This is C.D. Shelton.
I’ll be answering your proposed questions in the order you wrote them.
I see you’ve asked thirteen lucky questions:
Rhodes Review: How did you get interested in writing?
C. D. Shelton: We were caring for an invalid father in-law who lived in Palm Springs. We were traveling every weekend for our turn in caring for him. So we had plenty of time on the road. We discovered Earl Nightingales inspirational CD’s. While listening on the way to P. S., I can still remember his words regarding time and creation. Basically he said, “You can choose to do nothing and at the conclusion of doing nothing you still have nothing. Or you can choose to follow a more rewarding path and think of something you want to create. A creative person can by brain power alone, create something from nothing.” To me, that had a certain appeal, the concept of creating something from nothing, an idea translated into a novel. The year was 2008. I am currently working on my tenth book, five have been published. One of those was a nonfiction volume, called “A Kid’s Guide to being a Winner” which also includes an accompanying workbook.
Rhodes Review: What are some of your favorite books/authors.
C. D. Shelton: Years ago, I liked to read Science Fiction, Heimlein’s (Spelling?) “Stranger in a Strange Land” was his best. Later, I evolved into reading action/adventure novels by Louis L’Amour. I have read all of his work, which was prodigious. I discovered Lee Child at the beginning of his “Jack Reacher” series. He is the ultimate action/adventure novelist on the current scene, In my opinion. I liked some of the earlier Steve Martini books, they were great courtroom dramas. Herman Melville and his “Moby Dick” was bit too tedious for my taste. J. D. Salinger’s (Spelling?) “Catcher in the Rye” and all that teenage angst was never my genre of literature. There have been so many authors I have read and admired, it is difficult to remember them all. Mention one and we can talk.
Rhodes Review: Which of your characters is most/least like you, and in what way(s)?
C. D. Shelton: I drew heavily on my own belief system to create the character, Jon Anderson, in the novel “Raider of the Primal Forest.” He was a “Can do” kind of a guy. He had honor and integrity and was a “romantic at heart,” which I like to believe, is much like myself. The character I created in the novel, “I’ll take the Fat One”, at least in the beginning of the story, was a juxtaposition to my own values. Nori Fugita is his name and in at least the first part of the story, he is the complete “Jerk.” An opportunist, a manipulator, a user, all of the things I like to think I am not.Later in the story he goes through an evolution in his character.
Rhodes Review: Which of your characters would you most/least to invite to dinner, and why?
C. D. Shelton: Jon Anderson from “Raiders of the Primal Forest” would be my first choice as a dinner guest. I like his background and the way he thinks. Nori Fugita, from a yet to be published book, “I’ll take the Fat One”. He is a “user” one of my least favorite human characteristics.
Rhodes Review: What would your ideal career be, if you couldn’t be an author?
C. D. Shelton: A college professor, I love to talk about ideas that interest me.
Rhodes Review: If you were to do your career as an author again, what would you do differently, and why?
C. D. Shelton: From a strictly monetary point of view, I think I would have tried to get on board with some of the “Big” publishers, rather than go with a small publishing house. It all deals with exposure.
Rhodes Review: How long does it take you to write a book?
C. D. Shelton: My initial pace, in writing a book was torrid. I wrote three books the first year I started writing. My pace has slowed recently. I think this is because of the amount of research I do and the books are getting longer. My average length of time is about four to five months.
Rhodes Review: What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
C. D. Shelton: When there are no other demands for my time, I like to work at writing in the morning hours. I feel more alert and get fresher ideas during the morning hours. However, if an inspiration strikes me any hour of the day will do, seven days a week.
Rhodes Review: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
C. D. Shelton: I like this question, because I do have quirks. First of all, lets identify a couple personality traits. I like “Happy Endings” and I Like “Winners not Losers”. Those two personality traits translates into characters that manifests those characteristics. The first, “Happy Endings”, all of the leading characters will ending up getting married at the end of the novel. The second, “Winners not Losers”, I strive to create a character that is able to cope with the curve balls life can throw at a person. In a yet to be published book, “Tenderfoot Rider”, I create a character that should not have been able to cope with the many alien conditions he faced as an easterner, forced by circumstance to live in a western world, but he is adaptable and grows to appreciate and love the western culture. In other words, a “Winner”.
Rhodes Review: Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?
C. D. Shelton: I do read the reviews with great interest. Most have been complimentary. Some, such as the review on “Raiders of the Primal Forest” have been questionable. I think the reviewer had an unhappy childhood and wanted more trauma and loss to occur.
Rhodes Review: Do you have any suggestions to help my readers become a better writer? If so, what are they?
C. D. Shelton: Ernest Hemmingway said, “Any topic is interesting, if the author delivers a true and accurate picture of that topic.” I like that quote and it should be every author’s mantra for whatever he’s creating. The other small piece of advice is to create time for you to be creative. For instance, pick a time and place you feel is best for you to work, and put yourself there, frequently. Eventually, the creative juices began to flow and a book is the results.
Rhodes Review: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
C. D. Shelton: Reader of the trilogy, (Mostly college students) have been very complimentary. Saying things like, “Very innovative,” or “I didn’t know people lived like that,” All very positive to read.
Rhodes Review: Which question are you most sick of answering in interviews?
C. D. Shelton: Do you mean oral or written interviews? To be candid, I’m not “Sick” of any question an interviewer asks. I feel complimented by the interest of that person to ask a question.
About the Author:
Texan born, C.D. Shelton grew up in Los Angeles California. He served two years in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.
He holds two Masters, one in Administration and the other in Biology.
He taught at Hollywood High School and was assistant Vice-Principal during his first ten years as an Educator.
He has taught Biology for the Los Angeles Community College District for over four decades. As a Biology Professor, he wrote and developed the Biology Curriculum for the Los Angeles Community Colleges for all the pre-med majors and non majors. He co-authored two laboratory manuals for the life science department on Physiology and for Anatomy.
C.D. Shelton’s interest have included aviation, tennis and golf to name just a few. He has a private pilots license, he was a certified tennis instructor for eight years. He is a father of three, grandfather of four, he lives in Orange County California with his wife and niece. He is currently writing his tenth novel.