Our guest today is Shirley Raye Redmond. Shirley is an award-winning writer and frequent conference
speaker, who lives in Los Alamos, New Mexico. She has sold over 400
magazine and newspaper articles and is a former columnist for The Santa Fe
New Mexican. She’s written two dozen children’s books, including “Patriots
in Petticoats: Heroines of the American Revolution” (Random House), which
was named one of the best children’s books of 2005 by Bank Street College
of Education. “Lewis & Clark: A Prairie Dog for the President” has sold
nearly 300,000 copies and was a featured selection for the Children’s Book
of the Month Club. “Prudence Pursued” is her second Astraea Press title.
I love Regency romances, but have been frequently turned off by the overdone (to me) sex scenes. I can heartily recommend this sweet, clean story with realistic characters and background. Not too many romances have a heroine giving smallpox shots! That said, let’s get to the interview. Question number one, what does your writing area look like?
I actually have two desks—one is a computer desk with shelves for my reference books, printer, etc. The other desk has my yellow pads and cups full of pencils and markers. I do my research there and usually write my rough draft on yellow tablets. I take notes on both index cards and in spiral notebooks. I have a tote bag for each title I am working on so everything can stay together in one place and I can write “on the run” if need be.
You sound super organized. How do you come up with titles and character names?
For titles, I ask myself, “What is the story about?” I try to answer that
in four words or less—AMANDA’S BEAU, ROSEMARY’S GLOVE, THE DOG THAT DUG FOR DINOSAURS, PRUDENCE PURSUED. Sometimes I use a phone book from the location where the novel is set to glean suitable names for my characters. Other times, I lift names from journals or biographies. Occasionally, I select a name that exemplifies the character I am writing about—such as Prudence.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket if you want to make a living at
this. I write a little bit of everything from encyclopedia articles as a
write-for-hire contractor to children’s books and novels. Give workshops.
Write magazine articles.
What author (dead or alive) would you most like to meet?
Two choices—Regency queen Georgette Heyer and C.S. Lewis. I was fortunate
enough to meet his former secretary some years ago in Oxford, England. It
was quite a thrill to sit in Lewis’s old arm chair and listen to Walter
Hooper’s anecdotes about the man.
What is something unique about you that others might not know?
I wrote a Nancy Drew mystery for Simon and Schuster under the
time-honored pseudonym of Carolyn Keene. The title is INTRUDER #27. It
has a Jane Austen theme.
Can’t you just see Nancy and Ned as Elizabeth and Darcy?
Oh my goodness! While I’m thinking about it, answer the following prompts with one word:
What is your favorite:
Animal: the Atlantic puffin.
Place you’ve visited: Iceland
Place you’d like to visit: Angkor Wat
Great places! Now tell us about your book.
At the advanced age of twenty-seven, Prudence Pentyre is on the shelf.
Content to occupy her time by attending meetings of Mr. Wilberforce’s
Abolition Society, Prudence is resolved to see that her younger cousin
Margaret, shy and plain, does not share her own unmarried fate.
Despite her best efforts, all of Prudence’s matchmaking attempts fail.
Margaret proves reluctant to accept Sir James Brownell’s marriage
proposal, and fears being “bovinised” if she undergoes the controversial
cowpox vaccination he recommends. And the dashing baronet—with his
sunburned skin, eye patch, and unfashionable attire—seems more concerned
about the plight of headhunters in Borneo than Margaret’s stubborn refusal
of his offer.
Prudence, on the other hand, finds herself unexpectedly smitten with the
man. Can she trust that God’s plan for her life is richer and more
rewarding than the one she had planned for herself?
Again, I personally recommend “Prudence Pursued.” Shirley, how can we find out more?
Readers can contact me through my website at www.shirleyrayeredmond.com or
visit my author facebook page at
I also co-author a blog about writing marketable children’s book with
author Jennifer McKerley. Visit http://www.writechildrensbook.com/blog
Thank you for coming by, Shirley.