Author Spotlight: Shelly Hickman, Vegas to Varanasi, reviews and interview

What does Shelly Hickman want us to know about her? The rules are simple. There are 20 questions but you only have to answer 10-15: As a wri...

What does Shelly Hickman want us to know about her?

The rules are simple. There are 20 questions but you only have to answer 10-15:

As a writer, what drives you?
I’m driven to create characters readers care about. The circumstances they’re in may not even be that extraordinary. In fact, I prefer to write about everyday situations. When I become attached to characters on my favorite sitcoms, the conflict taking place is secondary to me. I come back because I love the characters. I want readers to connect with my characters in the same way, even the ones considered antagonists.

Happy Ever After or Happy For Now? Why?
Even in books that end happily ever after, I think we all realize that it’s really happy for now. That’s why so many readers enjoy sequels. We know there will always be challenge and conflict in life, and we (at least I think most people) like to see how characters we love work through those challenges and achieve their “happily ever after”, at least until they’re thrown the next curve. After all, it’s what every person ultimately wants. Happiness.

 (In your humble opinion) best and worst book to movie adaptations…
Best: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Worst: Flowers in the Attic by VC Andrews. I’m referring to the ‘80s version of the movie. I heard they did a remake for television, but I didn’t see it.

Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?
I’d like to say yes, but I don’t. I’m definitely what’s known as a panster when it comes to writing. I start with a general idea, and then let the characters lead me.

Sex And The City…which character would you be? And not be…
I would most definitely NOT be Samantha. She lives way too dangerously for my tastes. Except for her obsession with fashion, I would say I relate to Carrie the most, I’m not sure exactly why. She is a writer, though. J And I always liked how she’s down-to-earth and doesn’t really judge others for their choices.

Time for favourite: song, color, book, TV series, movie, food, drink…
Song: “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel. I’ve always thought of it as more than just a love song. I find it kind of spiritual.
Color: green
Book: I haven’t read it in a really long time, but One by Richard Bach is one of my favorites.
TV series: Big Bang Theory
Movie: Notting Hill
Drink: Anything Starbucks

People are always asking me this so I’m paying it forward. Where does your inspiration come from?
I think mostly from movies. I love movies and stories about people and their everyday lives – their loves, their struggles, their quirks, friendships, and family relationships. All of those things are what make life interesting, and when I leave a movie feeling like we’re all basically the same, just trying to get through each day and find a little bit of happiness, it gives me a good feeling. That’s what I try to do when I create my own stories.

What are you working on right now?
I’m not working on anything right now, but I really miss my characters from Vegas to Varanasi and would love to write a sequel. So I’m seeing if I can brew up some more ideas for them.
(Me: I was going to add this in the review, a sequel please…)

The good guy, the bad boy and the right guy…could they be one and the same?
I think so. After all, we all have good and bad in us, right? It’s just a question of which one we give the upper hand.

If you could have a power or ability what would it be?
To heal sickness and disease.

How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

Often, I model my characters after TV or movie personalities I’ve encountered in the past, and make adjustments as I see fit. This helps me have more of a solid image of them in my mind – their mannerisms, the way they speak, dress, etc. I don’t do this with every single person in a story, but usually the main characters.

by Shelly Hickman

Anna has never been the beautiful one; she’s always been the nice one. So when the gorgeous man sitting across the table at a wedding reception remembers her from high school—and quite fondly at that—she’s taken off guard.
 Formerly overweight and unpopular, Kiran has never forgotten Anna, the one person who was kind to him when no one else could be bothered, and Anna’s a bit flustered as she slowly comes to grips with his intense attraction for her.
In what feels like a romantic dream come true, all-grown-up, hunky Kiran invites Anna on a trip to Varanasi. But her troubled, whack-a-do ex-boyfriend starts interfering, creating drama at every turn, which begs the question, “Can nice girls really finish first?”


My Review
Vegas to Varanasi, India
4.5 stars
Hotness factor: Hrithik Roshan… seriously, look it up.


I have a couple of regrets about this book. First, I wish I had read it sooner, I had it in my kindle for months and I read far less entertaining novels instead (sigh). Second, I shouldn’t have read the blurb! It gave me a different idea of what the book was about. Lastly, blond moment, was I the only onewho didn’t know that Varanasi was in India? I mean I watch Bollywood movies, I’m from Toronto, how on earth did I miss that? (I’m still blushing… embarrassed)
Anna and Kiran’s story started to unfold further in the book than I’ve anticipated. I struggled with the plot at the beginning not sure where it was going, but I like to give a book a chance to prove me wrong and it did. Anna, the protagonist and narrator, was married to her gay best friend and then more recently was in a long-term relationship with an alcoholic writer, so when dashing looking Kiran waltz back in her life making googly eyes and all, we could understand all her confusion and insecurities. Nevertheless, Anna and Kiran’s romance blossomed while they were away in Varanasiin spite of Anna’s ex incessant interference.
Overall, I really liked this book. It has as many funny moments as sad ones. The characters are older and that is always refreshing, Anna is charming, Kiran is intense (in a very good way) and her children are a reflection of her as a woman and mother. I won’t say more about the plot to avoid any spoilers, but I believe we need more books like Vegas to Varanasi, original, smart and funny books that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside after a good read. I highly recommend it! 



Vegas To Varanasi 6788290647895298556

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