d. i. richardson
15 Questions with Shelby Lindrick (June 2020)
Updated: Jun 15, 2020
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I realized I wanted to be a writer when I was about 12. I spent a lot of time as a kid making up stories and telling them to my family, my friends, whoever would listen to me. It was so exciting to me to be able to make up whatever idea I wanted and do whatever I wanted with that idea. When I was 12, I was really skinny and awkward and I had purple braces, and I was not cool at all. Middle school is a horrible time for everyone because kids are mean and you never feel like you fit in. I would go home and channel all these cool ideas I had into stories so that nobody ever read, because I felt like I didn’t have anyone to tell them to. And I decided that one day when I was older and I didn’t have purple braces and I was cooler, I would write a book that people wanted to read.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It depends on what the book is about. Finding Shiloh took me six months, because I had so much to say and I felt like I had to capture it while it was there. But I’ve had things take me way, way longer.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I don’t have a schedule. I go with whatever hits me, whenever it hits me.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I don’t write things from start to finish. I write things in pieces, none of which go together at the time, and then I string them all together eventually. I tend to have ideas of plot events or how I want something to end, so I write that first while it’s in my brain and then I go back and put the pieces together later on.
How do books get published?
When someone believes in them.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I tend to get inspired by very simplistic things. Finding Shiloh started as a lot of sad, personal feelings of loneliness, but I got inspired to create a story around them because I saw a flickering lamppost on my college campus when I was walking home.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I wrote my first ‘book’ when I was five – it was about a snow leopard that runs away from home and gets lost. I couldn’t write well or type, so I dictated it to my mom, and she typed it up on the computer for me, and I drew pictures to go along with it.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
When I’m not writing, I’m doing something outside, spending time with my friends, pretending I know how to cook, making indie playlists, or watching trashy reality shows on Hulu.
What does your family think of your writing?
I’m really not sure. None of them are writers, so it’s sort of a foreign concept to them that I do this the way I do. I know they think I’m talented.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That you can start with one idea and it can end up being a completely different idea. Shiloh started as an entirely different story than what it ended up being. The whole plot was completely derailed when I actually created Shiloh’s character – I realized I had tapped into something much more deserving of the plotline that I had originally created. Shiloh deserved a better story than what I had been trying to give her. Madigan’s character started as two different people that I eventually combined, because they were such similar characters.
How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?
Technically, only 2. I have a mountain of things I scrapped and never finished – but out of the things I have finished, Finding Shiloh is my favorite. It means the most to me.
Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
I think anyone who writes should always keep reading – especially the type of books you want to write. It’s always great to learn from other writers and draw inspiration from them.
Do you like to create books for adults?
I need to learn how to be an adult before I can create books for adults.
What do you think makes a good story?
If someone else can feel where you were in your own head when you wrote whatever you wrote, or if they can identify with a character you created, someone that isn’t even real – that’s a good story. It’s good if it can make someone think.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I loved animals, so I wanted to be a veterinarian for a while. Then I wanted to be an artist, because I loved to draw.
Find Shelby and her works here.