Today I’m delighted to feature English, multi-genre author Shelley Wilson. She has written nine young adult/middle-grade supernatural, fantasy, and historical novels, a children’s meditation book, and six motivational self-help titles for adults. Her latest YA historical novel, The Last Princess was published this week.
Shelley is a proud mum of three and lives in the West Midlands, UK. She loves travelling in her VW camper called Snoopy in search of stories. She also enjoys paddle boarding, Tudor and Viking history, supporting Leeds United, and obsessing over to-do lists!
Over to Shelley:
Which five pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
I grew up with parents who lived through the 60s so my childhood was full of The Beatles, Cat Stevens, Cliff Richards, and Manfred Mann. There’s a photograph of me knocking around wearing the cut-out moustache from the Sgt Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band album when I was about six! My first song choice would have to be ‘When I’m Sixty-Four’ as I love the upbeat tune and it reminds me of when we lived in Leeds. I still play this album all the time at home on my record player (you can’t beat the sound of vinyl).
My childhood was always full of music but I didn’t really take much notice of the charts until I was about 11 and in secondary school. My next song was one of the first that made me stop and listen. It ended up being a bit of a soundtrack for my adult life too. Gold by Spandau Ballet came out in 1983 but would have a greater impact on me after I escaped domestic abuse in 2004. The chorus brings a tear to my eye every time I hear it:
Always believe in your soul
You’ve got the power to know
My taste in music is as varied as you can get. One day I’ll be listening to Appetite for Destruction by Guns and Roses and the next Divide by Ed Sheeran! I’ve never really been a fan of one particular genre, which might be because I’m a Gemini! There is one artist, however, who I did/do adore and had the pleasure of seeing in concert quite a few times. When he passed away I cried all day long and watched YouTube videos of his appearances. My favourite is the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony where he played ‘My Guitar Gently Weeps’ with Tom Petty. Prince was a legend and Purple Rain still remains one of my favourite Prince songs.
Movies are a big thing for me and my kids, so much so that my daughter is studying film production at University. One of our favourite film franchises is Fast and Furious, and my kids know to play this next song at my funeral, but it has to be the version featuring Charlie Puth. See You Again (featuring Charlie Puth):
I’m going to finish off with my all-time favourite song, Half the World Away. Ever since Oasis launched I’ve been a big fan and I’m so jealous as my younger son has seen Liam Gallagher at Leeds festival (he sent me a video from the crowd). I don’t know why this particular song is a favourite but whenever it comes on the radio or my playlist I crank up the sound. It’s always my ‘most played song’ on my New Year Spotify round-up.
What five things (apart from family and friends) would you find it hard to live without.
Snoopy, my VW campervan! Back in the late 90s, I owned a 1975 Bay Window VW camper. You could see the tarmac through the holes in the cab floor. He was a snail but I loved him. When we sold him I vowed that one day I’d buy another camper. It took me twenty years but I got there! In the middle of the lockdowns (when we were briefly let loose), I bought Snoopy and started solo travelling. He is my pride and joy. So far we’ve been to Bamburgh, Edinburgh, Somerset, the Lake District, Whitby, Wales, Kingsbury Water Park, Stratford upon Avon, and Sandringham in Norfolk.
I couldn’t do without my daily cuddles from Luna, my rescue cat. She is gorgeous and such a little character. Her favourite thing is curling up on my manuscript when I’m trying to edit!
Spotify! I was always a CD or vinyl kind of girl but when I bought my camper I found I could sync my phone so the kids set me up with Spotify and helped me create a road trip playlist. It’s great to take my favourite songs on the road with me, and now I have a pair of Air Pods I can also listen as I go for my walks too.
As a writer, I think it’s fair to say I would find it hard to live without stationery products. I always type my manuscripts directly onto my computer, but I need ALL those post-it notes, pens, magic whiteboard sheets, and notebooks to help me create my outline and research.
As a lover of films and the cinema experience, I found it difficult to live without my Cineworld card during the various lockdowns. When our local Cineworld reopened I was like a kid at Christmas. There was a part of me that thought ‘I don’t need to renew my card as I’m probably not going to go as often’ – how wrong I was!
Give five pieces of advice to your younger self?
Don’t be so quick to give your power away.
Believe in yourself and everything you do.
Stay strong, the tough times will pass and clear a path for a wonderful life.
The girl you see in the mirror may change over the years, bits of her will grow, sag, stretch, and wrinkle, and that’s okay. The passage of time is a natural and beautiful thing so embrace every moment, every scar, and remind yourself of the amazing things your body has achieved.
Keep smiling! It’s your superpower.
Tell us five things that most people don’t know about you
The story I tell everyone is about the time I lived in a cowshed! Okay, it’s not quite as dramatic as it sounds, but it’s a great conversation starter. I was living on a family camp in the Catskill Mountains, New York State for three months as an international employee, and our staff accommodation was a converted cowshed at the bottom of a VERY dark lane. I have so many happy memories from that summer.
When we went on our first family holiday abroad, which must have been 1984/5, we were approached by a film crew as we waited for our flight and asked to be part of the promotional video for Luton Airport. I kid you not! There is a film out there somewhere of me leaning over the buffet and picking up a bowl of melon slices (which they paid for!). Yes, I gave the performance of my life, haha.
Most people don’t know I love tattoos and have two. The first is a Triquetra symbol that I gifted myself when I left my abusive marriage. The second is a large star and three smaller stars that represent me and my three children. I’m hoping to get another one for my 50th birthday and this one will be a quill.
I’m not sure if this one is such a secret as I’m very vocal about my love of vampires and all things supernatural, but my favourite film of all time is The Lost Boys. This means I’ve been a vampire fan since I was 15, wow! It’s also got an amazing soundtrack!
I once received an email from an acquisition editor at Penguin Random House looking to acquire my first non-fiction book that was self-published at the time. I travelled to London and had a meeting in the PRH offices. As I waited in the posh reception I casually took a foot selfie with the Penguin logo in the background to remind myself of the moment!
Tell us five things you’d still like to do or achieve.
I had my first paddle boarding lesson last year and loved it! As I travel all over in my camper I’d love to get more confident on the water so I can buy my own board and use it when I’m away.
Have you ever watched YouTube videos of Flash Mobs? I’m not the best dancer in the world, but I would love to be part of something similar. I imagine it is great fun and incredibly liberating to stop in the middle of a shopping centre and start dancing with 50 strangers!
As a fan of visiting historical sites, I would love to stay in a castle! In fact, as part of my 50th birthday celebrations this year I’m booked in for a stay at Hever Castle, Anne Boleyn’s childhood home. I think this might become an annual goal as I’d love to stay at Bamburgh castle too, and I’m sure there are hundreds of amazing castles in Scotland eager for a B&B guest.
I’m dreaming BIG here as this is something that is on my long-term bucket list, but I would love to live by the water. I don’t mind if it’s the sea, a river, or a lake but if it’s also in or near Yorkshire that would be great too.
As a writer, I’m going to have to add ‘best seller status’ to the things I’d like to achieve list! My first non-fiction book (How I Changed My Life in a Year) hit the number one spot on Amazon’s best seller list in self-help and women’s biographies back in 2015, so it would be a dream come true to hit the top spot with one of my fiction novels.
Many thanks for joining me today Shelley and congratulations on your latest novel, fingers crossed The Last Princess will achieve ‘best seller status’. Some great music choices this week – as someone who has recently reached the age that means I can no longer say ‘when’ I’m 64 the Beatles track was particularly apt! I love the idea of sloping off in a campervan, unfortunately my OH does not feel the same and as he’s the driver I can see a problem with that plan, ah well never mind. I shall enjoy reading about other people’s travels vicariously. I love your advice to embrace your body, something we need to tell the younger generation in what is a very superficial, filtered and photoshopped world. I’m intrigued to read about how you changed your life in a year, as I’ve embarked on a similar process as I approach retirement (eek how did that happen?). I hope you get to achieve your dreams and happy birthday in advance!
Shelley’s Fiction Titles
(NB This post features Affiliate links from which I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases)
The Last Princess (YA)
Northumbria, 866 AD
Edith still has much to learn about the art of ruling a kingdom, but when her parents, sisters, and mentor are murdered, she is faced with the much harder challenge of staying alive long enough to get her revenge.
As a girl in Anglo-Saxon England, Edith finds it hard to be heard above the Eldermen who are ripping the kingdom to pieces. She finds allies in the unexpected, and enemies closer to home, but nothing can prepare her for the arrival of the Vikings.
Torn from her homeland and sold into slavery, she is determined to survive at any cost. Edith clings to her dream of returning home one day to claim her throne.
As she builds friendships and finds love in a foreign world, she starts to believe in a better tomorrow until someone from her past arrives with a devastating revelation.
Can she do what must be done? And will the Vikings let her leave?
The Phantom’s Curse (Middle Grade)
An old evil threatens to rise from the depths of the warded city…
Sixteen-year-old Marianne lives a simple life as a healer in the Link, looking after her younger brother since their parents’ exile. Little does she know how everything will change after attending the blessing in the city of Obanac. After her brother is wrongfully imprisoned, Marianne seeks his release from Crawford Reign, the Lord of Obanac. But she’s faced with an impossible choice—the lord wants her in exchange. To save her brother she turns to the daring outlaw Robbie and his friends for help. Along with the help of Theo, the holy man’s son, a daring rescue soon uncovers rumors of an old sorcerer who may still live and whispers of the phantom’s curse—an evil that requires a host and seeks to destroy the world—threatening to resurface.
With the threat of an old evil rising in Obanac and the attacks of the Black Riders throughout the realm, nowhere seems safe. To save the people of the land and everyone she cares about, Marianne must unlock the secret to who she really is and embrace the mage magic that stirs within her.
Hood Academy (YA)
Will she follow the pack…or destroy them?
A dead mother. A violent father. A missing brother.
When Mia’s father is murdered, it’s her estranged uncle that comes to the rescue, but what he offers her in return for his help could be worse than the life she is leaving behind.
Taken to Hood Academy, a unique school deep in the forest, she discovers friendships, love, and the courage to stand on her own.
Mia takes the oath that seals her future as a werewolf hunter, but not everyone wants Mia to succeed.
Screams in the night. Secret rooms. Hidden letters. Mia becomes an important piece in a game she doesn’t want to play.
Loyalty, friendships, and family bonds are tested as Mia discovers her true identity, but will the truth set her free, or will it destroy her?
Guardians of the Lost Lands (The Guardians Book 3) (YA)
Amber’s final quest could claim her soul, but it’s a journey she must make.
The evil that lurks in the Lost Lands threatens to infest the realms unless Amber, Redka, and Connor can destroy it. But Amber is more concerned about her father’s safety as he is held captive by the wickedness that terrorises them all.
Amber faces isolation and mistrust from her friends as they travel across land and sea to meet their most dangerous foe.
Will she be able to stay true to her destiny as the last Oracle, or will she be tempted by the darkness? The fate of the realms is in her hands.
Amber’s final quest will be her most terrifying yet. This time, it will be deadly.
Guardians of the Sky (The Guardians Book 2) (YA)
Can one girl sacrifice herself to save the one she loves…
Following their daring escape from the demon realm, Amber and her friends become caught up in a war between good and evil. They must join forces with the Queen’s warriors to overthrow a malevolent force that has spread across Avaveil, the land of the Fae.
But, as her powers grow, Amber is faced with the real possibility that she is a danger to the ones she loves. Her full strength is yet to be tested in a way she can’t comprehend.
Dragons, faeries and humans stand side-by-side as they are drawn into a battle of cunning, magic and surprising revelations. Can Amber survive long enough to see her dreams fulfilled?
Guardians of the Dead (The Guardians Book 1) (YA)
One girl holds the key to an ancient pact that could destroy the world…
When sixteen-year-old Amber Noble’s dreams begin to weave into her reality, she turns to the mysterious Connor for help. His links to the supernatural world uncover a chilling truth about her hometown and a pact that must be re-paid with blood.
As her father alienates her, and the Guardians take her best friend, her true destiny unfolds, and she begins a quest that will see her past collide with her present.
Drawn deeper into the world of witchcraft and faeries, it is only at the end of her journey that she realises how much she could lose.
Non Fiction Titles
Self-Help for the Helpless: A Beginner’s Guide to Personal Development, Understanding Self-care, and Becoming Your Authentic Self
Bestselling self-help author and award-winning personal development blogger Shelley Wilson takes the fear out of self-help and makes it fun, helping you to make easy, positive changes to improve your life right now. Includes her 31-day self-help toolkit.
Have you ever felt helpless? Are you struggling to understand why you feel disconnected from your friends or family? Are you mystified by the words self-help, self-care, and personal development? Are you looking for answers but really have no idea where to begin?
In this beginner’s guide to personal development and understanding self-care, Shelley Wilson will show you how looking after your own needs can be a powerful tool for your mental, physical, and emotional health so you can begin making important changes today.
Discover what self-help means, how to become more self-aware, understand core values, and have fun mapping out what your best life looks like. Shelley includes tips, tools, and techniques and shares her 31-day self-help toolkit.
Be the person you deserve to be and join bestselling self-help author and award-winning personal development blogger Shelley Wilson on a journey of self-discovery and recovery.
Meditation For Children: A Book of Mindfulness
Author and meditation tutor Shelley Wilson takes you on a magical journey to a calm and happy place that you and your child will love.
Children of all ages can learn and enjoy the benefits of meditation.
Designed to help access creative abilities through relaxation and imagination, these stories help develop the necessary tools needed at a young age for lifelong healthy habits of managing stress and anxiety while also improving learning skills.
Meditation for Children is a simple way to introduce children to mindfulness through guided visualization. Includes a handy reference guide and instructions.
How I Motivated Myself to Succeed
Turn Over All Fears, Leave That Self-doubt Suitcase at the Door, and Get Ready for a Motivational Marathon
After writing her self-help memoir How I Changed My Life in a Year, award-winning blogger and motivational author Shelley Wilson received so many letters asking how she managed to stay motivated and elicit much-needed change in her life, she knew it was time to share everything she’d learned on her journey so far.
How I Motivated Myself to Succeed incorporates fifteen years of research, inspirational tools, techniques, and alternative therapies. Turning to holistic health in a bid to begin the healing process—physically, emotionally, and spiritually—proved to be a lifesaver for the author: “I’m not a floaty kaftan and bells-on-my-fingers kind of girl. I love pizza, duvet days, and reading young adult fiction! So, for me, it wasn’t about discovering an entirely new way of life but integrating the personal development techniques I learned into my usual daily routines.”
Key topics include setting resolutions and goals, list writing, celebrating achievements, life planning and organization, self-care for the body, mind and spirit, freeing yourself from fear, motivational tips, and a twelve-month productivity plan to use those fifty-weeks wisely. Also included are affirmations, uplifting quotes, power words, and happy weeks challenges.
How I Changed My Life in a Year!
Discover How to Change Your Life in a YearStraight-talking, honest and with touches of humour, Shelley Wilson shares her journey as she sets out to prove that being a 40-something, single mum with back fat and grey hairs isn’t the end of life as we know it.From fighting flab to writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days, Shelley covers a wide variety of themes as she tackles twelve challenges in twelve months.Packed with affirmations, tips, steps and links, HOW I CHANGED MY LIFE IN A YEAR will keep you motivated for the year to come and beyond.
Thank you so much for your support, Jill. I had a lot of fun putting this together and have added these songs to my 50th party playlist 🥳 Xxx
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My pleasure Shelley, I’m glad you enjoyed it too. Hope you have a fabulous party 🥳🥳🥳xx
Loved reading this, ladies!
The flash mob and living by the water things – totally there with you on them, Shelley!
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Thanks Terry x
Thanks, Terry! We’ll have to arrange a bookish flash mob next time we meet up!
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I’d like to see that happen! x
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Hi Jill – great interview with Shelley! Shelley, we share music tastes. Tom Petty was the best 🙂
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Thanks Barbara, glad you enjoyed it. I was an early Spandau Ballet (New Romantic) fan back in the day. Now my tastes are more eclectic x
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Thanks Shelley, sorry to read about your fall. Your 50th will certainly be memorable! Glad to know you’re starting to feel more like yourself, take care xx