Today’s Write Now interview features Shannon Reber, who is a testament to the power of teachers. The right teacher can inspire a lifetime of work and dreams, as one did for Shannon. Please enjoy her interview. Also, check out Shannon’s books and say hello on Twitter!
Who are you?
My name is Shannon Seachrist, but I publish under my maiden name, Shannon Reber. I’m based in New York state, a small town on the shore of Lake Erie. I own/run a little bookshop, and I write — a lot.
What do you write?
I write fantasy. I see books as an escape, so I do my best to give people a getaway from the anxieties in their lives for the time they’re in the world I created.
I’ve been writing professionally, meaning publishing, for the last seven years. Before that, I was an artist, so yes, I chose careers that don’t pay much. Painting and writing are the same kind of escape for me. I don’t love what I do. I adore it. It doesn’t matter to me that I’ll never be a millionaire through my writing. I’m happy! And I love the fact my stories might be the bright spot in someone’s crappy day.
Subjects I avoid would be anything that too closely resembles my reality. I have written characters similar to myself, but it’s in a fantasy setting, so it doesn’t feel too real.
Where do you write?
My writing environment is wherever I am! Right now, I’m in my bookshop. I have a chair behind the piano that offers me a view of the door and the shelves but allows me to hide. At home, I write at my desk sometimes and other times on the couch or at the table. I don’t care where I am. All that matters is for me to have my laptop, a cup of coffee, a bottle of water, my kindle, and my phone. I’ve written in the car before — from the passenger seat, people! ;-P
When do you write?
I write as often as I can. When I’m at the bookshop, three or four hours is what I usually end up writing for. Sometimes it’s usable material, sometimes it’s editing, sometimes it’s just thinking about writing. I don’t know if you can tell or not, but I’m a little obsessive — and I have no life outside of books!
Why do you write?
I write because when I was a kid, a teacher saw past what everyone else saw as laziness and worked with me, trying to help me. I’m legally blind and had a really hard time getting work done. Mr. Landy didn’t berate me. He encouraged me. He told me he’d be shocked if I didn’t turn out to be a writer. I’m a writer because one man believed in me and made me believe in myself. I am forever indebted to my eleventh-grade English teacher.
How do you overcome writer’s block?
Writer’s block is the perfect opportunity to read! I’m a firm believer in the power of audiobooks. I turn one on and take my mind entirely away from where I’m stuck in my book. Once I stop agonizing over it, everything evens out. Like I said before, I’m an escapist! It keeps me at least kind of sane. (Or enough to pass for sane sometimes!)
Bonus: What do you enjoy doing when not writing?
Unfortunately, I stopped painting, so my hobbies are non-existent. I plan to learn to play the cello this year, which I am very much looking forward to!
My thanks to Shannon Reber for today’s interview.