Monday, October 10, 2011

Chatting with YA author Shellie Neumeier

Today, I'm visiting with YA author, Shellie Neumeier.  Shellie's newest release is Driven.

AUTHOR: Shellie Neumeier
PUBLISHER: RisenFiction

             Please tell me how long you've been writing, and why you decided to become a writer.

Before I began writing fiction, I wrote technical pieces and made minor non-fiction contributions to a published business book. My fiction journey began in April of 2010. So depending on how you look at it, the answer may vary from not long to several years.

Writing wasn’t something I always wanted to do either. I suffered through English, Creative Writing, and Advanced Comp. classes. It left a bitter taste for all things written for a long time. But I’ve learned that writing is not just about the commas, it’s about the story and the characters. When they come to life in your imagination, they take over and for a moment, you live in their world surviving the adventure they take. That’s a whole lot more fun than punctuation for me. So, I’ve learned to be very kind (and grateful…to the point of chocolates, even) to my critique partners and editors.

Are you a full-time writer or a part-time writer, and how do you organize your writing time?

I am a full-time writer (who lives off her husband’s salary)—does that count? In all honesty, I am a full-time mother who writes when her children are in school or asleep. 

What influences your writing?

Plain and simple, my faith. God is my biggest champion and motivator. As such He always finds a way into my stories—one way or another.

Is this your first published work?  What other types of writing have you done?

This is my first published novel. However, I contributed to a non-fiction business text (Small Business Book of Lists by Gene Marks) and have publication credits for flash fiction in The Shine Journal, Writer’s Digest 79th Annual Writer’s Competition, and will soon have a piece in the Starsongs magazine.

Why did you choose to write a children's story?

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 
What was the process of creating this book from the first idea to the final published book?

Driven was written at the dinner table for the most part. The idea came to me during a discussion with my husband (over spaghetti, I think). Then I’d write while the family worked or studied, but when they came home for supper, I pestered them with plot questions and what-if scenarios until the plot felt solid. Through everyone’s tireless efforts over broccoli and potatoes, Robyn warred against Sebastian until the dust from their final battle settled. With the completed draft in hand (along with my husband’s gourmet burgers), I fished for compliments until I felt brave enough to submit the manuscript. The rest is sweet history.

What are your thoughts on traditional versus self-publishing?

Great question. Driven is published through a traditional small publisher although I had looked into self-publication. From what I’ve read, self-publication is most successful for those folks who have a strong platform or following whereas the newer authors may find it difficult to be “discovered” by the buying populace. This may be a problematic hurdle to overcome, but for those that do the rewards for successful self-publication seem to trump those for traditional publication. However, the latter category appears to be quite small. In sum, I’m all for well-written self-published books and think self-publication has its place in history just like traditional publication. Only time will tell whether or not the two can survive together.

What is your marketing strategy?

My marketing strategy is three-fold. The web. I participate in as many online author interviews, blog giveaways, and website reviews as I can. Traditional media. With a media release package in hand, I notify as many traditional media sites open to author submissions, including local papers and newsprints, online radio programs, and swag (bookmarks and posters). Finally, I walk into as many bookstores as possible and ask them to carry my book on consignment. So far, most stores are open to this venue and meeting the store owners has been such fun. It’s a lot of hard work, but it sells books.

What are your thoughts about children's writers needing an agent or not needing one?

There are tales of triumphs and fails from both sides of the agent-camp. Personally, I’ve had good success without one; however, I’d love to see what worlds open up with an agent by my side. Having one book published and another under contract, I guess I’m living proof that you don’t need one to be published, but the height of my career may be stymied without one. I guess that’s to be seen. Shall we revisit this one in five years?

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?

Publishers: RisenFiction:

Do you have any tips for writers who are new to children's literature?

You do have a story worth penning, write it. When you’re done, break into the world of critics one toe at a time. Let your best friend/Mom/Dad/spouse read it first (chose the kindest initially). Once you have gained a little confidence and experience, find people who are authors or aspiring authors and let them read your story. Don’t panic if (when) they come back with things you may need to change. Take a day to nurse your wounds and then go back to your writing. 

Educate yourself throughout the journey. Whether that means joining writer’s groups, reading craft books, or online research, make a point of improving your writer’s toolbox a little each day.

Guess my advice is pretty simple: you CAN do it, LEARN how to do it, and DON’T give up in the process. If that doesn’t encourage you, email me I’ll pull out the old cheerleader pom-pons. 

Please give us a brief synopsis about your current book and when and where it will be available.

Robyn can’t help but notice the handsome new guy at her school. She ignores, however, the arrival of another being at Brookfield Central High School—a demon assigned to destroy her…
Robyn loves her friends, enjoys her youth group, and looks forward to meeting cute Caleb Montague. But when a caustic news reporter challenges her school’s prayer team, Robyn must choose: defend their right to meet on campus and pray for whomever they wish or back down at the principal’s request.
Now she must learn what God wants her to do. And she had better learn fast, because there’s a supernatural enemy in town whose sole mission is to stop her—no matter the cost.
Driven can be purchased through the following links:
Amazon:">DrivenBarnes and Noble:
Risen Fiction (publisher):


  1. Thanks for letting me visit with you, Penny!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Shellie, it's my pleasure and I hope you'll be back when your next book releases.