Monday, March 8, 2010

Shauna Kelley enters the blog world...

So here it is, my first blog following my first book deal.

This is still a surreal feeling, I must say, the idea that people might actually care about what I have to say. Who am I? I am 29, living in the big (little) city with my best friends and a gnarly little dog who makes me laugh more than anyone I know. I’m always a little bit fat, always look tired, and rarely know the right thing to say in any situation. And so, here is someone who reverts to quoting bad action movies from the 80’s when she is at a loss for words is charged with exposing some sort of wisdom for the masses.

OK, wisdom…wisdom…wisdom. I have no wisdom, I just have a book.

In September I will be a published novelist, putting out for the world my very first book. It’s not my best writing, I know, but it is the story that I love the most. Truth be told, I have often felt that it wasn’t my story, it’s a story I got to tell. But now I sound flighty, and that feeling is something that definitely isn’t me.

Me, I’m frenetic. I look especially tired today. Worked 10 hours, and am militantly avoiding homework. So, as Max and Menna moves closer and closer to being a real, tangible book, maybe the best thing to blog about is how the story came to be.

The thing is it took me more than seven years to finish this novel, and then the culmination came within three months. I had written the same scenes over and over and they were never quite right, and I came to understand why.

Max, Menna, Nick, and the other characters in this book face adversity that I cannot begin to imagine. Sure, I had my issues as a child. My upbringing was far from perfect, but I don’t know anyone who had a perfect childhood. Imperfect though it was, I had loving parents, and always had enough to eat, enough to read, and a people who cared where I was. And so, here I was, with my angsty arrogance (which most of us had in huge supply during our teen years), thinking that I could write about people who had hard lives.

And so, the words never ever came the way I wanted them to, because I was a fool to think that I could understand the situations that I in fact dreamed up. I had to face hardship in my life. I may have thought life was hard, but it wasn’t until I turned 24 that I ever began to understand what hard is.

Trust me, I am not deluded or self-pitying. I know I still have it really, really good. But writing Max and Menna was made possible through emerging from pain and struggle and realizing that I was OK. It wasn’t until I was 24 that I began to have enough perspective to write this story.

What happened at 24? Quite simply, and very melodramatically, I fell in love. I promise that the culmination of this story will not be about how love unrequited made me understand hardship. I promise, there is so much more to my story than that.

But right now, I have to finish packing. My plane for Florida leaves well before dawn, and I haven’t yet started laundry. Ah work.

Sleep well, and happy dreams to you all!


  1. I think you should just quote bad '80s action movies!

    I didn't realize, when I read the opening, that this was the same Max and Menna you were working on back in our Goucher days. Way to go, babe!

  2. Kermie, I'm so excited for you. And I'm excited that I get to follow it all as it unfolds even though I'm thousands of miles away (in body, but not often in spirit!)

  3. I'm so very proud of you for being able to finish a novel, much less get one published. Getting it published is the very delicious icing on the cake. I look forward to reading your novel. I have to finish Jamie's first, though, but I think that's going to take my turning off my copyediting brain first. ;)