Thursday, November 19, 2015

Author Interview & Giveaway - Fortytude Series by Shelly Hickman

Fortytude series

by Shelly Hickman




Anna has never been the beautiful one; she’s always been the nice one. So when the gorgeous man sitting across the table at a wedding reception remembers her from high school—and quite fondly at that—she’s taken off guard. 

Formerly overweight and unpopular, Kiran has never forgotten Anna, the one person who was kind to him when no one else could be bothered, and Anna’s a bit flustered as she slowly comes to grips with his intense attraction for her. 

In what feels like a romantic dream come true, all-grown-up, hunky Kiran invites Anna on a trip to Varanasi. But her troubled, whack-a-do ex-boyfriend starts interfering, creating drama at every turn, which begs the question, “Can nice girls really finish first?”



The sequel to "Vegas to Varanasi" catches up with Anna and Kiran a couple of years after the event that brought the once “ugly duckling” high school acquaintances together. But will their romance continue to flourish in the face of a whole new set of insecurities brought on by middle age? 

First, there’s Kiran, who has an unexpected health scare. While his doctors assure no permanent damage has been done, there seems to have been some damage to his personality, as the normally respectful and reserved Kiran begins behaving erratically and overtly. Anna wants to hope that this is temporary, sparked by the visit of Kiran’s womanizing, free-spirited cousin, Seth. But is this just the midlife Kiran surfacing? 

Anna has midlife issues of her own. Now forty-eight, she’s navigating the onset of perimenopause and all the delights that come with it, from facial hair to mood swings to body temperature issues. On top of that, her two-year-old granddaughter is starting to show signs of a behavior disorder, bringing with it a whole other level of stress and worry. 

Will Anna and Kiran finally find their happily ever after? Or end up stuck in a midlife mess in this romantic comedy of accepting change, and “the change.”



Kiran folds his arms over his chest and his expression sobers. “Before we take the trip into old town, I have to make sure you’re prepared for the bathrooms. Did you do your homework on bathrooms?” 

I don’t like his somber tone and furrow my brow. “No... But I used the bathroom at the Delhi airport.” 

“That’s different. They have western toilets there. Have you ever heard of a squat toilet?” 

Oy. “Is that sort of like a port-a-potty?” 

Kiran tries to contain a grin. “No. It’s not like a port-a-potty.” He walks over to the computer in the corner of the living room and turns it on. “It’s time to pull up some YouTube videos.” 

No, no, no. Please tell me I’m not going to sit here with Kiran and learn how to go to the bathroom in India. 

“You’ll want to make sure you carry toilet paper with you while in the city.” 

Not such a big deal. That’s good practice in the States while on a road trip. Many rest stops won’t have toilet paper. 

“Okay. I brought a bag that can accommodate a roll of TP.” 

Kiran sits me down in the chair in front of the computer and pulls up a video on how to use squat toilets. A very questionable looking fellow proceeds to talk about “the art of laying cable” and “how to take a dump, by the book,” all in subtitles.


Talking with author Shelly Hickman!

What is your writing environment? 

My writing environment varies. If I have the house to myself or if it’s just me and my daughter at home, it’s usually on the couch in the living room with my laptop. Other times it’s in my bed or in a Starbucks while my daughter is at kickboxing. I would love to tell you that I set aside a certain time and location for writing on a regular basis, but sadly I don’t. I wish I was more disciplined, but I also wish I had the discipline to stick with a fitness regimen.

Who is your perfect hero/heroine and why?

My perfect hero has a sense of humor because laughing is my favorite thing in the whole world. So it follows that he would also love comedies. He also has a laid back personality and doesn’t upset easily because short tempers and confrontations give me serious anxiety attacks.

What authors have caught your interest lately and why?

Most of the work I read is by other writers I’ve come to know online. Corie Skolnick recently released a novel called America’s Most Eligible, and I seriously enjoyed it. Her writing is so smart and funny, and I think pretty much anyone would find this book entertaining.


What type of book have you always wanted to write? 

I don’t have a desire to write any particular type of book, at least in regards to genre. However, I think every author wants to write books that touch the reader in some way—whether it’s to make them laugh, feel hopeful, optimistic, understood, reflective or just happy. To write a book that readers want to tell their friends about—for whatever reason—is the ultimate reward.


Top 3 things on your bucket list? 

Visit Europe—Britain, France, and Italy in particular

Visit India—Varanasi in particular

Visit New York City

Yes, they all involve travel. :)


How did you get the idea for this particular novel? 

The idea for my most recent novel came from my own experiences of getting older and beginning to see signs of perimenopause. I enjoy stories that are romantic and sweet, but also poke fun at the realities of growing older in a relationship, and that’s what I’ve attempted to do in Menopause to Matrimony.


What is your favorite scene in your new release? 

My favorite scene is when is when Anna and Kiran go out for a night of dinner and dancing with Kiran’s cousin Seth and his date Marie, and Anna gets into an extremely awkward situation with Marie on the dance floor.


What are you working on now and when can we expect it to be available? 

I’m currently working on the third book in the Fortytude series, entitled Harmony to Heartburn. I’m hoping it will be available by the end of the year, but the end of the year is approaching faster than I’d like!


What do you like to do when you are not writing?

  • Hang out with my family at our cabin
  • Read, even though I’m guilty of starting several books at once and because of that, take forever to finish them­
  • Watch comedies (TV or movies)
  • Waste huge amounts of time online
  • Spend time enjoying friends, which I don’t do nearly enough
  • Go shopping with my daughter


What is one interesting fact about you that readers don’t know?

My youngest child was born on 9/11. The 9/11, as in I was lying in bed watching the horrible footage in my hospital room before delivery. A couple of weeks later, I was interviewed by a local news station about my perspective on the whole experience of bringing a life into the world on the same day that so many people lost their own. Honestly, I don’t even remember what was said, but I do have it on a video cassette somewhere in my house.

AUTHOR Bio and Links: 

Living in Las Vegas since she was two, Shelly Hickman has witnessed many changes in the city over the years. She graduated from UNLV with a Bachelor of Art in 1990, and in her early twenties worked as a computer illustrator. In the mid-90s, she returned to school to earn her Masters degree in Elementary Education. She now teaches computer literacy and media technology at a middle school in Las Vegas. She loves to write about people, examining their flaws, their humor, spirituality, and personal growth. Shelly lives with her husband, two children, and their dogs, Frankie and Junebug.


Buy links: 


NOTE: "Vegas to Varanasi" is now perma-free on multiple platforms



Shelly Hickman will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. 



  1. Replies
    1. You are so very welcome! Your book looks fabulous!

  2. What is your favorite Wikipedia article? (Shuddup. Everyone has one.)

    1. I'm so out of the loop. No Netflix binges to share. No favorite Wikipedia article. LOL.

  3. I enjoyed the excerpt and the interview, sounds like a great series, thanks for sharing!

  4. Great post I really enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing :)

  5. Thanks for your comments, everyone!

  6. I enjoyed the excerpt, thank you!

  7. I enjoyed reading the interview. Thank you.