Interview with Sheala Vast-Binder

What are your five favorite books, and why?
Oh, my! That's a hard question to answer. I LOVE to read so I have a lot of favorites. If I must choose, then I'd say:
1. C.S. Lewis' anything! I particularly like his Space Trilogy.
2. Anne Lamott's "Traveling Mercies." She's so funny and honest as she faces the life issues we all wrestle.
3. Leslie Newbigin's "The Gospel in a Pluralist Society." He's great at balancing respect for other faiths while also honoring his own.
4. Thrity Umriga's "The Space Between Us." She handles the class differences in India (and everywhere, for that matter) with gentle but firm hands.
5. Lisa Samson's "The Passion of Mary-Margaret." All I can say is, "Wow!" If you haven't read it, you WANT to now.
What do you read for pleasure?
Almost anything clean, funny, romantic, or optimistic! I love mysteries, sci-fi, and fantasy--adult, youth, and juvenile. I also enjoy Christian theology and most things related to the faith of other people.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
It took me a long time to switch over, but I love my Kindle reader. I have a Kindle Fire too but I don't enjoy reading on it.
Describe your desk
Currently, I share my desk at home so it has EVERYONE'S stuff on it. It is a mess.
Typically, I work at a coffee shop because I like to have people around me. However, when I do have my own desk, it stays relatively clean. I can't work around clutter (I just shut down) so I have to keep my work place neat.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I always have a hard time answering the "Where did you grow up?" question. I'm a military brat who moved numerous times before I was 10. Sad to say, none of our moves were overseas. However, we moved all across the southern part of the U.S.
Although I didn't like moving as a child (I'm an only child and it was lonely), I credit much of my love for Internationals and cultural learning to this experience. I love meeting new people, eating different foods, and traveling to diverse places! Even as an adult, I have moved numerous times and travel a lot because my family is scattered around the U.S. Traveling, moving, and trying new things seems to be in my DNA.
When did you first start writing?
I first started professionally writing immediately out of college. I worked for a publishing house as an editor and freelance writer for numerous years. I've written devotionals (short stories with a moral point), Christian education curriculum, and games/puzzles of various types. Later, I joined the non-profit world and quickly became a grant writer. (It's write or die in the non-profit world.) However, this is the first book that I've written, and I wrote it just because I WANTED to!
What do your fans mean to you?
I don't know that I have FANS; I think of those who read this book as FRIENDS. My goal in writing this book was to make moving to the U.S. just a little easier for Internationals. Having moved so often myself, I know how hard it is to adjust and learn all of the things that you need to know. I truly hope that the Internationals who read this book will consider me a friend. I keep a blog so that I can continue to answer cultural questions that they might have.
What are you working on next?
I have numerous book ideas to support Internationals visiting and moving to the U.S. These range from exploring American traditions (particularly the quirky ones) to the hidden rules of our middle class (and, yes, there are a lot of them). However, I may add a workbook and/or audio book to "10 Things You Need to Know" before I create anything else. I want to make this material as helpful and accessible to as many Internationals as I can.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I typically browse my local library's ebook selection when I'm ready for a new book. I also enjoy the recommendations that Amazon gives when they see my reading history. Sometimes I just shake my head in wonder at the suggestions, but occasionally they get it right and introduce me to a new author.
What is your writing process?
Although I know many author's have a very specific process, I really don't have one. My material forms in my head first. Sometimes I write notes so that I won't lose a thought or paragraph. (I keep a notepad by my bed for middle-of-the-night ideas.) Now that we're in the age of the smartphone, I capture some of my ideas with voice recording that translates to text. That handy phone feature makes writing a lot faster for me!
How do you approach cover design?
I let a professional handle cover design. Although I have some graphic design experience, I am FAR from a graphic designer. I give some ideas and then let the artist go to work. I figure they know their job better than I do!
Published 2014-05-20.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

10 Things You Need to Know: A Practical Guide for Internationals Moving to the U.S. WORKBOOK
Price: $8.99 $6.74 USD. (25% off until Jan. 01, 2023!) Words: 6,230. Language: English. Published: February 28, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Travel » Travel - Reference, Nonfiction » Reference » Handbooks & Manuals
“10 Things You Need to Know” is designed to offer support during the interval between leaving your home country and when you’ve adjusted to new life in the U.S. In the original book, you’ll find helpful resources and information about relocating. This workbook acts as a supplement by providing checklists and charts to take you step-by-step through each of the sections described in the first book.
10 Things You Need to Know: A Practical Guide for Internationals Moving to the U.S.
Price: $4.99 $3.74 USD. (25% off until Jan. 01, 2023!) Words: 18,010. Language: English. Published: July 1, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Travel » Travel - Reference, Nonfiction » Travel » Specialties & interests
Moving to a new country is one of the hardest things you can do. Learning another language. Connecting to a new community. Adapting to an unfamiliar culture. These adjustments take years, but this practical guide provides information that will make your move easier. All ten themes are inspired by the author’s personal experiences and those of her many International friends. Welcome to the U.S.A.!