Monday, April 9, 2012

Random Inspiration with FunMistress Shellie Neumeier

Random Inspiration with Shellie Neumeier

Mark Twain once told a reporter he loved taking notes during dinner parties. Notes not of business ventures, directions, or financial advice, but of stories, gossip, and banter. From real life came Twain's inspiration. I think we'd have gotten along famously.

I write young adult and tween fiction because those are the people I spend most of my time with. I listen to their conversations as I chauffeur them from practice to games to friends' houses. Their lives become animated in the stories they tell of their school days and overnights. If that isn't enough to inspire the most fantastical fiction, their imaginations are. Simply asking a ten year old what type of adventure they'd like to take or what world would they make, brings setting and plot inspiration in heaps.

Of course there's nothing like people watching to add creativity to one's characters. Last summer I spent four hours with a girl, no older than twenty, maybe twenty-two, as she tattooed my ankle. (That's a tale for another telling.) She talked about her gruff grandfather, a former naval officer, who thought colored tattoos where not of the same caliber as the old greenish ones. Her voice softened as she spoke of her mother and quickened when she mentioned her boyfriend. And the lack of any fatherly stories spoke volumes. She became the inspiration for a dystopian heroine in my current work in progress.

If all else fails, there's always the grocery store. So many characters, so many products with their miracle cures and what-if invoking promises that it would be hard not to find inspiration for someone, something, some adventure within. So where do I find the inspiration for my fiction? By watching and listening and asking questions. Or as my husband would say, "No one and nothing is safe from [my] writing."

1. What’s been a favorite work experience you’ve had so far in life?

Hands down, meeting other authors is the best experience writing has provided. Not only have I been able to rub elbows with folks I viewed as “writing rock stars,” but I’ve learned that authors are some of the quirkiest, sweetest, funniest, strangest people you’d ever love to meet. There’s never a dull conversation when talking to authors!

2. If you could do anything you want, what would it be?

Ooooh, anything?? Can I live at the spa and have other people clean my house while I read great works of literature (or chick lit, depends on the day)? No, wait. On second thought I’d rather spend a week on an island with my family and friends. How cool would that be, to bask in the sun, explore island cities, and play in the turquoise waters. Yup, that’s what I’d want to do.

3. What’s the most exotic place you’ve traveled?

Exotic might be an interesting adjective to describe Poland, but it is the most foreign community I ever visited. Especially considering the timing of my visit. The Iron Curtain held firm and stretched its shadow across the Polish borders. Everything from the people to the weather seemed grey and saddened.

4. What do you see outside the closest window right now?

The trees in my front yard are swaying in the breeze while two brown birds (type unknown) skitter through the overgrown grass. If I watch long enough, my neighbor’s dog will bounce about their front lawn. She’s a boxer and never seems to run or walk. She bounces.

5. What do you tell people when they ask “and what do you do?”

I tell them I’m a cashier at Walgreens. I am. I used to tell them I write, but that statement seemed to complicate things. They’d tell me about their latest writing projects or how their Aunt Bertha wrote a memoir and wants to get it published, did I know anyone who could help her **winks.** Sometimes they’d get super impressed and ask me what I’d written and where they could find copies. That was cool, until they got to know me better and discovered I’m like everyone else. No need to be super impressed. Now I save the “I’m an author” for some time deeper in our conversation or relationship. Seems to fit better that way.

6. Where’s your favorite place to grocery shop?

Hmm, favorite place would have to be the farmer’s markets. Doesn’t matter where, as long as it’s fresh. Veggies never tasted so good, you know. Oh and the fresh cheese and baked goods, yum. Wow, thanks Lisa, now I’m hungry and it’s March! J.

7. What, to you, is worship?

I’d love to have an amazing answer here, but worship to me is pretty simple. To me, worship is giving myself completely to God. Whether that’s singing, ministry, cashiering, motherhood, wifedom, it’s all in there as long as I’m doing it for God.

The Wishing Ring (book one in the Adventures of Cory and Ally),
published by MuseItYoung, ASIN: B0073UHRM4
Buy it on Amazon

The King’s Seal (book two), published by MuseItYoung
To be released 12/2012
Other books by Shellie:
Driven,a YA supernatural book from Risen Books
available from Amazon
and A Summer in Oakville, a romance, from BlackLyon Publishing
available from Amazon


  1. Fun interview, Lisa! Nice to meet you, Shellie! It's interesting to learn where you get inspiration to write. The world is full of ideas, if we just keep our eyes and ears open.

    Now I want to visit a farmers' market in an island city :-)

    You really must share that tatoo story sometime... ;-)

  2. Hi Brandi,

    Thanks for taking the time to read this. Lisa gives me a LOT of grace when I visit:D. As for the farmer's market on an island...that would be a challenge. Guess you'll have to come visit sometime:). As for the tattoo...:D