Get to Know Shelly Laurenston, RWA2018 Keynote Speaker

We’ve got a stellar lineup of speakers at the RWA Conference this year! RWA interviewed these speakers to get their views on important topics like writing, singing in the shower, and silly talents. First up, RWA2018 Keynote Luncheon Speaker Shelly Laurenston.Shelly Laurenston logo


The theme for RWA2018 is “Rethink. Revitalize. Renew.” What activity revitalizes you when the words are running dry?

Shelly Laurenston: When I’m really frustrated and out of ideas, I usually pull out old video games. My favorites are Diablo 2 for PC and Gauntlet for the original Xbox. Those are great hack-and-slash games where all I do is kill things and gather gold and treasure from my victims. It’s wonderfully mindless, and that helps my brain loosen up, and the ideas to start flowing again. Usually.


What song do you sing in the shower (or in the car) that gets you pumped up?

Laurenston: Strangely … I don’t have a song that pumps me up. I sing in the shower. And in the car. And just walking to the kitchen from the living room. But I don’t have a specific song that I call on when I need some extra energy. But if I need exciting background music while I’m writing action scenes, I usually go to tech and house music. There’s usually no lyrics to distract me. Just music that inspires me to create. I can see the action scenes played out in my head with the music. It’s like watching a movie.  


What’s your favorite first line from a book (your own or otherwise)?

Laurenston: I can’t think of a first line from a book, although I doubt I would have finished a book if the first line hadn’t grabbed me. But the one book that pulled me in from the first line I read in it was The Godfather. It wasn’t the first line written by Mario Puzo, though, that grabbed me. It was the quote in book one: “Behind every great fortune there is a crime." — Balzac

I was really young (probably too young) to be reading The Godfather, but it was in my parents’ book collection and after reading that quote, I was pulled in and didn’t stop reading until I was done. It was just such a good book. And the first two movies made from the book were, of course, awesome.


What’s the one thing no one will ever find in your pantry?

Laurenston: I’m a very finicky eater, so there’s a whole store’s worth of stuff you will never find in my pantry. I’m lucky there’s anything in there at all. And most of that is canned or simply dry pasta.


What’s a silly talent you wish you had?

Laurenston: Blacksmith. I’d love to make my own medieval/fantasy weapons. Plus, I’m sure my arms would be tone as hell, and that would be amazing!


What’s a slang word from when you were a teenager that you still use?

Laurenston: I just recently found out that the term “the pound” is no longer in vogue. When I talk about rescuing my pit bull, I say I got him from “the pound.” A dog trainer laughed and said, “I love when you use that old language.” She’s about thirteen years younger than me, so I’m very proud that I didn’t knee-cap her for such an insult. But she’s a hearty gal, so I’m sure it would have been an ugly fight. I guess the correct term these days is “shelter,” but if it’s a state- or city-run facility, it will always be “the pound” to me.


Who was the first person to support your pursuit of a writing career?

Laurenston: I’ve been really lucky. I’ve had some very loyal friends who’ve supported my work since I started in e-books. Friends who still support me to this very day. But the one who supported my writing career from the very beginning was my best friend from high school, Chris. We’ve been tight since I was a sophomore, and I had just changed high schools. Chris has always had faith in me when I had absolutely none in myself. And when I started to get published, she was happy for me but not remotely surprised. That’s meant so much to me, because someone having faith in you for so long is very special. And important when sometimes it feels like it’s the entire world’s goal to pull you down. It’s not, of course, but when things aren’t working like you want them to or your depression meds have stopped working, it’s easy to think that way. But having loyal friends who’ve got your back can help a person make it through the hardest of times.


Originally from Long Island, New York, New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Shelly Laurenston has resigned herself to West Coast living which involves healthy food, mostly sunny days, and lots of guys not wearing shirts when they really should be. Shelly Laurenston is also the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author G.A. Aiken, creator of the Dragon Kin series. For more info on G.A.’s dangerously and arrogantly sexy dragons, check out her website at

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