Hello Sheila! It’s great to meet you! I’d love to start the interview by learning about the foundations of your interest in literature. Who are/were your literary heroes, and what types of writing/authors inspired you as a younger reader?
As a young reader my love for scary stories and suspenseful tales began to emerge. I was quickly drawn to the masterful creations written by Stephen King and Anne Rice. Another author I became a huge fan of was V. C. Andrews. And my all-time favourite poet has always been Edgar Allan Poe.
Are the characters in The Spirit Within based on real people, and is there anything of Sheila Renee Parker in the main character, Cassy Blakemore? Additionally, what sparked your initial inspiration for planning and writing this novel?
The characters in my novel The Spirit Within are characters relatable to everyday life. I wanted to write a story that seemed realistic enough to pull the reader in, making them feel like they were a part of the story as well. I put all my heart into creating every character. So, is there anything of me in Cassy? The answer is yes, because even though Cassy Blakemore is a fictional character, she finds the strength to overcome life’s crazy obstacles by discovering the spirit within.
Your book focuses strongly on aspects of parapsychology and the paranormal. Have you always been interested in these subjects and is this something that has been created by personal experiences? If so, then has this changed your life and outlook in any particular ways; spiritually, emotionally or mentally?
The paranormal has always been a part of my life, simply meaning not only have I been interested in the subject but because I’ve had paranormal experiences ever since I was a small child. I’ve had encounters with shadow people, a terrifying Ouija Board experience, been touched by spirits and have even heard them as well. I’m also an empath. I can easily detect the energies of both the living and the dead. Writing about and researching the paranormal helps me to find answers to my own questions regarding the unknown. It has definitely changed my life by opening my mind and expanding my perception of things in every way possible.
Could you give our readers an idea of how you prepare for writing, Sheila? Is there one specific area or location that you always use for creative writing, or are you more flexible and spontaneous in your approach? Also, are you one who writes via computer, notebook or bits of both?
Oh, I am definitely flexible about where I write. My process begins with paper and pen. I jot everything down in a notebook then I transfer it all onto my laptop. Why do I do it this way? Simply because I find it much easier to carry around my notebook and pen wherever I go. It doesn’t matter where I am, if I get the sudden urge of a great idea, that’s when I write it down. I even keep paper and pen on my nightstand by my bed just in case a spark of imagination ignites.
Outside of writing, what are your interests, and do these involve any other forms of creative expression?
I absolutely love art. My favourite artist is Leonardo Di Vinci. Aside from writing, art is another beautiful form of expression that I openly embrace. The mediums I use when creating a painting vary between acrylics and watercolours. Samples of my artwork can be found on my site https://sheilarparker.wordpress.com/art-poetry/.
Going back to literature, what are you reading at the moment and what types of book do you like to read as a form of relaxation? Does this include non-fiction as well as fiction?
I like to read uplifting stories as a form of relaxation. Something light-hearted with a positive message is always welcomed regardless if it’s fictional or non-fictional. A book that I often refer to from my shelf is Mike Dooley’s Notes from the Universe. I highly recommend it to anyone.
Huge thanks for sharing your thoughts with our readers, Sheila. It’s always a pleasure to learn new thoughts and perspectives from writers and authors. Finally, what’s on the drawing board for the remainder of 2016 and 2017? Are there any new projects in mind?
To continue with the writing of the sequel to my novel The Spirit Within. It’s been a work in progress, but I promise my readers that I am definitely getting it done! I am extremely excited about the continuation of Cassy Blakemore’s tale of self discovery as more secrets unfold with more intense supernatural detail. Also, compelling weekly articles posted on my website https://sheilarparker.wordpress.com/ that discuss the various topics regarding the paranormal, including my own personal ghostly encounters and interviews with some pretty amazing people like paranormal investigators, film directors, actors, TV show hosts and authors just to name a few. 2016 to 2017 are full of phenomenal plans, stay tuned!