Saturday, December 6, 2014
Getting a Late Start by June Shaw
A new friend asked the silliest question: "Why did you wait so long to start writing novels?"
My desire to become a writer surfaced when I was in ninth grade. Before then I thought good writers were old dead European men. I couldn't relate. My English teacher told me he was sending me to a literary rally. I knew grammar well, which most of the test would include, but we'd also write a paragraph. He told me to practice. I should write about a splinter.
A splinter? I slunk back to my desk. This would be the dullest paragraph anyone ever created. I described a silver of wood, checked for grammar and punctuation, and carried it to his desk.
He skimmed it. "June, this is boring."
"I know, but you told me to write it."
"Yes, but do it like this." He wrote Ouch! and said I should write from the splinter's point of view. Somebody just sat on it.
Wow, that was it! My education. My inspiration. I was so excited to realize an author could create people and things and make them do or say anything. What my teacher actually did was introduce me to modern creative writing that included humor.
I'd never read things like that before. None of my teachers ever had us do creative writing. I can't recall the topic of the paragraph we had to write about at the rally, but I did place first and I never forgot that splinter.
Over time I'd often think of that splinter and want to write, but instead ran with my five children to their activities. My husband died when they were five to eleven years old. Once my head began to clear, I knew I wanted to write. I became a teacher who taught English. Over time I sold essays and stories. My one-act plays did sell and I finally read novels and learned to write them. My first novel, Relative Danger, features a spunky young grandma and her hunky sometimes ex-lover. Is she me? I'm often asked. She's who I want to be.
When Killer Cousins, the second book in the series, came out, both books received great reviews and much praise. I was thrilled. My third book takes place on a cruise ship.
I'm in my second adulthood and having great fun! Thanks for letting me share. I love my characters. Quirky and unique, they are people I want to spend much time with and I want my readers to do the same.