Author Spotlight: Shelia Sewell
Shelia Sewell is equal parts educator and comedian, and she can sure tell a story! She released her first book, Love, Lies, and Loyalty, back in October to celebrate her 42nd birthday and her fans are anxiously awaiting her second book. Let's get to know Shelia a bit better . . .
First, let’s get to know you a little better
Where would you go in a time machine?
I would want to travel back to the years before I was born so that I could have a chance to meet my great-grandmother on my maternal side of the family. She died a few months before I was born, and I feel that I would’ve been so connected to her. I would like to travel back to the 70s. I love the fashion, the music, and the overall vibe of that era.
Which super power would you like to have?
The ability to have a clone. I am so busy that I would love to be able to send Shelia 2.0 to some places. This would free up my time so that I could write and enjoy more of my leisure time.
You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?
I would be Ghanian or Senegalese brown. When I was younger, I was often teased because of my dark skin, and it took me years to appreciate and love the skin that I’m in. I chose those colors because I truly believe that I am a princess somewhere in Ghana or Senegal. I plan to do a DNA test and travel to one of these countries for my 45th birthday.
What’s your favorite old school jam?
Ugh. This is a tough one. I used to be a VIP in the club so I have so many favorite songs. I guess one of them would be Brickhouse because I’m fine like that! Lol.
What TV show can you absolutely not miss?
My current newest obsession is 9-1-1 starring Angela Bassett.
If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be?
I would love to trade places with Oprah. Not just because she’s a billionaire. She is so revered and so well-respected across the board. I would to just revel in the essence of her and be able to use what I learn about her and apply it to my own life.
If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?The title would be: I’m Just Shelia, But so Much More.
Now, on to your writing
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I didn’t start to write until I had to write a Black History Month program for my school. It was then that I realized that writing was my talent. I began to write poems that dealt with my current relationships. It then dawned on me that I wanted to become a well-known writer and that I wanted to share my writing with many others.
What inspires you to write?
I am inspired to write by life. My life and the lives of others around me.
What genre do you write and why?
My genre could best be described as modern-day African-American fiction.
Do you have a set schedule for writing, or are you one of those who write only when they feel inspired?
I don’t have a set schedule because I tend to have to be in a certain space mentally to write (which is why it took me over 10 years to finish my first novel). However, I am trying to train myself to adopt a writing schedule so that I can finish my second novel this summer.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I prefer to hand write my book. When I tried to just type freestyle, I felt that there was a disconnect between my thoughts and my writing.
What, according to you, is the hardest thing about writing?
The hardest thing to me about writing is just getting started and finding the time to write. As a full-time teacher and mom of a high school athlete I am always on the go. Being able to free my mind and to get in my “zone” has proven to be the most difficult thing for me.
How do you select the names of your characters?
I try think of names that are common yet unexpected. I sometimes peruse name list to see if anything stands out to me. With my first book, I had lived with the characters for so long that I didn’t realize that I never gave them last names. I then just did a Google search and chose names that I thought fit each girl’s look and personality.
And just a bit moreAs a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
My current avatar is just a mini Shelia. I am currently thinking about changing it to something else.
How did it feel when you published your first book?
It felt as if I had finally delivered a baby that I had carried way past full term. I am often still in awe that I have published a book. When I received that first shipment of books and was able to touch that first paperback copy, I shed tears of joy. It is a dream come true. A feeling that I will never forget. I felt proud that despite all of my trials that I’ve experienced in my life, I was able to accomplish something that everyone can’t say that they’ve done. I am a published author! Just had to say it again.
Can you tell us about your current projects?
Right now, I am currently working on book #2 which will focus on Maven. The tentative title is: Substitute for Love or Dominated by love. Trust me, when you read it you will understand why those titles are so fitting to what Maven is going to experience.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
I love to read, but I have been so focused on my book that I haven’t had time to read much lately. I pretty much love reading any African-American fiction. I’m not big on nonfiction. Some of my favorite authors are Mary Monroe, Mary B. Morrison, Carl Weber, Eric Jerome Dickey, Terry McMillan, and the list goes on. I plan on reading every book by Divine Legacy Publishing authors as well.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
I would tell my younger writing self to keep writing. To be prepared to use your writing to encourage, motivate, and entertain others. I would tell my younger self that writing is going to be a catalyst to a major change in your life, so be prepared to receive it.
Any advice you would like to give to aspiring writers?
To aspiring writers my advice is to just write. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and the journey to becoming a published author begins with a single word.
What does literary success look like to you?
Literary success on a basic level looks like it does right now. I have published a book that has received rave reviews from everyone who has read it. My long-term goal is to be an award-winning author and to have my book adapted into a stage play, TV series, Netflix series, and the big screen.
Thank you, Shelia, for allowing us to get to know you better! We look forward to your second book because, well, we need to know what's going on with Maven!
To find out more about Shelia, please visit her website at www.authorsheliasewell.com.