Featured Authors Talk About It
ATAI: Tell us a little about you.
My name is Shelby Londyn-Heath. (nom de plume) I am a writer and blogger. If anyone would like to be spotlighted or interviewed on my blog, check it out at http://www.surfsupbookshelves.com And if you, the interviewer, would like to do a guest post, please feel free to do so. My mission is not only to promote myself, but to promote other writers and book lovers. I learned from authoring my first book that writing is a grueling process, bringing with it the challenges of self-doubt and procrastination.
Making friends with other writers after I got published was the exact opposite experience for me. I felt enlivened by meeting writers who went through the same emotions as me when they were trying to complete a book. I have been amazed at how understanding and supportive writers are.
ATAI: How long have you been writing?
SLH: I have been writing since I learned my letters. After I learned to write, I set up a classroom in my living room and tried to teach my younger brothers how to write. If they did well, they got to play games that I made up for them. Turns out they liked the games better than the writing and they started to rebel from me. Later, all three of my brothers dropped out of high school. They created thriving businesses and did much better than I did financially. They should have taught me a lesson or two. I am still struggling, even though I received more education than they did.
ATAI: What was your most recent release?
SLH: My most recent release was The Twilight Tsunami, a raw-hitting book about Social Services. Opinions about my book have varied. Talk about love/hate. Reviewers have praised it to the stars and back. Others have given me reviews full of verbal slaps. The reviews have helped me learn to write better. Bottom line: this book can easily offend. However, there is a lot of action and suspense in it. I laughed and cried as I wrote it.
Oh, I forgot to mention that I just finished a book of short stories called The Bulls in Houston. I haven’t published it yet because I entered it in a writing contest – one of those rare contests that are free, yet highly respected.
ATAI: What do you love most about writing?
SLH: I love to write because I am able to leave behind the world that I find irritating at times. I can be free of the idiots who honk their car horns if I am a second late pulling into traffic, even though there are cars coming. I can leave behind sour-faced people at the Department of Motor Vehicle who love to be rude for the power of it. ( I send thank you’s to the nice ones.)
Did you ever notice that the more people feel secure in their jobs, the meaner they can be? For that reason, I question giving tenure to teachers, especially teachers who have been in the system for a thousand years and have grown tired of children.
Oops, back to writing…Yes, I love to escape the trivialities and meanness that exists all around me, ( I give thank you’s to the compassionate and caring people out there) and I live for awhile with exciting characters and lots of adventures. Of course, if a character in my book turns mean or rude, I can torture it with dumb choices and humiliating events. After all, it’s my book. Being a writer lets me be the ultimate control freak.
ATAI: What do you find most challenging?
SLH: I hate the business end of writing. My personal nature is to give. I love to share what I have and I like to keep things simple. This whole promotion thing is agony for me. And promotions are expensive. There are a lot of promotional sites on the internet that are gauging self-published authors. Then again, there are committed websites, like this one, who ask nothing in exchange for spotlighting writers on their sites. Thank goodness there are people who work hard to keep literature rooted into the main culture.
ATAI: Where do your ideas come from?
SLH: The best ideas come from the times I meditate. No, I don’t meditate regularly but it is amazing when I quiet down, how many messages the universe has for me.
Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night when a character visits me, or when I day dream, some new being pops in on a beam from outer somewhere. If I could write what I have seen in my daydreams, I would have thousands of books to be proud of, but the actual sitting down and writing takes tons more discipline than I am capable of.
ATAI: What is your writing process?
SLH: When I write, I write nonstop. Time flies. I can go from morning to night for days. However, I cannot multi-task. When I have daily business to attend to, I get severely distracted. If I become worried about something, I cannot stand the thought of writing. I have to have a clear mental channel to work
ATAI: Do your characters (or message) ever seem to have a life of their own or an agenda of their own?
SLH: Absolutely. My characters are head-strong and they don’t like to be told what to do. Quite often, I have to take breaks from them. My books take a long time because of this.
ATAI: What’s your favorite part of your book (or one of your books)?
SLH: I love my short story “The Hanging Footbridge” in my book The Bulls in Houston. I started making the story up when I was sitting at an old dock in Hawaii where Mark Twain visited. I said, “Hey Mark, why don’t you help me with a story and I’ll be forever grateful?” I looked up and there was an old footbridge and my story went from there. Of course, the story is nothing like Mark Twain would have ever written, and it is quirky, possibly an offensive story, but I love it. I like the way the main character found a solution to the awful challenge of his life. I mean, isn’t that what we are all about? Searching for the key that will unlock the magic and unfurl a path to our freedom? Underneath it all, we want the same thing but our paths to get there are different.
ATAI: What are you working on next?
SLH: I am in a period of distraction. Have you ever woken up to the sound of bulldozers whining and clanging around you? You can hear the roots of trees ripping and the harsh jarring sounds of their crash to the earth. Well, that is what I am going through right now. The land next to me is being leveled and I have had trouble sleeping due to the upheaval. This experience reinforces how badly I want to create a quiet retreat for artists and writers someday.
ATAI: Where can people find you online?
SLH: Please visit my blog http://www.surfsupbookshelves.com and also, visit me on Face Book.
You are welcome to promote your book on my “Global Writers for Peace” Face Book page:
My book The Twilight Tsunami is on Amazon:
ATAI: Thank you for sharing with us and our audience.
SLH: Thanks. And remember, all you writers out there, you are powerful and your writing is important to the world. Write on!
*NOTE: ATAI does not edit the responses of the authors.
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