Christine Young

I am a writer and avid reader of romances particularly historical romances. Please join me on my journey through time

Christine ~ Presents Fortytude by Shelly Hickman

Please welcome Shelly Hickman author of Fortytude.

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


Fortytude series

by Shelly Hickman



  1. As far as your writing goes, what are your future plans?

I’m always flying by the seat of my pants as far as my writing goes, and shocked each time I manage to actually finish a book. I have toyed with the idea of writing a book for young adults, or maybe even middle grades given that I’m a middle school teacher, but have no idea where to begin. Maybe someday…

  1. If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?

That’s an easy one—Anna. She gets a totally sweet, gorgeous guy to invite her on a trip to India—a place I would fancy seeing someday—where they also fall in love. On top of that, Kiran thinks she’s the best thing since sliced bread.

  1. If you were the casting director for the film version of your novel, who would play your leading roles?

Sarah Jessica Parker would play Anna. I just think she is so cute and she seems so down-to-earth. I first remember her from her role in the ‘80s TV show Square Pegs, then years later I became a fan of Sex and the City, and have enjoyed plenty of her movie roles in between.

Hrithik Roshan would play Kiran. He’s a bit young for the role in Vegas to Varanasi, but at 41, he’s close enough. I could definitely tolerate watching him for a couple of hours. Last year I rented Jodhaa Akbar and watched it on my computer over the course of a few days during my lunch break at work. Oh my goodness! To say he’s dreamy would be an understatement. And yes, I do stalk him on Twitter. 😉

  1. Do you belong to a critique group? If so how does this help or hinder your writing?

I don’t any longer, but I used to belong to one online. It helped me tremendously and I learned a lot there, however, sometimes I think they can hinder if members think you must go strictly “by the book” when you write. I think that’s why eventually I felt it was time to move on and trust that I can figure things out solo. That’s not to say I don’t still ask for feedback while writing—I do. But in the critique group I would sometimes get conflicting suggestions and it became more confusing than helpful.

  1. When did you first decide to submit your work? Please tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step?

I’m now self-published, but what prompted me to continue writing was my first book being accepted by a small publishing house owned by Foery MacDonell. She later became a friend as well, and sadly she passed away recently. However, I will always be grateful to her for giving me that opportunity, because it boosted my confidence to keep going and publish on my own.

  1. What is the best and worst advice you ever received? (regarding writing or publishing)

When I belonged to the critique group, there was a bit of arrogance from some of the members, in that they believed your work must be accepted by a publisher to have any validation as a writer. I didn’t like that.

On the other side of that coin, I think the best advice I’ve heard (not necessarily given to me personally, but I’ve read from other successful authors) is that a writer no longer needs a publisher to connect with readers. Sure, it’s a harder route in many ways, but there are plenty of indie authors enjoying great success. They were just willing to put in the work.

7. Do you have an all time favorite book?

It’s funny saying this because my all time favorite book is one that I read such a long time ago, my memory of it is fuzzy. I read One by Richard Bach many years ago, and for whatever reason it really struck a chord with me. I still have it on my bookshelf to this day. I should read it again sometime to see if it would still have the same effect on me.

  1. Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your book?

Yes, I’m currently working on the third book in the Fortytude series, entitled Harmony to Heartburn. We continue to follow Anna and her family life, only this time there will be some marital problems going on with her parents, as well as some relationship difficulties between her ex-husband Luke and his partner Richard. Anna begins feeling like she’s caught in the middle of it all. Like the first two books, the focus will primarily be on our relationships as we get older and all the complications that can arise, while trying to keep our sense of humor, but I wouldn’t exactly categorize this one as romantic comedy.

  1. Who is your favorite actor and actress?

It’s tough to narrow it down to just two because I have several favorites, and I’m always changing my mind about who I like best. Right now I’m a big fan of Andrew Lincoln of The Walking Dead. It’s so hard for me to believe he’s the same guy who pined for Keira Knightley in Love Actually. One of my favorite actresses is Meryl Streep. We all know she can play pretty much anything, but I especially love her in comedic roles. Some of my favorites are Mama Mia, The Devil Wears Prada, and It’s Complicated.

10. Can you tell us a little about the black moment in your book?

Because this is romantic comedy, there aren’t any horribly black moments. But I suppose the closest thing that comes to it is when Anna catches Kiran and his ex-fiance kissing. (This is in the first book.) You’ll have to read to find out how that comes about. 🙂

11. What is your favorite reality show?

Hmmm. Does HGTV count as reality TV? Because I’m not much of a reality TV person. So if HGTV counts, then I would say Househunters International. I love seeing the different locations around the world and what the homes are like. The show makes me realize how most places in the world get by on far less living space than we do in the States. I also like The Property Brothers and Love It or List It.

  1. Anything else you might want to add?

Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog, Christine! It’s been fun!




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.



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.

Amazon author page:

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.


Please use this rafflecopter code:




22 comments on “Christine ~ Presents Fortytude by Shelly Hickman

  1. Goddess Fish Promotions
    September 17, 2015

    Thank you for hosting

  2. Shelly Hickman
    September 17, 2015

    Thank you for kicking off the tour, Christine!

  3. Shelly Hickman
    September 17, 2015

    This will probably end up posting twice, but I know I posted a thank you about an hour ago and now it’s gone. Hmmmm…. Oh well. Can never give too many thank you’s. Thank you for kicking off the tour, Christine!

  4. achristay
    September 17, 2015

    Welcome to my blog. I hope you have a great tour. Yes, you did post an hour ago. Since you are new to my blog, it doesn’t automatically approve. Unfortunately, I wasn’t up an hour ago. Pacific Daylight Time.

    • Shelly Hickman
      September 17, 2015

      Haha! I’m on Pacific time too, and unfortunately I’m regularly up at that hour. 😛

  5. Rita Wray
    September 17, 2015

    I enjoyed the excerpt, thank you.

  6. Betty W
    September 17, 2015

    This sounds like a marvelous book~such a different premise! Thank you for sharing!

    • Shelly Hickman
      September 17, 2015

      Thanks, Betty! I hope you’ll download a copy. It’s free! 🙂

  7. achristay
    September 17, 2015

    I want you to know there have been a lot of visits. Very frustrated that so few have commented.

    • Shelly Hickman
      September 17, 2015

      Ah, no worries! Lots of visits and few comments are much better than no visits. 😉 Thank you again for hosting me.

  8. Cali W.
    September 17, 2015

    Thanks for the giveaway! I like the except. 🙂

  9. bn100
    September 17, 2015

    interesting titles

  10. Paige
    September 17, 2015

    Menopause to Matrimony is on my to-read pile, and I know it will be good! I enjoyed Vegas to Varanasi. It is nice to have a series about “fortytudes”. I love the title of the upcoming Harmony to Heartburn. 🙂

    • Shelly Hickman
      September 18, 2015

      Thank you, Paige! And thank you for stopping by to comment! 🙂

  11. Victoria
    September 17, 2015

    Really great post! I enjoyed reading the excerpt and interview..thanks for sharing!

  12. Ree Dee
    September 17, 2015

    I enjoyed the entire post! Thank you. I can’t wait to read more.

  13. nikolina84
    September 17, 2015

    Enjoyed reading your interview, thank you!

  14. Mai Tran
    September 18, 2015

    Characters often find themselves in situations they aren’t sure they can get themselves out of. When was the last time you found yourself in a situation that was hard to get out of and what did you do?

  15. Shelly Hickman
    September 18, 2015

    Thank you for the comments, everyone! Mai, that is great question, one that I’m drawing a blank on at the moment. Ha! I promise to come back as soon as something comes to mind. 🙂

  16. Da Ario
    September 19, 2015

    This was an interesting interview, happy I got to know the author better!

  17. Eva Millien
    September 22, 2015

    I enjoyed the great interview and the excerpt, sounds like a great book, thanks for sharing!

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