Writing is my dharma, but I have been blessed by many things, not the least of which is living in SW Florida, teaching yoga and watching yellow-crowned night herons grow their families outside my window as I tap the keyboard.

Before all this, I was a caregiver for a full deck of characters, which became the inspiration for my “Blues” series. And before that, I was an editor for a software company. And before even THAT, I was in graduate school, preceded by high school, junior high, elementary and preschool. Before that, mom says I skipped crawling altogether and would just grab any ankle that wandered by and hold on for the ride.

And long before my mother met my father by nearly running over him in a parking lot at Ft. Benning, I was stardust in some far away galaxy where I hope to return someday.

Long live stars . . . and yellow-crowned herons.

 

Home Grown
Interviews with Local Artists
By Elizabeth Delaney

For my first interview ever, I chose to talk with local author, Shannon Danford.   Earlier this month, I caught up with her at her home in Bonita Springs, Florida.

Elizabeth Delany (ED):  So how long have you lived here?
Shannon Danford (SD):  You seriously want that to be your first question?

ED:  Okay, if you could be something besides a writer, what would you be?
SD:  A pirate.  Next.

ED:  All right, let’s try this one; where do you get your characters?
SD:  Mostly Seven-11.

ED:  Oh. That’s supposed to be funny.
SD:  Yeah, I write humor.  You haven’t read any of my books have you?

ED:  I’ll ask the questions.  Here’s a good one – what . . .
SD:  Listen, you clearly have no idea what you’re doing.  Why don’t I ask the questions and you take notes?

ED:  Okay, although I’m doing this under protest.
SD:  I’m often asked why I chose to self-publish.

ED:  Wow that is a good one.
SD:  Self-publishing is the new frontier for all kinds of mediums from music to writing.  If you look at the statistics, the traditional publishing model, while very vital, is losing ground to Kindle, and Indie bookstores.  Although it’s a lot more work, I want to move forward with a business plan that allows me to come up with the idea for a story and escort that story all the way to the reader’s nightstand.

ED:  What does that mean?
SD:  If someone wanted to publish my novels, s/he would do the editing, and some of the marketing.  I might get a nice royalty check or not.  S/he would be able to give me deadlines and tell me where to go for book signings, assuming I prove that I’m a worth the effort.  But the thing is, I’m already doing the editing and while I do not have a lot of book signings, yet, my audience is growing steadily.  And I have the latitude to do things like sell my books where I want and for a more reasonable price.  I like going to clubhouses, book groups, and small venues where I can talk with readers.  And who else would give a book guarantee?  If you don’t laugh at least once while reading one of the blues books, I will refund your money.  Do you think a publisher would do that?

ED:  Hell no.  And why should you share the fruits of your labors with a company who would use you like some kind of creative cash cow?
SD:  Exactly!

And while Danford didn’t make my first interview easy, I think things turned out well.  Ideally, I’d like to chat with Janet Evanovich next month, but I’ll settle for anyone who will talk to me.