Friday, May 29, 2015

Featured Author: Colleen Helme


Shelby Nichols isn’t your average soccer-mom turned private investigator. She’s more on the quirky side with a little wild thrown in. That’s because a near-fatal gunshot wound to the head left her with the ability to read minds. This lands her in all kinds of trouble, and this time is no exception. Helping a reporter, Billie Jo, get the low-down on a case is just the tip of the iceberg. When her best friend’s niece goes missing, Shelby is pulled into a conspiracy that involves the police and the leader of a violent drug ring. Add to that a stranger in town with ties to the mob-boss she works for, along with a known assassin out to kill him, and Shelby is crossing danger at every turn. Will she find the answers in time? Or will this be her last adventure?


Colleen, what’s the story behind the title of your book?
I’m a little dorky when it comes to writing a book. I say that, because even though I know basically what the book is about when I start, I have to come up with a working title to really get going. It’s almost like the title is my muse. Crossing Danger fit perfectly for where I wanted to go with this book, and in the end, couldn’t have been a better match. I don’t know if that’s because I got the title first and wrote to that, or it was just what I wanted to do with the book!

Tell us about your series. Is this book a standalone, or do readers need to read the series in order?
This book is part of the Shelby Nichols Adventure Series, but each book has a beginning, middle and an end, so they can definitely be read as stand-alones. Each book revolves around Shelby with many of the same main characters, so you get to see them grow and how they handle different situations. I like to think of each book as an epic episode in the Shelby Nichols Series.

What’s your favorite memory?
When my youngest son was 13, he was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor. Surgery was successful, but he endured 8 months of radiation and chemotherapy. The summer after he finished his treatments, our whole family went on a tour of Scotland through the wonderful Make-A-Wish program. We visited 12 Castles and even spent the night in one. It was simply magical, and I will never forget that amazing trip, or the joy it brought to my son and family after a difficult and stressful time.

What brings you sheer delight?
Five star reviews! LOL – I love to connect with my readers and hear how enchanted they are by my books. It’s such a delight to know my writing brings pleasant hours of entertainment to others. I’m serious when I say that it’s the fans of the series that keep me writing.

Would you rather be a lonely genius, or a sociable idiot?
I think I’d like to be smarter... but without other people, who’d care?

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
It comes from Carrots, the first Shelby Nichols Adventure. “There are times when a satisfying lie is better than the awful truth.” That was the question that brought about the whole challenge of Shelby’s predicament as a mind-reader, since she always knows the awful truth!

What would you like people to say about you after you die?
That I was fun to be with and had an infectious laugh!

What would your main character say about you?
She’d tell me I need to get out more and stop thinking so much about her!

How did you create the plot for this book?
After the last book, Deep in Death, Shelby was traumatized by a serial killer, so I knew I wanted her to be a little more pro-active in this one. She decides to take Aikido (a martial art) so something like that won’t happen to her again. There were also other threads left open from that book to explore, like Uncle Joey’s mysterious friend from the past as well as Shelby’s friendship with a journalist. That was the basis, and from there I just went with it. I’m more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants writer, so even though I have a general direction and know basically where I want to end up, I don’t have an outline, which means I generally spend a lot of time in my head trying to figure out how I’m going to get Shelby out of the mess I got her in.

Are any of your characters inspired by real people?
My best friend, Holly, is Shelby’s best friend in the books. In Crossing Danger, she plays a bigger role since this time, her niece goes missing. The niece part is made up, but it was a lot of fun to have her play a bigger part in the book. She read it and thought it was a lot of fun. So . . . beware. I have been known to put people I know in my books!

What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)? 
I am currently reading Red Hot Steele (Daggers & Steele Book 1) on my Kindle. It was on sale and looked intriguing, but I just started so I can’t say much about it yet.

What’s one pet peeve you have when you read?
Use of extreme profanity in an otherwise great story. I don’t mind the “f” word once in a while, but too much of it and I just have to put the book down. 

Why did you decide to self-publish?
I have been both self-published and traditionally published (with a small press), and being on both sides, I have to say that for me, self-publishing has been a wonderful experience. I love having total control over my book – from the book cover to the release date. It is a lot of work but I have found great people to work with (editors, cover artists, formatting), and I am not bound to anyone in my ability to promote. This works for me because I do this for a living and I am pro-active and a self-starter. I also make a lot more money. I have recently received the rights back for my traditionally published books and I’m excited to self-publish them!

What steps to publication did you personally do, and what did you hire someone to do? Is there anyone you’d recommend for a particular service?
I would definitely recommend for cover art – they are wonderful, and I love all my covers. I also bought the interior formatting from, and have found them easy to work with. My editor happens to be my niece and she is awesome, so I’m lucky that way. Also, I found a wonderful producer, Wendy Tremont King, through who has produced all of the Shelby Nichols Adventures for audible. She is the voice of Shelby Nichols, and I’m so lucky to have her. Please visit Audible for a sample of her work! She’s awesome!

What are you working on now?
The next Shelby Nichols Adventure. Volume 8 is going to be filled with excitement and danger because Shelby is going to Paris!! I guess that means I’d better go too . . . so I can do some research! Now that is going to be an adventure!


As the author of the Shelby Nichols Adventure Series, Colleen is often asked if Shelby Nichols is her alter-ego. “Definitely,” she says. “Shelby is the epitome of everything I wish I dared to be.” Known for her laugh since she was a kid, Colleen has always tried to find the humor in every situation and continues to enjoy writing about Shelby’s adventures. “I love getting Shelby into trouble . . . I just don’t always know how to get her out of it!” Colleen lives in the Rocky Mountains with her family. Besides writing, she loves a good book, biking, hiking, and playing board and card games with family and friends. She loves to connect with readers and admits that fans of the series keep her writing.

Connect with Colleen:
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads