Interview with Kathleen J. Shields

Published 2015-10-23.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing when I was 12 years old. I loved coming up with my own stories and adventures. I was the hero and I could do anything I literally dreamed of. Any child with an active enough imagination can tell a story, and with technology today, speech to text - that child can write a story now too. My goal as an author is to encourage children to write because, so long as you have an imagination, you don't have to be stuck in whatever circumstances you feel stuck in. Your only limitation is your own imagination!
What motivated you to become an author?
I spent so much time as a youth, writing my own adventures and telling anyone who would listen about my stories, I realized that becoming an author was simply the next step. In 2001 I became a published author and I've been writing and pushing forward ever since. The only thing now, that could get me to stop - is if my imagination simply stopped imagining.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Dream World Defenders is an out-of-this-world epic adventure where 6 children learn how to control their dreams and meet up in the dream world to have the adventure of a lifetime. Most of my stories came from my dreams. The thing I like to tell children and other readers / potential writers, is when you get an idea or have a wacky dream that you wake up from, ask yourself - What happens next? Then imagine the next scene. Put yourself into it. Play it out in your head (or with your toys) and write it down. Keep asking yourself what happens next until you get to the end and then you've written a story.

Dream World Defenders has a call to write at the end, where I ask the reader to write their own ending. The imagination is such an impressive instrument, this story could literally go in a million different directions and I didn't want it to end one particular way. I wanted to encourage children to be a part of the story by writing what they thought could happen next. Not only would it get their creative juices flowing - but it's a great creative writing assignment for classrooms.
What are you working on next?
The next project is to complete book #10 of the Hamilton Troll Adventures. Hamilton Troll meets Fiona Dog is going to be a fun, peppy story about a super cute white puppy dog who loves to collect pretty things and say "Mine!" She collects toys and shoes, wreaths and welcome mats from Hamilton's world and even Hamilton himself! The adorable, innocence of Fiona almost makes Hamilton not say anything but in the end he must teach her not to take other people's stuff and the lesson she learns she takes with her.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
My day job is graphics and websites - I run my own company - actually I run two companies; Kathleen's Graphics and Erin Go Bragh Publishing where I not only publish my own books but help other authors live their dreams as well. I love what I do so it keeps me smiling. My only wish would be that there were more hours in the day! :-)
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
A Rainbow of Thanks was the first story I ever wrote - or at least I think it was. Of course what has been recently published has been embellished upon significantly but the character and actions are all the same. Actually, there is another story I plan on publishing just as soon as the illustrations are done... I don't even have a real title for it yet but I always called it Uni-Bear and it has been something my father has been hounding me to publish for as long as I can remember.
What is your writing process?
Get an idea - write it down. Embellish. When you get bored with that idea, put it away. Write about something else. When you have nothing else to write about, go back to some of the old stuff, reread what you wrote and embellish upon it. Jump around. Play with it. Get creative. Dream. Imagine... and eventually you will have a really cool, completed story that is so exciting the reader can't put it down. My brain is a bit too artsy for the strict write an outline, and follow it mentality. I've found that when I get bored with a story my readers will get bored. When I plan a story, it never ends the way I thought it would, so why force it? Have fun with it. That's my take on it.
How do you approach cover design?
As a graphics designer, I take my idea and see what happens to it in Photoshop. I found when I am 100% happy with it, I walk away from it for a couple weeks then come back to it - I usually make changes. I also get friends and other readers to critique it. Another great starting point is to see what other authors have done. Usually, the cover reflects the story or parts of the story so the cover is in my head whether I realize it or not.
Describe your desk
That is an interesting question. I have a large corner desk with dual monitors, 32" screens. The calendar next to it, lamp on the other side over the keyboard. I have the book publishing pile. The website pile. The graphic design pile. The banking pile. The other to do list pile. The scan pile and the miscellaneous when on earth am I going to get to THAT pile. I work through my emails systematically. My desktop screen has the on-going project folders that get moved to the client folders when the project is done. And a future to-do list folder with ever idea that has come to me that I plan on getting to when the world creates more hours in the day. My husband thinks it cluttered chaos. To me it is my brain laid out for the world to see.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords is one of the best opportunities I've found as an author and publisher for ebook services and distribution. I've explored many ebook service companies that charge for conversions, hosting fees, annual service fees, etc. Amazon only does amazon, B&N only does Nook - to create your book into multiple platforms and upload it in multiple places would have been incredibly time consuming; especially taking into account all of the various rules each platform requires. Plus, Smashwords continues to grow their reach through the addition of distributors. Their services like coupons, reviews, pre-orders, etc. really help as well. Smashwords is great and I would highly recommend them.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author or publisher.

Latest books by This Author

The Painting Trilogy
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 83,110. Language: English. Published: April 14, 2020 by Erin Go Bragh Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Inspirational, Fiction » Christian » Fantasy
The three books combined share a tale of good-will, generosity, doing good deeds, and showcasing the beauty of the world. Inspirationally speaking, though, the hidden symbolism reflects a similar story about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. While this book is not intended to teach anything biblical, it’s the author’s hope that the story inspires you to appreciate the world around you, be kind
The Painting 3
Series: The Painting Trilogy. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 29,700. Language: English. Published: March 2, 2020 by Erin Go Bragh Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Christian » Fantasy, Fiction » Inspirational
When Gerald gives his granddaughter the Painting to hang in her room, her imagination soars with endless possibilities.
A Rhyme for Everything
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 20,490. Language: English. Published: October 23, 2019 by Erin Go Bragh Publishing. Categories: Poetry » Themes & motifs » General, Poetry » Themes & motifs » Nature
There is a time for everything, and a poem for every activity under the sun. A time to weep and a time to be sad, a time to laugh and a time to get mad. This book has a bit of everything, even the bazaar, so enjoy every rhyme, like I have - so far!
The Painting 2
Series: The Painting Trilogy. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 25,820. Language: English. Published: February 16, 2019 by Erin Go Bragh Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Christian » Fantasy, Fiction » Inspirational
When Benjamin was born into the Painting he realized he had to learn this world like any other person, but he had one thing very important going for him – he was the Painter’s son.
The Day Hell Froze Over
You set the price! Words: 3,440. Language: English. Published: January 9, 2019 by Erin Go Bragh Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Christian » Short stories
The day the devil thought could never happen - happens and his world gets turned upside down.
Ethan's Reception, a Story of Hardship and Acceptance
Price: Free! Words: 6,380. Language: English. Published: July 11, 2017 by Erin Go Bragh Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Animals, Fiction » Inspirational
(5.00 from 1 review)
FiFi was not happy the day Ethan was brought home from the animal shelter... but Ethan was enthralled! Having spent months in doggy jail, Ethan was bound and determined to show his new parents how appreciative he truly was.
Ghost Dogs
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 33,220. Language: English. Published: June 29, 2017 by Erin Go Bragh Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Animals, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
"I see dead dogs." As a toddle Jamie begins seeing ghost dogs but is unable to describe what he's seeing until later on. Growing up with this gift has its ups and downs; and a unique responsibility to do something good with it.
The Dog who cried WOOF!
Price: Free! Words: 2,100. Language: English. Published: May 10, 2017 by Erin Go Bragh Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Animals, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Drama
(5.00 from 1 review)
Young puppy Riley is learning what it's like to be on lookout duty for daddy. It's a lonely job, thankless, and quite boring! So this little guy creates a fun new game that just happens to go various shades of wrong. His high jinx causes all sorts of commotion at all the wrong moments - but the question remains - is there a lesson to be learned?
Constellation Crimes
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 20,890. Language: English. Published: March 1, 2017 by Erin Go Bragh Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Boys & Men, Fiction » Children’s books » Entertainment
It all started with an eerie red glow... Jared's world is about to be turned upside down the night a red meteor crash lands in the woods near town. The red-haired substitute teacher arrives, a red wolf begins terrorizing the neighborhood and those red zits begin appearing on his face. Connecting the dots only leads to more questions and a possibility the teacher is from Mars!
Hamilton Troll and the Big Race
Series: The Hamilton Troll Adventures. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 1,550. Language: English. Published: February 26, 2016 by Erin Go Bragh Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Religious / Christian / Emotions & Feelings, Fiction » Children’s books » Stories in Verse
Starlit challenges Hamilton Troll to a race but the loser is not very happy.
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