Wendy Shipman is an award winning author from Summerville, South Carolina. She has an A.A.S. degree in Criminal Justice. She began writing poetry during a very difficult time in her life. Her desire to become a published author didn’t develop until her late forties. After this experience, it is her mission to continue writing sequels to her first book. Wendy is married with three children and is currently residing in Birmingham, Alabama.
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? What about being a writer frustrates you the most?
Thank you so much! It is such a blessing. I am humbled and I truly appreciate the opportunity. To be quite honest, I didn’t know that writing would have been my calling. Although, many years ago while attending a church in Columbia, SC, I was told that ‘Effective Communication’ was my spiritual gift. There were so many negative things going on at the time that I could not focus on what God had for me.
What I love most about being a writer is that I get to tell the story. Because I suffer from an anxiety disorder, my mind is constantly in ‘overdrive’. That helped me to decide on the characters I wanted to portray, the reason behind the book (dealing with depression) and hopefully the end of the first would be the beginning of the next book. What frustrates me the most is “writer’s block”. That is when I have to back away from my ideas and refresh my mind by not thinking of what to say next. It’s the perfect excuse to do absolutely nothing to let my mind rest and rejuvenate.
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you?
My book Inside Of Me is an inspirational story that will help you re-evaluate your own happiness. Judean Montgomery never thought that an unexpected conversation with her only son would help her to realize she suffered from depression. After years of mental abuse from the people she depended on the most, Judean accepted disappointments and feeling unloved as a norm. What will it take to get the happiness she deserves back into her life?
My website is www.authorwendyshipman.com. Not only can you find my book for purchase, but you can also follow my blog. In it, I talk about having my good days and bad dealing with anxiety/panic disorder and major depressive disorder. You can find Inside Of Me on any online bookstore worldwide. Here is the website for Amazon:https://www.amazon.com/Inside-Me-Wendy-M-Shipman/dp/0578417634/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1601942860&sr=8-1
3) Where do you draw your inspiration from for the stories that you manage to weave together and the characters that you create?
My book inspiration was an ‘accident’. I had been on FMLA from work for a few weeks due to depression. During those quiet times while my son was in school, I just started typing what was going through my head. I wasn’t really writing to write a book. I was writing to keep my mind occupied. I wanted my characters to be life-like and to use life-like situations. I wanted to talk about depression because during my era, depression was never talked about. I wanted to let people know… hey, this thing is real!
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?
Writing, for me, is not put on a schedule. I have to be in the frame of mind to write what is on going on in my head at the time. There have been times when a ‘thought’ came to me in the middle of the night. I would keep a notebook by my bed and write it down. If I didn’t, by morning that thought would have been forgotten. Outlining a novel is very important. It gives you a guide to what you want to talk about and where that story is headed. My first novella took two years to complete from start to finish. Currently, I am working (with God) on how the next step is to be started. Without giving too much information, this step would be the ultimate dream for me so I am praying that it comes into fruition. And, I have also started the sequel to the first book.
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?
The first book that really moved me emotionally was In The Meantime by Iyanla Vanzant. Because I was not healed from my emotional trauma at the time, this book let me know that healing will come. But in the meantime, just keep on living. Currently, I am reading a book along with a Facebook Group called Do It Afraid by Joyce Meyer.
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?
My most significant achievement has been named the 2020 Christian Indie Award Winner in the Personal Growth category. It is truly an honor and a blessing to forever be an award winning author. In the next five years, I am praying for the publishing of my second book and having started the ‘other’ project I am praying about.
7) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career? What is your advice for other writers to better be able to cope or navigate their way through the publishing process, be it traditional or self-publishing?
For me, after weeks of researching, I decided the self-publishing route was the best way to go. With self-publishing, I was able to maintain my own monetary royalties, made decisions about my book exactly how I wanted it to be and advertised through media outlets instead of paying someone else to do it for me. If the Lord blesses me to release another book, I would still self-publish it myself.
8) Do you find it hard to juggle the creative side of being a writer against the business side of being a writer, in terms of marketing and promotion and things of that nature? How hard has it been (or easy) for you to build up your author platform?
Wow! I can’t begin to tell you the number of times I said ‘forget this’ when dealing with the business aspect of being a writer. Research, research, research took a considerable amount of time to make sure everything was in perfect order. Writing was the easiest part. (LOL). However, once the anxiety wore off and my cheerleader (my husband) prayed over me, I was able to complete what I started. ISBN, copyrights, distribution, marketing… they are all apart of the business when self-publishing.
9) So many writers say that they hate reading their own work. Do you ever enjoy reading your own work back to yourself after it’s out there for the rest of the world?
Oh yes!! I have read my book a few times. It helped me to remember what I was able to accomplish. And it reminded me that with God all things are possible. It is never too late to accomplish ideas you only dreamed about.
10) 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?
It is NEVER too late!! I was 49 years old (two months before I turned 50) when I self-published my book. It is an amazing feeling no matter what age you are. If you have that dream… DO IT!!!
11) 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?
My purpose. It took a very long time (middle aged to be exact) to even know what my purpose in life was to be. As a “Depression Survivor” I had many doubts about myself and what I could do. I still do sometimes. But I realize that my story can help someone else who is dealing with depression and anxiety. Writing is my personal therapy. And because of my writing, I was able to talk with other men and women who are dealing with the same issues. I always said if I could just touch and empower one person through my writing, I will have accomplished more than I deserve. I am thankful beyond words by the number of people who have talked to me about having depression but was too ashamed to talk to anyone else about it. I thank God for blessing me with the gift of writing. And I pray that many more people will be blessed by reading Inside Of Me.