I’m not so sure I picked this genre or it picked me. When I first started writing fiction, the notions of genres and style never occurred to me. Come to think of it, I was so green I didn’t even know such beasts existed. Sure I had my preference when it came to finding books at the library, but did I ever think of those preferences as choices of genre or style? Nah. So when it came to writing, a story captured my heart and I wrote it. Just so happened that story told itself through the eyes of a teenage girl. As I grow and learn in my writer’s life, I’ve discovered YA fits me. There’s a flexibility that YA readers allow in their literature that adult readers may not. Flexibility that allows for mythical creatures, dark settings, nail-biting drama and so much more. Maybe someday I’ll write something else, but for now…YA rocks.
2. What do you hope your readers will take away from your books?
I like to think there’s always good inside, whether that’s my books, my characters, my life…it’s just a matter of searching deep enough to find it. I hope and pray that’s what my readers discover as they read my stories. Despite the darkness, the struggles, the wickedness life may hold, somewhere there’s hope, there’s light. But to find it, you have to persevere, forgive, be flexible, be patient.
3. Tell us about coauthoring, it seems to me it would be very hard. Tell us about your coauthor.
I’ve heard scary stories and wonderful friendships that develop from coauthoring and I’m so glad mine resulted in the later. Lisa Lickel is a delight to work with. She’s an amazing mentor, author, editor, confidant and friend. She loves bacon and crepes, but that’s beside the point. Most importantly, she’s gracious and forgiving. A Summer in Oakville, coauthored with Lisa, was the third book I wrote and the first romance to-boot. Lisa’s patience with me became a motivational element, driving me to finish what I figured couldn’t be done. I mean really, I wrote YA/MG fantasy/paranormal not YA romance. Still, she worked with what I gave her and advised where needed while allowing me to keep the youthfulness of my characters and the struggles they went through. While she kept the mythical creatures out of our story, Lisa enhanced my writing instead of making it blend with her style. In hindsight, our styles seemed to blend seamlessly into a sweet tale of forgiveness and family love.
4. Are you working on another book? please tell us about it.
I have a couple manuscripts in the works. One is a YA dystopian and it’s currently in the hands of an editor. I have high hopes for that one; it’s my favorite story, to date. The second is a Christmas novella which is expected to release this November/December. That story is a cross between David Copperfield and The Cake Boss. A fun story to write, for sure. Each summer I add another book to The Adventures of Ally and Cory series (book 1, The Wishing Ring, released last winter and book 2, The King’s Seal, releases this December). I ask my kids to help fill in the plot gaps as I go along. Helps to energize the stories and keeps them involved when they’re at home, so I’m sure we’ll get started on that one soon.
5. How does your faith play into your writing?
Faith weaves the fibers of who I am into something cohesive and tangible, so it’s not a surprise when it surfaces in the stories I write. However, as my writing matures, faith elements are becoming more organic, more subtle, more real, if you would. My characters struggle with their own faith (like I do), they doubt (like I do), they stumble (like I do), and they grow (like I hope I do J). Writing YA allows me to paint dark backdrops with huge hurtles so when good arises, the contrast impacts the reader. Sometimes that good comes in a Christian world-view and sometimes it comes in an actual transformation of character, depends on the story and the audience. Either way, the good is always inside J.
6.What are your hobbies other than writing?
Hobbies, hmmm. I love to read between trips to little league and cheerleading practice. Once in a while I’ll play Angry Birds or Farm Frenzy, but only after the laundry, cleaning and cooking is done. Can I call my family work a hobby? It’s not always fun, but I love the results :D.
7. Do you have a blog or webite?
Or you can find me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shellie.neumeier