Shelia M. Goss is a national best-selling author and a 2012 Emma Award Finalist. She has over thirteen books in print and over seven books as ebooks. She writes in multiple genres: Christian fiction, romance, women’s fiction, suspense, and young adult. USA Today says, “Goss has an easy, flowing style with her prose…”
She also writes under the pen name Sparkle and has a new young adult series: The Sweet Sixteen Diaries. The first book in the series is Sade’s Secrets (May/June 2012), where readers will delve into the dynamics of a mother/daughter relationship.
Besides writing fiction, Shelia is a freelance writer. She’s also an Essence Magazine best-selling author, the recipient of three Shades of Romance Magazine Readers Choice Multi-Cultural Awards and honored as a Literary Diva: The Top 100 Most Admired African American Women in Literature.
We had the pleasure of sitting down with Goss, and getting her take on why everyone is trying to keep up with The Joneses.
Michelle: Shelia, I’m so honored to be speaking with you today. With seventeen books under your belt, how do you keep the stories fresh for your readers?
Shelia: I try to create unforgettable characters and interesting story lines with twists to keep readers turning the pages.
Michelle: What do you attribute to your longevity in the business? What are you doing or what have you done differently from everyone else?
Shelia: I’m only still here by the grace of God. It’s been a rollercoaster ride. I think there are several reasons I’ve had longevity in the business: readers, my desire to write, and not wanting to give up in spite of the obstacles.
Michelle: Of all the awards you’ve ever received, what have been your two most significant accolades, and why these two over everything else?
Shelia: It’s a hard question because I appreciate them all for various reasons. I don’t write for the accolades but it’s good to be appreciated for the literary work that I’ve done. This past weekend I was honored when I received the E Lynn Harris Award at the Bayou Soul Writers and Readers Conference in New Orleans. E Lynn Harris was an award winning author who I admired so to receive the award named after him meant a lot to me. It’s my “Oscar.”
Michelle: You write in multiple genres: Christian fiction, romance, women’s fiction, suspense, and young adult. Is it hard to transition between the different categories?
Shelia: No, it isn’t. I know what the goal is for each book. It’s easy for me not to cross genres because I usually don’t work on but one book at a time.
Michelle: I know there are many authors who attempt to write in different genres, but fail to follow genre-specific protocols. What advice can you give to these authors on how to write in multiple genres successfully?
Shelia: Keep in mind the criteria for the genre. Reading books in the genre will help in that area. I also suggest work on one book at a time, or it could get confusing if you’re trying to write two books in two different genres.
Michelle: You introduced us to The Joneses in February 2014. Tell us a little about the Jones Family.
Shelia: If you think the Lyons family on the hit TV show, Empire, are something else, you haven’t seen anything until you’ve met The Joneses. The Joneses is a family drama filled with secrets, lies and scandals. Keeping up with the Joneses isn’t all it’s made out to be. On the outside, the Joneses seem like the ideal family: Royce Jones, a funeral home mogul, and his wife, Lexi, are parents to Charity, Hope, and Lovie—and everybody wants to be them. But it’s true that money can’t buy happiness, and the Joneses are harboring secrets that can’t stay hidden forever…
Michelle: The Aftermath: The Joneses 2 will be released in April 2015. Without giving too much away, let us know what we will find between its pages.
Shelia: Loose ends from The Joneses are tied up in The Aftermath, but even more scandals and secrets are exposed.
Filled with scandalous situations and unexpected twists, this sequel to The Joneses follows the eponymous family as secrets are revealed and drama leads to danger—or maybe even death.
The Joneses’ world is turned upside down as their family life comes under public scrutiny. But now, matriarch Lexi Jones is no longer concerned with “status.” Will she be able to withstand the recent tragedy or resign to watching her world crumble around her? Meanwhile, Charity, Hope, and Lovie must put aside sibling rivalry to find out who killed an ex-family friend. When the killer is revealed, they are all in for the shock of their lives…and the end result could mean life or death for the Joneses.
Once again, family drama doesn’t disappoint in The Aftermath: The Joneses 2—the book that gives new meaning to “keeping up with the Joneses,” and will have you eager for more.
Michelle: Do you have to conduct extensive research when it comes to penning a novel?
Shelia: Not really. I soak in information. I’m observant. I read a lot. I watch a lot of true documentaries. I observe people so I guess you can say I’m nosy. LOL All of that comes in handy when creating stories. I thank God for a vivid imagination.
Michelle: You just released the first part of your new eBook series titled, Secret Relations (Women in Hollywood). Please tell us what this book is about.
Shelia: Besides being an author, I’m an entertainment writer so I also like to write books with characters in the entertainment field. “The Women in Hollywood “series is about three best friends: Charlotte, Mona and Kem. Each book tells their story. Secret Relations is the first book in the series. Charlotte is one of Hollywood’s top talent managers and she ends up falling for her client, the sexy R & B singer Sean Maxwell. The only problem is she doesn’t believe in mixing business with pleasure. Ghosts from Sean’s past may be the deciding factor on whether or not they have a chance at a future. Secret Relations is a romantic suspenseful tale. One of the minor characters suffered from bipolar disorder and it causes issues with the main characters. The book also shows the strong sisterly bond between friends.
Michelle: Many of your novels have intertwining storylines. Where did your penchant for writing connecting stories come from?
Shelia: I started doing it after receiving emails from readers wanting to know what happened with specific characters. For example, for the “Women in Hollywood” series, readers who read Secret Relations, or my upcoming books in the series: Secret Liaisons and Secrets Uncovered will see characters appear from previously published books such as the characters: actress Rose Purdue, talk show host Hailey Barnes, their agent, Carmen, and R & B singer Parris Mitchell. (To read those specific characters stories, check out the Boxed set on Amazon: Romance in Hollywood Series Boxed Set).
Michelle: I was reading over your fun facts and found that many of your responses mirror my own. I am a Grease fan also, and I am not ashamed to admit it. LOL. What made you add this title to your list of favorite movies?
Shelia: Who doesn’t love a good love story? (Smile.) I love the singing. I wanted to be Sandra Dee. At that time John Travolta was all that and a bag of chips. LOL I never get tired of watching Grease.
Michelle: Shelia, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to give us a peek into the mind of a highly-respected literary genius. With that being said, If you were to teach a writing workshop tomorrow, and you had to give a list of five “Do’s” when it comes to being a successful author, what would they be?
- Study the craft – read books/take workshops on writing fiction/read books by authors in the genre of your interest.
- Write – I meet people who want to be authors but they never take the time to write.
- Revise – After you’ve written your story, you have something to work with. Polish the story until it shines.
- Market – In order for people to know you have a book, you have to promote the book. Devise a marketing plan. There are books and articles catered to marketing. I’m actually teaching a workshop on this topic at this year’s Romance Slam Jam in Dallas.
- Keep writing. There’s no magic formula to what makes one book more successful than the other. The more you write, the better you get and hopefully one of your books will resonate with readers so much that they will share information about your book with others. The best form of promotion is word of mouth.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to share with your audience. For more information about my books, please visit my website at www.sheliagoss.com. If you’re an aspiring author and have questions, feel free to email me.