Today on Turning the Pages I'm delighted to bring you an interview from author Angela Shelton who has taken time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions. Thank you Angela!
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m an artist with a mission to create things that inspire people to live joyful lives, no matter what they’ve been through. I started out as a mime at the local mall. I went on to model from ages 16-26. I started acting professionally when I was 17 in commercials, independent movies, and TV guest stars. I wrote my first manuscript at 19 while living in Paris. It was a novel about my mom called Tumbleweeds. When I booked my first lead in a movie when I was 21, the director read my book and loved it. That led to us writing the screenplay together and the indie movie Tumbleweeds was born. After that I started writing screenplays while continuing to act. Then I got the wild idea to direct my first film. That became the documentary, Searching for Angela Shelton where I traveled America interviewing other Angela Sheltons. I thought the film was going to be funny, but it was far from it. When I discovered that 70% of the Angela Sheltons had been victims of child sexual abuse, rape and/or domestic violence I was propelled on a decade long tour of speaking out against violence against women and children. After years encouraging survivors to move on and lead joyful lives, I decided to practice what I preached and fulfill my dream of writing books. So I married my first love, moved to the country, and I’m on my fifth book already. Woowee – that was a mouthful! From mime to married life!
2. Did you plan to be a writer or did it just happen?
My mom started me writing. She got custody of me again when I was eight and from that point on, she would urge me to “write it down” whenever I was upset. I had stacks and stacks of journals.
3. What is your favorite non-writing pastime?
When I’m not writing, I love to cook. I love going on long hikes through the woods with my husband and our puppy. I love Kung Fu movies and I’m totally addicted to Dexter.
4. When did you decide to take that step that made you a published author?
I didn’t exactly decide to be a published author on my first published book. I just started writing a book about how making my documentary changed my life forever because I just had to write it all down. I was speaking at a church in Iowa about healing and moving on from trauma. I shared that I was writing the book Finding Angela Shelton and it turned out that someone who worked at a huge publishing house was in the congregation. She became a champion for the book and took it up the ranks. The next thing I knew, I had a book deal.
I did not follow up on sending the manuscript for Tumbleweeds out to publishers because honestly, I was tired of that story. We’d made a movie and worked on it for five years and that story was cooked in my mind. I wanted to do something different and plus, I kept getting hired to write screenplays. I let my first book sit for a while. I pulled it out again recently, so it’s on my list.
5. What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Have you been able to overcome it?
My main challenge has been my desire and urge to write in more than one genre.
A lot of audience from the documentary was scratching their heads over the fact that I wrote a fantasy series for example.
I believe I’m overcoming that by simply continuing to write what I love to read and letting each book finds its own audience. There are some people who support everything I write, no matter what genre or age group it’s written for. I love those readers!
6. Is writing a full-time career for you? If not, how else do you spend your workday?
I write full time and also help other writers on their books as a consultant. I am on social media for a least an hour a day, I write on my personal blog and my book blog and I work on at least one book project. I have two going right now. My husband and I also work on film projects together. We just finished one for animals that will be launched in 2013 hopefully. We have a very creative household and are always up to something new!
7. If you had to sum it up The Adventures of Tilda Pinkerton in 30 or less words, what would you say?
Tilda Pinkerton teaches a triumphant story of what happens when you realize you have the power to change things. Plus, this fun fantasy builds vocabulary for kids and adults!
8. What inspired the idea behind your book?
The idea of Tilda Pinkerton was presented to me during a meditation prayer. I asked the muses - those little creative angels who plant ideas into our minds - what I should write that was original, fun, and good for children and adults alike. I sat there and waited. Then I heard “Tilda Pinkerton collects hats” and my eyes popped open. I announced that I loved it and wanted to hear more. Then I heard “Whenever Tilda Pinkerton gives you a hat, your life changes forever.”
Tilda Pinkerton was born through a higher source, if you believe in those things, which I do!
9. Do you have to be alone or have quiet to write?
Having quiet time to write is not always possible so I have developed the ability to tune everything and everyone out – like reading a book in a busy airport. I zone out and dive into a story. I prefer slipping always to the porch, but if I must I can write at the kitchen table amid a cocktail party too.
10. What has been your greatest challenge in writing The Adventures of Tilda Pinkerton?
Actually, my biggest challenge with Tilda was her words. She has a much more extensive vocabulary than I do so it was a dance with the dictionary for me.
11. Is there any place and time in the world and in history that you would like to visit?
There are many! I would have loved to go to the moon. I’d love to go back to France in the 1700’s. I’d also love to be a quick draw cowboy in the wild west.
Angela Shelton is an author, actor, blogger and public speaker. She has been writing since she was eight years old. Her first novel was adapted into the movie Tumbleweeds. Angela won a regional Emmy award for her portrayal of Safe Side Superchick in The Safe Side video series created by Baby Einstein’s Julie Clark and America’s Most Wanted’s John Walsh. After living in Los Angeles for over a decade, Angela left the big city for a one-light country town to marry her first love and fulfill her dream of writing books in a barn house.
Find out how Angela has incorporated the character of Tilda Pinkerton into an entire line of book projects, each geared towards a different age group at www.MagicHatShop.com