Shelly Bell writes sensual romance and sexy thrillers filled with action, alpha heroes and awesome heroines. When she’s not working her day job (corporate law), taking care of her family, or writing, you’ll find her catching up with her favorite genre. She has published with Avon Impulse, Grand Central and recently signed a 3-book deal with Harlequin Intrigue.
Harlequin: Tell us about yourself. Our readers want to know!
Shelly Bell: Originally from Michigan, I now live in Florida where I spend my days outside by the pool, sipping on iced cold brew coffee as I write corporate contracts and romantic suspense novels. It sounds heavenly, right? But in actuality, it’s hot and sweaty, and I’m constantly interrupted by two teenagers, a barking Labradoodle, sounds of the lawn mower, and the never-ending cycle of laundry and dishes. Despite all that, I’m fortunate to have a supportive family and two careers that I love.
H: Why did you want to become a romance writer?
SB: I’ve been a romance reader since grade school. I was the girl who always had a book in her hand. Even now, as busy as I am, I still manage to read a few romance novels a week. About ten years ago, I ran out of books to read and my husband suggested writing my own. I thought it would be a hobby, but it quickly turned into a career. I’m grateful that as a romance author, I get to write books in a genre that I also love to read.
H: Can you tell us about the big steps in your journey to becoming a published author?
SB: When I began writing, I didn’t know anything about craft. I joined Romance Writers of America and took online workshops on topics such as author voice, goal-motivation-conflict, and three-pass editing. I went to conferences and listened to the advice of editors. Through an online pitch, I sold a serial romance to Avon and signed with my dream agent. I learned so much from my experience of writing for Avon and Grand Central. Plus, there’s nothing like seeing your work on the bookstore shelves. I’m excited to be taking my next big step on the publishing journey with Harlequin!
H: What one piece of advice would you offer aspiring writers?
SB: Remember that writing is an art, but publishing is a business. Aspiring romance writers should cultivate their knowledge of both. It’s not enough to write a good book. Authors must also understand romance conventions and reader expectations. My advice to aspiring writers, especially those interested in writing for Harlequin, is to read as many books as you can in the targeted imprint and dissect them to determine their similarities. I always tell new romance writers to write “the same, but different.”
H: What did you do when you got the call from Harlequin?
SB: Twenty seconds after “getting the call” from Harlequin, I got my second vaccine. Shortly after, I shared the news with my husband and kids. I’d been dreaming of writing for Harlequin for years. In the bookstores, I would point to the Harlequins on the shelf and tell my daughter (a huge romance reader) that someday, she’d find my books there. To celebrate the good news, I had dinner with my family. Then I went to bed for twenty-four hours while I recuperated from the vaccine—but at least I got to do it with a smile on my face!
Now let’s hear from Shelly’s editor, Allison Lyons:
” I received Shelly’s proposal from her agent and immediately loved the hero who was desperate or determined, depending who you ask, to find this serial killer. I also loved the chemistry between him and a woman from his past, and who has a direct connection to his case. Not to mention Shelly gave the killer a very cool (relatively speaking because, you know, he’s still a fictional serial killer), newsworthy name.”Allison Lyons, Editor, Harlequin Intrigue