Title: Redeeming Hope
Author: Shell Taylor
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Length: Novel – 206 Pages
Release Date: October 5, 2015
Blurb: Home for Hope: Book One
Fifteen years ago Elijah Langley’s world came to an abrupt halt with the death of his high school boyfriend. He keeps his past—and his sexual orientation—hidden until he attends a fundraiser for The Center for HOPE, an LGBT youth center, where he meets Adam Lancaster, HOPE’s infuriatingly stubborn and sexy founder.
A survivor of a turbulent childhood, Adam understands better than most the challenges his youth face. He’s drawn to Elijah’s baby blues and devilish smile but refuses to compromise his values and climb back into the closet for anyone—not even the man showering time and money on HOPE. Months of constant flirting wear down Adam’s resolve until he surrenders to his desires, but Elijah can’t shake his demons.
When a youth from the center is brutally assaulted, Elijah must find a way to confront the fears and memories that are starting to ruin his life, so he can stand strong for those he loves.
An interview with Shell Taylor
Where do you get your ideas?
I think this has been different for nearly everything I’ve written. Sometimes I force an idea into my head. I first started writing to gift a story to a friend for her birthday. I shaped the MCs and events around things she loved and it kind of fell into place. Then I did the same thing for other friends. Redeeming Hope is the first full-length M/M story I wrote, and I fell into their story once Adam became the founder of an LGBT youth center. As I researched real LGBT youth centers, I encountered so many stories—good and bad—and I just felt compelled to give them a larger platform. My next book, Resurrecting Hope (which is book two of Home for Hope), came to me while listening to a song. I already knew Adam’s backstory would be told in book 2, and I could so clearly see Elijah and him screaming at each other while I listened to Say Something.
Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I just write. I wish I could use an outline. It might make the entire process a little less stressful. I’ve tried but I can’t seem to figure out what’s going to happen next until I write what’s already happened. The one time I did force myself to write some semblance of an outline, I got so frustrated that I flounced the entire story. I kept having to change the outline because not one scene I wrote went the way I originally planned.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
There’s a moment when Adam has just closed a deal on the purchase of an inn so he can open a safe house for LGBT youth, and his entire foster family is there to congratulate him. I think it’s the only time I’ve ever cried writing my own stuff, but it’s such a poignant moment for Adam when he hugs his foster father and then his foster mom. He’s just accomplished his biggest dream and the people he loves most are surrounding him for it. The scene isn’t even in Adam’s pov and Adam’s backstory is only hinted at by that point, so I’m pretty certain no one else will love it as much as me. But maybe after reading the second book, that scene will pop into their minds and they’ll get a better picture of how special that moment truly is for Adam.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
I’ve been blessed with really, really great beta readers. They’ve been patient and kind and honest, and every piece of feedback they’ve given has helped improve my writing. There’s no one specific piece of criticism that stands out for me, but there are definitely times that I’m going through edits and recognize that I haven’t done my job well because they don’t understand why the MCs are doing something or feeling a certain way. That means I haven’t explained it well enough. My readers don’t have to agree with everything the characters do (what fun would that be anyway?) but they should understand it.
By far the best compliment I’ve gotten is having several people tell me my unpublished work should be published.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
There are so many wonderful writing resources out there, and like many authors, I try to keep up with the newest trends. My best piece of advice though would to be as you’re reading those to stay true to who you are as a writer and to work on improving what you’re not already good at. I’m fully aware and have been told by many people my greatest writing strength is my dialogue, so whenever possible, I build scenes around it. One of my favorite authors uses the most beautiful imagery to describe even the simplest things. That’s not my strong suit, but I read their work and aspire to reach that level. At the end of the day, if you ask ten different authors for advice, you’ll get ten different answers, so it’s really important to know your strengths and weaknesses and stay true to yourself and your characters.
Shell Taylor is a full-time mother of three exuberant and loving kiddos and one fur baby, a tiny but fierce Yorkie-poo named Rocco. As a Christian who practices love, grace, and humility rather than hatred and judgement, she tries her best to instill these same virtues in her rowdy kids. She just recently learned how to crochet to start bombarding new mothers with matching hats and booties. She is a huge Marvel fan and because of the superhero-plastered tees paired with jeans and Chucks has been told when helping out in her son’s classroom that she looks more like the students than a parent. Her favorite way to procrastinate is to binge watch entire seasons on Netflix. Best of all, she’s been married ten years to a man who’s turned out to be everything she never knew she needed.
Winner’s Prize: $20 Amazon Gift Card.
Runner-up’s Prize: $10 Amazon Gift Card.
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