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Author Interview: Shelly X Leonn

What inspires you to write?

I'm inspired by the moments that make me pause, make me think, or make me feel. I watch and read the national and international news on a daily basis. And, like most authors, I'm a constant people watcher. How do you develop your plot and characters?

I'm a pantser ... to an extent. When I first start a manuscript, I have a rough idea of the plot's beginning, middle, and end. Sometimes, though, my characters will take the story in a way I could have never expected. The thrill of discovery keeps me entertained during my own writing. Could you share some of your challenges as a writer?

I think my greatest challenge is finding the right balance when drawing attention to social issues affecting young people. My No. 1 goal, ALWAYS, is to tell a good story. But I also recognize the power of an author's voice. As a result, I try to put some messages in my stories that I find vital and meaningful.

What are your current/future projects?

Right now, I'm finishing up a YA psychological horror called Cabin Redemption. Again, I hope that the narrative is a compelling, gripping story. I want to scare the poop out of people. But, I also hope to make people think about the crisis of mental health in this country, especially as it is experienced by young people. Do you have a routine you follow when writing?

OK, this is a weird one. If I'm ever stuck (like, really, really, really stuck), I will bribe myself with candy. Every time I write 100 words, I eat a small piece. Then, I save some big treat for myself at the end. I'm weird, I know. Whatever. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Do NOT follow market trends. That is the lamest advice anyone could ever give you. If you're writing to match a hot demographic instead of your own passions and storytelling skill, you're going to write crap. Write YOUR story, not a story that you think will sell. End of discussion. *mic drop*

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you?

INSTAGRAM! Hit me up at @shellyxleonnauthor. Also, I have a podcast with my bestie @llmontez! We are always looking for awesome people to talk with us. Check us out on Audioboom!

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