Hi everyone, I’m so thrilled to feature the amazing, talented, and delicious, Myndi Shaffer, who is launching her new book, “Shrilugh.” (prounced Shree-loo)
Revenge’s sister Justice, sweet,
Stands tall in her own courtroom, keeps
A list of those who hold her dear,
And those who falsely call to her
While her dark sister whispers
Evil nothings in their ears.
That quote is from the opening pages of a her novel, titled “Shrilugh” and Myndi Shafer, is in my mind, a celebrity, because she is doing something worth celebrating! She is launching her first novel, while raising and educating four…. count them… FOUR diminutive humans — also known as children.
Myn (yeah, we’re on a nickname basis) asked me to read her book and I’m not a big fantasy reader, because so many of them are filled with cliches and that gets old very fast. But I took a chance on “Shrilugh” and I can say I was more than pleasantly surprised, I was totally enchanted by the detailed, sophisticated, and beautiful world that Myndi has created, but most of all I was moved by her characters and their adventure pulled me in and I loved the journey they took me on.
Here is the teaser from her smashwords page: A recent high-school graduate wrongly accused of trying to murder her step-sister flees her vengeful stepfather with an otherworldly stranger through a mystical Door.
So, let’s get started with our interview (which following slick magazine protocol, I’m supposed to tell you it took place at some uber-faboo restaurant in La-La-land, but it really took place on Facebook)
Rachel: “Okay, since this is technically your first celebrity interview… do you have the celebrity interview required snacks? A sleeve of Oreos, some Pringles and a diet Coke?”
Myndi: Oh my goodness, I’d KILL for a sleeve of Oreo’s right now. Preferably frozen. Actually, I’m juggling the laptop and a very happy squealing baby, so food and drink aren’t in the cards right now.
Rachel: I was just thinking back to all the celebrity interviews I read in “Vanity Fair” where the journalist had just dined with said star in some happening restaurant. There would always be references to the food. Now, tell us again, you mentioned the baby. How many do you have?
Myndi: I’ve got four rug-rats. They’re the coolest kids on the block.
Rachel: Which begs the first question: how in the heck do you find time to raise four well-adjusted junior human beings, and write fabulous prose AT THE SAME FREAKING TIME????
Myndi: In little teeny-tiny spurts. Most days I have to be content with working 15-20 minutes at a time…and that’s a long spell. On the weekends the Hubster really kicks in. I absolutely couldn’t do this without him. I swear, spouses of writers have a special place in Heaven.
Rachel: I will agree with you there, I have one who allows me time to indulge in the same quest. But 15-20 minutes is not a lot of time. Do you write off of an outline? Because “Shrilugh” has a very involved plot line, and not only that, but you had to create a “world within a world” too.
Myndi: I’m a “Pantster.” I used to be ashamed of that because every writer I know plots their outlines and then sticks to those suckers like a lifeboat next to the Titanic. I tried to plot “Shrilugh” once and was miserable writing like that. For me, writing has always felt like digging for something. At first I’m not really sure what I’m going to find, but as I go along, I can see the story beginning to take shape under the surface. “Shrilugh’s” plot is very intricate, and I had to take the time to stop and write the whole backstory for the ‘world within a world’ before I could go on. Now that I understand what happened in the past, I know exactly where to dig for the rest of the story. Does that make sense? That being said, I’m very aware of the pitfalls of writing this way. It’d be easy to allow the story to grow into this grand thing that ultimately becomes unmanageable. I work really hard at keeping the story tight. I don’t want it to be something that collapses under its own weight.
(The waiter (aka Hubster) just refilled my iced tea. I flirted with him a little.)
Rachel: (Oh, yes, we must keep the wait staff happy.) I understand both strategies, for me it’s taken me a long time to gain enough self-confidence to “pants” out a first draft. When I first started, my story lines would ramble all over the place, and I tried outlines, to keep at least the main story straight. But the problem without lines are they just become sets of facts: this happens, this happens, that happens — and you get no sense of the hero’s emotional reaction to all of those events. Tell me about your main character, Aydan. When did you first “encounter” her if that’s the correct word.
Myndi: Exactly. Outlines can sometimes feel stiff. But every writer’s different – there’s definitely no right or wrong beyond what’s right or wrong for the individual’s creative needs. I met Aydan at the foot of the silo. She was scared, and I didn’t know why. She was going to climb the ladder and go through a door that seemingly led into mid-air, and I didn’t know why. I wanted to know what her story was, what had brought her to this weird place, why she was making this weird decision.
◦ Holy cow, Alice just rolled onto her tummy.
◦ She’s showing off for auntie Rachel.
Rachel: Wow, the young Miss Took is making her presence known. In what ways are you and Aydan similar and in what ways is she different? (waves to cutie baby)
Myndi :Similarities: We both grew up in the country on horseback. Also, Aydan’s a bit of a commitment-phobe. So am I. Ask the Hubster how many times I broke up with him before I agreed to marry him. He is one VERY patient man. Biggest Differences? She’s not human. I am.
Rachel: Ooohhhh, not human? Care to give our readers a hint?
Myn: Well…that is a little spoiler-y, isn’t it? I wonder what the correct term would be…humanoid? Humanesque? Human-ish? She’s similar, but different.
Rachel: okay, that’s enough of a hint. But we should talk about one human character, when I met him, his name was Bristol. And it was hard to keep Aydan (female) and Bristol (male) clear in my head because both names were not very gender specific. Care to talk about how you reacted to my comments?
Myn: *giggle, snort*
It wasn’t the first time I’d heard this comment. But I LOVED the name Bristol. I liked the idea of him being Aydan’s bridge, her safe place over unpredictable waters. So it was a hard pill to swallow, for sure. That said, I’m super happy with the name Brig. It’s taken some getting used to, but it’s meaning is similar to Bristol, and it has the added benefit of being the name of a guy I had a serious crush on in high school. ￼
Rachel: There you go, I’m glad you came up with a solution that works for you. I just had such a hard time whenever you called him “Bris” for short. It brought up the whole Jewish baby boy thing….
Myndi:Yeah, that’s a mental image that’s guaranteed to kill any sex-appeal he might have.
Rachel: But moving on…. tell me about the hunka-hunka-burnin’ love called Rein? Did you think he’d turn out to be such a hottie?
Myndi:Oh, I had so much fun writing his character!! I love that he’s arrogant and hot and has a past…
Rachel: Like most leading men…. did you tell your hubby about him?
Myndi: Oh, yeah. The Hubster’s been there every step of the way. Thank goodness. It can be hard to write in a dude’s head, and T’s great about steering me in the right direction. When Brig makes fun of Rein’s name, that’s all T. He totally hated Rein’s name. I told him to stuff it, and then wrote his scoffing into the story.
Rachel: Good way to add depth to the story. But that does bring up an interesting issue, when you are in a character’s head, writing from their point of view, do you “see” the scene through their eyes? What is that experience like for you? And does it come easy?
Myndi: I stumble into scenes pretty easily. When I’m writing from a character’s POV, I’m usually perched on their shoulder. That can be a dangerous place to be, because I’m prone to flying from one person’s shoulder to another. I’m getting better about that, though.
Rachel: Some writers say they think of a person or group of people they are writing for, is that part of your process? Do you have someone in mind when you are writing, or is it all about discovering the story as it unfolds?
Myndi: I don’t have a group of people in mind. The story just comes. This makes the process of writing (for me, anyway) really pleasurable, because I’m not trying to fit the story into a box. I can just enjoy it as it blossoms. When it comes time to publish, it gets trickier because I don’t have a story that fits neatly in one genre. I’ve really struggled what label to put on the book. Fantasy? Romance? Young Adult? Mostly I’m just striving to write the kind of book that I’d enjoy reading.
Rachel: I think most writers are faced with the same problem: how do I stay true to the story as it comes to me and yet think about marketing. I’m in the “build it and they will come” school in that with all the energy and care you put into the story, that energy will magnetize the audience, the people who need to find it will….. or am I sounding too “Shrilugh-ey”???
Myndi: Sugar, there’s no such thing as too much “Shrilugh!” Yep, I totally agree with you. And in the end, it has to be something that I’m satisfied with. If I’d tried to force it into a mold, I don’t think I’d have as much satisfaction with the end product. It might make it a little harder to market (writing without an audience in mind), but that’s okay with me.
Rachel: Okay, the oreos are half gone, and the Diet Coke is getting low, what else would you like our fair readers to know about “Shrilugh” before we sign off?
Myndi: Thanks so much for visiting with me! Maybe next time we’ll get to chat under a Hawaiian sun, yeah?
Rachel: Of course, so tell our readers where we can find this amazing book of yours?
Myndi: “Shrilugh” is available to purchase at Smashwords and Amazon, and HOPEFULLY by the 30th it’ll be available at B&N, too. I’m really hopeful that the paperback copies through CreateSpace will be available soon as well. I’ll get you those links in a minute, if that’s cool. “Shrilugh’s” sequel, the Darkening, will be available in October.
There you have it folks, and do please check out Miss Myndi’s fabulous blog, if you ever need a great pick-me up, Myndi is the girl to turn to. And do you have any questions for our celebrity? Please feel free to post them here. Thanks so much for stopping by.
Great interview! I love it when you mentioned not writing with the story in a box. That creates such stronger, more interesting stories!
I think so, too!
Good interview ladies. Myn…I’m amazed you have time for anything other than mothering. Well done.
Thanks Louise! I’m a busy gal, but I have lots of fun doing what I do!
Woo Hoo! Great interview, girls.
I bow down before you, Myndi. FOUR children and writing and being a Goddess for the wonderful hubster. I’m tired just typing all that!
And congratulations on a wonderful achievement!
Thanks, lady! 🙂 I’ll definitely be ready for a vacation sometime in the next decade. In the meantime, I’m just enjoying the moment!
Super great interview!!!! I’m NOT a book reader – how to’s/crafts/decorating is my thing BUT this is for sure on my list ASAP. And look forward to more of Myn’s writings.
Thanks Joan – hope you dig it!
Fantastic interview, ladies. Thanks for the fun read!
I wonder if those short writing spurts contribute to your awesomeness as a writer, Myndi—not just because you’re making it happen, but because of the way the brain works. Okay, enough psycho-neurology babble. 😉 What I REALLY want to say is CONGRATS. You’re a superstar in my book too, Myn. Savor release day as much as possible, and hug your beautiful kids and rockin’ hubby for me. Sounds like a total dream team, for realz.
It’s definitely been a team effort – I couldn’t ask for a more supportive environment.
Are short spurts a good thing? I’d hear more about that, if you don’t mind. Sometimes I feel like I’m just getting on a roll, and then have to stop for something…and then I sometimes get cranky. But if it’s a good thing, then maybe I can chillax a little… 🙂
Thanks for your support, sweet lady!
Best interview ever!!! Great job ladies. *waves to Alice and cheers her rolling over* I’m so excited for this release and for you! You inspire, Myndi … you totally inspire!!
Alice is DETERMINED! The older three were soooo laid back – rolling over didn’t start until almost six months. This girl’s on the move.
*hugs for you* Ginger, my WANAsis, I love you to pieces.
Wow, sounds like you guys had fun with this one. Myndi, I just went to Amazon, hit the *like* button then left a review. Sell a million girl. 🙂
Oh, wow! Thanks Prudence!
And yeah, we had fun with this interview. I think Rachel and I are made from some of the same stuff – we’re goofy to-boot!
What a fun interview, Rachel and Myndi! I loved reading about your writing process, Myndi. Amazing that you’ve written two novels in those short writing spurts. You go, girl! I ‘liked’ the book on Amazon and also ‘liked’ your author page. Your new profile pic is adorable, which is explains why you have such darling children. Hope you sell millions!
Aw, thanks Lynn! And thanks for the likes on Amazon and my author page – you rock!!
Such an exciting time, Myndi! The book sounds awesome and Rachel, great interview! All digits crossed for your big success tomorrow, Myndi!
Thanks, Diane! *grins*
Hi ladies, I’m so thrilled for our Miss Myndi and it is so nice that all of you have stopped by to cheer her on.
Alice rolled over in the middle of the interview? The Shrilugh Effect is, indeed, powerful.
Thanks, Myndi and Rachel, for an interview that made me smile, laugh, and think.
😀 BEHOLD, THE POWER OF SHRILUGH. *sniggle* Thanks for the love, Pat!
This is a fabulous interview, Myndi and Rachel. I am amazed how you are able to “do it all”, Myndi.
I’m so excited for the release of Shrilugh. And I love the opening quote.
Thanks Angela! *hugs*
Great interview ladies–felt like I was right there sipping diet coke and watching cute babies roll onto their tummies!
Congrats Myndi 🙂 I am, in Kindle speak, 35% of the way into Shrilugh and can’t wait to crawl into bed tonite and read some more!!!
Oh, very cool! Glad you’re enjoying the read!
Well Rachel, I would never know that this was your first interview and as for Myndi, you did fabulous! You guys are so cool!
I can totally relate to how you write Myndi. You must’ve had so much fun letting the characters flow out onto the page.
You have a darling family Myndi. Congratulations and I wish you all the best with your new release! Tomorrow’s the big day! Yay! 🙂
Karen, we need to be clear, this is my first CELEBRITY interview… cuz you know the girl is well on her way to becoming famous. We will all be able to say, “we knew her when.”
It was fun, Karen! And I’m so ready to dig into The Darkening. Haven’t been working on it much these past few weeks, and the story is calling me. 🙂 You’re such a sweet heart – thanks for all your support.
Rachel – *blush!*
Congrats for the new release. And what a kick-ass interview. Very human and fun. The spoiler made me squeal with delight. I can’t wait to read the book tomorrow.
I am almost finished reading this book, and I have one question …. when is the next one going to be out?????
Great interview! Rachel – you’re a natural at this. 😉
And Myndi, I’m so freaking excited for you!!! This book ROCKS!! I can’t wait for the next one.
Jennifer – I’m so flattered that you are digging it! The Darkening will be released toward the end of October. I’m so tickled that y’all are anxious for it!!