On this beautiful Friday morning, I hop in the transporter to pick up this week’s featured guest. Where to? The farm in a beautiful valley up in the hills. I chose the opening picture not because it’s on the author’s farm but because that’s where she receives water. (Okay, don’t tell anybody, but the picture is actually of a dam in West Grippsland. Where is this place? look it up.) Anyway, the setting is perfect for inspiration and music and writing.
On with the interview:
1. Who are you and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?
Shannon O’Leary is my pen name and I am a very private person. I have five beautiful adult children and a wonderful partner. I love art, music, and of course books. I have worked in the film and TV industries and love to teach creative arts to children. I don’t know if I am fascinating but people’s life stories, history, natural beauty, and wildlife certainly fascinate me.
2. Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to), what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?
That despite my being a survivor I am still fragile and sometimes find things difficult. I keep going, though, and with the help of my creative brain and education I always try to look at life’s different perspectives.
3. What interested you to become a writer rather than something else such as a mountain climber?
I was a child that read continually and hid in libraries. I loved learning and I could lose myself in the written word and music. It became my passion and opened the way to a beautiful and creative life.
4. Writers are readers. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?
This is a hard one! I am not the best at dinner parties…I get too nervous. Maybe I could be a fly on the wall when the authors are at dinner then I could observe them as they really are? I’d like to see what the Brontes were like (wow what was their family dynamic?). I’d also love Bill Bryson’s work, Charles Dickens, and Shakespeare.
5. If I were stranded on a deserted island or suffering from a four-hour layover at the airport, why would your book be great company?
It is pretty gruesome so I would probably wake you up. I hope it doesn’t give you nightmares.
6. Share your process of writing in regards to: plot and character development, story outline, research (do you Google or visit places/people, or make it up on the spot), writing schedule, editing, and number of rewrites.
I write from the heart. It just pours out of me. When I tackle a project I write what I think and feel. I guess it is kind of like a big cake with random ingredients. I write about real events so I know where my story is going so I can write about different aspects at different times. After this I piece the bits together in chronological order. I re-read it and throw bits out that don’t work and re-write, add in bits I’ve missed etc. and tackle the more challenging aspects of the book.
7. “I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don’t know where or how to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?”
Just write from the heart and be true to yourself.
My advice probably won’t work for you because I am a bit of a workaholic and keep writing while the furnace is driving me (consumed by the work) then I finish when the metaphorical fire goes out.
8. I saw an amusing T-shirt the other day which read, “Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.” What is your philosophy of life?
Be respectful and truthful to all living things and move forwards towards a brighter future as you never know what’s around the corner!
9. Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing? What’s next for you?
I will never stop writing as I have been writing songs, poetry, music, and books all my life. At present, I am writing two books. One is the continuation of my story and the other is a historical novel.
10. Where can people find more information on you and your projects?