#Author #Interviews: #historicalromance #writer @ShehanneMoore discusses #character development, #series #writing, #research, & starting a #smallpress #publisher


Shehanne Moore is a Scottish born author who writes gritty, witty, more risky than risqué, historical romance, set wherever takes her fancy–stories that detail the best and worst of human behaviour, as opposed to pouts and flounces. To celebrate the new release of two titles under her London Jewel Thieves series, I asked Shey to stop by and talk about how she creates such uniquely engaging characters and thrusts them into situations that promise spectacular fireworks.


Let’s first begin with what you write—smart, sexy, historical fiction. You delve into various time periods with your books, such as the 9th century in The Viking and the Courtesan and the 19th century in Splendor. What process do you go through when choosing the right century for a story’s setting? That is, if Splendor took place in another century, would it still be the Splendor we know?
Probably not. The stories are influenced by the time, the characters too, although they don’t always abide by the constraints of them. Mind you Splendor would be a shopaholic , running up debts galore in any time because some things are timeless. She’d be having to manage everything too. So I guess a bit of both would be true. I generally stick to the Georgian/Regency period—it’s a sort of genre in own right. BUT I do like to dabble and I do spend time thinking of how I will set a book physically within that period, in terms of imagery etc.. There’s also things that happen when I write.

I mean there was never meant to be a Viking in The Viking and The Courtesan. That was a straight Regency. But then halfway through chapter two, the little voice whispered, ‘You know that Viking story idea you have, the one you’ve never really got the idea for the heroine ‘s goal in? How about you just use it here?’ Much as I want to ignore that little voice, I can’t.

Such a question should mean I ask you about research, too. I know you’re very passionate about your research to keep the period lifestyle true to history.  What’s your process in making the research phase as productive as possible?

You know people think I do a lot of research. I don’t . Too much can kill a story and read like a Wikipedia cut and pastes. At the end of the day I don’t want to know every detail of the time a story is set. I can read a history book for that. I want to read of the things that are universal. The things that stand the test of time. But I have always loved history, especially social history, ever since I can remember. I guess that’s what I have at my fingertips when I write. And of course, I will check a historical timeline detail where it is pertinent to a character, or setting, if I want a certain backdrop.

One thing I love about all your books is that these characters are layered with feeling. They desire, they hate, they aspire, they love, they fear. Your books are so, so much more than the “meet-cute” kinds of romances out there populated by characters with little more than a single quirk each. These characters can get downright wicked, like Devorlane Hawley in Loving Lady Lazuli. How do you bring together both light and dark natures into your characters to keep your stories compelling and un-put-downable?

Now Jean, it’s all right, I won’t set the dudes on you and the check is in the mail. You are way too kind. I just love characters. I want to write about the human condition and let’s face it sometimes it’s downright ugly. Okay, Devorlane Hawley, for example, page one, is not a man you would want to meet. He’s plainly gone to hell in a hand cart, is behaving outrageously and now he’s come into the dukedom because his older, perfect brother is dead, he’s for turfing out his sisters, his late mother’s ward, installing some floozie he’s scoured London to find and setting up a pleasure palace in the ancestral home. By page two/three he’s noticing that his home is nothing like he remembered, it’s a mess, his oldest sister is a drunk and that’s needling at what humanity he has, because it’s plain these years have been hard and the family have regrets. The fact is he’s the family black sheep, the man who made the kind of messes we can all make when we’re young. And that law-abiding, God fearing family let him go down for a crime he never committed, largely for  the sake of peace. By the end of chapter one he’s spotted the woman who did commit that crime and his goal instantly changes. Now he’s becoming the architect of his own doom in many ways.


No-one’s all bad—I think it’s important to remember that when you write. But we are all flawed in some way, a bundle of contradictions, the sum and substance of our life experiences. That’s what I’m trying to blend. Ultimately underneath everything Devorlane Hawley isn’t a bad man. In some ways he’s man interrupted by his earlier experiences– and what has shaped his life since has been hardship and brutality. So the race is on then to see if he can become the man he could be, or are the flaws going to get in the way. I spend a lot of time peering through my fingers going… I wouldn’t have done that, to my characters when I write. AND I let them drive everything. I seriously never have any idea where a story is going next.

Yet another thing I dig (someday I’ll learn to write questions better), particularly where the  London Jewel Thieves are concerned, is that the series doesn’t just revolve around one heroine; rather, each book focuses on a different character of a group. I love how these different perspectives give us a richer look into their world, as well as fresh looks at characters we’ve met in the other books. Which heroine came to you first? Did she bring all the other thieves with her, or did they start telling you their own stories later on?

Good question. Actually the heroine of a short story I have yet to turn into a full length, came first. The idea was there of the jewel thief gang and being forced into stealing because for one reason or another they’ve fallen into the clutches of the man who runs this gang. BUT Cassidy Armstrong aka Sapphire from Loving Lady Lazuli came first in terms of the writing. Originally it was a standalone but as I wrote it, and I was working the background, I thought of that short story and the whole thing just fell into place. The idea of giving the women the name of a jewel, of the Starkadder Sisterhood, and of setting the books after the gang has broken up. So it’s about them having to find their feet by whatever means and keeping one step ahead when there’s prices on their heads.

Lastly, congratulations on beginning your own small press! I’m so excited to see what Black Wolf Books will bring to readers—your own books, and the books of other authors. You’ve been writing for publishers for a number of years, but now you are both publisher and writer. How would you say your earlier experience prepared you for this change? What’s been the biggest “culture shock,” as it were, with donning the publisher robe?

Thank you so much Jean and ALSO for having me here today AND congrats on your own forthcoming release. Sure to be a rip along read. I have wanted to set up Black Wolf Books for about four years now but life got in the way. But I’m there now. I think the writing industry is in a constant state of flux. When I first subbed back in 2012, you still went the traddy route. Yes there were self published books but not so many, nor the same amount of tools to do it. I mean Amazon makes it so damned easy actually now. I have a lot of experience in the writing business that goes way back before 2012 and I’ve been able to use most of it now.

I think the biggest shock…well learning curve was formatting for ebooks and for paperback. Amazon does make it easy I just got in a flap till I mastered it. I initially paid a formatter for the print version for Splendor. I was too scared to do it, in case I messed it up. But when it came back like a dog’s dinner, I stood at the foot of the mountain and told myself to get up there. That it wasn’t anything like the time I took over the editing and design of a magazine and didn’t know how to draw a text box…

Are you looking for submissions right now? If so, what kind and do you have
any guidelines to share?

Well we are not officially open in that I didn’t want swamped. I wanted to feel my way, get out my books, and the Mr’s book, before dealing with what could be an avalanche. And often I think publishers can take on way too many authors without concentrating on the ones they have. But we already have a signing of a YA author who has a trilogy. So I say to folks, contact me through my blog contact right now. And really so long as it’s good, I’m not laying down all kinds of conditions.

One of the reasons I wanted to do this is that I’ve seen a lot of authors get raw deals, not been able to get a book out cos it’s not fitting the mould, despite having books out. My aim in setting up BWB is to help authors. Believe me, I know how brutal this biz can be.

Lastly lastly I’m hoping you’ll allow the little Hamstah Dudes, that precocious batch of knowledgeable cuties  who share amazing author interviews & writing advice on your site, to come on over for a moment and have the last word, as they’ve been very good and patient all through our chat.

zvlad 678

Many thanks to Shey for sharing her experience and stories with us! And don’t worry, Hamstah Dudes–Blondie’s working on a Halloween picture just for you. Hopefully I can stop by Shey’s site to share it! 🙂

Shehanne still lives in Scotland with her husband Mr Shey. She has two daughters. When not writing intriguing, and of course, sizzling, historical romance, where goals and desires of sassy, unconventional heroines and ruthless men, mean worlds do collide, she fantasizes about cleaning the house, plays the odd musical instrument and loves what in any other country, would not be defined, as hill-walking.

She can also be found at

After visiting the lovely Lady Shey, I do hope you’ll check out FREE fiction for some weekend reading, or my novel that’s FREE with KindleUnlimited!

Read on, share on, and write on, my friends!

83 thoughts on “#Author #Interviews: #historicalromance #writer @ShehanneMoore discusses #character development, #series #writing, #research, & starting a #smallpress #publisher

  1. I love the interview, Jean:). I haven’t read any of Shehanne’s writing, but I now think I should… Thank you for setting this up – and I love the input from the Great One – about the works of genius not yet written… I know allll about those!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah… the great and worthy master, Hamster Dickens is awfully good at these words and works of pure genius not yet written–largely because he eats them and because he has hardly been able to write a word since one of my guests told him he couldn’t spell and his work was chewed to bits. He was most mightily upset I tell you. Jean asked some wonderful questions, I loved talking characters with her. Thank you for the lovely comment.

      Liked by 3 people

      • lol… You’re very welcome!

        How very dare your guest be so very RUDE regarding Hamster’s efforts!! Spelling… smelling – who cares? Please reassure him that we all hang on his every unwritten word…

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Jean, thank you so much. I would have been along far sooner but I’ve had internet probs after a spectacular net and PC crash last night. All good now. Loved all the questions AND it is so kind of you to ask me to your fab blog. You know it is one I have long admired. The little dudes will be posting this over the weekend. I have already arranged it with them……..

    Liked by 2 people

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  5. Thanks both of your for a a strong entertaining interview driven by some very pertinent questions. I must admit that the two novels of Shey’s I read are extraordinary and unique.
    Shey drenches her works with a tangible atmosphere that takes you back to the period, not as a modern person reading a historical work but as someone from the 18th century living in what was to them the modern age.
    Also the character of each novel is very different and written so as to reflect the heroine.
    Splendor is measured, everything is calculated and hinges of keeping your nerve.. entirely suitable for a book about a chess tournament.
    Whereas the heroine of Writer and the Rake is someone trying to pull herself out of her car crash life, and so the book is high top doh ,and often viciously camp. In many ways it echoes the great tradition of (as I have said before) the steamy hothouse atmosphere of Tennessee Williams and the classic bitch(slap) fest of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe or even the Boys in the Band.
    Before I read Writer and the Rake I had often lamented people just don’t write like that anymore. How glad I was to be proved wrong.
    Thanks to both for the great read.

    Liked by 2 people

      • My pleasure and you really put Shey through her paces with your perceptive and intelligent questions. This should be a template for how interviews with authors should be: focusing on the work,approach to work and inspiration behind work. If we don’t focus the interview on work, no matter how nice a person comes across they might as well as not be an author; merely another civilian. So great job as I said and thanks again for the lively and entertaining read. All my best Px

        Liked by 2 people

      • Aw, shucks, Sir, thank you! As I writer, I’m always curious how other writers find their stories. We can gush about loving stories all we want, but how do we BUILD them? That is what writers–and readers, I think–would want to know.
        Thank you again!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Jees, Paul and Jean, the checks/cheques are in the post. You are both way, way too kind. I’m sorry to NOT have come by here before to answer but I have had the most awful Raynaud’s attack and had nae fingers to type with. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx to you both. You have really cheered me up.xxxxxxxxxxx

        Liked by 2 people

      • Jean’s questions were a pleasure to answer. So intelligent. Me? I think that an interview should be as you say Paul. Let’s talk about writing rather than what I had for my tea, or did this week…unless that can be linked to my work in some way. I also want to know how writers work, how they start. I always just have awe spark of an idea and I then think terrain for the heroine and story stakes then I start without a clue what is going to happen next x

        Liked by 2 people

      • HA! But it’s true. When I don’t write, I get reeeeeal dark and nasty–and I mean that like “stay the hell away” nasty, which is horrible for kids and spouse and anyone unfortunate enough to be around me at that time. The depression takes hold. It’s bad.
        Writing is the release, as Shey put it. Honestly, it’s a life-saver. It literally is a life-saver.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Lovely replies Shey and Jean. I always remember something you once said Shey in something you wrote… (sorry to be so vague). It was something (that damn word again!)… it was something like how writers have no choice but to write – To a true writer writing is not a hobby or a pass time it is an compulsions. like an itch that only the act of writing scratches. Px

      Liked by 2 people

      • Oh it is. Words are in the blood of areal writer. A certain ruthless determination to put that before everything too….. I don’t mean above those you love or that …but I just know if I don’t write I get itchy about it. It don’t matter if the words are crap. it is the release. I know Jean understands that with all the things she juggles. You just see the page and you have to get to it. For me a real writer has to write, anything less is just kiddying on cos ‘real’ writers understand that compulsion. For me it is what separates a writer from someone who says they are but…..

        Liked by 2 people

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  7. It will be a lie if I say I don’t enjoy it or rather I haven’t learned anything. As I have observed & learned so many great things from this wonderful conversation.
    Although, I was short of time as I have my exams till 24 Dec still I can’t restrain myself to read more. Moreover, I was missing my blogging days which I have already make a new year resolution to be back to the blog and to my people.
    The best thing I have read is that your answer about the research, trust me I too thought writing a historical romance is not an easy task so you might indulge in lots of research but your answer aback me for seconds…haha.
    I have already bookmarked it to read it once, twice & thrice and many more times.
    And yes, I must say you really have a great host or an Interviewer…I really loved it, both host & guest!

    Liked by 2 people

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  9. Pingback: #Indie #Author #Interview: @Paul_JHBooks shares #favoritereads and #writingtips, plus his new #fantasy #adventure | Jean Lee's World

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