About Dorothy Shamah:
Dorothy, Dottie to some, is an ex-pat even when she’s in America, the land of her birth. Forever, I’ve been an extra in someone else’s movie, a background character who knows what all wise politicos know — the gal out in front is the first one to get shot. I’m a behind the scenes hard worker, a devoted, loyal partner who loves attention from family and close friends, but a person who steals out of the spot light most of the time, although there are a few exceptional moments.
Zane Gray was where I learned first to love words. I devoured all his books and was thrilled when my family left Michigan headed for Arizona in the early 1950s. My ever curious self delighted in desert instead of southern Michigan swamp wilderness.
Teaching school for forty years has a few perks, one of which is summer vacation, a time to travel. America’s wild desert and California, Colorado, and Montana mountain wilderness, South America’s Patagonia, Cradle Mountain in Tasmania, the great outback of Australia, New Zealand’s South Island, Alaska glacier country provided more than a few adventures.
Always with a journal close by, haiku sprinkled with brown trout, snow spattered notes for the next manuscript, I am a writer, a planetary traveler, a story teller, a mom, a wife, and an author.
What inspires you to write?
I write because there is no other option. My psyche demands explanation for all that transpires in my world. Do you know the quote, ‘an unexamined life is not worth living’?
Well, those words describe me. Twenty years of counseling (Rogerian psychotherapy), which I endured in order to still the demons, requires that I examine the interactions I have with the world. Writing is one way to do that. I seem to have no choice. Hopefully, that fact will be a benefit to those who choose to read my short stories, poetry, and novels.
Tell us about your writing process.
Seat of the Pants most of the time. Once the initial rough draft is completed, I go back and organize, delete, add until the story feels right, until the characters are real, until the transitions are complete, and the unexpected drama unfolds in settings rife with just enough detail to help the reader slip into the story as she recognizes the universality of the whole piece.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Characters take over their own trajectory. It is so very strange when they are no longer my creation but beings in their own right. Nothing quite like a character standing up in the middle of a paragraph and saying, ‘No, I won’t do that.’ Then I have to leave the process for a while and sleep on the possibilities to discover just what the character needs or wants so that the story works for him or her.
What advice would you give other writers?
The most difficult part of being a writer who wants to publish is maintaining one’s sense of integrity and personal esteem. As in all industries, agents and publishers are in business to make a buck. If one’s work is not perceived to be ‘best seller’ material, the road to being a published author is long and arduous. Self-publishing is actually harder than writing the material. Certainly bringing one’s work to the attention of potential readers is the hardest part of a writer’s life.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
My works have been refused by over one hundred of America’s best and most able agents and publishers. That fact suggests that my audience is smaller than most, that my characters, like their author, do not represent a tidy general public. My work is directed at thoughtful, attentive readers, who don’t much care for ‘small talk’, but who love the thrill of unusual wilderness scenes, characters who are stimulated by the beauty of nature and who love to interact with people who come from diverse cultures. Michael Ondaatje’s ‘The English Patient’ is my favorite modern novel. I can’t pretend to be as able an author as he, but I can move in the direction he set of using international settings and complex characters interacting in cross cultural opportunities to entertain readers. Because agents didn’t agree with my proposals for a fine story, I have chosen to self-publish.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
All is good. People love to read, to escape into the world’s created by novelists as well as to read non-fiction to enable themselves to understand the world more thoroughly. Book publishing will continue in all its formats as well as in some we have yet to discover.
What genres do you write?: Women’s fiction, short story, women’s travel, wilderness travel, romance, adventure, mystery
What formats are your books in?: eBook
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit, to allow you, the reader, to hear the author in their own voice.