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Interview with Shellie Neumeier

This was my first opportunity to get to know Shellie Neumeier, and it has been a delight. I’m looking forward to reading her new release, Driven, even if it is written for the YA market. ☺ It is my pleasure to introduce ACFW to Shellie this week.

How did you get started writing fiction and YA in particular?

I love to write YA. There’s nothing like inspiring the next generation. Besides, they are far more willing to fly to those imaginary places adults don’t always enjoy, which makes writing young adult stories such fun! It’s also my favorite genre to read. Probably because I never truly grew up ☺.

Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication journey?
There are so many moments to choose from. Great classes, great writer friends, and caring crit partners. But by and far the most significant moment was when my husband told me to write the stories I shared instead of simply narrating them (who knows, maybe he just got tired of listening to me—hee-hee—God works in mysterious ways).

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities?
Oooh, easy question! I try to write when my four children are in school or sleeping or at friends’ houses, but every now and then I need to work when they are around. With that written, my kiddos are older (high school down to the fourth grade), so a few moments of uninterrupted writing should be understandable (I can dream). However, communicating to my children that Mom isn’t playing games on her computer—she’s working isn’t as easy as it should be. I’d love to have a sign that reads:

Mom is working. Please don’t ask her to find the ketchup or sign a field trip form or watch a re-run she can already quote verbatim until she is finished. **Sidenote** She will finish much faster if you don’t ask her what IS okay to ask—if you’re not on fire, hold your question.

And how do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling?
God is the director of my life, so any story I tell or write has to be Christian. Overt or covert, one way or another He’s in. As for the spiritual aspect, I believe there are battles fought which we don’t see. The Bible frequently mentions warring factions fighting for our faith and dedication, not to mention our souls. I’m pretty simple that way, if Jesus believed in them, then I do too.

Who/What spurs you to write? Where do your story and character ideas come from?
What inspired me to write Driven was the desire to encourage the next generation. To let them know that God does have a plan for them and it’s a good one, even though it may not seem that way right now. This generation of young adults has almost unlimited access to their world with the ease of travel and the internet. They have the amazing opportunity to change their world unlike any previous generation, but they’re also bombarded with harsh realism and even harsher dramatized “realism” at a very young age. It would be very easy to forget that they have a purpose and it comes from God.

As for the ideas, well, they hit while I’m walking the dogs, waking up, trying to have a quiet time (and stray off topic…).

It’s kinda funny when old friends ask that question. Especially since the book is set in my old alma mater. I once had an old buddy ask if he was in the book. I had to give him a little ribbing particularly since there’s a demon in the story.

What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?
Hmm, I try to write characters that live, eat, and breathe in the minds of my readers. So I write them physically vague, but human in every other aspect. They mess up, they get angry, they hurt each other, and sometimes they rail against God. On the flip side they love, they laugh, and they learn how to draw nearer to Him. Stylistically I tend to use clipped sentences with body movements to communicate the characters emotions. My goal is to leave the reader missing the characters when they have to close the pages.

Any parting words?
Thank you, thank you, thank you for reading Driven. There’s no higher praise to an author than to have readers read their work…and then share it with others. For that, I am truly thankful.

I also want to encourage them to persevere. If you are in the midst of a difficult or trying time, take heart. Perhaps it’s the sign of amazing things to come. Just don’t give up!

Thanks for sharing with us, Shellie!
Thank you for having me :D!

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