About Shenandoah Chefalo:
Plagued and embarrassed by her name (a humiliation enhanced by a nomadic childhood that made it impossible to build lasting relationships), Shenandoah Chefalo developed a tough skin at an early age. Along the way she learned to deal with disappointment, push through discomfort, overcome adversity, and accurately gauge people, qualities that have helped her to succeed.
After spending nearly 20 years as a Law Office Administrator, Shenandoah became unsettled by the ever-revolving door of the criminal justice system, and set out to find a way to change it. She attended Coach U and became a certified life coach. Working through that program, Shenandoah began to understand her childhood in a way she never had before.
She began researching, and learned that there are nearly 400,000 children in the foster care system each day in the United States. Out of those children, nearly 61% age out of the system without having a place to live; nearly 50% end up incarcerated within two years of aging out; and almost 80% of people on death row are former foster alumni. These (and other statistics) made Shenandoah realize that she had to do something.
She set out on a mission to tell her story and educate the general public about the grim realities of a life that she had always tried to hide. She believes that some of the grassroots solutions she offers in Garbage Bag Suitcase could change the lives of children and the landscape of the country.
What inspires you to write?
I was inspired to write and share my story so that I could help others understand what is happening in our society as it relates to the foster care system and the 500,000 children in that system.
We need to have an understanding of how we need to heal trauma in order to our social issues.
Tell us about your writing process.
I write from inspiration. I start with an idea or a story and then I go from there. This often requires me to have my iPhone out and available, because I never know when inspiration will hit. After I have the story put together, then I spend a tremendous amount of time in editing, which is usually very much needed.
What advice would you give other writers?
I have learned that I need to be patient. Before writing I worked in the business world were everything was expected as soon as possible with minimum turn around times. I have had to learn that in the writing world there is a lot of contemplating and thinking and waiting!
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I had planned to traditional publish my book and I was going through the query process. I had received some good feedback, but was in a waiting pattern. Then, I ended up on a radio show with a large audience and suddenly I had customers who didn’t want to wait to buy my book, so I ended up at Mission Point Press in a hybrid situation.
In the end it seemed to have worked out very well.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
It seems to be a confusing time. As a first time author I am not sure where it is going. Marketing seems to be more and more important and I think that printing on demand, authors and publishers need to focus on marketing efforts and dollars more than ever.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?: Non Fiction
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
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.