About Once Upon a Word: We're a large group of multi-talented authors working together, to bring you the best romances. Please, stop by our websites and check out what we've been up to: Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery and Victory Tales Press.

Friday, April 28, 2017

A CHAT WITH SHAUNA HOLDEN



Last month I chatted with Pauline Millward from Kingston-upon-Hull  in England. This month my guest is Shauna Holden, an American. 



Hello, Shauna. Welcome to Once Upon A Word.  I'd like to begin our chat by asking you to tell us about yourself, 

Thank you, Linda, I'll be happy to. I now reside in Northwest Arkansas (Home of the Razorbacks). I am sixty-three, the oldest of three children. My brother, sister, and I were children of  a Bivocational Minister and grew up in a small farming community in Southeast Missouri, where most of my ancestors resided for generations.  I have been married forty-one years to my college sweetheart and have a daughter, son, and a four-year-old grandson.

 I was the first in my family to graduate from college (with a Bachelors Degree in Psychology and Physical Education). I married that same year and we lived in Tennessee, then Texas, where I became a military wife. I worked as an employment counselor, psychotherapist, and in Texas Tech University Health Science Centers as  administrator for the Psychiatry department and attached clinics. I never dreamed my education would lead me down this path but I loved it! When we moved to Arkansas in 1989, I became a stay at home mom involved in school and church activities and helped my husband. start a private practice in Psychiatry. Our lives changed in many ways in 1990 when he was mobilized and sent to the Persian Gulf. Since then he has been to the Middle East combat areas for 7 different campaigns.  Needless to say, during those times (since our children left the nest) I have had lots of time to read!

You have certainly led an interesting life so far while adapting to your family's needs. And the jobs you have held are impressive and show your ability to be flexible! I'm glad that with all these activities you have still found time to read.  Can you tell me what you read and which are your favorites?

Everything! I first discovered my love for books from my mother, Gwanda Hency. One summer my brother and I caught her at private reading time for herself and she shared the story with us. Enoch Arden by Alfred, Lord Tennyson was heavy reading for  us youngsters since we were in the age bracket of Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys! But she read with such passion and explained what each section meant.  The story appealed to me as a young girl for the romance involved and to my brother because it was about ships, schooners, and going to sea

 I was taught "reading is knowledge and knowledge is power." My dear maternal grandfather had almost no formal education, but he always encouraged us to educate ourselves. He made us aware that there were two things that could never be taken from us; our salvation (spiritual relationship) and our education.

Thank you for sharing these wonderful memories, Shauna. I can see that you were brought up with the Classics and have read many lengthy books.
Does word count matter to you in books you read now?

I really don't mind how long or short a book is as long as the chapters are short. It's okay to leave me hanging at the end of a chapter, because I get to decide if I want to put it down or read for hours to see what happens.

What are the main reasons that cause you to buy a certain book?

I usually buy books by author, title, then genre (in that order). I read many types of books, some for knowledge and some for pleasure. So I try to find reviews about those I might want to purchase. Covers are not really a selling point for me.

Do you prefer ebooks or print books?

Both. If I am travelling and depending on how long the trip in distance and time I will carry  ebooks. Otherwise, I like the printed versions. Our church encourages the E Bibles but I just don't feel right if I don't have my printed version in my hands. We have also collected over the years quite a few books in our library. We have begun donating due to space. The rule is if a book is given to us, or signed/autographed we keep.

We've talked about what you like in books but I wonder if there are also things that turn you off?

I like to read books that flow well or at least begin to make sense before the end. It does irk me at times when a publisher has not had enough pride in their people to proof well and edit misspellings and follow simple English rules.

Do you ever read books a second time just because you like them?

I do read books more than once, but not often. It is to me like a re do of an old classic movie--never as good as the first. When I do read  a good book again, I let some time go by so it seems fresh.  I can always find something I missed the first time around.

Most authors have websites and/or FB pages. Do you visit either, and  if so, tell us what you like to find there.

I follow you! I know anything I pick up that has your endorsement or you have written is going to be great. Otherwise, Barnes and Noble is my friend for finding out if print books or new ones are coming out. That is how I started your collection in my library.

Thank you for those heartwarming words and I'm flattered that you have my books in your library. I have one final question to ask you, Shauna. Do you often read blogs such as this?  If so, do you leave comments?

I do read some blogs and leave comments when I can get them to post. I usually read a few comments at first to see the direction it is taking. I will respectfully disagree with others but if it is turning negative, I'm done. Life is too short to waste.

I totally agree. It is so much better to seek positives rather than negatives in life.

I've considered it such an honor that you chose to interview me. I cannot tell you! Thank you so much from myself and those in my circle of friends and family that continue the legacy of reading good books such as yours.

Thank you for saying that, Shauna, and for being my guest today. I hope a lot of other readers and authors will visit the page and share their own comments. We look forward to hearing from you. Anyone commenting should remember to click on the blue square that says "Publish" to have their comments appear on the page.

Thanks to all who stop by. Other authors will be posting soon so be sure and visit this page again.You can find me at the links below:





28 comments:

  1. Hi Linda,

    It sounds like you have a great fan in Shauna. A very interesting interview. We writers need readers like you, Shauna. When readers tell me they've enjoyed my novels, it means a great deal to me. As a former English teacher, I cringe when I see errors in books--and some of my own publishers have been sloppy. I find it embarrassing.

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    1. Yes, Jacqueline, I am very appreciative of Shauna's support of my work.I wish I had many more fans like her to inspire me. I can relate to your aversion to errors in books, especially if the books are mine But I'm happy to say that few errors get past the editors at PbRJV. Thank you for visiting and commenting today.

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    2. Thank you Jacqueline for your input about errors. Sometimes I think I'm being too picky about that. I don't like these "dumb" phones auto correct for the same reason. I had some really good English teachers that taught us pride in our work. Thank you for visiting!

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  2. Enjoyed the interview Shauna and Linda. It's interesting to learn what the readers are looking for in a book.

    For me, if I don't know the author or know what I'm in the mood to read, the book covers draw me in first, then the blurb. I may pass up a really good book because the cover didn't catch my eye. lol

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    1. Thank you, Karen. It was fun to chat with Shauna. I loved her opinions on several authors she has read and wish I could have included more of that in this post but for the sake of brevity I limited our post. As for covers drawing you to a book, spoken like the wonderful cover artist that you are! Thanks for visiting I'm sure Shauna will be adding her comments later.'

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    3. Karen, I can appreciate that! I have so many books to get through I don't worry too much about covers! I sometimes feel like the person who hides the comic book they are reading behind a real book so no one knows what they are reading.Lol That way I can digest the real intent of the author before someone asks me questions about it. Thanks for visiting!

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  3. Hi Linda and Shauna. Good interview, thank you. I was interested in how Shauna approaches new authors. As she selects books first by author and then by title, how does she decide to give a new author a chance...? As I'm a debut author, I'm very keen to know as much as possible how to attract a reader's interest. Thanks, Anni xx

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  4. Anni, thank you for your interest in what would draw people to a book. I do give new writers a chance, but must admit when I find one that grabs my interest I stick with them for a long time and refer others to them. I pay attention to what my demographic is interested in and listen to what they are saying about authors. When you get to know the author most of the time you can figure out if their style of writing is going to please you.

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    1. Hi Anni. I know that many authors find a niche and write all of their stories to fit it. I personally know two successful authors who do that--one setting all of her books in a particular state, whether historical or contemporary and the other doing the same with books with a sea theme. This is something I have failed to do, so readers who follow my work never know what to expect. I recommend that you find your niche! Shauna has mentioned "style of writing." I agree that is very important and if you are writing from your heart and not trying to fit a formula or popular trend, then your "voice" will be the same no matter what genre you write. I wish you success with your writing career and I'm so glad you found us today and hope you will come back again.

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  5. I enjoyed reading your interview, Shauna. I know your family must have been so proud of you for graduating college with a Bachelor's degree.
    I keep thinking about how it must have been for you when your husband was deployed overseas. I imagine reading was also a great way to distract from worrying about him.
    I want to wish you the very best in all you do.

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    1. Hi Sarah. Thank you for your comments and for your loyal support on this blog. I know my guests appreciate you as well. Isn't it interesting to learn what readers want from our books? I once met an avid reader in Corpus Christi when we wintered there. She was talking about a book she had read and couldn't remember the title or author's name then said, " But never mind, I don't read to remember, I read to forget." I've pondered what she might have meant. What do you think? Anyone?

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    2. Linda, I think the lady might have meant she liked to escape away from it all when she said she reads to forget. But what do I know! lol I watch a soap opera for that same reason. It would have given me food for thought too.

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  6. Sarah, thank you so much for your kind comments. You are absolutely right about reading helping to distract. When my husband first was deployed my children were 4 and 9. Our "down time" in the evening was to all climb on the recliner and read. My uncle, who was a career Army Retired, called me and told me to not sit in front of the TV 24/7. All that was on at that time was "the real time battles". I didn't want my young children exposed at their age to what danger their dad was really in. Now they are grown, but we still remember that special reading time. I still grab my books today since he is still in the Army and always a possibility of call up. I've told him to save his war stories for when he gets out and I'll listen forever, but I don't want those thoughts in my head when he goes over there! Lol Thanks again!

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  7. Shauna--very good interview with Linda.
    I particularly noticed you preferred short chapters. I can see the value in that, because it makes the read move to the next. Long chapters? Often boring until you get to the last. This is in the same writing vein as Stephen King...it's what he suggests in his writings to other authors.
    I'm happy to meet you--any friend of Linda's might be a friend of mine.

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  8. Celia, funny you mentioned Stephen King. I shared with Linda that I liked his books once I realized Hollywood had in my opinion done a disservice to him. He is a great writer and his stories are not as scary as the movies make them. They are entertaining and thought provoking but not scary. I appreciate you posting on the blog. Linda is a very special friend to me. Hope we will be friends!!

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  9. I have to join in here and thank both Celia and Shauna for their kind words. And I do think you two would have a lot to discuss about the authors you have read. Celia, thank you for always supporting this blog. Shauna, Celia is the person who took me under her wing and encouraged me to build my own website. And when I encounter technical problems, she is my go-to person. Our lives have paralleled in so many ways that we sometimes refer to ourselves as Cyber Sisters.

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  10. Very nice blog Linda and Shauna. I enjoyed reading your comments.

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    1. Thank you for visiting the blog, and for leaving a comment, Bob. As always, I appreciate your support. Shauna, I'd like to introduce you to my husband, Bob, who is my in-house tech, photographer, adviser, and keyboard entertainer for my book signing events.

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    2. Thank you Bob for commenting on the interview! You are married to a very special talented lady there! By what she wrote about you, you also are a very talented help mate! It's nice when we ladies get lucky and God sends us people like you that are as supportive of our work and interests!

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  11. Great interview. Love hearing what readers like. Because ultimately they are the final judges of our work.

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    1. Thank you for posting about interview. I had a wonderful time doing it and I guess I'll keep on reading until I go on to my eternal home! Hope God has lots of books there too!

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  12. Elizabeth, you are so right. And this is the reason I am interviewing these very important people. So many of our readers are also writers, and we can't do without them but they can only give us input as a reader and a writer which is not the same as a reader only. Thanks so much for visiting and commenting today. It is always good to hear from you!

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  14. Shauna, it has been such a pleasure to have you as a guest on this blog. I hope you have enjoyed the chat as much as I have and that you will come back and read the posts that follow and share your comments with us. Many thanks and happy reading!

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  15. Shauna, it has been such a pleasure to have you as a guest on this blog. I hope you have enjoyed the chat as much as I have and that you will come back and read the posts that follow and share your comments with us. Many thanks and happy reading!

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  16. Hi Linda and Shauna. It's always a pleasure to learn what a reader looks for in a book. :-) Thanks for sharing! This was a lovely interview.

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  17. Hi Teresa. Thanks so much for your comments. Shauna is traveling this week but I hope she will be checking in and read your comments. And yes, I think it is very interesting to look at books through a reader's eyes. We authors are readers, too, but we look at books both from the perspective of reading them and writing them so our criteria is not the same. Thanks for your support. I'll be looking for a post from you soon. It has been announced that Once Upon A Word will continue after the closing of PbRJV. That is good news!

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Comments relevant to the blog post are welcome as long as they are noninflammatory and appropriate for everyone of all ages to read.
Thank you for your interest and input.