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Interview: T.S. Welti, Author of the No Shelter trilogy

No Shelter 1  NS Left Behind NS Buried Alive

Today, Nicole interviews T.S. Welti, indie author of the YA post-apocalyptic novella trilogy No Shelter. T.S. is also the author of Darklandia and Parallel Spirits, and you can find out more about her and her books by checking out her website, following her on Twitter, or liking her page on Facebook.

Nicole: What do you like most about being a self-published author? What do you like least?

T.S.: I like the freedom of choosing what I write and when I write and release it. I like that the success of my books is determined largely by how hard I work. I’m impatient and a bit of a control freak, so I love real-time sales figures.

Nicole: Why did you choose to self-publish No Shelter? Did you do any querying before publishing it?

T.S.: I never queried No Shelter. I think the publishing game has changed and the traditional route to publication is becoming reversed. I believe in the future you will see more people going indie first. Those who are successful will continue to be offered more attractive deals from traditional publishing houses. It just doesn’t make sense to sit around and wait one to three years for your work to be published anymore.

I think a lot of writers, like me, got into writing after the economy tanked and we were laid off or similar. It doesn’t make sense to wait that long for a publishing deal in this type of job market.

Nicole: What do you like about writing YA fiction?

T.S.: I love reading YA fiction so it only makes sense that I write what I love to read. I’m a huge fan of the Hunger Games and Delirium series, so I really wanted to write something with young characters that could connect with readers of all ages. However, I should probably state here that the No Shelter Trilogy is intended for older teens and adults. There is some sexual content that is central to the storyline, which may be objectionable for younger teens.

Nicole: What made you choose to write a post-apocalyptic series?

T.S.: As I said before, I’m a big fan of YA dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction, especially when there’s a strong love story woven throughout the narrative. The No Shelter Trilogy was my attempt to write something I would want to read.

Nicole: Do you prefer writing shorter fiction or long-form? Why?

T.S.: I prefer writing novels, but not long, epic novels. I like to write novels that can ideally be read in one day. I think 225 to 275 pages is a good length.

Nicole: What surprised you the most about reader feedback?

T.S.: I was very nervous about what readers would think of the ending to Buried Alive. I was not surprised to see that it’s a very divisive ending. Some people love it while some hate it. Ultimately, I went with the ending I had initially intended. I never imagined that a happy ending was possible in post-apocalyptic America, but I suppose there are some people who do feel it is possible.

Nicole: Did you always plan on making No Shelter a series?

T.S.: Initially, No Shelter (the first novella in the trilogy) was going to be a stand alone novella. I realized when I came to the end that there was much more to the story. I wrote Left Behind and Buried Alive as two separate novellas to keep each part of the series similar length.

Nicole: What was the most difficult part of writing No Shelter?

T.S.: The most difficult part of the series was sticking with the original ending knowing that many people would be upset by it. I cried quite a bit when I wrote it and felt a bit “off” for weeks.

Nicole: How did you create the characters? Are they meant to symbolize anything in particular?

T.S.: The characters evolved from the story then they evolved with the story. They are not meant to symbolize anything.

Nicole: Why did you choose to make the characters teenagers?

T.S.: I’ve always thought that teenagers and young adults would be the group most likely to survive and keep their wits about them in a post-apocalyptic environment.

Nicole: Who is your favorite character in the series and why?

T.S.: My favorite character in the series is Nada. She has a good heart and, though she makes a lot of mistakes, she is pretty tough. The character I am a bit ashamed of liking is Mary. I recently had to listen to the entire book during the production of the audiobook and found myself laughing out loud at some of Mary’s barbs.

Nicole: Which character was the hardest to write and why?

T.S.: Isaac was definitely the hardest to write. He straddles the line between villain and hero so it was very difficult to get people to see him for what he is while also staying true to his need to keep his intentions hidden.

Nicole: What was your inspiration for the plot of the series?

T.S.: The plot was inspired by the first line of the book. The line popped into my head while I was driving and I immediately wrote it down, along with the first few pages, and the story grew from there.

Nicole: How long did it take you to write the series?

T.S.: It took two and a half months to write the entire series.

Nicole: What would be your biggest challenge if you had to live in a world like that of No Shelter?

T.S.: For me, the biggest challenge would be the uncertainty. As I said before, I’m a bit of a control freak. The uncertainty of not knowing where you’re going to live, when you’re going to eat, or who you can trust would be maddening.


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