I had the pleasure of interviewing Arizona-based young adult author, Tabatha Shipley, about her writing and editing processes, being inclusive, and her experience with self-publishing. Tabatha is the mother of two amazing kids, and is happily married to her high school sweetheart, living in El Mirage, Arizona. She loves to cook, play hockey, and read any and everything in her spare time. She was an elementary school teacher for fifteen years before she decided to actively pursue writing full-time a few years ago. Tabatha is the author of Breaking Eselda, a Kingdom of Fraun novel, as well as the stand-alone YA Fantasy story 30 Days Without Wings. The second book in the Kingdom of Fraun series, Redeeming Jordyn, is set to be published in April 2019, and a YA science fiction novel (whose name has yet to be determined—did I mention she’s a self-proclaimed “irrational perfectionist”?!) will follow in the autumn. Growing up, Tabatha admits that she always dreamed of being a writer but, when asked, would always answer “a teacher;” she now celebrates that she got to live both of her dreams. An interesting quirk that Tabatha confesses is that, when she’s stuck on a scene, she will write by hand rather than typing; most writers prefer one medium over the other, but Tabatha finds value in both. When asked what she did with her first profit from book sales, Tabatha divulges that the money went into donating copies of the book to middle schools, high schools, and new book reviewers. This fact really encapsulates Tabatha’s overall objective as a writer, which is to provided readers with a story to fall in love with rather than working towards a monetary goal. After getting to know her more intimately, we dove into a conversation about the logistics and specifics of writing and publishing novels.
Coming from a small town, I knew I was more “progressive” than a lot of other people in my area, but I also knew that there was a lot I was missing out on and sheltered from because of where I come from. Before going away to university, I had never even heard of Women’s Studies, and all I knew about feminism was what was depicted in the media, which was pretty much that all feminists were "man-haters" and that their end goal was to eliminate the male species.
Let me just preface this by saying: I cannot believe that my 16-year-old little brother is getting to Greece before I am. Just know that I have never been more jealous of you in my entire life. It seems like just yesterday that you were freaking out because you were afraid you would get sucked down the bathtub drain if Mum pulled the plugged before you got out (sorry; as your big sister, I am obligated to embarrass you just a little). And now, you’re setting off on the trip of a lifetime and I am so excited for you. Here is my advice to you, as your experienced older sister, for making the most of your first trip overseas.
Before I came to university, I never struggled with my mental health. After some of the things that I went through, my parents worried at times if it would affect me later on, if I was burying my emotions and would later explode. But I was fine. I did well in school; I had great friends and a great after-school job; I had a good home life. Things were good. My life was good.
I have been obsessed with books for as long as I can remember. For roughly the same amount of time, I’ve been skeptical of used books. Sure, they’re interesting and mysterious in theory, but I didn’t know where they had been, whose hands had touched them before me! I always preferred the smell of new books to used, giving me the illusion that I was the first one to ever discover this story, the first one to ever enter this fictional world.
This article has been a long time coming. You've been begging for this article ever since I decided I was a writer. I never told you this, but the reason I hadn’t written this before now is because you deserve so much more than a simple 700-word post on the Internet. I have sat down to write this article countless times and, every time, the words refused to come out.