Hey Stargazers, I’m picking up something I wanted to start last October, but due to a death in my family, I had to postpone. Welcome to Spooky Sundays. Today, I chose to interview an author, editor, and publisher, Donise Sheppard. I have had a short story, Something Beyond, published by her publishing imprint, Pixie Forest Press. I am honored to get a chance to interview this woman I admire.
Donise Sheppard is a romance and horror writer residing in southern West Virginia with her husband and four children. Donise found her passion for books at an early age and has been chasing stories ever since. She is an author, editor, and co-owner of Pixie Forest Publishing. Love and romance are her first passions, but who can resist a scary story? When she isn’t working, she’s reading for pleasure, baking, or singing off key.
You are both a publisher and a writer. How have you found the two roles influence one another?
I decided I wanted to become a publisher because as a writer, I was seeing more and more unpaid anthologies and it was frustrating. Writers work hard, dedicating hours upon hours for their art. They deserve some form of payment.
Also, I think being a writers makes me more objective when reading and choosing stories. I can set aside what I enjoy as a reader and look at the writing itself.
As a publisher, I choose themes for upcoming anthologies. These themes aren’t always something I’m familiar with writing, which puts me out of my element and makes me a stronger writer.
Your publishing imprint does fantastic anthologies. I was honored to be featured in “Phobia” last year. In honor of spooky season, what’s your biggest fear?
As a parent, my biggest fear is losing my children.
I’m afraid of most things, but my absolute biggest normal fear would be of rats and mice. I can’t even look at a picture of them or I start to panic.
Why do you write?
I’ve loved books and stories since I was six years old. I dreamed of being a publisher in New York and writing on the side. I write for myself as well as others. I am a very emotional person and writing helps me work through them. I also dream of inspiring someone, making them love literature as much as I do, or just giving them an escape from their own lives and emotions.
What is your favorite genre to write, and why is it your favorite genre?
Romance, hands down. I write most genres, but there is usually always a love story included. Love is one of the most human emotions. Everyone wants to be loved and feel loved. It’s the most relatable. What can I say? I’m a hopeless romantic.
Are there any “little things that go bump in the night” that keep you awake? Worries, fears? If so, what are they?
I am a worrier. I worry about everything, almost nonstop. I’ve actively been trying to learn to let the little things go, but I’m a work in progress. I constantly worry about failing or finding new readers or just being good enough so I can show my children they don’t have to settle in a job they hate to survive.
I’m that mom who worries about the house burning down while we’re sleeping and I can’t get to my kids, or someone breaking in.
I recently wrote about banned and challenged books for Banned Books Week, how would you feel if you received a notification that one (or several) of your anthologies had been banned? What would your response be?
Honestly, I’m not sure. I would definitely think it was a bit odd, but when I think back to some of the content of a few of the stories, mine included, I could understand why they would. I’m not a fan of banning books, though. If a child is reading, they should be allowed to read. It should be up to the parents to decide what is appropriate.
What does your typical day look like? How do you divide your time between writing, editing, and publishing?
Well, I’m not sure if you know this, but I’ve recently enrolled in college to get my bachelor’s degree, so my schedule looks a lot different this year than it did last year. I usually dedicate about two hours a day to my publishing company (right now I’m hunting for images for the Scars cover), and about two hours for my own work, whether editing or writing. Editing for clients takes precedent, right after schoolwork, and I usually spend three to six hours a day on that, depending on the length and deadline.
Where do you get most of your writing done?
I have three desks, but I usually sit at my kitchen table to work. I like the lighting in there better, and it’s closer to the coffee pot. 😉
In the summer, I love to write by the lake.
If you could have dinner with any person who has influenced your career, who would it be, why, and what would you be eating?
Honestly, my mom, grandma, and dad influenced my career the most. My mom and grandma were storytellers and always encouraged me. And my dad was my biggest supporter in everything I did.
If I chose a professional author who influenced my career, it would be RL Stine. He was my very first favorite writer and made me love spooky stories. I’m not sure what we’d eat. I’d just be happy having coffee with him and chatting about stories.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently editing a dystopian romance novel I wrote a couple of years ago, hoping to publish it in January. I’m also writing a romance novel with no set date for publication. I have four novels written and waiting for editing, so hopefully next year you’ll be seeing a lot of me.
Where can readers find you?
Personal Website: www.donisesheppard.com