Shelia Pierre has been writing professionally since 2012. Her first book, “From Tests To Testimony,” was published the same year. This was an inspirational autobiography about her journey through Domestic Violence, Depression, the death of her mother and other life changing situations, in poetry and prose. contributed in the books of other authors.During the day, Shelia is in the classroom with young children. Besides her love for writing poetry and inspirational stories, the author loves spending time with family, friends, walking, reading, and watching Lifetime, thriller movies and investigative shows.

Currently, she has three books in the works and will publish them sometime in the near future. The books (one is poetry) are full of positive, encouraging, inspirational messages to see life differently— in order live a joyful, more peaceful life. Ms. Pierre currently lives in Natchitoches, Louisiana (The City of Lights), which is known for it’s beautiful display of Christmas lights, on the riverfront—the first Saturday in December. She is the mother of an adult son and daughter.

1) First, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me! When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most?

Thanks for reaching out! I have loved paper, pencils and reading since I was probably in 6th grade. I used to love pretending to play school and of course I was the teacher. (Lol) True Story Magazines and other books used to lay around at our house. I used to read them and practice writing my own stories. This made me feel good inside. In elementary school, I was teased by a few people and it made me so sad. Every day I feared it would happen. So, while on the bus, I always pulled out paper and pencil and kept my head down, trying to keep people from teasing me. In high school, I loved writing. In college, I loved writing papers. People used to tell me I could write really well. My mom would find papers all over my bed and on floor after I would fall asleep. Writing felt good, it took my mind off of a lot. I  didn’t know what a  “calling” was at those ages; I just knew I loved words, writing, reading and my problems seemed small. I walked into my “calling” in 2010, when I started writing my first book. Writing takes me away, I wander off into some other place, where I feel calmness, peace and joy. 

I love that I can write about anything at anytime of the day or night. The words just flow into my spirit. Before I know it, I have written pages and pages of poetry or paragraphs. I believe God speaks, and I write. I love that writing is my therapy, my place of safety.

2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you?

I write Inspirational/Christian, Poetry and Self Help books. My first book, “From Tests to Testimony,” was published in 2012. This book was my inspirational autobiography, in which I shared my journey through Domestic Violence, in prose and poetry. I also wrote two small poetry books for girls/women, boys/men, geared toward Domestic Violence. I wasn’t too happy about those books and did not publish very many. I have thought about revising them in the future.

My book can be found on Amazon, in electronic format and readers can connect with me on Facebook and Instagram. Facebook: Author Shelia Renee Pierre and Instagram: author_shelia_renee_pierre.

3) Where do you draw your inspiration from for the stories that you manage to weave together and the characters that you create?

My inspiration for writing comes from my life experiences, other people’s stories, movies, songs, things I see, hear, etc. I had gone through a tough fifteen years with someone who had abused me in many ways. After I was strong enough to leave, I said, “I could write a book about all the things I have been through.” The person shrugged at me, as to say “Whatever.” I was not asking for his permission; I was speaking it into existence.  A year later I was working on my first book.

4) Do you have a schedule for when you write? Do you outline your novels? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel? What projects are you currently working on?

I write at any time, day or night. When the thought or words pop into my head, I must write it down. If I don’t jot it down, the thought is lost and that frustrates me to the max! Sometime I used to wake up at 5 a.m. (like clockwork) and write. Not because it was scheduled, but because I believe God woke me up just to write at that particular time. I never do outlines, I just write. I’ve tried to do outlines, but it never works out! I finished my book in a year, because I had severe Writer’s Block. But, I am usually not in a rush. It could take me from months to a year. I am currently working on three books at once—my mom’s story (which should have been finished and published in 2014), my story “Blessings in the Storm,” and a poetry book about real life issues.

5) What’s the first book you ever read that really moved you emotionally? Who is your favorite author to read? What book are you currently reading?

I have read a few books that pulled at my heartstrings and make me tear up, but I wouldn’t say I have one particular favorite author. I love various writers, mostly those who write inspirational stories and poetry. But, I do love Maya Angelou, Iyanla Vanzant, Yvonne Pierre, Gloria Walker, Angela Hodge and Ericka Johnson Reams. I met the last four authors mentioned, on Facebook. I love reading inspirational stories and poetry. I recently finished reading “From Dirt to Destiny” by C.L. Gray and “Ms MaskOff,” (a book in which I contributed a story), by Jessica Williams. Ms MaskOff actually brought tears to my eyes, because I know the writer personally, but never knew she experienced such pain in life from family members and love interests. I could definitely relate in some ways.

6) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?

I have a few significant achievements I must mention—I wrote five articles for a leading Christian Magazine, then was featured in our local paper in 2012. So many people in my small town was so proud of me. I was interviewed on a blog talk radio show in 2013 and the host read poetry from my book and said my poems were “eloquently written.” Just months ago, I was asked to write a story in someone’s book. 

Five years from now, I will still be writing books. I plan to work on some children books, books on Domestic Violence, create or plan something for Domestic Violence Awareness/Survivors  and prayerfully, be on a Best Seller’s list.

7) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career? What are your thoughts about how the publishing industry is drastically changing in terms of traditional and self-publishing?

I haven’t dealt with rejection from the industry, but from every day people I know. Some people don’t believe in your gift, or want things for free. I have handled that rejection well. I keep working my gift and don’t dwell on who doesn’t support me. I’m grateful for my true support system. Rejection is just protection and it helps you grow in so many areas. I am thankful for it all!

I love the electronic books. They are at my fingertips, with a click of a button. I have so many saved on my iPad. But, I prefer to hold copies in my hand. I’ve thought of self publishing my next books, but either way would be fine with me, just as long as my books and other books are out there to read. However, I do feel it is much harder to get books published these days, if you are not well known. Thankfully, self publishing is an option that is available to get books into the hands of readers.

8) So many writers say that they hate reading their own work. Do you ever enjoy reading your own work back to yourself?

I love, love, love reading my own work!  I’m able to critique it— good or bad. I love reading poetry that I write. There have been times, I have actually asked myself, “Did you write that?”  I have read my first book many times and each time, it feels like the first time. I am able to see how much I have grown as a writer. Yes, I love reading my own work! Makes me feel so good! To know I can write and have published work is such a Blessing!

9) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?

We are never too old to do anything! As long as there is life in our bodies, we can do anything we choose to do. Sometimes the late start makes good for all the lessons learned along the way, giving the writer more to talk about. A late start will not hinder anyone. We just have to get to work. Better to start late, than to die with the gifts inside. Age is only a number in this instance! Nothing is impossible!!

10) I feel like writing is a remarkable tool to help people not only express themselves, but also to cope emotionally and mentally. I know for me I write to be and feel more authentic. What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity? How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose?

Writing has been my saving grace—emotionally and mentally. Whenever I feel stressed, sad, etc, I write. It truly lifts my spirit. I am able to be transparent, share my testimonies, without shame or fear. We cannot heal what we cannot reveal. I write about real life situations I go through, have gone through, what somebody else is going through or have gone through. I am able to write from my heart and I feel so empowered—much stronger. Writing is my addiction, my therapy, God’s gift to me.  I also write to encourage others that everything is going to be alright!!