We had the good fortune of connecting with Shina Reynolds and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shina, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
“No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings.” -William Blake
I love this quote for multiple reasons. To me, it says that as long as I stay true to myself (soaring with my own wings), then the skies the limit. I can reach my goals, so long as I attempt to reach them with my own abilities. Also, I feel this quote reminds me to stay true to myself. And to remember that I am my only real competition. “Comparison is the thief of joy” (another great quote), and reading William Blake’s quote “No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings.” reminds me I am the only one who ultimately has the power to choose how far I soar, and comparing myself to anyone else’s journey is a wasted moment in time.
I have this quote at the beginning of my young adult fantasy book, A Light in the Sky. It seemed fitting because of the flying horses in my book, and due to the theme of finding freedom by believing in yourself and trusting in your own abilities. Also, I have this quote framed in my office, to remind me every day when I sit at my desk, that I can reach my goals simply because they are my own.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I’m the award-winning author of young adult fantasy novel, A Light in the Sky. It is the first book of the Clashing Skies Series. I’m also the founder and owner of the publishing company, Wink Road Press.
I love writing fantasy and sci-fi stories with powerful characters who are still discovering themselves. Characters who face challenges but also rise to them. I write books about freedom and what it means to be free. In my list of future story ideas, freedom is often a theme. The tagline on the cover of my debut novel, A Light in the Sky, is, “How far would you fly for freedom?” I love combining genres, as seen in A Light in the Sky, which has elements of both fantasy and sci-fi.
I write books that are ready to be translated to the screen (waves at film/tv producers). Because of my background in film and acting, I imagine everything I write before typing it out. For me, it’s as if the story is playing on the screen of my mind before making its way to the computer.
I love writing, world-building, and creating places for readers to explore and/or escape. I love hearing from readers and knowing that a story I wrote brought them joy.
One thing I’m most proud of, other than publishing A Light in the Sky, was writing and directing the book trailer for my debut novel. It was so much fun to use my film background to make a live-action book trailer for ALITS (you can check it out on my website).
Also, since publishing in November 2021, A Light in the Sky has won twelve awards, including the Gold Medal for Teen Fiction in the 2022 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards. I am beyond grateful for these awards.
I’m excited to finish drafting the sequel to A Light in the Sky and get it off to editing. After I finish the Clashing Skies series (currently a trilogy with the possibility of a couple of novellas), I am eager to work on some new projects. I’m also looking forward to publishing another debut author under Wink Road Press in the coming year.
Thankfully, ideas come to me all the time. I have many lists of ideas piling up, ready to be written. Alas, I can’t write fast enough.
For writing, I’m often inspired by my dreams. Two dreams I had inspired my first book, A Light in the Sky. Both of which ended up becoming scenes in my finished book. Coming from my film and acting background, I am also inspired by movies and tv shows.
Seeing my debut novel (and the rest of the Clashing Skies series) adapted into a film or TV series is one of my greatest dreams/goals. Hello Ireland and flying horses!
However, even though ideas may come to me with little effort, I have faced other struggles throughout my publishing journey. Self-doubt + perfectionist tendencies + ADD + procrastination don’t always result in ideas coming to fruition as quickly as I’d like.
I started writing A Light in the Sky in the fall of 2015. However, I didn’t end up publishing it until November 9th, 2021. Mainly because I kept thinking I could make it “better.” That, and I also had to learn about publishing since I started my publishing company, Wink Road Press. When I published A Light in the Sky myself, I also had to handle all the business aspects, as well as promotion and balancing being a business with being a writer. Hiring freelancers for book design and editing is time-consuming and takes away from writing. And yet, it’s an integral part of the publishing process.
That being said, I’m very thankful I could publish my book myself. I love having the creative freedom. And I’m an entrepreneur/artist at heart.
But being your own boss also comes with the caveat that you have to make your own schedule–and abide by said schedule if you want to get things done. And that is where I struggle the most. Discipline and focus is something I’m always working on.
I’m currently drafting book II and trying to stay focused.
I hope when you read A Light in the Sky (or listen to it via audiobook) that it plays out in your head like an amazing movie or a tv show and that you enjoy the ride! And I hope it brings you some happiness.
If you’d like to keep up with when my next book is coming out, please visit my website and subscribe to my newsletter. You can buy A Light in the Sky in paperback, hardcover, ebook, and audiobook formats wherever books are sold, or get signed copies on my website.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The Eastern Glades at Memorial Park, the Arboretum, and the newly opened land bridge would be some of the first places I’d show someone. I’m down-to-earth and love to be in nature, so taking a walk in the park is a must (depending on the weather, of course).
I’d also bring them to where I live in Spring Branch and we’d get some delicious Korean food. I love going to H-Mart and getting some Yukgaejang from Yori Yori. Or I like the Bulgogi lunch box special during the week at Korea Garden on Long Point.
Since we are probably going to want some more food, I’d then take them to Milk & Cookies in Memorial to get some ice cream or cookies.
Then maybe we’d go for another walk—maybe this time through the museums. I love our museums (especially as an art history major). MFAH would be a go-to.
And if we have time, I’d get some tickets to a show at the Alley Theatre.
Houston is a wonderful city, and I’m thankful to live here.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for my loving and supportive husband, Ben. He’s been my greatest champion since day one of my starting my career as an author. He listens to all of my ideas, reads my first drafts, and gives me his feedback at the drop of a hat. Sure Dividend, his company, is a testament to his inspiring entrepreneurial spirit and work ethic. He also encouraged me to take the reins and go the independent route with my debut novel. And he’s loved me every step of the way.
I’m also so thankful to my father, Ken, for inspiring me with his inventive mind. He’s been a source of encouragement throughout my many creative endeavors. And he’s also shown me love and acceptance for being the creative person I am.