Djuna Shellam—An Author Extraordinaire

Introducing the Djuna Shellam

Djuna ShellamDjuna Shellam was raised on a homestead in the Outback of Australia. On her own since approximately the age of fourteen, Djuna Shellam has traveled the world, picking up interesting experiences along the way. She now resides in North Idaho—until the travel bug bites her once again. She currently has three novels published with Magnhild Press, and is working on the fourth, which is scheduled for publication sometime near the end of 2017, or the beginning of 2018.

[Please note: Djuna Shellam is a fictitious character, invented as a nom de plume for a writer who wishes to maintain whatever semblance of anonymity is possible in this intrusive Internet world in which we live. Rather than pick a name and leave it at that, the writer decided his or her pen name should be interesting, with a life and story of her own. Too often, lives of writers are mundane, which contributes to our imagination and need to write. Djuna Shellam is but another opportunity to create a fairytale of sorts; but, more than anything, it’s the perfect excuse to have fun.]

Interview with Djuna Shellam

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
I garden, read, take my dog for long walks, or visit with friends. I also adore listening to music of all kinds. Music really is a great escape for me to just indulge in doing nothing but listening. If I’m all tapped out, I’ll allow myself the time to vegetate in front of the television, but that’s a rare occurrence.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I do, but I’ll keep it to myself because it’s terribly boring.
What is your writing process?
I think a lot when gardening or walking, and that’s when I’ll start plotting out scenarios. It’s not something I plan, it just happens. Some people listen to music whilst they walk or garden, but I write stories in my head. Or, characters will just come to me, almost begging to get a part in my new project. By the time I am ready to insert them into the story, they’re pretty much real to me. Once they have been fleshed out, they really drive whatever story I’m working on. I’m merely taking dictation.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I read so much as a child as it was really my only form of entertainment and education. I was homeschooled by parents who weren’t formally educated, so I took what I was taught and ran with it. So whilst I don’t remember the very first story I ever read, reading really had a tremendous impact on me, compelling me to devour everything written I could get my hands on.
How do you approach cover design?
I wait. I think about the story, and how I would want to feel if I saw the cover, and then I just wait for it to come to me, and it always does. If I try too hard to manufacture it, it won’t come to me. So it’s a bit of a Zen process of just waiting, which can be really inconvenient if one is in any type of a rush.
What are your five favorite books, Djuna Shellam, and why?
Counted separately these would be more than five, but I can’t choose just five: Daphne DuMaurier’s House on the Strand, because I just loved the science fiction of it, and the way she was able to tell two stories at once, weaving in and out of real life and hallucination.
The entire Tales of the City series, because Armistead Maupin has a tremendous ability to pull one into the place, the characters and their quirky lives. If I were stuck on a deserted island with that series, I would be just fine for the rest of my life with only those lovely books to read.
Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches series—The Witching Hour, Lasher and Taltos—because of her delicious imagination, detail, the complexity of her characters, and how she weaves the different stories so seamlessly, drawing you in and leaving you begging for more.
What do you read for pleasure?
I enjoy mysteries that are entertaining as well as mysterious. Meaning, I love a good chuckle as I’m reading, and I like to solve the mystery, though I usually never do because the authors are too wonderfully cagey about it.
Describe your desk
No matter how I try, within minutes of straightening and decluttering it, my desk becomes a brambled mess. Nonetheless, it’s a large black desk with worn areas down to the wood, with a laptop, two screens and several backup drives sitting on it, and an unseemly mess of tangled wires. Stacks of files, yellow pads, cups of pencils, pens and the odd assortment of “stuff” that never seems to have a place of its own take up every spare inch of the surface.
*Ahem* That description was then, and things have changed considerably. I no longer have a desk. I had turned the above desk into a standing desk which I quite enjoyed, but keeping the clutter down was just too much. The desk is gone as is all of the clutter. Now, it’s just me and my laptop wherever we happen to be: whether on the sofa, a chair, the local coffee house, on the patio… No clutter, no designated place, and I’m much, much happier. For the moment. It could change at any time.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the Outback in Australia on a homestead. Until I was about 14 or so, I’d never seen another human face other than my “parents.” It’s a long, interesting story that I’m currently writing, so I’ll just leave it with this: Because I was so isolated, once I started interacting with people, I became very keen about their mannerisms, they way they spoke, their body language, and so on. Everything about people and their stories interests me—even if it’s boring, because I have to start somewhere, don’t I.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I make new friends. Every story I write, I gain new people in my life. Of course, they’re fictional, and “live” only in my and my readers’ imagination, but they really do give me tremendous joy, even when they’re breaking my heart.
What are you working on next?
I’m actually working on two projects. One is an autobiography, because I really do have an unusual personal story to tell. The other is called Prairie Fire and it’s the third installment of what shaping up to be a series, beginning with Alice Hollywood, followed by Mackenna on the Edge. It should be out very soon.
Update: Prairie Fire is now in its final stages of production. One final read and it’s set to hit Amazon on May 13, 20016.
Djuna Shellam, when did you first start writing?
I actually didn’t begin writing until later in my life. I like to think I spent a great deal of my life learning, reading and studying the art of writing—by reading books and people. Having begun later than what one might consider the norm, I now have so many stories lined up that I shall have to live a whole other life to finish all of them!
What motivated you to become an indie author?
A dear friend of mine has been publishing independently for many, many years, and convinced me to let her publish my stories. So I can’t say I’m entirely independent, because I let her do what I consider the “work” of writing, whilst I do the fun part of writing—which is the actual storytelling.
Who are your favorite authors?
I have so many, so I’ll just say that I enjoy the good ones.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Curiosity and another day on Earth.