I have a treat for you on Behind the Quill today! No, it’s not chocolate, but close. It’s an interview with the spectacular , Myndi Shafer, author of Shrilugh. Not only does this woman know how to write a darn good novel, but she’s also a wife, a mother of FOUR little Shafer people, and she maintains a rocking blog. I was totally
prepared to sneak over to Kansas and kidnap her for just a little while to find out how she does it all without the help of a clone excited when she agreed to chat with me.
Here’s what she had to say:
Me: Let me just start out by saying I absolutely adore your blog. Where do you come up with your content and ideas for posts?
MS: Aw, thanks! Everyday life is the best inspiration! Every now and then I’ll get stuck and have to troll the web for ideas, but I try to stick to stuff that comes naturally. I always want my blog to feel comfy, like having iced tea on the front porch with an old friend.
Me: It does feel just like that! Do you enjoy blogging as much as writing your novels?
MS: *squinches nose* Not as much, no. I do enjoy blogging, but it’s different than writing a novel. I get to escape when I’m writing a novel. Since my blogs are almost always about some aspect of my life, I don’t get that euphoric ‘gee-I’ve-just-been-to-another-world’ high. BUT, I love, love, love interacting with people on my blog. Since I’m a SAHM I don’t get a whole lot of grown-up interaction, and blogging has really helped to fill a need there.
Me: How does it feel now that Shrilugh has been released into the world? What did you do and/or think when you finally hit submit? Did you and the Hubster celebrate?
MS: It’s been a roller-coaster ride. One minute I’m giddy with happiness, the next I’m a nervous wreck. I’ve been really blessed with some fabulous reviews, and the support system of WANA, though. I can honestly say that taking Kristen Lamb’s blogging class changed my life, big time. I don’t think I’d ever have had guts to put Shrilugh out there independently if it hadn’t been for the community of supportive artists I met through that class.
I’m pretty low-maintenance, so the celebrating will be simple. Dinner out is plenty good for me!
Me: What was the biggest challenge you faced while going through the self-publishing process?
MS: SELF DOUBT. Oh my goodness. Those wicked voices in my head that say “This isn’t good enough” “You’re not good enough” “Who do you think you are, trying to write a novel?” “You’ve queried this book nearly a hundred times and you think indie publishing is going to have any different results??” Self doubt is a killer. Thankfully the Hubster is my voice of reason. He’s my bedrock when I get shaky, which is a whole lot of the time.
Me: If your book was made into a movie, who do you picture playing each characters’ part?
MS: Oh gosh, I’m so bad at this! Do you have any suggestions? I love hearing how readers see my characters! Seriously, help me out!
Me: I don’t have any suggestions of my own, but I’m all about the ideas on your Pinterest board – Shrilugh – As You See It. There’s a couple of hotties up there that could totally work for Brig. And Rein. And Sovereign, and… well you get my point. *fanning myself*
Where was I again? OH, yes the interview…
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
MS: I really enjoyed writing the Sovereign. He’s the kind of bad guy you can really dig your fingers into and hate, and I kinda got a high writing that. I’m so excited to show more of his true colors in the next book. The dude’s a total creep. And lots of fun to write.
Me: Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with in the future?
MS: Yes. There are certain characters that we will definitely come back to in the next book (and it’s gonna be sooooo good), and the subsequent books (right now it’s looking as if there will be three more) all loosely follow the theme of revenge vs. justice, and the idea that history repeats itself (hence the poem at the start of the book).
Me: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
MS: Besides the tin-foil hat I wear to keep the aliens from reading my brain waves, I’m not really very quirky. *snort* No, seriously, I’m such a boring writer. Give me coffee and some quiet, and I’m good to go. I do, however, enjoy smoking a stogie with the Hubster after a productive day of writing. He lets me run my ideas by him and tells me how brilliant I am. It’s a pretty good gig.
Me: When you aren’t writing, what do you like to do?
MS: I read. And read. And read. Anything I can get my hands on. I also play piano and write music. It’s therapeutic. Usually, though, my free time is taken up by the kiddos and housework and cooking.
Me: Speaking of music, tell me who is your favorite musician and/or favorite song?
MS: Oh, gosh, that can vary on any given day. When I was writing Shrilugh I listened to a lot of Punch Brothers and Mumford and Sons and Nickel Creek. Their song Green and Grey is the reason I went with green and silver for eye colors (don’t ask me why – the song doesn’t have anything to do with eyes at all). And I’m totally in love with Avett Brothers. And the Black Keys. They are just straight up, flat out cool.
Me: Are you a pet owner? If so, what pets do you have and their names?
MS: We have a geriatric Golden Retriever named GinnySue. She’s such a sweet old soul. We also have a Budgie named Odysseus. Silly little bird’s got more personality in his tail feathers than most people have in their entire being.
Me: What would you like your readers to know about this book or you in general? What do you want readers to see in your books?
MS: My biggest hope with my work is that I would write books that allow a person to escape for awhile. That’s what I love most about reading, and that’s what I most want to give to my readers.
Me: Tell us about your current or upcoming release. The sequel to Shrilugh is coming out soon, right?
MS: Yep! The sequel to Shrilugh is called The Darkening, and I’m planning on releasing it toward the end of October. I’m so excited!
Me: What is one piece of advice you would give to aspiring authors?
MS: Work hard. Even when you don’t feel like it, write. Even when you don’t feel like it, read. Don’t try to conform yourself to someone else’s way of doing things – find what works for you and go with it. Keep your ears open to criticism, but don’t live and breathe by someone else’s word. If a critique doesn’t ring true, toss it. If it does, be brave enough to fix it. Don’t be afraid to stand up for your work.
Me: Awesome advice, Myndi. Thank you so much for taking time out to chat with me today. I can’t wait to read The Darkening!
Here’s a little more about Myndi:
Hi! I’m Myndi. Easy-going, happy-go-lucky me. I am wife to the Hubster, momma to four fabulous kiddos. I dig them all, a lot. I also dig music, reading, art, and things that make me laugh. I also like cheering people on and am a firm believer in doing whatchya love doing.
My first book, SHRILUGH, was recently published. If you’re curious about it, check it out here.
So, what did you think? Any ideas on how to help Myndi pick a celebrity to portray her characters? Have other questions for Myndi Shafer? If so, post them in the comments and I’ll see if I can get her answer a few of them for us.