Shannon Reber Interview

Shannon Reber was born a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away . . . or her imagination was anyway. She lives in western New York with her husband and a wide variety of both real and imaginary friends who often battle it out for dominance in her head. Who needs yet another normal person in this messed up world? Read her books, or the evil overlord will take control of her mind!

What inspired you to write?
Life. I am an albino, legally blind because of it. I grew up believing I was nothing. So I wrote to make myself feel like I was accepted. It took me a long time to embrace who and what I was and through all that, writing was how I made it through. Now, it's my life.

Did the inspiration to write come to you suddenly, or had you been thinking about it some time?
All my life. In fifth grade, I won an award for poetry I had written in school as well as other short stories. My novels have been with me for a far shorter amount of time but it feels as though they've been with me forever.

How did you tell your story? In other words, did you use an outline, or just write your story from start to finish?
No. I don't outline. I write as the story comes to me. Sometimes it's in the middle of the night while other times it's while reading someone else's work or watching TV. An idea comes to me, I write a brief synopsis and then come back to it later. No outline. I'm a pantser. ☺

Did you receive any encouragement from family and friends, or did you work on your book alone?
My best friend has been with me since I wrote my first story. She's actually now my editor. She talks me through the details and helps me figure out things I never would have thought of on my own. Without her, I never would have made it this far. My dad reads all my books as well. Those two are the best support system anybody could ask for!

What was the most difficult part of writing your book?
The most difficult part is tearing myself away from the books to deal with real life. Laundry, cooking, eating, they never seem quite as important as the story I'm trying to tell.

What was the most enjoyable aspect of writing your book?
The covers. The book I'm working on now, for the first time I designed my own cover. I feel great about it and had a blast figuring out how to do certain things. I've had a lot of help with my covers before but now that I've got ONE under my belt, I might end up doing more!

Did you experience any personal transformation after the book was published?
I write YA Fantasy. In putting my teenagers through so much, I've come to terms with a lot of grief and anxiety I had over my own teen years. I have had a lot of growth and dealt with a lot of my own issues while writing these books and I plan to do some more. I am determined to face down my own demons. My teenagers can do it. So can I!

What’s something that gets in the way of your creativity?
Real life. I'll be in the middle of this glorious scene, so proud of what I'm writing and realize I have no food in the house! It is a good thing, though. I would probably never leave the house if it wasn't for real life intruding on my creativity. ☺

What strategies do you use to deal with criticism?
Without criticism, you'll never improve. A bad review is a good thing. It shows you what you need to work on to improve your writing. Embrace criticism, learn from it, and grow.

Have you received any awards for your books?
No. I haven’t . . . unless you consider it an award that my dad told my mom I was a great writer. Does that count? *Giggles like a dork.*

Are you working on a new book? What are you up to nowadays?
The Girl In White was published on June 2! It’s a ghost story, with a twist.

What I’m up to these days is writing! I’m also an artist selling my wares (and books) at the farmer’s market in my town, and also acting in an upcoming production of Mornings At Seven. I’m a little swamped at this point in my life!

Do you have any forthcoming author appearances?
On June 17, I’ve got an appearance at Cross Roads, a farm and craft market in Westfield, NY. I’ll be doing giveaways throughout the summer, so just keep an eye out on Twitter etc.

Where did you grow up and what is your favorite/worst childhood memory?
I've lived lots of places. Missouri, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, and now New York. I wouldn't say I ever really grew up in any of those states. I just learned how to fake it. ☺
My favorite childhood memory is actually from when I was a teenager. See, I was a slacker. I rarely did my homework, simply skated through with my nose in a book. Or that was true until we moved to Minnesota.
For the first time in my life, I had a teacher who understood me and saw potential in me. He was the one who told me I should be a writer. To this day, Mr. Landy is the reason I write. That is the BEST memory of my entire life!

Do you have a favorite quote?
It's not much of a quote but it's the mantra I live my life by.
"Never, never, never give up." Winston Churchill

What is your favorite show on TV?

Favorite movie?
It depends on the day. These days, mostly superhero movies. It'll be different tomorrow. ☺

Favorite book?
Too many to list. Of the classics, Jane Eyre is my favorite. Of modern I said, I have far too many favorite to pick just one!

Who would you want to meet if you could? Dead or alive.
JRR Tolkien

Is there a talent you wish you had?
Organization. I am massively untalented in that department!

What’s something about you that would surprise us?
I don't believe in magic. ☺

Describe yourself in 3 words!
Too Much Coffee!