I “met” Shonell through Blood Red Pencil, mostly as an editor… but it turns out she’s also a writer and she gracefully accepted to be interviewed by yours truly! So, ladies and gents, please welcome Shonell Bacon!
Currently, I live and write in Lubbock, TX. Been here for a little over two years as I pursue my Ph.D. in Technical Communication and Rhetoric from Texas Tech University. Before Lubbock, I spent ten years in Louisiana (and call it my home base), and was born and raised in Baltimore, MD.
When did you start writing?
I don’t know if I wrote, creatively that is, before I was ten years old, but I know that the age of 10 was the beginning of me wanting to be a writer. My mom had purchased me a green diary with a gold lock from a flea market for a quarter, and instead of writing about school crushes, I came home from school, sat in front of the TV and watched the soap “The Guiding Light,” and wrote my own scripts. A few years later, I would write really bad screenplays that always seemed to feature a girl, baseball, the star player, and a love connection, LOL.
What genre(s) do you write?
Hard question, and it shouldn’t be, right? I consider myself a life writer–I write the stories of life. Extraordinarily vague, I know. Sometimes, my stories fit really well into a genre, and sometimes, they don’t. For the most part, I write mysteries/thrillers, and the bulk of my work tends to fall into women’s fiction.
Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?
Inspiration? Any and everything. One novel I wrote drew inspiration from a color swing I saw in a park that moved though no one was sitting on it. Made me think what it would feel like to own that swing and see it every day–despite having lost my child a year ago. A current story I’m working on, INSIDE, came from shows I would see on missing girls who after time were found–I wondered how those young women continued on after the cameras dimmed and they were home. Another story came from my experience going back to church a few years ago. I wondered what it would be like, to be the “heathen” that God visually/physically blesses in front of everyone. I am often in my stories. In fact, it’s often hard for me to write unless I have a personal attachment to the story in some way. I could be the main character. I could be the main character’s best friend. The narrator. Shonell can be heard somewhere in the story, and most people who know me see it almost instantly.
Do you have a specific writing routine?
Kinda. I’m a big time visual writer. I often see something, feel something that sparks the writing, and the first “draft” if you will takes place all in my head. I talk with the characters, I see scenes unfold, I write, rewrite, revise in my head, and only when that part feels “done” do I then draft me an outline/synopsis, then commence to writing with fingers on keys. There might be tweaks and revisions after the story is on the page, but I do so much “writing” on the front end (in my head) that usually what I put on the page is what the story ends up being.
Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?
Definite outliner. It doesn’t confine me. I often go outside the outline; however, doing an outline gives me structure and enables me to be a fast writer. And not a fast writer who gets an idea and jumps to the computer and a few chapters in peters out. I typically go hard and fast until the story is done.
Tell us about your latest book (add link if published).
I just received my rights back to my debut solo novel, Death at the Double Inkwell, and I will be rereleasing that February 2012, and then publishing Into the Web in Spring 2012. Death at the Double Inkwell is about twin mystery novelists, Jovan Parham-Anderson and Cheyenne Parham. They are on their way to their sixth best-selling novel; that is, until Jo learns her husband, Cordell Anderson, founder of Anderson Technologies, is having an affair with Alisha Stewart, his right hand at Anderson. Before she can confront him, tragedy strikes her home, and Jovan must deal with the fact that the careful, safe life she had with Cordell was merely smoke and mirrors. Into the Web is a second book in the Double Inkwell series. You can learn more about my works at my official author site, http://shonellbacon.com.
Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?
Indie publishing–now. It took awhile for me to be swayed. I was hung up on the “authority” of being published traditionally. I thought, as an academic, about how important credentials are and how important that traditional publication is, especially if I wanted to get a job teaching creative writing at a university. However, I look at all the books on my computer that have not been read and realize that it’s important for them to get some light, have some air. And if I need to be the one to put them out…or if I find an indie press that’s interested in putting them out, then that’s the route I’m willing to go.
Any other projects in the pipeline?
As I mentioned in an earlier response, the goal is to rerelease Death at the Double Inkwell for February 2012 and Into the Web shortly after that. For NaNoWriMo this year, I will be working on INSIDE and hope that will come out in winter 2012 or early 2013.
What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?
My goal as a writer is to write what matters to me. I don’t think much on audience or the reader when I write, especially in that first draft because I want the story to come out as it needs to come out. If I don’t care about the writing and I only care about what the reader thinks, that story’s gonna suck. For me anyway. If I care, if I’m invested in my story fully, that will make for a better story, and readers I think will see that care and investment and enjoy the work.
Wow, we seem to have a lot in common! Thank you, Shonell, for stopping by… Here are the links for anyone interested in her works!
Official Website, http://shonellbacon.com
ChickLitGurrl (interviews with women writers), http://chicklitgurrl.blogspot.com