Is Shelly based on you or someone you know from real life?
I think my characters are always a combination of many people I know and then some imagination thrown in for good measure. I don’t want to have any one person think that I was writing specifically about them. I take bits and pieces of real life and made a whole new life.
In your book, your main character, Shelly, decides to do some genealogy. Have you ever researched your family history?
I have not, but my mother did. She did it the old-fashioned way, without using the Internet. She traced both sides of my family way back. It’s interesting to look through the pages and pages she collected and see who some of my ancestors are and what their lives were like.
How much of an inspiration to your literary career was your mother?
My mother was a great influence on my writing career. She always wanted to be a writer ever since she was a little girl and I was the same. I have stories she wrote with her cousin when they were young and she kept stories that I wrote when I was young. She was part of a writer’s group where we lived. When I was in high school and decided that was what I wanted to do as a career, she did everything in her power to help me. I attended conferences with her. I was introduced to “real” writers who gave me a lot of good advice as I was starting out. The information I gleaned then was extremely valuable.
Which author, living or dead, would you want to pen the story of your life?
Oooo, that’s a hard one. Do I have to pick just one? Maybe Julie Campbell, the author of the first Trixie Belden books. I would pretend I was Trixie and solve non-mysteries around my neighborhood. She would be a good author to write about my childhood. Laura Ingalls Wilder would be another good one. She wrote about how things were. She made ordinary life seem unordinary. I had a very ordinary life, maybe she could make it exciting.
Which 3 words best describe how you feel about your literary future?
Positive – because so much has happened thus far and sometimes I just have to smile, especially when I get personal responses from readers. Excited – because of what’s to come. I have a lot of new things on the horizon and I just seem to get busier and busier, which is a good thing for me. Hopeful – that I will reach new readers who will be touched by my writing. I love to make readers laugh or cry or maybe just see a little bit of themselves in my stories.
What kind of response have you received from your readers?
I have received some wonderful responses from my readers. I have received emails from people telling me how the book has touched their lives. I’ve received good reviews on Amazon.
I actually received a message with an order for print copies the other day. This woman had purchased an ecopy and then someone at work had begun reading it. For some reason the co-worker was not able to finish and was upset. The lady who had first purchased the ecopy bought her co-worker a print copy just so she could finish it. She also bought a print copy for herself just to have it.
It makes me feel good that people get excited about my books and that they can’t wait to continue reading.
After the death of her father, painfully shy and introverted Shelly finds her world turned upside down. She is forced to speak with people and she may even have to move from her comfortable apartment. Sorting through her father’s possessions at his house brings back many memories, including how they would research her mom’s genealogy so that in a way, she could get to know her mother’s family, who are all deceased. Shelly wonders why her dad never researched his own family and she never remembers any family events. Why? She begins a journey that takes her to places she never dreamed. Throughout the entire story, God nudges Shelly to get out of her comfort zone. That’s easy for some, but for Shelly it may almost be impossible.
Ruth O’Neil has been a freelance writer for 20-plus years. She sees everything as a writing opportunity in disguise, whether it is an interesting character, setting, or situation. When she’s not writing or homeschooling her kids, Ruth spends her time quilting, reading, scrapbooking, camping and hiking with her family.
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