Q. How long have you been writing? Tell us about your typical writing day.
I’ve been writing for almost 25 years, but not steadily until now. I’ve published several short stories over the years but just now working seriously on novels. I also have started getting up at 5 AM to start writing. That’s on the days I don’t work. On those days, I’m already up at 4 am, but luckily I don’t work everyday.
Ooh. That's early! I don't think I'll be following your lead but I do need to become more disciplined.
Q. How many books have you written or is this your debut? What genre do you write?
I guess Anonymously Yours would be my debut contracted novel. I have two short mystery collections on Amazon, plus a middle grade mystery. Mystery is my genre of choice, but I also like romance.
You're a really good mystery writer. Your success with Woman's World magazine attests to that!
Q. Tell us about your writing journey? Did you query and pitch or self-publish? Was it arduous or easy?
Well, I’ve been through a lot of pitches, but I can honestly say now that my book wasn’t ready at that time. I’ve learned so much over the years. Hopefully, it’s made my writing better. As I mentioned above, I’ve self published a few books, and don’t regret it a bit. I’m so glad that publishing has changed so much for the better. I’m discovering lots of new talent that I might not have enjoyed if it weren’t for self-publishing.
Q. Give us your best writing tip/advice.
WRITE, WRITE, WRITE. READ, READ, READ. And soak up whatever you can from speakers on writing. Some day it will all just click.
Q. Tell us something quirky about you that we may not know.
Love this question. There’s probably a lot of stuff to tell if I think about it long enough. But here goes a couple. I love to mix mashed potatoes and spaghetti together. (assuming we’re having a cleaning out the fridge night). And I also wear my watch on my right hand, even though I’m right handed. Screws up all those CSI shows where the mystery was solved because of the watch being on the wrong hand, doesn’t it? I’ve always done that. It’s always seemed the natural thing to do.
I never knew any of that and we're good friends! LOL. How funny.
Q. Do you use a pen name? If so, why or why not?
I really thought about it because my mom always told me that I’d need to use my maiden name when I got published, so all my old friends would know it was me. But most people know me as Shirley McCann now. Although, I have to admit, using Shirley King might have made people think I was related to Stephen King. Definitely was something to consider.
I think your mom had a good point. I would seriously consider releasing a book under the pen name Shirley King. Are you kidding me?!! Just think about the placement on the shelves/sites alone! And readers might think you're his sister. Do it!
Q. I’m a big six-word memoir fan. Find out about six-word memoirs and the infamous Hemingway backstory here: http://sixwordmemoirs.com Describe your writing day using just six words.
Tea. Poptart. Computer. Tea. Computer. Tea.
Why am I not surprised that tea was in there somewhere?! :)
Q. What is your favorite marketing tip/promotional advice?
Twitter. And visiting blogs, because you’ll make friends that way. You can’t expect people to visit your own site, if you don’t reciprocate.
Q. I’m also a children’s author, so I have to ask what was your favorite book as a child?
Nancy Drew. I think I’ve read them all. Used to collect them, but no room for all the books I love, so just don’t do it anymore. Besides, with all the books out there now, there’s no way I’d have time to go back and read them again.
Q. What’s your next project? I have a 2-book contract for a YA novel called The Scarry Inn. It’s about four teenagers who end up stranded at a motel of the same name. With all the scary things happening, they finally decide the owners are playing a trick on them to drum up business for their inn. At least until one of them is found murdered. Hopefully, this can turn into a series.
I love this premise. And the surname of the owners is Scarry, right? Perfect. I hope you give each of the rooms a "scarry" name! Big congrats on landing a two-book deal. I knew you when...
Q. I love first lines. Post your first sentence. Hook us!
“Damn it, Miss Thomas.”
Ooh. That's a good one!
Drumroll, please... Here are the cover and blurb for Shirley's new mystery, ANONYMOUSLY YOURS, under contract with The Wild Rose Press.
Uneventful is the word Denise would have expected to describe her job at Winslow’s Diner. But after the discovery of a dead body during an attempt to return a lost wallet, Denise is suddenly thrust into a danger she hadn’t bargained for. And to top it off, not only does her boyfriend, Justin, inform her that the police never found a body at the house she’d sent them to, she also realizes that she is being stalked by someone driving a red Toyota – the same car she’d seen at the house where she’d discovered the body.
In a fight for their lives, Denise and Justin are forced to seek the help of her Private Investigator, Uncle Bob. Unfortunately, she soon learns that her uncle is not the successful person she’d always believed him to be. Now, not only does she need to solve the mystery of the missing corpse in order to save her life, she also realizes that doing so would help to boost the confidence of her favorite uncle.
Denise realizes their newly devised plan must go as clockwork, or someone else could end up dead.
Sounds great, Shirley! Please leave a comment or ask Shirley a question and one lucky person will receive a free ANONYMOUSLY YOURS ebook!
Thanks for letting us pick your brain. Tell us where we can find your books and how to connect on social media. And best of luck on sales, my friend!
Anonymously Yours http://tinyurl.com/mg5t9te
Got Time? 13 Solve It Yourself Mysteries http://tinyurl.com/np9hdjm
A Collection - 13 Short Mysteries http://tinyurl.com/okpavqk
The Necklace - A Middle Grade Mystery http://tinyurl.com/nk97u8v
Connect with Shirley McCann on Facebook http://tinyurl.com/lkhoyjm
and Twitter https://twitter.com/shirleymccan