- How do you put romance in your writing?
When writing a romantic suspense novel, I use personal experiences a lot. I was blessed to be married to a handsome man with the heart of a romantic.
I also use romantic episodes I’ve seen in movies. I keep a notebook handy and make notes to remind myself of the stages, the movements, and the feelings I gleaned from the scenes. I do not want it to be ‘cookie-cutter’ or the same in every book. It has to have the responses according to the character I’ve created, in the setting I described, and build toward their happily ever after.
- How do you research for your books?
With my novels being set in Africa, I did the research personally years ago. With a notebook in hand, I would sit and make notes of everything I could hear, see, taste, smell, or feel around me.
I have pictures that take me back to the setting and vivid memories to add to my prose. I watch animal shows every week and love reading any novel set on the continent. I think adding antics done by animals in the area adds to the joy of writing and reading the story.
Researching the culture of the different tribes, their houses, their foods, and their herds of animals adds and shaped the worldview of my readers. I want to keep their interest and stretch them at the same time.
It is my desire to share my love of Africa and its inhabitants with my readers, taking them on a trip every time they read one of my books.
- Have you had any pets?
While living in Kenya as a missionary, my husband bought me an African Grey Parrot. We called him Mzee, (hum the M-zaa) which means old man in Swahili because of his gray feathers. He talked in English and Swahili. He loved to call the dog (in my voice) and then laugh when the dog came because he was expecting a treat. He would holler for the gate guard (in my husband’s voice) and laugh loudly when he came running. Mzee would whistle when girls came by and say, “Hey, good looking.”
He loved to eat sunflower seeds and hot peppers. My daughters would hold a sunflower seed in their lips and the bird would take it from them…but if he had been eating hot peppers, they would come away with hot lips.
- What is your your favorite Bible verse?
Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
The part about ‘leaning not on your own understanding’ is where I get tripped up. Being a Type A personality, I have a tendency to try to fix things myself. I want to figure it out and make a plan to rectify the situation. But the Lord wants us to trust in Him to direct our paths. He is a big God, well able to orchestrate the details of our lives…if we truly trust in Him.
It’s okay to make a to-do list, but always be mindful to listen to the Lord’s still small voice nudging us to wait, stop, rearrange, reconsider, and revise our plans.
I used this verse in my first series, The African Skies Series. I had my heroines struggling with trust issues on different levels. I thought it would be relatable to the readers.
Question for Readers: Have you ever had an exotic pet or a pet with an odd choice of favorite treat?
About Shirley: Shirley Gould is an inspirational speaker, an African missionary, and the author of The Sahar of Zanzibar. Her second novel, Escape From Timbuktu, released on July 25, 2023. She’s the founder of Kenya’s Kids Home for Street Children, an orphanage in Kenya. Shirley has written nonfiction for thirty years and is presently writing Christian fiction novels, especially contemporary romantic suspense. She lives in the Nashville, Tennessee area. Learn more & connect:
About the book – The Sahar of Zanzibar:
In a scary case of mistaken identity, Olivia Stone is threatened by Aga Kahn, a powerful Indian ruler, because she could pass as the twin of the missionary’s deceased wife. Kahn calls her the Sahar of Zanzibar who has returned from the grave to torment him and demands that she leave the island or face his wrath. She’d come to exotic Zanzibar in search of adventure, but she experiences much more.
A handsome widower, Missionary Eli Deckland, steps between Olivia and the angry Indian, rescuing her. There’s an instant connection between Olivia and Eli that escalates when he comes to her rescue again and again. Amid the chaos, Eli tries to prove Kahn murdered his late wife. After several attempts on Olivia’s life, she’s kidnapped. Eli joins the police to find her before it’s too late.
As every moment passes, Olivia’s life is in more danger… Will she be saved in time? If she is rescued, would it work between her and Eli? With an ocean keeping them apart, will their feelings fade? The answer is in the African skies …
Can’t wait for the drawing? Worried you won’t win? Interested in Shirley’s other titles?
Get your copy/copies now!
Come back Sept 15th for Caryl McAdoo!