Shawn’s story in our TICK TOCK: Seven Tales of Time is entitled The Door, in which a locked apartment door hides a chilling secret.
What do you never leave home without, and why?
Lip balm. I hate it when my lips get dry, which is a never-ending battle where I live in Colorado, so I’ve got tubes stashed all over my house, at least one in my purse, and a couple in my car.
What is your fav secret indulgence?
Dark chocolate-covered almonds and bamboo bedsheets. I’m a Gemini; I can never choose just one thing. Guess those aren’t so secret. Okay, I confess, I hide the almonds from the rest of my family.
What is your favorite way to celebrate finishing a novel?
I wish I could say hopping a plan to Maui. Hopefully that will come someday soon! Usually I do something special around my house. I love to decorate, so I’ll save a special project that I’m excited about. Once I’ve hit the “publish” button, I take a week or so and do something completely unrelated to writing. Last time I painted the built-in bookshelves in my family room. It was relaxing and rewarding and my family room looks way better now!
What got you started with writing? What drives you to keep writing?
Star Wars. Seriously. I was a kid when the original series first came out, and I fell head-over-heels in love with the story. The wait between movies was too long for me, so I wrote my own episodes. Funny, I’ve never had the urge to write Sci-Fi. Maybe because nothing else, even in my own mind, will be as good! What keeps me writing? The characters. When I come up with a story I know is worth exploring, the characters come to life and won’t leave me alone until I write it all down.
Are you more of a half-full or half-empty kind of person? How does that influence developing your characters—plots—endings?
I try very hard to be a half-full person, but like I said above, I’m a Gemini so that annoying half-empty twin that lives inside my head always has an opinion. The positive twin usually wins out. In almost all of my stories, the protagonist goes through some really hard trials but always finds the strength within to triumph at the end. Those are the most satisfying tales to me. I have great respect for anyone who overcomes challenges.
Do you ever see yourself switching genres?
I do! My first series, THE WISH MAKERS, is YA fantasy, but in December I released an adult suspense novella. I had so much fun writing ONE OF HER OWN that I know there will be more suspense stories in my lineup. I like to combine genres, though, and actually have an idea for a suspense fantasy simmering in the back of my brain right now.
What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever been given?
To turn off your internal editor and then turn off your ego. For me, the only way to do a first draft is to get the whole thing written as quickly as possible. That means turning off my internal editor so I’m not constantly going back and making changes. Then once I have a complete first draft, I send it to my critique group and have to turn off my ego. What I mean is that sometimes my critique partners have better ideas for my stories than I do. I want to put out the best possible books I can, so that sometimes means listening to the advice of others and letting some of my own ideas go.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In 10 years?
This is a super hard question. I honestly don’t know. I assume I’ll still be writing and doing other creative things. I have to have a creative outlet of some sort because I’ll shrivel up inside if I don’t. I am completely open to whatever life presents, though. I never thought I’d move to Colorado from Wisconsin and that was a positive thing. Another move? Sure. A new professional opportunity? You bet’cha. (That’s my Wisconsin coming out.) Author Elizabeth Gilbert says that we should follow our curiosity. I’m a very curious person.
Thanks for reading Shawn’s interview! You can learn more about Shawn and connect with her online here.