This week my guest is Shelley Wilson. I have met her in real life once, but we didn’t have nearly long enough time to chat. Hoping to remedy that at some point.
Her latest book, The Last Princess, is out on 24th May 2022, published by BHC Press Books. Shelley is going to tell us what she gets up to when she’s not writing. Over to Shelley …
Thank you to Morton for letting me join her for a chat about what I do when I’m not writing. It’s strange to imagine there might be a moment when an author isn’t writing, but yes, we need to fill our creative well somehow, and I do that by solo travelling in my camper.
I’ve always loved exploring and visiting new places, even before I bought my camper. Where my parents and kids enjoy returning to the same places or resorts year after year, I’ll always try to seek out somewhere new. I also love finding locations from books (and films) I’ve enjoyed.
In 1997 I bought a retro 1975 orange and white VW camper as I’ve been obsessed with them for as long as I can remember. Back then I was newly married and had this idealistic view of happy holidays. When my first son arrived a year later we took him on a few trips to test the camping-with-kids water. He loved it!
Unfortunately, you could see the tarmac through the holes in the floor of the cab and as it was my only means of transport with an 18-month old it became problematic when it broke down – which it did, often!
Selling that van was the right thing to do, but my desire to own another VW camper in the future always lurked in my subconscious. I even hired one on the Isle of Wight and spent a week with my kids chugging around the island.
It took me 20 years to manifest Snoopy – yes, it’s the law to name your camper – but he is the best investment I’ve ever made.
During the first lockdown, I spent hours online looking at all the amazing places we ‘couldn’t’ visit. I would dream of future trips and the wonderful areas I was going to explore as soon as the world opened up again. At the same time, I watched a dear friend my age struggle with epilepsy and have her driving license taken away. I also mourned the loss of my mum’s younger sister. These two amazing ladies were the voices in my head telling me to stop waiting and start living, so I contacted CamperKing in Banbury and bought one they were converting in the shop at that time.
In August 2020, in between lockdowns, I picked up my gorgeous VW camper and booked as many trips as I could. I managed to get to Kingsbury Water Park, Stratford upon Avon, Whitby, and Somerset before we were put in lockdown again.
Once the UK started opening up again in 2021 I set off on more travels to Northumberland, Edinburgh, Wales, Norfolk, and the Lake District. I was free!
Solo travelling might seem frightening to some, but I take care to choose campsites that are reasonably busy, close to amenities, and have EHU (electric hook up). Some of the sites are Camping and Caravanning Club or Caravan and Motorhome Club sites of which I’m a member, and there’s always a warm welcome and staff on hand to help if you need it. I’ve been fortunate to meet some amazing people, but being on my own allows me the freedom to do what I want, when I want.
Most of my trips have been writing related in some way. When I went to Whitby and Northumberland I was researching for books. Other trips have given me the time and space to get edits finished, and some have inspired future stories.
That’s the beauty of travelling. There is so much to see and do, often on your own doorstep that can sow the seed of a new story idea.
I know Morton is a fan of Bamburgh, and I must say it’s been one of my favourite spots to visit. The fact that my new book is also set in the area helps! I’m heading back for another camper trip at the end of May so I can take a physical copy of The Last Princess to the place that inspired the book – it’s an Instagram post waiting to happen!
Where next? I’ve just been to Glastonbury (the town, not the festival!) for a week, and plan to head back up North in the summer. The beauty of having a fridge, gas stove, and a table means I can throw my laptop in the camper and move my ‘office’ to the beach for the day if I want. Working on the go is something I highly recommend.
If you spot a 50-year old solo traveller with back fat and grey hair then it’s probably me! Feel free to stop me and say hello.
Thank you, Shelley. I am in awe of your travels and love watching your social media posts. We must have that coffee … Mx
About Shelley Wilson
Shelley is an English multi-genre author. She has written nine young adult/middle-grade supernatural, fantasy, and historical novels, a children’s meditation book, and six motivational self-help titles for adults.
She is a proud single mum of three and lives in the West Midlands, UK. Shelley loves travelling in search of stories, paddle boarding, Tudor and Viking history, supporting Leeds United, and obsessing over to-do lists!
Her latest book, The Last Princess, is out on 24th May 2022, published by BHC Press Books.
To keep in touch with Shelley, you can use the following links:-
Author website: https://shelleywilsonauthor.com/
About The Last Princess
The Last Princess, is out on 24th May 2022, published by BHC Press Books.
Northumbria, 866 AD
Edith still has much to learn about the art of ruling a kingdom, but when her family is murdered, she’s faced with the challenge of staying alive.
As a young woman in Anglo-Saxon England, Edith finds it hard to be heard above the Eldermen who are ripping the kingdom to pieces, but nothing can prepare her for the arrival of the pirates and the Vikings. Torn from her homeland and sold into slavery, she’s determined to survive at any cost.
Finding allies in the unexpected and enemies closer to home, Edith clings to her dream of returning home one day to reclaim her throne and to exact revenge on those who harmed her family.
To buy your copy of The Last Princess use one of the following links:
Early Praise for The Last Princess:
“This fast-paced historical novel builds on an obscure Anglo-Saxon king’s life to tell an empowering tale of a girl’s journey to fully embrace a new world, a new culture…as she grows into her own as a warrior. Edith’s fierce and often violent quest for revenge is juxtaposed with lovely, life-affirming moments of friendship and love in an engaging first-person narrative.” – Kirkus Reviews
“I LOVED this quick fantasy read. I can’t wait to share with my students once I get a copy.” – Dawn, Teacher & Goodreads Reviewer
“WOW! I don’t know exactly what I was expecting, but this wasn’t it! This story is absolutely amazing.” – Rebecca, Goodreads Reviewer