Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Shallee McArthur: Knight of the Cosmic Table!

Got your cameras ready? Good. You'll want them to snap a picture as we dare to reach for the stars and find an amazing author. After some careful consideration, we are honored to introduce to you a new knight. This one has been around the Blogosphere for as long as I have (maybe longer), and she sure knows her science fiction. More than that, her health-conscious efforts has led to the awareness of increased health and productivity for writers everywhere, and her natural ability to keep cool behind the wheel is also worthy of letting her take control of the Cosmic Laire's helm for a while. Therefore, it does give me great pleasure to hereby dub thee, Shallee McArthur, Knight of the Cosmic Table!

(Photo by Erin Summerill)

SM: *kneels before the honorable Sir DPK*

I am honored to accept the knighthood. I always wanted to be "dubbed." Especially if I can con you into saying, "We are not amused." (Doctor Who reference-- Anyone? Anyone?)

DPK: Huzzah for the good Doctor! And I am VERY amused. :)

Now, the first time I made your acquaintance, we were in line for a Brandon Sanderson signing. What were you having signed that day, and what's it like to meet someone in person for the first time instead of over a blog or other social media?

SM: If I remember right, I was getting The Way of Kings signed, which is one of my favorite books EVER. I was really excited to meet another sci fi/fantasy writer in person! I loved having the chance to actually chat with you, and I was glad to know I wasn't the only writer nerd in the vicinity. That's one thing I love about conferences - meeting face-to-face all the people you've met online, and connecting with a real, live person!

DPK: More than just the vicinity ... I live just down the street from you! Well, I did, until I moved to the north side of town, but I still know where you live! *cue creepy music* That means I get an ARC of your book when it comes out, right?

Speaking of which, you have an agent now, but you will have to remind me if your book has found a publisher or not, and tell us what your book is and what it's about?

SM: I do have an agent - the brilliant and insightful Hannah Bowman - and hopefully a publisher will soon follow! My book is called The Unhappening of Genesis Lee, and it's about a girl who stores her memories in external objects. When memories begin to be stolen, Gena has to hunt down a memory thief before her life and the lives of everyone in town are snatched away. 

DPK: I don't know where to begin - the awesome-meter just flew off the handle! I'd better get a new one ...

You're super lucky to have Hannah as your agent! I think I won a query critique from her a while back and her feedback was very helpful. What's it like to work with her? 

SM: Working with Hannah is amazing. You know how people say the first time they talked to their agent on the phone, the agent just GOT their book? Yup. That was me. Her insights and suggestions for revision are always so spot on - she seems to know exactly what I'm trying to get across, and why it ISN'T coming across. And then she leaves it up to me to find the best fix. :) She's also so quick to respond to emails that I'm fairly certain she's downloaded the internet into her brain.

I even had the chance to meet her at LDStorymakers conference a few weeks ago, and confirmed she's basically my agent-y match made in heaven.

DPK: And since after what happened to you guys that weekend, she's STILL your agent. Amazing! You're going to have to tell us about the accidental highway action scene that you put your agent through, cause it's seriously one of the best agent/author stories I've ever heard. Tell us what happened?

SM: Uhhhhhhh, yeah!

So Hannah wanted to see the beautiful mountains in Utah. We took a drive, and at one point I had to turn around to get us back to the hotel. Any smart, normal person would just go to the next street and turn the direction one wanted to go. Notmoi. I saw an empty street ahead of me - and I SWEAR an empty street behind me - and decided to pull a u-turn. Cue brakes screeching as a car swerved out in front of me.

Then, cue scary driver man jumping out of his car, yelling and swearing at me. Upon which I committed stupid action #2 by rolling down my window. Except it didn't end up being too stupid, because scary driver actually got all repentant and apologized for swearing before driving away. Hannah was incredulous about this display of Utah road rage - "you just APOLOGIZED to each other!"- and luckily we were able to laugh about it instead of having to call the cops.

DPK: I'll say it again - that was awesome! I didn't mean to put you in the hot seat, Shallee, but I think everyone reading this will agree that this is an EPIC story - truly a tale that will go down as legend with this table of knights!

Now for the heart of the matter: what sparked your desire to become a writer? Was this before or after you started your blog? 

SM: That's DEFINITELY a before. According to my mom, I've always wanted to be a writer, "writing" pages and pages of scribbles before I could form letters. But what I remember is reading Anne of Green Gables, where they form the Story Club. And I was like, "Hey, that means I can write stories too, even though I'm a kid!" I wrote stories constantly from then on, greatly inspired by some of my favorite books like The Giver by Lois Lowry, and majored in English and creative writing in college. As for the drive to get published, that started after having my first baby when I took Brandon Sanderson's amazing writing class at BYU. That was in January 2010, and I've been working hard toward that goal ever since.

DPK: Man! I wish I could've taken Brandon's class, and The Giver is one of my all-time favorites! I also wrote stories LONG before starting a blog, so how about that? We have a lot in common.

Now that you're a knight, a writing knight, what does that mean for you?

SM: I will defend the weak and helpless! I will stand against tyranny and oppression! I will wield my sword to fight the dragons that threaten the world!

Oh, wait. A writing knight. Does this mean I don't get a sword?

Well, they say the pen is mightier than the sword, anyway. Or in my case, the keyboard. To me, being a writing knight means applying dedication, perseverance, and a desire to do good in the world through my writing.

DPK: Pens are indeed mightier than the sword. That's precisely why I keep a sword and a cup full of pens handy above my computer, you know, in case the dragon I'm writing decides to pop out of the computer. Chances of that happening are 367,493 to 1, but that's still a chance - some droid told me so.

Congratulations, Shallee! You've passed the test! Over here on the side is your badge of proof that you are a Knight of the Cosmic Table from this day forward. Copy and paste it however you see fit, and welcome to the table! We've pulled up a permanent chair for you. Have a drumstick and some grog (or mead, whichever) - cause you've earned it!

SM: It's a privilege to sit at the table with the hardworking, inspired knights already here. Thanks so much for having me!

I bow to you all in honor.

*     *     *

And she's an Avatar: The Last Airbender fan - pardon my swoon!

I believe we have five knights now, and next month, we'll have six! Be sure to check out Shallee's blog and give her a follow if you like what you see. I always feel at home there, cause it's all spacy-like.And I kid you not, Shallee is one of the nicest and most thoughtful peoples in the cosmos. Just try not to bump heads, okay?

Until next time, keep your pencils sharpened, your pens full, and your keyboards tuned. I'm looking for the next Knight of the Cosmic Table, and it could very well be you! Let's see what the fates decide.

I'm David, and if you believe in telekinesis, raise my hand!


  1. Nice to meet you, Shallee!
    Cool you guys live near each other.
    Congratulations on the agent.
    And glad no road rage ensued!

  2. What a fun interview! Nice to meet you Shallee. That is a great Utah road-rage story :)

  3. Nice meeting you, Shallee. I really like DPK's Knights series.

  4. Congrats Shallee! Well-deserved.

  5. Nice interview, DPK! And I haven't met Shallee! Must fix that! :D

  6. yay shallee!!
    i need to rejoin her healthy writer fridays... hold myself accountable

    shallee is awesome! will make a super knight!

  7. Love Shallee! She is truly brilliant! Great interview you two! :)

  8. Thanks, all! I'm honored to join David's Knights!

  9. Congrats Shallee!

    Love the Avatar video. I've managed to get my four year old hooked on Avatar. What better way to train a child?

  10. I love the Avatar video and I laughed so much at that episode. I didn't have the pleasure to meet Shallee until now. Nice too meet you Shallee! Congratulations!

  11. I really hope that The Unhappening gets published, from the first time I heard of it, it sounded so intriguing!

  12. Awesome interview. Shallee totally deserves it. I love the road rage thing. Too funny! I was in a closed-door meeting with the city council, taking minutes, when one of them swore. He looked at me, his eyes wide, and asked me to please not put that in the minutes.

  13. Congrats to Shallee. And awesome she got to meet her agent at the conference.

  14. Shallee is great. I met her at Storymakers. I had no idea about the U-turn driving with Hannah Bowman incident. So glad you asked her to share. She's a worthy knight, keyboard in hand.

  15. Hi Shallee, nice to meet you!

    It IS wonderful when you find an agent who GETS your book -- sometimes better than you do, because she is able to pinpoint the exact thing that will make it better.

    And nice recovery from the u-turn, road rage thing. If you have to scare your agent with a traffic incident, impressing her by getting an irate driver to apologize is certainly the way to fix that!

  16. WELCOME, LADY KNIGHT SHALLEE! It is an honor to have you join our humble group!

    I am so intrigued by your book. The premise sounds AMAZING! I wish you all the best with a quick sale to a major publisher.

    Wonderful to meet you. Heading over to your blog to say hi!

    Sir David,

    Thank you for honoring us with such a worthy and charming Lady Knight!

  17. Welcome to the Table! Very well deserved. I read your driving story before, but it was just as good told again. I also love the sound of your book because I find memory such a fascinating topic. I hope it is published before too long!

  18. Thanks for the welcomes and the love, all! I love being a part of the writing blogosphere, because there are so many awesome people!

  19. In a total noncreepy way, I adore Shallee. She's so nice and helpful. I'm sure she'll make the perfect knight, sword or no sword. You know, you should really hand out lightsabers. Way more dangerous. ;)

  20. You're so official now, DPK! Love the new URL & how everything looks!

    Shallee is awesome. And her book sounds incredible! LOVED the interview. You guys rock.

  21. Congrats Shallee! Anyone who stands in line for Brandon Sanderson is a worthy knight in my book. ;)

  22. Yay for Shallee! Pens are always mightier than swords... and Avatar: The Last Airbender fans are the best kind of fans ever. Thanks for sharing, David. :)

  23. *Squee* Bonnee C. (above commenter) is an Avatar: The Last Airbender fan and so are Shallee and you David. Oh my goodness that's so awesome! Shallee sounds like a great writer and this interview was a lot of fun to read. Congrats on being a knight girl.

  24. If she pulled that driving stunt in Florida...well, the outcome would have been different. We're not in the high altitudes here. We're down in the swamp.

  25. I love living near writers. The closest I've been to one is a few blocks.

    The Unhappening of Genesis Lee sounds awesome.

  26. Shallee has always been a woman full of awesome :) Glad she gets such a high honor!

  27. Love this interview, and what a funny story about Hannah! I agree that she seems to have the Internet downloaded in her brain. We are very, very lucky girls indeed!

    Congrats, Shallee, and great interview, David!