Tuesday, December 17, 2019
Interview with Shelley Day Jewell: Summer 2019 Flash Fiction Contest Third Place Winner
Shelley Day Jewell resides in New Hampshire with her husband and two middle sons, a bloodhound, a beagle, and a springer spaniel. Her daughter and new grandson live close by, and her oldest son lives near Dallas, TX.
She’s been a writer in her head since grade school, but didn’t start the real thing until about ten years ago. She’s had short stories published in Boys’ Quest, Hopscotch, and The School Magazine. She’s been an honorable mention in the Women On Writing flash fiction contest three times.
Shelley is currently working on a MG adventure series, a YA mystery, and YA fantasy.
When Shelley isn’t trying to find time to write she reads, knits, spends time with family and friends, travels, binge watches Netflix, and drinks too much coffee.
If you haven't done so already, check out Shelley's award-winning story "Something Crazy" and then return here for a chat with the author.
WOW: Congratulations on placing third in the Summer 2019 Flash Fiction Contest! What excited you most about writing this story?
Shelley: This type of story is personal for me. One of my children is adopted and comes from a traumatic past. Seeing how a change in environment helped this child flourish and become an amazing adult has become part of our family story. All of my stories tend to pull pieces from this experience. It's exciting to write from the heart.
WOW: I agree. Sometimes it’s difficult for writers to let themselves be vulnerable and tap into the heart, but you’ve done it so well. What did you learn about yourself or your writing while crafting this piece?
Shelley: That I can write from the heart and not revise over and over again. I only had time to revise this piece once and had zero faith that it would place! I learned to have more faith in myself.
WOW: I’m glad you had enough faith in yourself to enter the contest, and it’s heartwarming to know this experience has helped you to increase that faither. Are you willing to tell us more about any of your works in progress?
Shelley: I have a MG adventure and two YA's in progress. As I mentioned before, all of my stories end up with children belonging to a family they were not born into, and that it is okay. Some of my MC's have to battle with this before they feel they belong.
WOW: Does one of them keep you up at night more than the others?
Shelley: Yes! My YA mystery currently called Spider's Blood plays in my mind over and over. It's a somewhat dark piece and a little scary because so many of our young people live in unhealthy environments. I struggle with keeping my character true to her trauma, but still emerges strong and confidant and healthy. That journey hits home a little too hard, and pulls out old emotions.
WOW: Writing with the old emotions can be so difficult yet so beneficial for the writer and her stories. Keep going with it and I hope you enjoy the process! What are you reading right now, and why did you choose to read it?
Shelley: I'm reading Primal by DJ Molles. I choose to read all DJ Molles books because he does dark so well. His characters are real, full of faults, strengths, honor and sometimes a bit of evil. I want to learn how to write that way, and still come out of it with characters that are still likable and understandable.
WOW: If you could give your younger self one piece of writing advice, what would it be and why?
Shelley: I would take the advice I heard over and over as a child from the elders in my family. You get what you work for. I would have started writing earlier, and made myself carve out time every day. I would march on through the rejections, the hours and hours of work, and the doubt I have in myself. If I'd followed that advice, I believe I would be further along in my writing career.
WOW: Excellent advice. Anything else you’d like to add?
Shelley: I'd like to thank Women on Writing for giving writers this opportunity. I've been a fan for years, submitted several stories, earned three honorable mentions, and this placement. I appreciate the support WOW gives to writers.
WOW: You are very welcome! Thank you again for sharing your stories and for your other thoughtful responses! Congratulations again, and happy writing!
Interviewed by Anne Greenawalt, who keeps a blog of journal entries, memoir snippets, interviews, training logs, and profiles of writers and competitive female athletes.