Theresa Shea’s Advice to New Authors + On Social Media’s Effectiveness On Book Promotion

theresa shea-picName: Theresa Shea

Hometown: I was born in Silver Spring, Maryland, lived in a few different states, and moved to Canada in 1977.

Based In: Edmonton, Alberta. Canada

Education: BA, MA. PhD in literature.

Briefly: Poet and essayist. Author of The Unfinished Child (Brindle & Glass, 2013).The Unfinished Child was a finalist in the BookBundlz “Book Pick” Contest (2013), and it’s just been long listed for the Alberta Readers’ Choice Award (2014). It’s also now in its third printing, which is pretty cool considering it didn’t make any of the “big” national prize lists here in Canada.

Favorite Read: I can never answer this question! I have too many favorite books. What I really want from a book is to be emotionally moved. I want to care about the characters, and I want the narrative to be well written.

Pet Peeves: Food left in the sink after it’s been drained. Or, conversely, water left in the kitchen sink. I despise and resent having to put my hand into cold, greasy dishwater.

If You Weren’t a Writer You’d Be…A musician. I started playing the violin when I was 40, and I had a lovely teacher who was from Texas (I was living on the Sunshine Coast, in British Columbia, at the time). I seemed to be picking things up pretty quickly, and after one lesson she said, in her thick drawl, “I think you missed your calling.” How bittersweet!

Author Crush: Hmm… I’ll give you a few crushes: Barbara Kingsolver, Alistair MacLeod, Elizabeth Strout, Gloria Sawai, Alice Munro. And, of course, I still have a crush on my husband, the writer Tim Bowling.

Fiction or General Publishing How-To Book You’d Recommend: I don’t generally read how-to writing books, but I remember my husband had one lying around the house once (I have no idea what it was called), and I picked it up and found a section on “back story.” I realized, Eureka! The Unfinished Child doesn’t have a back story! That was a great (and disappointing) moment, for I realized I had more work to do, but that’s what enabled Margaret and Caroline to come into the book. And Dr. Maclean. So I think reading about writing can be useful; however, one needs to avoid the trap of reading too much. In the end, you just have to sit down and get writing.

When the Canadian writer W.O. Mitchell went to Toronto for a short spell, he said afterwards that he’d never met so many “talker writers” in his whole life. I don’t want to be a “talker writer,” and there are plenty of them out there. Maybe you know some.

I’m well into the first draft of my second novel and am quite excited by how it’s going. I hope to have a draft done by September. That’s my goal. What type of a reader were you growing up: an avid reader, or the sort of reader who only read school textbooks and reading assignments and nothing else?

Books were my first addiction. I was a bookworm from a very young age. I was an extremely shy child, and I honestly don’t know how I would have survived childhood if not for books. Continue reading