Welcome to Get to know Boise Book Fest Author session!
Let’s get some basic information out of the way about author Shirl, so we get to knowing her better during the interview.
Name: Shirl Rickman
Social media links: Twitter
Now to get to know Author Shirl Rickman! Let’s get started!
BBF: To start things off, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself, your books?
SR: The hard question first, great. Ha. I’ll give you three things you should know about me. 1. I’m extremely sarcastic and silly 2. I love to laugh 3. I can find romance in everything. When it comes to my books I would like to think I’ll be a bit unpredictable. When Destinies Collide is YA and so full of twists, tragedy, friendship, and love. Then I wrote Somewhere in Between and it’s the complete opposite. The characters are older and the whole story is emotion based. There aren’t any twist or tragedies and there is very little angst. Most likely all of my books will have commonalities to them, but in general I don’t want to be put into a box. I want to write whatever I’m feeling at the time.
BBF: Where do you come up with the ideas for your stories?
SR: It’s different all the time, but usually in the car while I’m driving. Don’t worry I pull over and type out the basis of the story in my notes section. A story usually pops in my head when I’m listening to music or in things I see. For example, Somewhere in Between came to me when I was driving to Houston from New Orleans and I was about to cross a river. The sign with the rivers name caught my eye and it was called Lost and Found river. The bridge was fairly long and by the time I crossed it I had the whole premise for the story laid out in my head. The book has nothing to do with a river. Haha.
BBF: Do you see yourself writing in the same genre? How important or not important is including romance in what you write?
SR: These questions are kind of hard for me to answer. I’m a never say never kind of girl. I honestly don’t know the answer to the first question. As for the importance of romance in the story, I think this relates to how I answered question number 1. I think I’ll always write about relationships even if it’s a friendship or a parent to child relationship and so on. I believe there is a romance to those types of relationships, too. It may be a little different, but my childhood best friend is my soulmate. There is a beautifiul romance to our story. The same could be said of my relationship with my mom.
BBF: This is something I’m always curious about, probably because I’m so picky about it when I write, but how do you choose names for your characters? Is it whatever comes to mind, or do they have meaning?
SR: It’s so funny because I’m asked this question all of the time. I remember sitting in a group last BBF and Amy Harmon was speaking about strong characters. The name thing came up and she answered it perfectly for me. Sometimes I choose a name, but then the character has the final decision no matter how hard I try to make a name work. This may not make sense to everyone, but I interview my characters first. They have certain personalities and qualities and often the name just pops in my head. I say it out loud over and over. A couple of times I’ve had a name chosen and then I hear that character whisper, “nope, I don’t think so” in my ear.
BBF: How do you choose the titles for your books? And do the titles usually come before or after you’ve written the novels?
SR: I strongly dislike choosing titles. I hated When Destinies Collide because it always sounded so cheesy. I still cringe occasionally when I say it out loud, but if you’ve read the story then you know it makes total sense. I usually make a list of key components of the story then I ask my pals and we just start throwing out names. The book is typically about half way done.
BBF: Who’s your favorite villain from your books? Who is it and why?
SR: I would say Clare from When Destinies Collide, but I really don’t like her. She doesn’t deserve recognition. I guess I’ll say Sara from Somewhere in Between. You really don’t see her or hear her side the entire book, but you can feel for what must be going on. Then you meet her and you realize she’s just human.
BBF: Do you have a favorite character from your books? Who is it and why?
SR: This is like asking me to pick a favorite child. I could never do it, luckily I only have one kid, If I have to choose, I’ll say Aunt Violette. She is comprised of so many amazing women in my life. I’ve been lucky because I’ve always been surrounded by loving, uplifting, and strong women. Not to mention she is so sarcastic.
BBF: Can you tell us a bit about your writing process? How long does it usually take? And is the process the same for each of your books?
SR: The time it takes is always different. I’ve written many books although I’m only about to publish my second one. The story comes to me. I phone a friend. Talk it out. I do a rough outline by writing down all the major points then I start writing. When I hit a block, I phone a friend again and repeat the cycle.
BBF: What has been your favorite thing about being an author?
SR: I love creating stories. I guess the best parts is I’ve made some incredible new author friends. Also, meeting readers who get my stories. They connect to what I was trying to get across and it’s an amazing feeling.
BBF: What are you currently working on? And what can we expect from you in the future?
SR: I just finished Somewhere in Between, which comes out in April. I have two more books coming out this year. One will come out sometime in September and the other in December. At least those are the anticipated dates. I’m excited to say I will have three books out during BBF.
BBF: What are you most looking forward to about visiting Boise Book Fest?
SR: Meeting new readers and maybe seeing some who attended last year. Also, the lineup is incredible this year. Many of my author friends are attending and I can honestly say Boise needs to prepare.
BBF: Before we say our goodbyes, can you tell us something random about yourself? Just for funsies. And then that favorite character you mentioned–can you tell us something random about them, too?
SR: I got stuck on the side of a rock barefoot while in Boise last year. A very high rock. Sara Ney has pictures as proof. I think I gave the random face above, but here is another all of Aunt Vi’s little sayings/one liners in the book are things my mom always said to us growing up.
A genre that I would love to write: Historical Romance
One thing readers would be surprised to know: I always give the punchline away
When writing, night owl or morning person? morning person
When I’m writing I must have: music
Pantser or Plotter? Is a pantser someone who pulls a persons pants down around their ankles? If so, that’s me.
I’m currently reading: Fearless For Love by Clara Stone
My guilty pleasure: brownies (gluten free)
My favorite cover from my books: When Destinies Collide will always be hard to beat
Which character from your books do you most identify with: Tessa
Number one book boyfriend is: Will Cooper from Slammed by Colleen Hoover
Next release, title and Dates: Somewhere in Between on April 26th, 2016
Thank you so, so much for dropping by, Shirl! We’re super excited to have you back at Boise Book Fest. Before you meet Shirl on October 15th, 2016, be sure to check out Shirl‘s book today!
Stay tuned for our next author in 2 weeks! Until then… Peace…