7 Questions With Author Caelyn Shaner
Meet Caelyn Shaner, author and BookTuber. In today’s interview, Caelyn speaks about her upcoming novel and how the genres you read have a direct impact on what you write.
She grew up in rural Van Wert, OH, where her love for fantastical fairy tales drove her to tell stories of broken heroes and complicated villains from the time she was a small girl. Inspired by her father’s interest in superheroes and science fiction, her brothers’ hours logged battling enemies in quest-driven video games, and her time spent onstage as a theater actress, she aspires to create worlds and characters that open the heart to beauty and pain and all that lies between.
Having published articles in County Living Magazine, and the Van Wert Times Bulletin as a ghost writer for the musical Little Shop of Horrors, Shift is her debut full-length novel and is part of the series The Shifter Chronicles, which includes Transform and Bond.
All three are slated for re-release in the coming months. She is currently working on another novel, expected to be titled Develop; it will be the fourth installment of the series. To keep her skills sharp, she writes media reviews, and short stories on her joint blog Insanifiction with Emily McGuff. She has also launched her new mental health blog, The Glass / Pop! Notes.
For the ones of you who are new to my blog, I’m Esther, writer, content creator for authors and massive nerd. If you’re interested to know all the tips & tricks surrounding the process From Writing To Publishing Your Novel, you’re only a click away. For more goodies, articles and giveaways, please consider subscribing to my Newsletter.
Esther Rabbit: What’s your definition of the first draft?
A first draft to me is basically a thought dump. The funny thing is, when I first started writing I was terrified of editing. I was convinced that if I did well enough on the first draft, it would be publishable from the word go. After some embarrassing trial and error, I finally realized tate editing is absolutely necessary and the first draft of anything is going to suck.
So I use that stage to get all my ideas on paper, and that’s usually where I fall in love with my favorite characters and scenes. Any idea can seem cool in an outline, but it isn’t until I’ve written the initial draft that I know whether or not something works for me, and then I know what I should commit to making better and what will probably need scrapped.
Esther Rabbit: Looking back, what advice would you give yourself at the beginning of your journey?
To quote Nike, “Just do it!” I have severe anxiety, like a lot of other artists and writers, and my fear of failure held me back for several years. Suddenly I was almost a quarter of a century old, working at a job I hated, and it dawned on me that whatever rejection I might face as an author couldn’t be worse than how I felt then and there.
I wish I’d realized sooner that the worst that can happen is people don’t like it and I try again. I regret the time I wasted being to scared to query publishers, figure out the ins and outs of editing and self-marketing, and eventually begin researching self-publishing. But hey, better late than never!
Esther Rabbit: How do you manage to juggle life and writing?
In short, burning the candles at both ends. I began writing because I was tired of coming up with excuses not to follow my dream. The trouble is, the world doesn’t stop turning because you started chasing your dreams. I’m trying to get to a place where my writing and creativity pays for itself, but right now I have to keep the lights on (and the computer running!)
Which means a lot of late nights writing and editing, taking breaks to do dishes and laundry, and eating at my computer. I also have a booktube/authortube channel, so I have to squeeze in time for recording and editing videos. All this, plus a full-time job. All lot of the time, it feels like I’m one of those balance artists spinning a bunch of plates on sticks in the air at once. Hopefully someday I can catch my breath, but right now it’s pretty much a marathon.
Esther Rabbit: What should readers expect from your next novel?
My next novel is technically my first novel. It’s the first book I’ve ever written and will soon (finally!) be ready to publish. It follows a young shape shifter named Sephora with elemental abilities as she tries to gain her freedom from a cold and domineering mother who wants to keep her hidden from the world.
Along the way, she meets a handsome free spirit, Joseph, who unwittingly finds himself tangled up in her escape. Between the two of them – and Seph’s best friend Ashlyn – they might just be able to survive, even if Sephora is a disaster magnet.
Esther Rabbit: What’s the best advice/feedback on writing you’ve ever received?
I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback from beta readers (especially Esther Rabbit!) though most of that was project-specific. Probably the best general advice I’ve come across is that first drafts are supposed suck, and will always suck. And more importantly, that that’s okay.
Jenna Moreci’s authortube channel is a big advocate for telling is like it is in the writerverse, and a lot of her advice is harsh like that, but she pairs it with humor and tough love. I always feel so called out when I watch her videos, but the make me a better writer.
Esther Rabbit: There are a lot of experts behind the novel, editors, developmental editors, proofreaders, beta readers, etc. How did you find your perfect crew?
I’m still in the early stages of self-publishing, so there are still hands for my book to pass through. But for this stage of the process, there are some people I would love to thank. For one, I had some awesome beta readers. Esther was far and away the kindest, most thorough, and most insightful.
She left whole paragraphs of comments and concerns, pinpointing exactly what did and didn’t work in a scene. And the mixture of praise and correction kept me from despairing and throwing a whole scene out the window. My fiancé, Andrew Price, was also fantastic.
Not only did he stick with it through the entire beta reading phase, he left detailed notes almost as in-depth as Esther’s, and would spend hours talking it through over dinner or before bed. He’s been very involved and supportive and I love him for it.
Patrick Neuberg was also spectacular. He provided that same level of involvement and compassion while having different tastes and thoughts than Esther or Andrew. He was particularly excited about completely different scenes and liked and disliked characters for reasons I hadn’t thought of. His input is greatly appreciated. That’s about the extent of people who have been a part of this journey with me so far, but they and everyone to come will be thanked extensively as the lend their time and talent.
Esther Rabbit: Does the genre you normally read have a direct influence on your writing?
Absolutely! I’m a total sucker for fantasy. My current novel actually started out as magic-based, but slowly shifted into a more sci-fi themed narrative, of which I’m also a fan. But it’s still highly fantastical. I also love period pieces, and have several outlines for more medieval fairytale-like stories written up.
Additionally, I tend to gravitate toward strong lead female characters and first person POV in past tense, so that’s what I write. Well, at least I hope my characters come across as strong. The first person POV comes a lot more naturally. I’ve tried writing in other points of view and tenses but I always end up switching back unconsciously halfway through.
Find Caelyn here:
Are you in the Writing Industry?
Shoot me an email, I’d love to interview you!
And if you’re a fan of Paranormal Romance, check out Lost in Amber:
“A new Interplanetary Alliance ambassador on an earthbound mission.
A handful of genetically altered humans to be rescued.
Meeting her changed everything.“