Friday, October 23, 2015

Interview with Debut Author Shellie Arnold

Edie here. Today I'm excited to introduce you to a new writer on the publishing scene. Her book is a wonderful read and her personal story is an encouragement to us all!

Shellie Arnold is a wife of 29+ years and a home school mother of 3. She believes every marriage can flourish if both parties listen to God, and Living Happily Even After is just one obedient-to-God choice away. Shellie’s blog and other resources can be found at where she shares what she’s learned the hard way about building a godly marriage.    

What sparked the story for this novel? Three things: First, I’ve wanted to help marriages since I was in the second or third grade and knew my parents’ marriage would end. Second, I’ve found myself in both Laurie and Pierce’s shoes. Third, after God healed my brain (which you’ll see below) He gave me images in my head of several scenes from the novel. I couldn’t not write it.

Share a bit of your journey to publication. Was it short or long? My journey to publication has been very long. I attended my first writers conference in January, 1994, and dabbled at writing for many years. I worked toward writing non-fiction until 2002 when I became ill. On May 18, 2005, God healed my brain and turned my head to fiction. I said, “That’s not what we were doing.” God’s response was, “That’s what we’re doing now.” So, I started learning about fiction in 2006/2007 as a total newbie after being out of the industry for several years.

What would you do if you didn't write? Ha! Refurbish houses. It’s a dream of mine. I love power tools (I have my own table saw, grinder, and sander), love heavy work, love getting dirty and turning something ugly into something beautiful. I want to refurbish homes and rent them out to families in need.

What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it? On the outside: time. My time is packed and stretched beyond its limits. I have several projects going at once—both fiction and non-fiction. On the inside: time. I fight feeling pulled in too many directions. I’m an introvert, so I recharge only with uninterrupted solitude—which I never get, because I’ve home schooled for over 20 years. How do I handle those? I am constantly fussing at—ahem, make that having discussions with God about my priorities, time management, and how to stay on track with what He wants me to do in a given moment. I don’t trust my judgment on priorities, especially during times of high stress (which is most of the time).

Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook? I write wherever I can. I have a corner in our front porch I’ve turned into a “pretend office,” sometimes I go to the library, or I often work in my truck if I’m running errands and waiting on a child. Parking lots are great places to get work done. I do a lot of writing in my truck.
(Do you have a photo of your writing space we could share with our readers? If so, can you send it to me in a jpeg file?)

Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why? That’s a hard question! Creating has its own joys and anguish—the creating, yes, getting on paper what you see in your head. But editing (for me) is kind of a fun reminder of what I’ve written, and I see it as the opportunity to improve what’s on the page. I don’t resent editing. I enjoy finding a word, sentence, or paragraph I can improve, then experiencing that feeling of “Yes!” when I know I’ve made it better.

Do you consider yourself a visual writer? If so, what visuals do you use? You’re going to laugh, but I had to Google “What is a visual writer?” to answer this question. And, of course, Google is always right, (LOL) so here goes. I’m definitely a visual writer. I’ve been told my writing is vivid and has a literary flair. To me, I’m just telling the story as I see and feel it in my head. To me the feeling is paramount; the seeing must support the feeling conveyed or I’ve failed in that sentence/paragraph/scene.

What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? Wow. The best advice I was ever given came from the president of the agency which now represents me. Years ago I was told “Your writing isn’t good enough. You’re not ready.” That was an owie (is that a word?) but it pushed me to be a better writer instead of settling for my craft level at that time. Second, I’d say, read, read, read, then read more great authors who write what you want to write. Third, get into a fabulous critique group like Word Weavers International at I would be nowhere without Word Weavers and attending writers conferences.

Then what 3 things would you recommend not doing? Don’t throw up during your first critique! LOL (like I almost did because I was so nervous). Not kidding. First, don’t resent good critique, embrace it—one little idea could be the turning point to great improvement of your writing. Second, never stop reading. Never, ever, ever. And third…don’t stop placing your talent, calling, and craft before God. You’re a steward, not the source. Don’t stop seeking the Source.

What's next for you? Oh, boy. The second book in The Barn Church series will be released in October 2016. I’m working on book 3 now, and also my first stand-alone novel. I’m about to begin doing free online webinars on various marriage topics and will be releasing my pre-recorded seminars, which will be available for purchase through my web site. I’m also working on my first non-fiction book regarding sexuality in marriage. I have a different take on the subject than others I’ve seen, and I can’t WAIT for that book to be published. 

by Shellie Arnold

What happens when the miracle God gives you threatens to destroy your marriage?

Laurie Crane is happily married. And she is usually able to overlook her husband's moments of quiet sadness. If only God would give them a child ...

Pierce wants a child as badly as Laurie and has spent years praying alongside her. But he has no idea that a "yes" from God will unearth long-buried memories and bring their marriage to the brink of catastrophe.

In The Barn Church trilogy's first novel, "The Spindle Chair", Shellie Arnold explores what happens when "happily ever after" becomes more than one couple can handle.


Eva Marie Everson said...

I am so proud of you, Shellie Arnold! So proud! And this book is SOOOO good! You're an awesome writer and your words are amazing.