Saturday, May 23, 2015

Author Spotlight: SL Shelton, "Waking Wolfe" (Scott Wolfe Series Book 1)

When I heard about SL Shelton and his "Scott Wolfe Series," I was intrigued by the idea of a man running halfway around the world to save his girlfriend from terrorists.  I purchased "Waking Wolfe", and "Unexpected Gaines" and was immediately hooked on the series. Wanting to learn more about the force behind the "Scott Wolfe Series", I contacted SL Shelton to find out what inspired him to create this engaging five book series.

Book Title:  Waking Wolfe
Book Genre: Thriller (Political, Espionage, Technothriller, Conspiracy)
Book Audience: 17 and up, not suitable for middle school. Violence, Sexual Situations, explicit torture in some cases with vivid descriptions from the tortured character's point of view.

Book Description:  This is the first volume in S.L. Shelton's unfolding story of corporate corruption in the

Scott Wolfe is a talented computer and electronics security specialist and an avid rock climber. He's a pretty typical twenty-something; he likes to party, he's bad at relationships, and he is a bit more adventurous than common sense would dictate.

He does have one trait that makes him atypical, though. That gift is the secret to his professional success—and it comes in quite handy when a rash decision turns his life upside down.

How much responsibility does a man have for the life of an ex-girlfriend? That's the question Scott had to ask himself when Barb Whitney, her father (a State Department Attorney) and twenty eight other diplomats and their families, were supposedly killed in a terrorist attack in Amsterdam.

When Scott gets a text message from Barb's phone after the explosion, he is propelled into an adrenaline charged operation, worthy of the intelligence agencies he is trying to avoid.

Dodging killers, organized crime, mercenaries, and the CIA, he struggles against a clock that even he doesn't know is ticking.
world's governments and the adventures of a young Scott Wolfe, who is unknowingly swept into a secret war of massive proportions.

How did you become involved in writing stories/books?  What was your motivation to become a published author? 
I've always loved spinning stories. Since I was a kid I excelled at it. Unfortunately, I wasn't a good student, so the idea of sitting down to write anything other than a few paragraphs was not palatable. When I was in a young man in the military, at a time of great upheaval in my life, I had a dream...a very vivid dream that stays with me in amazing detail to this day. In this dream, my grandfather came to New England to visit me despite having passed several years earlier. In this dream, he took me in his car (which turned out to be someone else's car) to a book store in the town I lived in at the time. He showed me a stack of books on the display table, leading me to believe he wanted me to buy a particular book. But when I looked more closely at the cover, I saw that I was the author. When I asked him what it meant, without speaking, he led me back to the car and I proceeded to get down low in the back seat, for fear of being seen by guards at a checkpoint (I have no idea why). After driving for some time, he stopped in front of a house, got out without a word and joined another older man before disappearing around the corner. 

The dream ends there. At no time did he ever say a word to me and at no time did I discover why I was "hiding" from authorities.  My grandmother later described the car, the house and the other man I had seen after I had given a very vague description of the car...I started writing my first book after that. Sadly, it was horrible. Over the years, I had started many first and second chapters, but never finished any until I retired from the tech industry after selling my company. Three months after retiring, I began writing the Scott Wolfe Series. 

What inspired you to create your main character Scott Wolfe?  When you wrote the first book “Waking Wolfe,” did you have a master plan for creating the series, or were you compelled to write more about Scott once you finished? 
Scott Wolfe is a combination of personalities; I'm in there a lot, as is my son, who I must say is often more laid back than I was at the same age. Physically, Scott's adventures are beyond me. But emotionally, I've been through the entire range, so when constructing a character like Scott, I have a lot of experience and observation to draw on. 

When writing the first novel, I had no idea it would be a series until I was almost half way through the first draft. But I realized there was too much character depth and pent up emotion not to let it spill into more books. I'm glad it worked out that way and the story arc for the series was very easy to outline once I decided to carry it forward.

You have a technical background in computers, which you have imparted upon Scott.  How much of his technical expertise comes from your experiences, and how much of it is based on research? 
The basic technical premise of data organization, flow charting, and the can-do attitude of  "yeah, I can get there from here", is all mine. But my practical experience in hacking, system security, viruses and fancy spy gadgets is nearly nonexistent. I wasn't that kind of programmer. And by the time my tech company had grown to need that sort of expertise, I had hired others to do the heavy lifting. The running joke in my firm was that "your code better pass QA or Shelton would take a look at it...he'll find the problem but it will take three times longer than it took you to write it." So, yes. I had the technical background to do most of it, but I was so excruciatingly slow at anything other than design, the techs would hide their work from me when I walked by. I did, however, over my long career, learn plausible "geek speak" to answer questions from clients and staff when asked silly or demanding questions. Sounding confident in your tech jargon usually is enough to shut down more penetrating questions and often gives you the appearance of a wizard, imparting grand mystical secrets that they couldn't hope to understand...usually with a reply from them of "Oh! Okay then. Thanks for that."

Scott and his CIA colleagues inevitably find themselves in the middle of dangerous situations, whether by choice, or accidentally due to the nature of their missions.  What are some of the difficulties in writing an action sequence or a fight scene?  
I've never found it difficult to write action or fight scenes. Like much of my "design" success, I am able to visualize in great detail. In my younger years, I also studied various fighting styles ( some are mentioned in the books) and at one brief period in my life, I was prone to fights...okay, maybe not brief, maybe it was most of my young life...Okay, I was a fighter from an early age and continued to fight well into my twenties...maybe my early thirties.  Alright, alright, I'm a bruiser and like to kick ass...okay, are you satisfied? ;)

With the release of your fifth book, “Harbinger,” do you look back on your previous books to see how you have grown as a writer and a storyteller?  How is this book different from the previous ones from a writing aspect? 
YES! Oh my God! I'm almost embarrassed by my first release of Waking Wolfe (Then it was called "A Lamb in Wolfe's Clothing") I've taken on a ritual of going back and revising each novel as I release a new one. I'm still very much developing as an author and since I did so poorly in school, am not the most educated writer. I'm very happy with the stories themselves, but the writing style has been updated in the early books a couple times...including recently with the release of Harbinger.

I look back at some early changes and cringe. For example;  I was once given advice from an author friend I respect, who told me that dialog tags could be more than just said or replied, so I went back and updated to exchange nearly all occurrences of "said" and "replied" with other, more flowery tags.  MISTAKE!  It made the dialog (something I'm usually very strong at writing) difficult to read through, clumsy and forced. I've scrapped that whole premise and have rewritten all novels in my original style of dialog.

Some readers have commented on the fact that you write in both first person and third person throughout the books.  It seems to confuse some readers while others adapt quickly to it.  What made you decide to use both points of view?  
That was a tough choice and I agonized over it for a long time. I initially had intended for the stories to be multi third person POV. But when I started to put Scott alone and with his "voice", I decided the flow would be much better if the camera was lodged directly in his skull. After rewriting the first few chapters in that style, my early beta readers liked the change of perspective. Unfortunately, I also had much back story in the form of other characters that I wanted to include in the stories. I've tried to keep the separation clear and given plenty of warning to the reader when they start a new section from another point of view, i.e. "NICK HORIATIS slammed his fist into the..."

I have to say, I'm much happier with the story that way and have come to look at it as simply "bonus footage" of events outside Scott's line of sight.

Looking ahead to the future of the Scott Wolfe Series, what can we expect to see?  Are there more books planned, or is “Harbinger” the end of the series?  What do you hope readers take away with them after reading your series? 
There are a few more books in the current Wolfe incarnation. I haven't decided if I will take the series further than the "epic" conclusion of Scott's first year in his new life, but I foresee two or three more books in the current Arc. As for what my reader takes from the series, I hope they are, first, entertained, and second, inspired to examine the world around them more closely, looking at all the subtle, hidden meanings in life and becoming curious enough to question them and pry further. But mostly to be entertained. :)

Books in the series:
Waking Wolfe, Unexpected Gaines, Danger Close, Wolfe Trap, and Harbinger (released May 2015)

Start the Series Now!  Purchase "Waking Wolfe" at (exclusively)

Author Biography:
S.L. Shelton is a passionate, fact spouting former techie and soldier who is constantly at odds with his need to kick the legs out from under those who abuse their power (Political, Economic or Super). He lives on a tiny little farm on the banks of a tiny little river in the northwestern part of Virginia, where his semi-secret identity is somewhat protected on three sides. Despite deep misgivings about writing on subjects close to his own life, he has penned a series of books about a similarly broken, similarly gifted young man who similarly doesn't have a clue when to stop and re-evaluate life decisions.

Before building his career in the computer field for nearly two decades as a developer, designer, trainer, and a CEO, he had the honor of serving in the US Armed Forces in several roles, most involving explosives of some sort. After selling his successful micro empire in 2011, Shelton retired to his study which he hasn't left since. On most days he writes, but when left alone and to his own devices, breaks his troll like existence long enough to sneak into the sunlight and fire a weapon or two, snap a few pictures or pick some vegetables from his wife's prized organic garden beds.

Though his climbing days are behind him due to injuries (several to the head), he was an avid rock climber, having climbed for decades since his teen years. His three children are grown and living very adventurous lives of their own.

Waking Wolfe is his first published novel and the first novel in the Scott Wolfe Series, followed by Unexpected Gaines, Danger Close, Wolfe Trap and Harbinger. Predator's Game is scheduled for release near the end of 2015

To learn more about SL Shelton's "Scott Wolfe Series"
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