We have a wonderful young author with us in the forum today. Sheenah Freitas is only in her twenties but she has already published two novels and a collection of short stories. Having read “The Chosen,” which is the first book in her Zincian Legend fantasy series, I’ve been anxious to hear about her next release.
Tim Greaton: Sheenah, you and I have a lot of friends in common. I often hear you talking with many of them about cooking and a ton of other fabulous hobbies. Could you tell us about some of them?
Sheenah Freitas: I love the arts and crafty projects. I think they’re fun and oftentimes relaxing. Like when I’m on a writer’s block, I enjoy kicking everyone out of the kitchen and baking up some goodies. Not only am I stepping away to look at my work in progress objectively, but waiting on cookies to finish often gives me enough time to figure out any problems. I’ve also taught myself web design/graphic design and sewing. The former has been a great help in regards to putting together a platform and covers. The latter, however, is more or less so I can modify and make my own clothes and the occasional cosplay (one is never too old to play dress-up, right?).
Tim Greaton: Having read “The Chosen,” which is the first book in your Zincian Legend fantasy series, I can say I was really surprised at the variety of characters and creatures you were able to successfully bring into one story. But you hear another compliment even more often, don’t you?
Sheenah Freitas: People usually say, “Oh, I was so impressed by the quality of your writing and you’re so young!” I’m glad that they enjoy the work and it’s fun to give the readers something they’re not quite expecting. I think if readers stumble upon my pictures (or meet me in person) and then learn I’m an author, they’re a bit leery because they think they’re going to be reading some sort of bubble-gum-Twilight-novel with terrible grammar and lack of story, but that’s hardly the case. I do write the occasional bubble-gum short story, but I’ve yet to write a bubble-gum novel.
Tim Greaton: I know you recently released “Musings from Yesteryear,” a collection of your short stories. Do you have other works waiting to be released or is it more of a stack of stories you will likely never revisit?
Sheenah Freitas: Don’t we all have a drawer full of “not quite there” work and half-finished manuscripts? I don’t have a stack, per-se, but I do have a file of work that need some definite work and I have a notebook full of story ideas. If you would’ve asked me two months ago about my projects never seeing the light of day, I would’ve answered that many of my short stories would never, ever make their way into the hands of readers. And yet now they are in the hands of readers! So, I think with time my old projects will see the light of the day.
Tim Greaton: You have a unique way to prepare for a writing project. Could you tell us about it and maybe talk about how your methods have evolved?
Sheenah Freitas: I’m a very visual person, so often times I need to see a scene or character or place before I can properly describe it. Because of that, my system is similar to an animation storyboard. I make my outline of events and as I start to work on the first draft, I’ll start adding sketches of scenes, characters, and places to help me get a better grasp of what I’m writing. Even though I’m transferring this mental image I have into a sketch, I feel that it really helps me when I write to get all the nitty-gritty details down. I used to have to do constant revisions to get everything down pat, but now I can get it all down in three drafts because I know what I’m looking for now when I make my self-edits.
Tim Greaton: I understand you have one particularly tough first reader. What’s that like?
Sheenah Freitas: I know people are always saying to never ever let your family beta read for you because they’re not going to want to be 100% honest because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. However, I let my dad beta read for me. He’s brutally honest. Maybe a little too brutal, haha. There have been times where I turn into a melodramatic teenager and slam doors and throw myself onto beds or the couch and cry and pout over some changes he’s suggested. And once I’ve come back to my senses (a few hours or after another viewing of Beauty and the Beast) I realize that most of the changes make sense and the ones I don’t agree with, we can usually come up with some sort of compromise.
Tim Greaton: I’ve been anxious to talk about your latest release, which is the second book in your Zincian Legend fantasy series. Could you tell us about it?
Sheenah Freitas: The Number is my most recent novel, and as you mentioned it’s the sequel to The Chosen. The novel starts five years after the events in The Chosen, so the characters are naturally older and wiser. With age, Kaia, the main character, really gains a new maturity of her current situation and finally realizes that she shouldn’t be running away from her destiny. She re-enlists her friends’ help and they continue on their journey where they left off. The tone is quite a bit darker from its predecessor with a world war looming over the horizon.
Tim Greaton: Do you think of yourself as always writing in just one genre, and how do you think that influences the decisions you make about your stories/novels?
Sheenah Freitas: At the moment, I think of myself as a young adult writer. After I finish with my current trilogy, there’s another young adult book that I wish to write. But after that, who knows? I love to read great stories no matter what genre they’re labeled in, so I think eventually I’ll expand on that. Because as much as I love the voice and tone of young adult books, I don’t think I could stick exclusively to that area of books forever. I want to continue writing stories, no matter where they take me.
Tim Greaton: I usually like to toss out a wild and fun “what if” question. Let’s say you had an unlimited advertising budget, how would you spend it to get your books noticed right now?
Sheenah Freitas: I’ve always thought it would be great to do something like a flashmob. Except I want to do a flash scene, musical style. I’m thinking I go down to Times Square and right in the middle of all the hubbub, I set up a stage and for at least 3 days, nothing will happen. By the time day 4 comes around, most people would have forgotten that there’s a stage there and when they least expect it…BAM! My actors will appear and start performing a scene that I (with the help of a composer and lyricist) musical-ized. There will be confetti and posters of my book exploding out of seemingly nowhere at the end of the climatic song and then we’ll take the stage and move it out amongst the applause. And we can only hope that someone would’ve recorded it and uploaded it to Youtube and it becomes a viral sensation!
Tim Greaton: It would be great if you could share your website/blogsite and links to where our audience could directly communicate with you and purchase your stories.
Sheenah Freitas: You can find me at my website over at: http://sheenahfreitas.comTwitter: @SheenahFreitas
Buy the book at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004VFN1WO
Tim Greaton: Thanks for taking the time with us today, Sheenah. It’s been great getting to know you and your work a little better. I know that a lot of our readers really enjoyed spending time with you as well.
Sheenah Freitas: Thank you so much for having me on your forum, Tim. I’d also like to thank everyone else for reading this far~! I hope you enjoy my work. J