June Shaw writes the humorous mystery series featuring feisty Cealie Gunther and her Cajun restaurateur hunk Gil Thurman whom she tries to avoid so she can rediscover herself.
June lives along a lazy bayou in south Louisiana. She became a young widow with five children, completed a college degree, and started teaching junior high students. Then her deferred dream of becoming a writer took hold. When she is not writing, she enjoys reading, swimming, fishing, dancing, traveling, meeting new people, and being with her friends and large family.
See more at www.juneshaw.com.
“All good authors are old dead men from Europe, and you must struggle trying to figure out what they meant.” That’s what I believed. I couldn’t relate.
My beliefs changed in ninth grade when my English teacher was sending me to a literary rally. He said I should practice writing a paragraph. He said write about a splinter.
A splinter? How dull. I described a sliver of wood and carried it to his desk. “This is boring,” he said.
“Yes, but you told me to do it.”
But then he wrote “Ouch!” He told me to write from the splinter’s point of view. Somebody had just sat on it.
Wow! A writer could do that? Writers could create people or things and make them say or do anything? That splinter was my inspiration. “Ouch!” was my only creative writing lesson.
Actually, what that word did was introduce me to modern humor and made me decide one day I’d be a writer.
Years went by.
I married right out of school, had five children in the next six years, and became a widow when they were five to eleven. After my mind functioned, I knew I needed to work. Family members asked what I’d like to do. That splinter flashed into mind. But my silly kids wanted to eat and wear shoes and wouldn’t sit around for years while I read lots of novels and then tried to write some. All I’d been reading were backs of cereal boxes.
I completed a college degree and taught junior high students, eventually finding a little time to write. What I knew best was my family, so I studied writers’ magazines and penned an essay called “Five Left to Love.” I sent it to a magazine I thought would snap it up. Soon a rejection arrived. I pouted but remembered advice I’d learned from periodicals. Don’t give up. Expect rejection—most authors receive lots of it—and send your work out again while you write something new. I did and presently received a letter of congratulations with a check! Pleased with myself, I looked to see where I’d previously sent my manuscript. It was the same place. The first editor who received it turned it down. Another editor at the same magazine bought my work.
Finally I found time to read novels and study about how to write them. I didn’t sell my first or second attempt but determined they were for practice. I later jumped with excitement when I received THE CALL. I sold Relative Danger!
By the time I sold a novel, I had been teaching twenty years. My visually-impaired aging mother had come to live with me, and my children had given me grandkids.
Deadly Ink nominated my first book for its David award for Best Mystery of the Year. Others gave it high reviews. And then I sold Killer Cousins, second book in that series of humorous mysteries. The third book, Deadly Reunion, came out in the fall. Most recently, Nora 102 ½: A Lesson on Aging Well was published. Currently I’m completing a picture book called How To Take Care of Your Pet Ghost with my eight-year-old granddaughter Claire.
I have learned that if you don’t have time to pursue your dream during a certain period of your life, keep holding onto it until you can find time. When you can’t write, read. Read in the area that interests you. Study magazines that instruct and encourage. You’ll be learning and working toward your goal.
You have to love the creative process of writing just like those who paint or sing because every word we write will probably not sell. Learning and perfecting your craft may take quite awhile. That’s okay. Expect it. Enjoy the words you create.
Don’t give up. If you must write, write. Love the process.
Give yourself freedom to write. Careers normally drive men. Women put everyone else ahead of themselves, especially for time. We deserve time for ourselves, for going after our passions.
No matter your age, you can succeed as a writer. Just go for it!