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?
3. What’s the most exotic place you’ve traveled?
4. What do you see outside the closest window right now?
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?
7. What, to you, is worship?
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