Thanks so much for visiting The Balanced Writer today. I'm excited to have you share info about your new release, and how you balance writing into your life. How about a little introduction about you and where you're from?
I'm Shawna Williams, but my author name is Shawna K. Williams, (my maiden name is Kail.) I've been married to a really sweet guy I met way back in college for eighteen and a half years, and we have three fantastic kids. We live on a ranch in Mena, AR with our extended family of cattle, horses, dogs, cats, goats and rabbits. I know there are all kinds of rumors about Arkansas -- and I suspect some of them are true -- but it's the one of the most beautiful places in the world, I think, and full of wonderful, down-to-earth, warm-hearted people – for the most part.
Is NO OTHER your first book?
Yep! It sure is, but I currently have two more under contract. I also have several short stories that have been published.
How long have you been writing?
I was struck with the desire to write about eight years ago after a really bizarre dream, unlike any I'd ever had. Prior to that, this wasn't something I'd never considered doing.
The dream was a complete story, in scenes, of a man and woman's life. First as they fell in love, then as young parents, then they faced the challenges of career and family, and last was from the perspective of an old woman, who watched her children from afar because she was a stranger to them. Weird, huh?
I couldn't stop thinking about it. For about six months I pondered on it, trying to fill in gaps about how they met, why did they choose certain career paths, why did she end up estranged from her family? It eventually grew so complex in my mind that I couldn't keep track and had to start writing. When I first began I didn't want to tell anyone, including my husband, because I thought they'd think I was crazy. As the story progressed though I eventually shared it with my husband, who was supportive from the start, then a few close friends.
By the time I was done, the book was around 167,000 words. And it was awful! I just didn't know it at the time. Over the next six years I revised, put away, pulled out and revised again, put away. Finally, a little over two years ago I felt like God was telling me it was time to get serious. That's when I started studying the craft of writing through books and critique groups. I also started submitting short stories, and was blessed to have several accepted for publication right away. That gave me the encouragement to rewrite the first part of my awful novel into a separate book, which comes out in May, and the sequel will release in November.
Yes, but I think that's the case for anything you hope to achieve. Most things don't just happen without a lot of hard work, and hard work takes time. There are only so many hours in a day, so when we devote a lot of time to one goal, there's not as much for other obligations and interests. I try to compensate by doing a lot of my writing at night, but with the deadlines for two more books approaching, plus the extraordinary amount of time that promotion requires, writing related activities do take up a large chunk of my day too. My kids are older and that helps. But there are things that I want to do, or feel like I should be doing that get put on the backburner. Plus, there's the lack of sleep. But that's just how it is with any goal – rewards and sacrifices go hand in hand.
Tell us a little more about the new release.
What is your routine, if you have one? Could you share how you work non-writing responsibilities into your day?
Right now, while promoting a new book, writing or writing related stuff is most of what I do all day. The house is a wreck and we've been eating dinners I can throw together in twenty minutes or less, but fortunately I have a very understanding and supportive family.
I think balance is my biggest struggle. When I write I have to immerse myself into the characters and setting, therefore I don't even try during the day. Too much going on. I use the daylight hours for editing, reading, and promotion. Those things I can easily set aside and come back to later, so I'm still able to look after my family and take care of other needs around the house, or run kids to their events, friends' houses, appointments, etc.
The evening hours are for family. We watch a movie or do something together.
Hubby and I are late night people, and that's when we get our alone time. But I'm currently enforcing a rule that he go to bed by eleven so I can get to work. I love him, but if he's awake and watching television, he pauses it every five minute to show me something he's sure I need to see – you know, like a guy flipping his motorcycle while doing a wheely. Important stuff. Lol! So I just wait until he's asleep before I write.
It takes me a little while to switch gears, even after he's in bed I need another half an hour to get my mindset right. Then I work until 3-4am. I'm a little sleep deprived these days. I don't intend for this to be a permanent schedule. It's just necessary until I complete these next two books.
If you had it to do differently, would you have approached your writing career in any other way?
I don't think so. I might feel different in the future, but for now I'm very pleased with the ways things have turned out.
What does the future hold for you? Any new stories on the horizon?
The sequel to NO OTHER is coming out in November, and a really sweet story, called ORPHANED HEARTS, will release in December. I have several ideas brewing for stories after that. We'll see what happens.
Summer's around the corner. What's your favorite ice cream?
Hmm...I guess Cookies'n Cream. Sometimes I'm in the mood for Peach or Strawberry, too, but what I really love are those banana pops I used to get from the Ice-Cream Truck when I was a kid.
Please tell readers where they can find out more about you or buy your books:
Sure, you can find out more about me and my books on my website, or from my blog:
The name of my blog is My Father's Oldsmobile, and there's a funny story about why I named it that, Just click on the car to read it. My book can be purchase at Amazon Kindle, Books on Board, Allromance Ebooks, and the Desert Breeze storefront. In a matter of days it will also be available at Barnes&Noble, and The Sony Reader Store. In the near future it will be for sale at the iBookstore too.
Danielle, I want to give away a Kindle download, or other ebook format depending on the winner's preference. Along with that I'd like to mail the winner a freshwater pearl/inspirational bracelet, and a signed postcard. (However you want to do the drawing for this is up to you)
For the month of May I'm running a contest with three prizes – a Good one, a Great one, and a Grand one. You can enter multiple times, the details are here. http://shawnawilliams-oldsmobile.blogspot.com/p/no-other-prize-drawing-details.html
Anyone leaving a comment today gets one entry (please leave your email. I promise these will all be destroyed after the drawing) And, if you can answer this question you get another entry.
What did Jakob's brother, Joe, throw at Jakob when he entered the store? (This question is worth 3 entries)
The answer can be found near the end of the second chapter, viewable through Freado, where you can also read the first four chapters. http://www.freado.com/read/6928/no-other-by-shawna-k-williams
Or through the free sample available as a Kindle download.
That is so generous of you, Shawna. I'll hold a drawing one week from today for everyone who comments by midnight (Thursday, the 27th) and let you know the winner.
Thanks, Shawna. Best of luck with your new release!