Aoife. J. Sherwood

Name: Shannon in real life, that's what I go by, or any nicknames that my insane friends can invent for me ;) My second name is Deanna, which sadly, derives from a character from my dad's favourite show, Star Trek. Thus, he likes to make jokes that I'm secretly a "betazoid".

Username: Aoife. J. Sherwood - it comes from a character in my series "The Element Adventures", and the J is from a time when my art teacher got my name completely wrong, and the class found it so funny that it is a nickname I can't escape, so I immortalised it in a pseudonym as a tribute to my friends.

Age: 17...physically anyway. Mentally...not a clue.

Gender: Girl

How old were you when you started writing? When did you start?: I think I was always creative and I liked coming up with my own stories in my head. I used to invent stories in our school logs that were supposed to be factual, I got in trouble a lot for that. I probably only put pen to paper in Year 4 - age 8 or 9 (in order to cope with bullying and exclusion, which virtually got me through the rest of primary school in one piece.)

What was your first story? Could we read it?: Not really, my first real story was called "Departed" and was a historical/fantasy crossover. I wrote it when I was 11 and came back to it when I was 13 in a new school. The history part faded away and the fantasy part grew into a completely new story. I keep it on my computer for nostalgia, but I would still never post it because it is completely absurd!

What are you working on right now?: As always, my one true love is "The Element Adventures," a series which is planned to have nine books in it, a YA fantasy series that I'm banking my future career on. I'm working on the third one right now, and started it when I was 13 (it was the fantasy part mentioned above that grew out of control.)

Where do you get inspiration?: (Uh oh, this'll be a biggy)

From virtually everything. Music, for one, plays a big part, I have a very long playlist of songs chosen for specific scenes, couplings and character arcs. My experiences, obviously, are essential. I'm a believer in writing what you know from experience, at least to the best of my abilities, but obviously, writing fantasy, some must be invented, however, for one, my characters are the same age as me so that they can develop mentally as I do to make it more realistic.

A lot of people say pain is their inspiration, and although I've struggled in situations and writing has gotten me through it, I can't say I've ever looked through my work and remembered that it was written during a certain traumatic event. My work is a hub of positivity and renewal for me and has helped me to forget that pain and fear that I may have once had.

My faith is also very inspirational to me, it is intertwined with my writing in that it is a way for me to be rescued from fear and pain. It also allows me to keep pursuing my dream and believe that I am meant for something important, which is my writing, and it keeps me writing in dark times when I know that this is, for want of a better word, my destiny.

When is your favourite time to write?: At the worst of times, probably, when I should most likely be doing school work. Sadly, education means I have only windows of time in the evenings, but whenever it is, I make sure I write, or at least do something centred around "The Element Adventures" every day. This is usually drawing maps and characters, working on the language or working on "The Chronicles of Maegard", an encyclopaedia all about the world the series is based in.

Collabs or solos?: When I first joined, I was adamant I would be travelling solo all the time. My work is often very personal, and I'm very protective over it, but being here has allowed me to create other stories that I'm happy to collaborate on that aren't as personal as 'The Element Adventures' is. Now, collaborating is something I really like to do!

How did you find Protagonize? Any other sites?: I can hardly remember, I think I just typed in 'creative writing site' into Google on a whim, and this came up. I haven't left since. I was nervous because I don't personally support e-books and publishing worldwide online, but I've certainly become more open about that, and being contained inside this site with some lovely people to the best I could have asked for. No, no other sites, Protagonize and I have a monogamous relationship.

Anything else to share?: Just that I'm incredibly grateful to anybody who has taken the time to read "The Element Adventures" or any of my other work. I was driven here because I felt rejected by friends and family too busy to take an interest in my writing, and I eventually had it in my head that I was a terrible writer and my dreams of being an author were pointless. You guys have given me faith, and that's aided me in more ways than you could ever know. Blessed be to you all!

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