Monday, January 19, 2009

The Tenacity Interviews - Shelley Adina

Ahh, Monday, what a great day to be encouaraged! Are you ready to reach for your dreams? Take another step toward your goal? Feeling like you might have bitten off more than you can chew? Take heart - and read this inspiring Tenacity Interview with Shelley Adina!

Award-winning author Shelley Adina holds an M.A. in Writing Popular Fiction. She’s a world traveler and pop culture junkie with an incurable addiction to designer handbags. She writes books about fun and faith--with a side of glamour. Between books, Shelley loves playing the piano and Celtic harp, watching movies, and making period costumes.

1) How long did you write before your first sale?

I wrote my first novel in 1973, when I was 13, and thirty years later I finally got published (with a different book). I’m currently published by Hachette FaithWords, who are releasing my six-book All About Us series for teens.

2) What were the top three obstacles you encountered on the road to being published?
a) Increasing my own skill at the craft
b) Learning about the market
c) Learning to translate editorspeak (What does “your characters lack sparkle” mean, exactly?)

3) Who believed in you the most? What role did they play in your ability to keep going?

My mom always knew that I’d reach my goal eventually because that’s how she raised me.

4) What have you learned since being published?

That the only thing you can control is the quality of the writing.
That writer friends who have the same goals and struggles as you are worth their weight in gold.
That a reviewer’s opinion is only that: an opinion.
That TV is a reward for doing your pages.
That the AlphaSmart is the greatest invention known to man.
That those who share your life can and will make their own sandwiches and learn to use the washing machine.
That it’s not about the money—it’s about the joy.

5) Can you be tenacious and content at the same time?

Absolutely. If you’re tenacious and discontented, you’ll become toxic to yourself. You’ll look at the careers and the journeys of others and compare them to your own. You’ll see someone else’s book deal or hear about someone getting The Call and think, “What’s she got that I don’t have?” Your balance will always be in the negative.

If you give up and you’re contented … well, clearly you’ll have found yourself another career, and more power to you.

If you’re tenacious and content at the same time, you know where you are on your journey to publication. I always say, “a goal is just a dream with a plan.” So dream big—and make it achievable. Do you want to write a book? Brave girl—get some classes on craft under your belt (plotting, motivation, characterization, pacing). Have you completed a book? Great! Start querying agents. Have you got requests for partials or a complete? Well done! Get them in the mail. Got an offer? Woohoo! You’re on your way to the next part of the journey.

6) Has your dream changed at all? Grown bigger? Smaller?

It has definitely changed. If all you want is to publish a book, you’re not going to last long in this business. Publishers want career authors who can produce what the market demands on a reliable schedule. One book isn’t going to give them what they want. I always knew I wanted this for a career, so I learned to produce three books a year. It isn’t easy—especially with a day job—but it’s what the market expects in the genres I write in. Sure, we’d all love to hit a list or win an award, but those are few and far between. Now my dreams are more focused: To write a book that makes someone laugh or say, “Yeah! I feel that way, too.” To make my readers come back for more. That’s an achievable dream—the best kind.

7) What advice do you have for a writer who is facing “no” right now?

This path to publication has steps where other authors before you have climbed and where authors behind you are coming up. Every step has its own reason to cry or to celebrate. The tenacious writer knows that. Getting a rejection is a painful, emotional thing. It sucks. So wallow in it—for one day. The next morning, remember it’s just a step, and get back to the keyboard.
For every rejection, somewhere in the future is a celebration that will make you forget it ever happened. I had a minimum of half a dozen rejections on every unpublished manuscript I ever wrote. But the moment I got The Call, I saw them for what they were: steps that brought me to that moment. And every single step was worth it.
Worth every step.... What step are you taking today? How would you answer these 7 quesions?
I bid you good writing.


L. Diane Wolfe said...

I like her comment regarding discontent and envying others. It can happen so easily, too!

And the 'sparkle' thing made me chuckle!

L. Diane Wolfe

Laura Davis said...

I'm obviously not current with things - what is an AlphaSmart?

Shelley Adina said...

An AlphaSmart is a portable keyboard. It runs for 300 hours on a couple of batteries and you can fit nearly a whole novel on its memory. When you've finished your pages for the day, you hit "Send" and it beams your work into your master document on your computer (Mac or PC) via infrared connection. I looooooove mine. See more at .


Steve G said...

Great interview and "advice". I love the part where you compare yourself to yourself, not to others. Even in the church we get so discontent because we focus on where others are rather than ourselves.
I may get a book out yet - I just have a few other things to get done first, and I am ok with that.
This is a great series, Bonnie!
Word Verification - perszf: perseverence that ended up short-circuiting...