We are delighted to welcome author Shayne Parkinson of New Zealand. Shayne writes historical fiction stories, and we interviewed her to find out about her personal history, her work and about her latest book called After the Roses. Shayne also shared some top writing advice for other writers. Read on to find out what she had to say.
Hello Shayne and welcome to e-Books India! We are thrilled to have you join us for this interview! Please tell us about you. Where are you from, what is your professional experience and how did you become an author?
Thanks so much for inviting me!
I was born in New Zealand, and apart from two years in England I’ve lived here all my life. I grew up in a small town surrounded by a farming district, and now live in the countryside with my endlessly supportive and patient husband.
Until I became a full-time writer I worked as a software developer, but my first love was literature. I’ve a degree in English, and I trained as a teacher.
I began writing historical fiction quite a few years ago, but for a long time I only shared my books among friends and acquaintances. When I decided to make them available more widely, I was delighted by how much interest there was, and how well readers responded.
What types of books do you write and what themes do you like to cover in your stories?
I write historical fiction set in New Zealand, beginning in the 1880s, exploring how events and social attitudes affected “ordinary” people, particularly women. Although my characters are imaginary, they’re as real as I can make them. I’d like to think that my characters give something of a voice to those who lived obscure lives of quiet struggle and small triumphs, wanting the best for their children, even though their idea of “the best” might be very different from ours.
While the historic period has shaped the attitudes of my characters and the events of their lives, and the period details are as accurate as I can make them, the books aren’t about those details. I believe that in some ways people are the same across the ages. We all have dreams and disappointments, loves and losses, joy and sorrow. For me, historical fiction can show us something of how our forebears lived—such different lives from ours—and can help us feel a kinship with them.
After the Roses is the second book in my “Daisy” series. Daisy is the grand-daughter of the main character from my earlier books, Amy. She wants to become a doctor; quite an ambition for a farm girl in early 20th century New Zealand. The previous book covered the First World War years, while this one begins with the influenza pandemic of 1918 and continues to early 1924.
Where do you find inspiration for your writing?
At first it was from places like the farming valley a few miles from my childhood home, which had been in my husband’s family for generations, and from the stories told by my late father-in-law, who was almost 90 when he died, and who had his own father’s and grandfather’s recollections to share. Tales were told of the days before electricity or engines had reached the valley; when milking was done by hand, and machinery was drawn by horses.
I’m still inspired by events from history, both small and large, and by how New Zealand has changed over the years. And now the characters I’ve invented provide their own inspiration, as I follow them on their journeys. I want to know what happens to them, and the only way for me to find out is to write it!
Are you working on any other books(s)? If so, can you please tell us what we can expect from you in the future?
My next book will be something quite new for me: my first work of non-fiction, based on a series of events in 19th century Wellington (our capital city). After that, I’ll return to following the lives of my fictional characters. There’ll be more in the “Daisy” series, and I’d also like to write about some of the secondary characters who have their own sets of fans among readers!
From your experiences as an author, could you please share 2-3 important lessons you’ve learnt to help beginner authors who dream of seeing their work published?
People’s backgrounds and circumstances vary widely, and writers find success via some very different paths. But here are some things that have worked for me:
– I write most days, even if it’s only a few hundred words. If I’m having difficulty getting the words out, I might work on outlines or go over my research notes for a while, then go back to getting those words down. I don’t allow myself to have writer’s block!
– I make the books the best I possibly can, polishing and re-working, doing multiple drafts, and taking account of the response of beta-readers, while still trusting my own instincts.
– Perhaps most important of all: I try never to lose sight of the reason I began writing, which was my desire to share these stories, and never lose my love of what I do. I would go on writing if I still had only a handful of readers rather than hundreds of thousands.
How can people find out more about you?
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/hv1.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Hiten Vyas is the Founder and Managing Editor of eBooks India. He is also a prolific eBook writer with over 25 titles to his name.[/author_info] [/author]