Thursday 21 February 2013

Writer - Sheila Skillman

I'd like to welcome you to my interview with writer, Sheila Skillman.  Enjoy.

Sheila Skillman

Hi Shelia, can you please introduce yourself?
My writing name is SC Skillman and I live in Warwick.
How long have you been writing?
Since I was 7 years old, when I used to fill little exercise books with stories.
What first got you interested in writing?
The adventure stories of Enid Blyton inspired me; I found them so exciting and engaging, I wanted to write stories myself.
Do you attend a writing group?
Yes I belong to 2 writing groups  that meet quarterly in Leamington Spa, and in Kenilworth.
What genre(s) do you write?  What drew you to this/these genre(s)?
I write romantic suspense. My recognition of this evolved as a process of self-knowledge, gained by simply writing the stories I wanted to write, about the subjects that engaged me.
What types of things do you write?
Have you ever had anything published?
Yes, I published Mystical Circles, romantic suspense novel – see for further info.

Have you sent your writing to agents/publishers?  Have you received any rejections?
Yes I have sent previous novels to many agents in the past & have collected a number of rejections.
Who/what influences your writing?  Where do you get your inspiration from?
My inspiration comes from family, friends & life experiences, & from my observations of many different people I’ve met over the years. I’ve also been inspired by characters and themes found on Tv & in the movies. I love writing about any environment in which disparate people are drawn together for a period of time in an enclosed setting. I’ve drawn upon my insights into human motivation and behaviour; chief among which is that “nothing should be taken at face value: people are often not what they seem”.
How do you come up with your characters’ names and personalities?
During the course of life, names pop up in various contexts,  and I make a note of those that intrigue me, which I like, or which suggest certain types of character.
What is your writing routine?  Do you write daily or just when you feel like it?  Is there a certain time of day where you are at your most creative?
I write as soon as I get home from delivering my son to school. I prioritise writing above emails/social networking etc. The writing comes first, & I ensure that other activities are programmed for later in the day.
Do you start out with a complete idea for your stories, or do you just start writing and hope for the best?
I do start out with a general idea, and I now believe in having a rough plan beforehand.   In my new novel I have used Snowflake Pro, a very helpful piece of novel-design software. 
Do you have an editing process?  Do you have someone else read over your work?  Do you read your work aloud to yourself in front of the mirror?
I have learned through experience not to seek other people’s opinions until the novel is complete. Then I seek the opinion of someone whose knowledge of the market I respect. “A Passionate Spirit” is currently in the hands of a consultant editor.
What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given with regards to writing?
Never give up, always believe in yourself despite all evidence to the contrary.
Apart from writing, what are your other hobbies/interests?
Choral singing, theatre, art, cinema, walking, yoga, history, travel.
If you could have written anything, what do you wish that could have been?
“The Moonstone” and “The Woman in White” by Wilkie Collins.
What types of things do you read?  Do you think your writing reflects your book tastes?
I read among different genres, both fiction & non-fiction. I don’t think my writing reflects my book tastes other than my interest in the human psyche.
Do you have a website/blog/twitter/facebook dedicated to your writing?
Yes. I have a website: and a blog: and a facebook page: and a Twitter account:
What are you working on at the moment?
My new novel “A Passionate Spirit” is now complete and in the hands of a consultant editor, I’m just about to embark upon my next novel. 
Would you be able to provide a short piece of your writing?

Mystical Circles


Juliet was trembling. It had all happened so fast. The explosion of anger between the two men. The rush for the car park. The engine roaring into life. As the rear lights picked her out, she dodged aside just in time. The next thing she heard was a loud bang. And the sickening crunch of metal giving way. And a fountain of fragmenting glass.
He’d slammed on the brakes too late.
And it was all her fault.
Juliet’s palms were slippery on the steering wheel; she wiped the sweat away from her upper lip. The air conditioning might offset the strong heat of this June day, but not the burning anxiety she felt. Even the spectacular beauty of the high limestone hills and deep valleys as she headed west from the A417 had failed to calm her. A sign half hidden by the trees proclaimed that she’d found ‘The Wheel of Love’. She turned in at the entrance.
Further down the valley, she could see the two steeply pitched gables of the farmhouse with its mellow honey-coloured stone. It looked idyllic. But that held no pleasure for her; her stomach twisted with apprehension for Zoe.
She drove round the house to the gravel parking area at the back. A Bentley and a Saab were parked up against the woodland fence. She was about to nose her Renault Mégane in between them then realised there wasn’t quite enough room, and reversed into the space on the other side of the Saab. She drew to a halt and turned the engine off.
She pulled a copy of an email from the door pocket. A few phrases leapt out at her with the same force as when she’d first read them. 
© SC Skillman 
Thank you very much Sheila.

1 comment:

  1. I've read 'Mystical Circles' and I really enjoyed it. S C Skillman's characterizations are particularly good. A few months after finishing it I still find myself thinking about the book and the characters in it.