Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Jeff Shelby Talks to Jeffrey Allen... or Himself

I've been a fan of Jeff Shelby for a long time. Not because he's a teacher AND knows college basketball, but because he's a damn good writer. In the span of 6 months, he's put out two books: Liquid Smoke, featuring Noah Braddock, PI, and an e-book standalone called Thread of Hope. Also, this guy Jeffrey Allen has written Stay At Home Dead. Here they are blabbing with each other. Sort of.

I’ve recently ventured off in some different writing directions, trying my hand at both a stand alone and a cozy series, after writing three books in a series. I thought this would be far more interesting if I interviewed…myself…because, a lot of days, this is really how I feel when I’m moving back and forth between different books that I’m working on…

Jeff Shelby: So, this is kinda weird.

Jeffrey Allen: Why?

JS: It’s like I’m talking to myself.

JA: You are.

JS: Oh, right. Anyway, why’d you write one of those cozy things? That isn’t very manly.

JA: Look, there are guns in it, okay? And toupees. Those are manly.

JS: If you say so.

JA: Whatever. I thought it would be fun to get away from all that serious crap you write and write something funny, something that might make people laugh. So I took my/our experience as a stay at home dad and turned into something Chevy Chase might star in. And there’s a midget.

JS: You know there aren’t many dudes writing cozies, right?

JA: That’s the point. I’m unique. And so is the character.

JS: Sure. Legend in your own mind.

JA: Yours too, then.

JS: Awkward. So what’s Stay At Home Dead (that’s so PUNNY!) about anyway?

JA: Stay at home dad Deuce Winters finds the body of his old high school rival in his minivan and is accused of murder. In order to clear his name, he must deal with: a pint-sized detective, some ferocious PTA moms, a toupee wearing Elvis lookalike who wants to build a shooting range for kids and a whole lot of other goofy things that might pop up in a small town in Texas.

JS: (silence)

JA: No, seriously. That’s the book.

JS: Wow. Someone’s publishing that?

JA: I know, right???

JS: Well, that’s impressive. What was wrong with using my/our real name?

JA: I thought you might be embarrassed, you being a serious crime writer and all. Those Noah Braddock books tend to be a little bit more thoughtful. I didn’t think you’d want anyone getting us confused.

JS: Good thinking.

JA: And I wanted people to know that I could come up with more than two words for a title.

JS: (silence)

JA: Killer Swell. Wicked Break. Liquid Smoke. Mix in an article once in awhile, why don’t you.

JS: My titles are fine.

JA: Says you.

JS: And, as a matter of fact, I DID just mix in an article.

JA: Oh, here we go. Yes. Your little ebook.

JS: It’s not little.

JA: What size is it then?

JS: It’s the size of a book.

JA: Clever.

JS: Thank you.

JA: I’ll begrudgingly admit, I like the title. Thread of Hope. It’s good.

JS: Thank you again.

JA: But it’s kinda serious.

JS: Well, while you were goofing off writing your midget book, I was trying to write about a former cop whose daughter was abducted and never found. Now he looks for other people’s kids.

JA: Dude. That’s…serious.

JS: And when his best friend is accused of a crime and the teenage accuser goes missing, it’s up to this guy to figure everything out. Even as he’s still dealing with his own daughter’s disappearance.

JA: OMG. Stop. I’m gonna cry or something. Tell me a joke or something.

JS: What do you do for a sick sheep?

JA: (silence)

JS: You give him SHEEP P R!!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Get it???

JA: Um, yes. I get it. And I think you should stick with the serious stuff and I’ll stick with writing the funny stuff. That work for you?


JA: I can’t believe I’m you.

JS: Me either! You’re so lucky to be me!

Jeff Shelby is the author of the Noah Braddock PI series, the Deuce Winters stay at home dad series (under the name Jeffrey Allen) and the standalone Thread of Hope. He is a high school English teacher and basketball coach, but not the same caliber of coach as Mike Rice, head coach at Rutgers University. (Told you I’d work it in, Dave.) He lives in Dallas, TX with his daughter. You can find him talking with himself regularly at his websites, www.jeffshelby.com and www.jeffreyallenbooks.com.

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