Author Q&A with Shannon Lawrence
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About Shannon Lawrence
A fan of all things fantastical and frightening, Shannon Lawrence writes primarily horror and fantasy.
Her stories can be found in over forty anthologies and magazines, and her three solo horror short story collections and her nonfiction title, The Business of Short Stories, are available now.
You can also find her as a co-host of the podcast Mysteries, Monsters, & Mayhem.
When she’s not writing, she’s hiking through the wilds of Colorado and photographing her magnificent surroundings, where, coincidentally, there’s always a place to hide a body or birth a monster.
On to Our Interview!
Q: Tell us who you are and what inspires you to write.
A. I’m a horror short story author who loves to play and experiment with words and to explore the dark and fantastical.
There’s always inspiration for stories of all genres hidden (or not so hidden) in everyday life, and I enjoy stumbling across new ideas, which are typically in the form of a question; What would happen if such and such even occurred? I’m also a true crime podcaster, which has been a fun way to while away the pandemic and still get to talk to people.
Q: How did you get to this place in your life? Share your story!
A. I fiddled with writing for most of my life, but became serious about it after having my son.
Here I was for the first time without a day job to go to. While I certainly didn’t have spare time as a stay at home mom whose husband had to travel frequently for work, I did find my priorities shifting to where I wanted to use that time to do something that was about me. I got serious and eventually found my way to submitting short stories.
Now I’ve got over forty published!
Q: What are you most passionate about?
A. In terms of writing, I’m passionate about the short form and ensuring it gets recognized as a valid form of writing and art.
A lot of the time, people default to novels as the only means to having a writing career.
I do also write long form, but short stories are my first writing love and the form I enjoy the most.
They’re fun to write, and the submissions process can be a roller coaster, one with plenty of highs and lows. The highs (getting an acceptance or even an invitation to submit) are outnumbered by the lows (rejections), yet are so worth it.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process, routine, and/or rituals around your writing?
A. When I had small children, my rituals were different.
Now that I have teens, it tends to be whatever works and whenever it’s possible.
Still, I keep mint lotion near my usual writing areas (my office, but also my spot in the living room where I write the most often). Even if I forget to put it on before a bout of writing, if I hit a pause where I need to think through something, it’s lovely to put on and breathe deeply.
The mint is energizing and just a scent I like in general.
Also, I format the document before I start a short story. Something about having the Shunn required headings on the title page puts my mind into the right space to get to writing a story. Plus, it’s easier than having to do it all at the end instead.
Q: What are a few challenges you faced in creating, marketing, or publishing your creative work? And your solutions to them.
A. In general, rejections are a constant challenge in the writing world.
Whether it’s querying a novel or submitting a short story, every writer will run into some form of rejection.
Once I started “collecting” them by having a goal for the number of rejections I’d get in a year, it got a little easier.
As did starting to get acceptances.
Once I had the mindset that each story wasn’t going to be for everyone, and that it wasn’t personal if it was rejected, I was able to have a healthier outlook on rejections and take them as a matter of course. I’d be lying if I said some of them still don’t get to me. Often it’s my favorite stories that get the most rejections! Plus, rejection hurts. Period. It’s a human reaction. But for the most part, I’m ready to turn each story around and submit it elsewhere as soon as I get that rejection, which makes it more businesslike and less personal.
Q: What do you wish you had known before you started writing fiction?
A. Attending my first writing conference led to some rude awakenings.
Most of all, it was the harsh reality that, not only can the publishing world be a hard one to gain access to, even doing so doesn’t mean success.
Getting published doesn’t automatically make you famous and it certainly doesn’t guarantee any sort of income.
We see the success stories and the people whose names are written large, but we don’t see the ones who are spending tons of time marketing themselves and querying/submitting without getting anywhere of consequence. Being hit with the realities of the publishing world was hard at first, but then it just made me more prepared to fight for it.
It can deflate you or it can give you the incentive you need to push forward. I wish I’d had a more realistic view of publishing before that point, rather than having a false outlook. But I’m glad I got the information fairly early in my publishing career.
Q: What’s next for you in your creative work?
A. I’ve got some short stories coming out in a couple magazines and an anthology, so I’m looking forward to those releases.
I love the first time I get to see the cover of a book or magazine in which I have a story!
I’m working on my next anthology of horror short stories, but the release date is a ways out. And I’m intending to get back to a novel I’ve been working on. So plenty of good things around the corner and a lot to keep me busy.
I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Q: Is there anything else you wished I’d asked? Please share!
A. In addition to what I wish I’d learned earlier, there’s a positive aspect, too.
I wish I’d known earlier how supportive the writing community, either local/in-person or online, could be.
I feel like I might have started actively writing and submitting earlier with the type of support I later found.
For me, that started with a local writing conference, which led to me attending local writing gatherings and to being involved with the blogging community online. Both have been such a boon and full of learning opportunities and caring connections.
Those things also come with plenty of inspiration and a reenergizing of my writing.
The Business of Short Stories: Writing, Submitting, Publishing, and Marketing by Shannon Lawrence
Whether you’re looking to add short stories to your repertoire as a solo pursuit or in addition to novel writing, The Business of Short Stories covers every aspect from writing to marketing. Learn the dynamics of short story writing, where to focus your editing efforts, how and where to submit, how to handle acceptances and rejections, what to do with reprints, and how to market yourself and your stories online and in person. All the information in this book comes from personal experience.
There’s never been a better time to get into short stories!
Connect with Shannon Lawrence
Site Link: http://thewarriormuse.blogspot.com