Friday, 7 March 2014

Getting to Know...Shawna Romkey

by Shawna Romkey

1. What genre(s) do you write and what attracts you to that genre?
I write young adult paranormal so far. I’ve written other genres, but that’s the one that got me published and I feel comfortable in that skin really. I may never leave. 

I’ve always loved dark fantasy. I loved reading Poe in school and Robert Browning’s darker poetry, and Shakespeare’s tragedies interested me a lot more than the comedies and histories. Then I taught junior high, high school, community college and university, so I think I know that age group from 13 – 33 pretty well. I was those ages, I interacted with those ages daily and still do teaching at the community college level. You can do a lot with emotion and you can take things to extremes. I think with both the young adult part and the paranormal part, you can get very intense. I’m a drama queen. I dig that.

2.     What’s your writing strength?  What do you think separates you from other authors?
Probably my marketing background. I am able to get my book and my author self places that people who aren’t comfortable with marketing might not. I’m not afraid to ask for things like interviews, appearances, and that sort of thing, and asking gets you closer to where you want to be.  Marketing is almost half the battle with writing. You can spend easily as much time marketing as writing, so understanding it helps a lot.

That and persistence. It took 20 years for me to publish my first book. I didn’t give up.

3.     What’s your writing kryptonite?  What is always tough for you to tackle?
I don’t write fast. I have a day job, a side job, volunteer work with an animal rescue, a needy husband, two sons and two dogs. There are lots of distractions. It’s tough for me to make time to write.

4.     Do you work with critique partners? 
Not critique partners but beta readers. I have at least three people read my book once I think it’s ready for submission, and then I revise it those three additional times. Even now before a book comes out, I’ve started having three new people re-read it, even once the editor is done with it, just to catch typos or mistakes that might have been missed.

5.     Where are your favourite places to find inspiration for new ideas?
Song lyrics help me a lot when I’m thinking about what to write next. Walks help too. And talking with my brainstorming partners from my writers group when we go away to our retreats. They rock.

6.     What piece of advice has stuck with you most since joining RWAC?
I’ve gotten lots, especially from brainstorming partners. I’ve seen some great ed sessions, too. Julianne MacLean and Bev Pettersen’s session on indie publishing and marketing has really stuck with me. I go back to look at those notes quite often. Also Paula once suggested Goals, Motivation and Conflict to me by Debra Dixon, and Annette’s suggestion for Save the Cat. Both have helped my writing a lot!

7. Can you tell us what you’re working on now?
I’m working on the third book in the Speak of the Devil series. It’s called The Devil You Know. The second book, The Devil Made Me Do It comes out in September, and I’m currently celebrating Speak of the Devil’s first birthday with lots of fun stuff over at my blog, so come take a look


  1. Happy Birthday to Speak of the Devil! As always, I somehow still discover new things about my RWAC writing peeps in these interviews -- even about you, my writing retreat brainstorming partner and dear friend. Really enjoyed your interview, and can't wait for The Devil You Know!

  2. Enjoyed your blog and learning more about your writing, Shawna. It's amazing how you fit it all in. Congrats on your Speak of the Devil series and your upcoming release.

  3. Thanks, you two. I've learned a lot from the both of you!

  4. Great post Shawna ... can't wait to read The Devil you Know!

  5. Great interview, Shawna. Happy to hear STC worked for you. :)