Alert: Stay turned to this channel for a special broadcast, Monday, 28 Feb.
Irina Avtsin will tell us all about the power of the word, “No!”.

Today we welcome Shari to the blog. Let’s get this interview goin’ :-)


Where are you from and how old are you?

I was born in Vancouver, BC, Canada, in 1963. I’ve lived my life so far in various places around BC, Alberta, and the Yukon.

When did you begin writing and can you remember how it felt inside, back then?

I’ve always been a journaller, and I dabbled in non-fiction for several years before falling madly in love with YA fiction about five years ago.

Yes, I noticed the extremely helpful links for teens on your site :-)

Was there any certain date or time you remember when you began to either think of yourself as or call yourself a “writer”?

Yes! The first writers’ conference I attended was the Surrey International Writers’ Conference in 2006, and it was there that I “came out of the closet” as a writer. Being surrounded by hundreds of like-minded people and frequently answering the question “so, what do you write?” helped me feel like a “real” writer for the first time.

What are your hopes, or dreams, or goals for your writing?

My dreams include book contracts!;-) I’d love to see my novels–both current and future–find homes. However, my hope is to always find joy in writing and story-telling, whether or not I see my publishing dream come true.

Have you had any “formal” training in the art of writing?

No. For me, learning to write has been, and continues to be, a cross between an apprenticeship and self-teaching. Reading lots, writing lots, studying the craft, taking workshops, critiquing and being critiqued… all of that is helping me learn, bit by bit. And no matter how much I learn, I find there’s always so much more to know!

What do you feel has taught you the most about “how to write”?

I think all those things I mentioned have been crucial, and omitting any one of them would leave a gaping hole in my “education”. If I really have to pick just one, I’d say READING, especially books in the genre I write, and especially good books, ones that inspire me, that amaze me, that make me think “Wow, how did the author do that?”.

Who are your favorite writers and why are they favorites?

There are so many writers whose work I love, so it’s hard to pick favorites! But there are several YA authors whose books I will always pick up as soon as they’re available, because I KNOW I’ll love them — Sara Zarr, Laurie Halse Anderson, Natale Ghent, John Green, Sarah Dessen, Melina Marchetta. I know I’ll get a story with a great voice and with characters, themes, and writing style that I love.

Where and/or how do you get your ideas for your writing?

From the idea fairy. Why–where do you get yours? ;-)

Mine come from my Muse who used to be an idea fairy but got real old and retired… :-)

What’s your normal revision or editing routine?

When I finish a first draft, I put it away for a while and work on something else. Once I start revising, I try to do big-picture stuff first, but it takes every ounce of self-discipline I have not to get sucked into tweaking sentences — there’s time for that later! Big picture stuff, smaller stuff, then off to my critique partners for some feedback. Then I’ll have to fix problems they discover, and then, finally, I get to mess with word choice and word order and nuance and rhythm… I love that part. And then I type “the end” and move on to something else, because I believe perpetual tweaking drains the life out of stories.

I can absolutely relate to that, Shari :-)

Are you published?

I’ve had a few short stories published:
* In Lieu of a Wardrobe won the “Writing For Young People” category of the 2010 Surrey International Writers’ Conference writing contest & appeared in the contest anthology, A World Of Words, October 2010
* Cartwheels was published online as an editor’s choice at Page Forty-Seven, February 2010
* Here’s to You, Matthew Robinson was published in the YA fiction chapbook, TBR Tallboy, December 2009

My novels are not yet published:
* Following Chelsea (contemporary YA) – complete
* The Holy Wild (contemporary YA with supernatural elements) – work in progress

No idea when one will be, but trust me, when it happens you’ll hear my whoops of joy from there.


Tell us about your blog: its purpose, how you go about deciding what to post, and what you want to do with it in the future?

You can find me online at I blog about writing and books, and occasionally about sea creatures or hockey (as the spirit moves me, lol).

I love your blog and highly recommend it. Very perceptive writing!

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by answer our questions :-)

Thanks so much, Alexander!


OK. Now you get to ask Shari questions in the comments :-)

Follow the “co-author” of Notes from An Alien, Sena Quaren:
On Facebook
On Twitter
AND, Get A Free Copy of Our Book