Tuesday, April 14, 2009

 

Interview with Shona Snowden, Runner Up Essay Contest Winner

Shona Snowden lives with her husband and children in Sydney, Australia. She works as a freelance copywriter, squeezing essays and fiction in around paying clients. Her short stories have been published in several national magazines in Australia and 'The People's Friend' in the UK, and her humour has appeared in 'The Sydney Morning Herald'.

Shona loves writing for both adults and young adults and finds, sometimes to her own surprise, that most of her characters like to hurl themselves into paranormal mysteries. Maybe the spirits are trying to tell her something…or maybe Shona's characters are just braver than she is.

As well as writing and taking care of her family, Shona spends her time reading, cooking and learning to identify the many Australian spiders and snakes that would like to kill her.

More information on Shona's stories for young adults can be found at: http://www.shonasnowden.com

Shona placed as a Runner Up in the Fall Personal Essay Contest sponsored by skirt! books, with a prompt by Jill Butler, for her story Recreating Home. If you haven't done so already, read her story and come back for the interview!

Interview by Debbie Delgado

WOW: It sounds like you have a full plate of family, freelancing, fiction writing and writing for fun. How on earth do you fit it all in?

Shona: Well, my house is a mess... I admit that life is easier now that both of my children have started school, which gives me about six hours or so a day for work and writing. Until they get sick and then the whole thing falls apart!

WOW: I hear ya! Besides that challenge, what was the most challenging part of writing this essay?

Shona: Getting started, because the events that kickstarted this period in my life--being stalked--were so awful. You'll notice the lack of detail! I did write more detail on the stalking originally, but decided that wasn't at the heart of the story. This story was about what happened afterwards. However, a couple of my friends have asked me to write more about the stalking at some point, and I will when I feel ready.

WOW: That's a tough subject. But it sounds like you created such a warm and wonderful place for yourself in Amsterdam. What is your space like now that you reside in Sydney? Does the thick green china and the bubble tumblers still have a special place in your home?

Shona: My home in Sydney is so different from the one in Amsterdam. It's a large house, with open views and a swimming pool--impossible things in Amsterdam. I still miss my home in Amsterdam, even though it has been about fifteen years since I left. That space was so totally mine, and went from nothing to being such a wonderful home. As for the china and the tumblers, I wish I still had them. I have almost nothing from that time, because when I did leave I had to travel light. I went to Canada, but that's another story...

WOW: Ghost Boys Give Cold Kisses is such a fun title for a Young Adult novel. Where do you find your inspiration for your paranormal mysteries?

Shona: It is still a surprise to me that I write paranormal mysteries. When I first started writing, I thought I was writing about awkward characters with family issues! I guess I still am, just in a different way. Ghost Boys Give Cold Kisses was my attempt to submit to the voices and write a straight out ghost story and I had a ball doing it.

WOW: Do you have any writing rituals?

Shona: I have a thing about the number 13 and I won't stop reading or writing on page 13, or reading on chapter 13, it has to be 12 or 14. I'd miss chapter 13 out altogether in my own writing if I could, but even if I skipped it, or used titles instead of numbers, I would still know it was there. I just write really fast when I get to that area! I’m not great with multiples of 13, either. I know. Weird.

WOW: How do you "switch hats" from freelance to fiction?

Shona: I've learned to do that pretty fast, because sometimes I'll find I have an hour left at the end of a day of commercial writing and if I don’t make that head switch quickly then the hour will be gone. I'll usually visit a few blogs for a five to ten minutes just to clear my head, then jump in.

WOW: Lastly, do you have any advice for those just getting started in their own writing adventures?

Shona: The biggest mistake I made at first was not to write unless I had at least two hours available. Now I try and write even 100 words a day. It might not seem like much, but it keeps you in touch with the progress of what you are writing, so when you do get a bigger chunk of time you can jump right in, rather than spending time reminding yourself of where you are in your story.

WOW: Thank you Shona, for chatting with us today, and congratulations on your win!

The Spring '09 Flash Fiction Contest is Open, with guest judge literary agent Wendy Sherman. Deadline: May 31, 2009. http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/contest.php



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Monday, September 15, 2008

 

WOW! Women On Writing Fall 2008 Essay Contest Sponsored by skirt!

WOW! Women On Writing announces the new Fall 2008 Essay Contest, sponsored by skirt! books. We've raised the word count to give you more words to tell a compelling story. We've also put a limit on the number of entries, so be sure to get your submissions in early for inclusion.

Word Count: up to 750 words

Deadline: November 30, 2008
The contest may close early if we reach 300 entries.

Prompt: This season’s prompt is inspired by Jill Butler’s book, Create the Space You Deserve: An Artistic Journey to Expressing Yourself Through Your Home.

Jill offers a favorite quote from Winston Churchill: “We create our dwelling and afterwards our dwellings create us.” Jill believes it runs both ways simultaneously. As we create ourselves, we create our homes, and in the creating of our homes we have the opportunity to recreate ourselves.

In less than 750 words, tell us how recreating your personal space has changed your life, or how by making changes in your life, it has moved you to express yourself and recreate your home. These can be personal stories of love, loss, moving to a new area, or anything that has affected or inspired you to recreate your life and your home.

Guest Judge: Literary Agent, Jennifer DeChiara, of The Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency

Jennifer was the guest judge for last year's Summer 2007 Flash Fiction Contest. We also interviewed Jennifer in WOW!'s November Walking in an Agent's Shoes issue.

Entry Fee: $10 per entry

Entry Fee Plus Critique: $20 per entry. Yes, you heard it right, due to popular demand, we added the critique option once again! We have critiquers ready to go, so it won't hold up the results of this contest.

Limit: 300 entries

Prizes: 35 Winners total!

1st Place: $200 cash prize; skirt! Books Goodie Bag (worth over $50 per goodie bag) including 3 books; entry published on WOW!, a year's subscription to Premium-Green Writer's Markets ($48 value); interview on The Muffin.

2nd Place: $150 cash prize; skirt! Books Goodie Bag (worth over $50 per goodie bag) including 3 books; entry published on WOW!, a year's subscription to Premium-Green Writer's Markets ($48 value); interview on The Muffin.

3rd Place: $100 cash prize; skirt! Books Goodie Bag (worth over $50 per goodie bag) including 3 books; entry published on WOW!, a year's subscription to Premium-Green Writer's Markets ($48 value); interview on The Muffin.

7 Runners Up: skirt! Books Goodie Bag (worth over $50 per goodie bag) including 3 books; entry published on WOW!, a year's subscription to Premium-Green Writer's Markets ($48 value); interview on The Muffin.

25 Honorable Mentions: skirt! Books Goodie Bag (worth over $50 per goodie bag) including 3 books; name, title of story, and city/state published on WOW!

Find out full details by visiting our contest page:
http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/contest.php

Be sure to download the free ebook of terms & conditions, as well as FAQs on our contest page.

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