Coffee and Conversation with Shelley Koon

I really, really want to come out and just say “Happy Tuesday, it’s Spring!” I want to spout rainbow and flowers and puppies and sunshine, but I can’t (and not just because such saccharine would make me a marked woman). The real reason is, it’s snowing…AGAIN! Arrrggh!

Well, I only know one antidote – a visit with conference faculty member and my fellow ATEB blogger, the lovely Shelley Koon. No, she isn’t full of  rainbows and puppies (thank goodness!), but she does bring a good dose of sunshine with her humor and great conversation.


Shelley is a writer, artist, photographer, web developer, serial MMO player, and lover of Halloween and all things that go bump in the night. She loves horseback riding, long walks in the rain, kittens, puppies and manipulating people and their worlds in both Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Word. She is also the Critique group Coordinator for the SCBWI MD/DE/WV region and having just completed the critique group database is now working on an online critique forum for the region.

Shelley’s workshop, Five Easy Pieces: A Simple Approach to Author Websites, will talk you through five steps to building your website! Find out how to choose a domain name and why you should register your own. Is it better to build a website yourself or pay a professional? What should your website look like and what should you post on it? Better yet what should you not post on it? What’s SEO and why is it important? Whether you’re building your first website or looking for tips for to spiff up your existing site this session is for you!

Shelley is the last faculty interview before our conference this Saturday, Spring: Nature’s Revised Draft. And now that she is settled comfortably into our comfy cyber chair, let’s get started.

What was your favorite book as a child?

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE  (so much so that I have an interpretation of the “wild romp” tattooed on my right shoulder blade!)


A classic! And now, what’s your favorite book as an adult?

Sooooooo many… Honestly, THE STAND by Stephen King slightly edges out a bazillion others simply because of the amazing job he did with the story lines of such a large number of characters. I’m in awe of his ability to make each character so vividly unique and I found myself not only loving his heroes but heartbroken for his villains as well.

Stand, The - Stephen King - Signet Books reprint - 1980s


If you followed the career path you chose for yourself in high school, what would you be doing for a living now?

I wanted to go to art school and my dad nixed it. I come from a really small town in Illinois and most people who grow up there end up working in the local industry which is not art, so my dad didn’t see the value in sending me to art school. These days he’s totally supportive of me – he’s still not quite sure what it is I do, but he’s proud when he sees my work! When art school got shot down, my second choice was either to go to law school or pursue a degree in microbiology (I have a fascination with genetics and level 4 bio-hazards). That got shot down too…



I haven’t seen one of those since my lab days! So, when did you decide to be a writer/artist?

I didn’t – art decided I belonged to it. Sounds cheesy but it’s true. 15 years ago I was working at Levi Strauss & Co. (which, by the way, is an AMAZING company to work for) in sales and marketing. I made a great salary, got to travel and loved the people I worked with BUT something was missing. So I gave notice one day and finally went back to school for graphic design and shortly after started writing again. Creativity seeps into everything I do in life. I’ve come to accept I can’t ignore it, it’s just a part of me.

I love this – “art decided I belonged to it.” What’s your favorite motivational quote?

“Why do we fall sir? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up.” – Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins

A perfect quote that everyone needs to take to heart. Thanks so much Shelley! I am now all cheered up despite the weather. Looking forward to seeing you again at the conference. Only four more days!

Maybe Spring is here after all!





About Susan Mannix

Susan worked as a biomedical research editor for the Department of the Navy for fourteen years and has been a member of SCBWI since 2007. She writes young adult and middle grade novels. When she isn’t writing, she spends her time doing all things horses, including attending her teenaged daughters’ many competitions. Susan lives in Maryland on a small farm with her husband, two children, an adorable black lab, two cats, and three horses.
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2 Responses to Coffee and Conversation with Shelley Koon

  1. This is going to be a fun conference — can’t wait to see you, Shelley!

  2. Stacy Couch says:

    Ooh, Shelley, I need a web site! And a new tattoo!

    Thinking: “I am a Level 4 Bio-Hazard” with pretty triangle pic?

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