person. As the romance in her current relationship fizzles, she focuses on her work and fights the undeniable attraction she has for Greyson Neal.

Firefighter Greyson Neal is the type of guy girls dream about. But Greyson isn't interested in other girls. He wants the one woman he can never have: Katrina. As the two struggle with their feelings, Kat must choose between her career and her heart, and fight to keep them both when an arsonist threatens to take it all away.

Shelley Watters

Shelley Watters grew up in Tucson, Arizona and currently resides Chandler, Arizona. She graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s in Sociology with a focus on Women’s Health Issues and continued on to get a Master’s certificate in Public Health Epidemiology. After serving many wonderful years in the public health sector as an Epidemiologist, she left the field to raise her family and re-discovered a long-lost passion: writing. While her days are filled with extra-curricular activities, her nights are devoted to slinging words across the page. Her novels sizzle with the heat and passion that only growing up in the southwest can bring.

Shelley Watters on Twitter:
Shelley Watters’ blog:


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