On The Hush: Interview with Author Shelly Ellis


Welcome to the first segment of On The Hush, not your average book review joint.

We concentrate on the relationship issues of the featured book, sex and life changes as told by the author. Now, that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to give you the 411 on the selected read, but I don’t believe in book assassination. My first guest is Shelly Ellis, Author of the scandalous Gibbons Gold Digger series, starring four unique sisters.

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Stephanie Gibbons, the heroine in The Player and The Game, is a manhunter with a consequence-be-damned attitude. What’s your personal philosophy on women who share Stephanie’s outlook? Did you find her a challenge to write?

My friends and family laugh about the fact that someone like me wrote the Gibbons Gold Digger series because the truth is that I’m the complete opposite of Stephanie Gibbons and most of the Gibbons sisters, for that matter. I’m a very “by-the-book” girl. Half of the stuff they do, I would never do in my wildest dreams! BUT I’m also a believer in the “to each his own” philosophy. I’m wary of forcing my standards and judgments about others lifestyles.

    Gold Digger, hustler, player, man eater – we’ve all heard the terms. Kanye West isn’t the first music artist to sing about it. We’re all grownups: is it really wrong to look out for number one or use your assets to get what you want?

I’m going to say something that conflicts with my last answer but it requires an explanation. While I think women like Stephanie have every right to be a naughty girl, I don’t think it’s the great thing to be a gold digger or a man eater specifically because it involves using other people.  I can respect other lifestyles as long as no one gets hurt, but this is a case when someone is being taken advantage of. That’s why I don’t want it misunderstood that my novels glorify gold diggers. I have all the sisters (including Stephanie) go through their own evolution in the course of their respective stories. It’s like that scene at the Grinch Stole Christmas where the “Grinch’s heart grew three sizes that day.” Through trial and tribulations they see the error in their ways by the end of each novel and their hearts grow three sizes larger. Now they’ll never be angels! (That’s just not them.) But they realize how empty it is to be a user.

Stephanie lands herself the sugar daddy Isaac in the story – do you think today’s men and women still believe in real love or has it turned into a benefits-only process of elimination?

I definitely believe that people still believe in real love or at least want it. The romance industry wouldn’t be the biggest segment in publishing if people still didn’t believe in falling in love and want the fantasy of “love that lasts forever.” Yes, we’ve become a little bit more jaded. The idea of romance isn’t what it was 100 or 200 years ago, but the dream still exists.

Your series incorporates family and sisterhood with the tales of four unique sisters. Which Gibbons sister – if in real life – could you hang out with and why?

The sister that I would probably hang out with would be Lauren, the youngest sister. She’s the most down to earth and the closest to my own personality. Dawn probably would be a close second. The other sisters — Stephanie and Cynthia — would be entertaining to observe from a distance, but they would be that crazy friend who is always on the phone retelling or crying to you about some drama. It would become exhausting!

Which, if any, of the Gibbons sisters’ family handbook do you think rings most true to you?

LOL, not a single rule rings true to me! I came up with the idea of the handbook, the rules themselves, and the rationalization behind each rule, but I think it’s a load of bull. When it comes to love and relationships, you often have to wing it. What may work in one instance with one person, won’t work with another. So having a rule book on how to deal with all men wouldn’t be very useful.

Scene Rewind – let’s talk sex. I know you can’t give a lot away, but (leaning closer) which love scene between Stephanie and sexy P.I. Keith left you with a smile on your face? Its ok, you can tell us. We’re girls.

I really like the sex scene in the hotel room after Keith pulls Stephanie out of that dive blues bar. Not only did I think it was HOT (yes, in all caps), but I like the emotional element to it. Stephanie isn’t just bared to Keith physically, but emotionally. By this point in the novel, she’s really been humbled and forced to confront things about herself. Keith finally lays out everything that he feels. They’re both stripped of all their defenses so when they come together in bed, it’s not just with their bodies. It goes from “just sex” to lovemaking — some steamy, “beg-for-more” lovemaking, but lovemaking, nevertheless.

What do you think sets Keith Hendricks apart from other heroes?

Keith is the alpha male with depth and complexity. He has a very humble background, which he’s kind of embarrassed about. He was a cop but long before that, when he was younger, he grew up in a bad neighborhood in Baltimore and did some things he’s not too proud of. He’s a noble guy but he’s not too sure how other people, like Stephanie, will perceive him and his past. It makes him defensive and in some ways, emotionally closed off. I liked writing about a hero that was grappling with those issues.

Describe a Shelly Ellis novel in seven words.

Sexy writing with heart, smarts, and humor

What are you serving up next for readers?

What’s next is the next book in the Gibbons Gold Digger series. It’s slated for April 2014 release but it’s already available for pre-order on Amazon. It’s called Another Woman’s Man and it stars the second oldest Gibbons sister, Dawn. Here’s the blurb:

Dawn Gibbons is shocked when her long-lost father reappears in her life. Seriously ill, his dying wish is to reconnect with her. But for Dawn, it’s complicated—her wealthy father comes complete with jealous relatives—and a handsome young lawyer Dawn finds dangerously sexy. He’s dangerous because he’s engaged—to her new found half-sister. One thing a Gibbons woman doesn’t do is steal her sister’s man. Yet for the first time, Dawn may care about love more than money…

 Xavier Hughes isn’t easily thrown, but the electricity between him and Dawn leave him unsettled. And when his suspicious fiancé insists he investigate Dawn’s background, it only pushes him closer to the one woman he should resist. Soon, holding back isn’t an option, and both Xavier and Dawn will have to face the consequences of breaking the family rules…

After that novel, I have the last book in the Gibbons Gold Digger series, featuring eldest sister, Cynthia. (I’m writing it now.) My editor and I also have been brainstorming another series.

Hint: it will likely take place in the fictional town of Chesterton, Virginia — the setting for the Gibbons Gold digger series so the Gibbons sisters may pop up every now and then.


Where can readers buy The Player and The Game and learn more about you and the Gibbons Gold Digger Sisters series?

Readers can The Player & the Game on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BAM, and select Target locations or visit http://shellyellis.com.


·        Readers, what are your thoughts on gold diggers, players, and those who use their assets to get what they want in this world?  Do you think of seeking out love interests with your heart or look at the benefits, or both?


Writing romance fiction has been a part of Samara’s world since her days of sneaking to the back of the library with a love story in tow; soon after, she wrote her own! She is a 2011 Poet of the Year Nominee by African Americans On The Move Book Club and a member of The Romance Writers of America (Kiss of Death, Passionate Ink and Sisters IN Crime Inc.) Samara has penned stories for Total E Bound, Cobblestone Press, Loose Id, and sexy mobile reads for Ether Books. She also writes under her co-produced self-publishing imprint, Crimson Whispers. Her first poetry collection, The Ebony Kryptonite was well received and is to be followed by her next spoken word project, The Naked The Bare. To find out more about Samara’s poetic endeavors visit: http://reverbnation.com/samaraking or listeners may also find her on Spotify! Currently, Samara is hard at work on her next series!
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