Rad-Reader:  What made you pick them both being with the FBI as opposed to a different law enforcement agency?

Shelley:   I’ve always had a fascination with the FBI, Secret Service, CIA, and police.  I knew I wanted to write a romance, so with my love for these types of organizations, it felt natural to combine them both.
I chose the FBI as I needed the characters to have access to a lot more resources and intelligence than say the police force.  It was important to me to create a strong, intelligent and powerful leading female character and so having her second in command to a director in the FBI seemed fitting.  

Rad-Reader:  You find out about Jackson, his past and his family.  But with Ashley nothing really until page 232 when she makes a small comment about family, was that always your plan?  Or is there a plan for another book about her background and who she was before getting to this point?

Shelley:   I do make references early on in the novel to reveal a little about Ashley’s family situation.  We learn a little more through the chapters.
Such as on page 39 when David asks if they should be calling in her family and Jackson responds by saying “There isn’t anyone to call.”  Then in chapter four, I explain a little more about Ashley’s upbringing of being in and out of foster care and having to basically raise herself and that her only support network is Jackson and her friends.  I set those scenes up so that when Jackson was at the doctors with her and the doctor’s questions why she was working and hadn’t been seeking support from her family and she explains that she doesn’t have a family to turn to it really hit Jackson hard. It made him think about how lonely his actions must have made her feel – especially when he knew she didn’t have a family to turn to. 
In most chapters, I dropped some kind of hint as to why Ashley wasn’t used to having someone to turn to and up until now only had herself to rely on.  That she adored seeing Jackson with his family and so quickly formed a sister type bond with Jess.
That way, when it came to the ending chapters of the novel, I was able to express how important it was to Ashley, how much she cherished having his family’s support because she wasn’t used to it. 
I didn’t want it to be a major storyline but it was a huge part of the character of Ashley and the reason behind her independent and determined nature that builds part of her personality. 
Even though Jackson and Ashley have come from extremely different upbringings, yet they are still in a very similar position work wise and they both love certain traits about each other, that have been nurtured and developed from their past. 

Rad-Reader:  Was either Ashley or Jackson based on anyone or just your creations?

Shelley:  Both Ashley and Jackson are completely my own creations.  I believe I took certain traits from different people I know personally that I admire to help create the characters and their strengths and weaknesses.  Before I started writing the novel, I had a very clear idea in my mind of what kind of people both characters were going to be which was very helpful when it came to writing it down.  Once I feel I know a character inside and out, I find it easier to almost slip into that character as I write their narrative.  

Rad-Reader:  Was Jackson’s sister always part of your story or was she added as you got into writing the story?

Shelley:  I always knew I wanted Jackson’s family to be a large part of the story and that his sister would be a major character.  What I didn’t know when I started was how Jess was going to become so pivotal to the story.  I literally didn’t have the idea of Jessica’s boyfriend being the enemy until I started writing chapter six.  That chapter and the one that followed just seemed to pour out of me as I started writing. I wrote them on just one a day as I became stoked when it hit me how I could tie Hunter into Ashley’s background to form the rest of the story.

Rad-Reader:  How did you come up with the character Hunter?

Shelley:   I liked the idea of having the villain someone that was not a part of a current case that Ashley or Jackson was working on.  I wanted him to be someone that neither of them recognized when they saw him for the first time. Also, for a lot of the plot to be about them having to figure out who he really was and why he had such a vendetta against Ashley. 
That is why when the idea hit me in Chapter six that Hunter could have a past with Ashley through his brother I was excited to see where that was going to take me. I believe that was also when I realized I could make this into a series instead of just one novel because I would have Hunter’s brother in the background to use at any time. It presented me with the opportunity to allow Hunter’s story to unfold with an array of possibilities because he wouldn’t necessarily be needed or important to keep around for the next novel.  

Rad-Reader:  Was there a reason you picked L.A. and not N.Y. or Chicago or another town?

Shelley:  I chose L.A simple because I am very familiar with it – even though that didn’t really matter in the end as I didn’t use known locations.  I guess because, in the beginning, I didn’t know where the story was going to take me, I felt more comfortable sticking with a city that I know a lot better than others.  

Rad-Reader:  Do you write using an outline or maybe a storyboard?  Or do you just like to start writing and see where it takes you?

Shelley:  I know a lot of authors write out an outline or storyboard but I have never written that way.  I love just sitting down and writing and seeing what comes out and where it leads me. Then I go back and add certain facts, comments or even extra chapters to help the story all come together as I start reaching the end to make sure I have tied up all the loose ends.  Sometimes I would write something in say chapter fifteen or eighteen that would mean I had to go back earlier in the story and add a certain point or have a character make a comment to help with the continuity of the story. 
It can be a challenging way to write as you can back yourself into a corner but for me, I think I find that half of the thrill.  Allowing my imagination to just run wild and letting it see where it leads me.

Rad-Reader:  Do people really eat pineapple and mushroom pizza?

Shelley:  LOL, I don’t know about anyone else but I do! I’ve always loved pineapple and mushroom pizza.

Rad-Reader:  I thought the gang tattoo that Jackson’s sister had but didn’t know she had was a good touch.  How did you come up with that?

Shelley:  Thank you. When I decided that Hunter was a gang member I did a lot of research on gangs and how they typically can work.  I wanted to find a way to show how naive and innocent Jess was.  I thought back to that time in my life when I was younger and how easy it was to get swept away with the idea of love and how blinding it can be.   
It was also important to me to show the difference between Jess and Ashley.  Jess up to that point had been living a very sheltered life and had been raised in a healthy and loving family, opposed to Ashley who had done it extremely tough growing up and probably knew and understood the darker side of life better than the brighter side. 
By giving Jess that tattoo, I was able to portray how deeply intertwined she was with Hunter and his gang.  I could then also show the understanding, beautiful side of Ashley as she helped Jess and Jackson come to grips with the situation they were in.  It allowed me to really strengthen that bond between the three characters.

Rad-Reader:  Was having a gang tattoo something you had in your original draft or did you add it as you were writing?

Shelley:   No, as I mentioned I didn’t have an original draft or anything.  When I was writing that fight scene between Hunter and Jackson I wanted to find a way for Jackson to discover who they were really dealing with.  Initially, I had written it as a comment that Hunter made that tipped Jackson off but then I felt like that exposed both of them.
By adding the tattoo, it allowed me the chance to have Jackson believe he had the upper hand in knowing how dangerous Hunter was and at the same time not realize that by then it was already too late – Hunter had seen and recognized Ashley. 
I looked at it from then on almost like a game of cat and mouse. Each character believing they had the upper hand or power at some point when really it was the other way around.  I was able to explore that side of things from then on, which I found exhilarating.

Rad-Reader:  I know for me as a reader and because of my former job.  When someone writes about gangs and members but doesn’t offer any markings it disappoints me.  So, I was wondering if someone told you to add it or if you came up with that on your own because for me it made it more believable?

Shelley:   I wrote the novel and did all of the research on my own. Nobody gave me the idea of a tattoo.  It was in my head from my research of gangs and from then it was just a matter of finding the best timing and right way to use it.  I like finding and adding little details like that to my work that I feel helps it feel more believable or authentic.

Rad-Reader:  Was it difficult to write about two different type of hostage situations from a writer's point of view?

Shelley:   I don’t think so. I viewed them as two completely different situations. I enjoyed writing the first hostage situation as it allowed me to really show how Ashley and Jackson both felt about each other early on and hopefully have the readers start caring about them and what happened to them from the beginning. So for me, the first hostage situation was more about emotions. 
The second hostage situation was where the real action was and I actually really enjoyed writing that one.  I had to re-write it many times to get the ‘feel’ of it right.  I did a huge amount of research for these chapters as I wanted everything to be realistic.  For example, the ‘Head wrench’ move Ashley did is a real move used by trained professionals.  I loved placing my characters in situations and then doing the research to find ways that they could get themselves out of it.
I even tried doing the zip tie to see how difficult it would be for Jess to get out of, even with Ashley showing her the correct procedure.  Surprisingly it isn’t that difficult, which was why I had her only have to do it a few times – if you get the motions accurate, it is quite easy. 
Even though it took quite a few re-writes because it can be difficult to find the right words to create that tension, fear, and life-threatening feeling.  I wanted to the readers to feel stressed for the characters and have empathy for Ashley, Jess, and Jackson and how they would be feeling at these points in time. It really was a fun experience and I found that I enjoy writing action.  It has opened my mind up to more possibilities for future books and genres.

Rad-Reader:  Was having Jackson’s parents always part of your story or did you feel you needed to add them?

Shelley:  I knew I wanted Jackson’s parents involved from the first chapter.  I wanted to create the dynamic of Jackson having a family and Ashley not having that kind of support system.  I knew I was going to weave them into the story the whole way through, I just wasn’t sure how until it was actually happening!

Rad-Reader:  What was your process for selecting the title for the book?  For I read a book a year ago with the same title, but not the same story.

Shelley:  I struggled with the name of the novel the entire time I was writing it.  I knew from the start I wanted it to imply ‘life behind what goes on for people that have the honor of having a badge.  For a while, I was thinking of using ‘Shielding Ashley’ – symbolizing the shield (badge) and Jackson’s desire to protect Ashley.  That title just didn’t sit right with me though. I went back and forth for months and then suddenly one day my mum just said it.  The second I heard it, I knew that was it.  What is funny about that is that my mum knew the basis of my story but hadn’t read it and certainly didn’t know the ins and outs of the novel, so I almost fell off my chair when she said it because she managed to capture everything I wanted to say perfectly. 

Rad-Reader:  Was this your first published book?  If so, has the process been difficult to this point?

Shelley:  Yes, this is my first published book.  I was the manager of the official website of a professional golfer for many years and so I had a lot of work published in magazines and websites.  I also had a lot of work published as a ghostwriter.  That is one of the reasons why I was so excited to finally be able to write some fiction.  I have enjoyed the whole process.  I found a very good friend in my editor, Laura Le Lievre.  We have some great memories trying to get work done with four kids running wild around us.
Creating the cover was also an incredible experience. Tanya Gulevski (owner of Mosiac Photography and Designs) created it for me. We did a photo shoot and I loved the process of finding all of the props for the shoot.  The vest Jackson is wearing on the cover is an official SWAT vest and I love that I have these items to keep forever.  Everything on the cover means something to the story and there are a couple personal touches.  For example, Ashley is wearing my watch which is one of my most prized possessions.  It has so much sentimental value to me.
My best friend and my brother were the talents for the cover.  Sarah Hallam who played Ashley normally has very blonde hair and so we had to dye it brown for the character. We were going to have a casting but then it dawned on me I had two people in my life that from the back, fit the physical description’s I had given each character perfectly. So I love that the cover represents so many different things for me and the novel.  I also feel like Tanya captured my vision perfectly.
The hardest part of the entire process of publishing your first book is actually getting it out there and making people aware of it.  I feel like the marketing side of your book is the most difficult.  I am also grateful for it though, as I am learning so much and connecting with a lot of wonderful people along the way.

Rad-Reader:  Was there anything you did for yourself when you finally got it published?

Shelley:   When the first printer copy arrived, my daughter, Ashley (who is five) and I danced around the room for ages laughing and hugging each other.  Ashley told me how proud of me she was and that was such a special moment – something I will always remember.
That night my whole family went out for dinner to celebrate.

Rad-Reader:  When do you do your best writing?

Shelley:  This is something that changes for me all of the time.  I have chronic pain which can make even the smallest tasks very difficult sometimes.  When my leg is really bad, it is impossible to concentrate.  So when I am having a decent day or a good few hours, I will pounce on that time to get some writing done.  I also have a six-year-old daughter and as I am sure many authors can agree with, it can be pretty hard to write when you have kids running around you.  So, most of the time it ends up being in the middle of the night when I can get my best writing done. 

Rad-Reader:  What do you like to do during your downtime?

Shelley:  Playing with my daughter, Ashley.  I am a single mum and we make the best little team.  We love playing with our cat and dog.  Exploring new places and trying new activities.  For me, I love just having time with friends and family, whether that is hanging out over lunch or going to a movie together.  We also live right next door to a park and are surrounded by the most beautiful community.  Every week anywhere between 10 - 15 kids and parents from the neighborhood meet up at the park for a catch-up. Ashley and I love that time. 

Rad-Reader:  What is your next project and when is it due out?

Shelley:  I am working on a novel that is a little darker this time.  I'm still not sure exactly where it is taking me but at the moment it is about an abduction from both the parents and the police point of view.  I've also got the sequel to Behind the Badge to finish.  I don't have any dates for release at this point.

Rad-Reader:  Where can our readers buy your books?  Links, please.

On my website: www.shelleywadeauthor.com 
Readers can find links to most of the places that sell my book as well as some behind the scenes information, reviews and news.  They can also connect with me on there though...

Instagram (@shawadey15),

Amazon / Kindle 


Barnes and Noble: 

Behind the Badge

Rad-Reader:  Where can our find you on the Web?

Shelley:  My website:  www.shelleywadeauthor.com

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/shwadey

Instagram: @shwadey15

Goodreads: - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17705395.Shelley_Wade

Shelley Wade (@Shwadey) | Twitter
The latest Tweets from Shelley Wade (@Shwadey). Proud mother of my little superstar Ashley. Author, love golf and a little casting. Friends and family are everything!. Melbourne

Thank you for allowing me to read your book and for taking time out of your day of writing for these questions.  Your attention to certain details made this book all the more enjoyable to me because of the time you took to do your research.  As my wife always says whether you like it or not you are now part of the 1 Rad-Reader Misfits.  Please come back and take advantage of our Shout Out: An Author's Page to let us know when you have another book coming out.  Thanks again.
Pat & Char

If you missed the excerpts please check them out here on the site for the last two days. You will want to see them.  I'm sure. 

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