Arlie Sheelin on her first-in-series sci-fi romance, The Way Maker, shortlisted for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize.

Born and raised in western Canada, Arlie Sheelin is an avid reader and writer. With her reading interests stretching from Louis L’Amour’s old west to science fiction, fantasy, romance, and a smattering of other genres; it’s no wonder she ended up with an imagination vivid enough to write her own books. She thinks of herself as a writer, introvert, and a bit of a geek. And happily, embraces it all. She also writes indie short story fiction online with some amazing writers and great people.  Family is important to Arlie, and she loves spending time with her daughters and their families. Living in a tiny apartment through the pandemic, she has developed a green thumb and a love for the Oak Island television show. She votes for the templars as her favourite theory for who hid the treasure.  Arlie has a New Media Production and Design Diploma and has spent many happy hours designing graphics for her stories. Her first book, a science fiction/fantasy novel called The Way Maker, has been shortlisted for the Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Prize 2022, in the Romance category. You can find her at www.arliesheelin.com

Can you tell us about your book in three sentences or less?

The Way Maker is the story of Brooke St. Claire, a woman who survives abduction and torture that changes her forever. She is faced with seemingly insurmountable circumstances in her struggle to take her life back, but she refuses to settle for anything less than a life of her own choosing. In the process of overcoming, Brooke finds a love that supports her journey, reminds her of her worth, and gives her power back.

What inspired this book?

The Old Testament book of Esther is about a young woman who was taken from her family and her country and put into the King’s harem. This is a woman who lost her family, her friends, her country, and her dreams. She had to rediscover her worth and find new dreams. 

Sometimes life happens in ways we would never have chosen, and we are faced with a decision. Do we give up and submit or do we stand up and choose the life we want to live? I wanted to write a story that would convey that kind of strength and determination and encourage people to keep going no matter their circumstances.

What’s the best book you’ve read recently?

Silver Silence by Nalini Singh. It’s not a new book but one I have read many times. Nalini Singh has a way of writing emotion that touches my soul. 

What first drew you towards writing?

I’ve always been an avid reader. When I was in grade six, my teacher read a poem I’d written and said, “You’re a writer.” It was like something deep inside of me settled, and my soul said yes!

What do you wish you had known when you first started writing?

First: believe in yourself. The world needs to hear our stories.

Second: Marketing. Yikes.

Do you have any writing projects in the works right now?

On April 7th I published my second book, Forsaken, and plans are in place to publish my third book, The Ways of Light, on July 21stThe Way Maker, Forsaken, and The Ways of Light are the first books of three interconnected series. The book I am currently working on is the second book in The Zemyneah Experiment series, which is the series The Way Maker started. My projected plan is to publish that book near the end of this year.

Describe your writing style in five words or less.

Character driven, fast-paced, gritty? Dark? Humorous… wait —emotional rollercoaster! (lol) Hope-filled… hopeful… Does spicy go in here?

Obviously, I have no idea of my own style. O.o

The Kobo Emerging Writer Prize was created to bring literary recognition to Canadian talent and kick-start the careers of debut authors. A $10,000 CAD cash prize will be awarded to a book in each of three categories: Nonfiction, Literary Fiction, and a rotating Genre Fiction category. In addition, each winning author receives promotional marketing and ongoing communications support throughout 2022.

Arlie Sheelin is one of six authors nominated in the Romance category for 2022. Best-selling romance author Nana Malone will select this year’s winner, to be announced on June 22, 2022.