Interview: Shellie Neumeier

A few weeks ago I got a chance to meet Shellie Neumeier and Lisa Lickel (who we also interviewed) in person. What a thrill it was for me to meet these wonderful authors. My mind just buzzed after our lunch. I kept thinking about things they said, ideas they sparked, and how great it was to just “talk writing” with these fabulous women.

And then I found out Shellie had a book coming out! Well, shucks, of course I wanted to know more. Check out the book trailer for Driven:

And enjoy this interview.

You are a part-time tax preparer in addition to being an author. That means you easily use both sides of your brain! Which I think is wonderful, some of us get “stuck” in one side or the other. Have you always had a natural tendency toward things like numbers and facts as well as creative works?

You know, I never thought of it that way, but I suppose so. As I create things, plotlines or kid projects or church ministries, I do it in a logical, step-by-step manner. So I guess I apply my numbers/factual tendencies to my creative side. Of course I try hard not to reverse that…apply my creative side to my tax preparation skills that is. At least if I do, it’s always done within the confines of the tax codes.

Tell us about your latest book, Driven. Do you have a favorite passage you’d like to share?

I can share the back cover blurb: “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.”

And how about the first couple paragraphs…

“From a comfortable height above the trees, Sebastian circled the abandoned paper mill, drinking in the atmosphere of dereliction and decay surrounding the property. This place has more character than most of the humans I know. Half broken windows winked like the evil eyes of wayward souls, while snow drifts gathered in the corners. The wind toyed with the snow, whipping trails that could chill his feet and ankles. If he had feet and ankles, that is.

Slipping through a second-story window, Sebastian watched a rat scurry across the dusty floor in a dash for the shadows. Like an angry cloud—black as asphalt, thick as cigar smoke—Sebastian floated after the rodent, watching with mild interest as it raced for another shadow and nearly collided with an old tom cat whose eyes glowed bright with hunger. The tom sprang, but

Sebastian turned away. He didn’t have time for these cat and mouse games today, no matter how much he enjoyed them. He had bigger game to consider, and as he moved over the room, he thought about the girl he’d come to destroy.”

Sounds like a wonderful story! What about your writing goals. What’s next for you?

I’m thrilled to say I’m under contract with my mid-grade chapter book to be released in 2/2012 (MuseItYoung Publishing) entitled The Wishing Ring. My twelve and nine year-old helped develop the plot, which makes the story one wild and imaginative ride. I’ve also teamed up with Lisa Lickel in writing a romance novel. I enjoyed writing the young adult sections. But my favorite project is another YA novel written about a young boy with special needs. After a fit of rage, he finds himself struggling to survive life in a treatment center. It’s been eye-opening writing that piece.

What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?

Hmm. Most interesting book could be The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins or Winter Girls by Laurie Halse Anderson. Both were intense and imaginatively written. Interesting viewpoints and plotlines, for sure. But I’m looking forward to reading Waterfall by Lisa Bergren. That series sounds interesting, too!

Book you’re currently reading?

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher is waiting for me on my Kindle. I can’t wait to read that one.

Favorite Bible passage?

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

Jeremiah 29:11

Awesome to know I’m not a random player wandering about without purpose! Love that.

Best writing-related memory so far?

My favorite writing memory has to be the moment I opened the email from my publisher that said they wanted to publish Driven. I had to read it five times before I believed it. My heart fluttered and I squealed out loud. Did I mention I was in the office at the time :D?

In your opinion, what’s the measure of a successful writer?

One who enjoys the journey more than the financial prospects…’cause those are far and few between.

Where can we learn more about you?

My website is a great place to start. Then join me over on Facebook and twitter.

Anything else you’d like to add?

My deepest gratitude for reading Driven. There’s no higher praise to an author than to have readers read their work and then share that book with others. For that, I am truly thankful. And thank you for hosting me, Cherie. It’s been fun! [Editor’s note: You are very welcome! I am honored to have you here!]

Resources on novel writing:

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