We had the good fortune of connecting with Shanti Hershenson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Shanti, can you tell us about an impactful book you’ve read and why you liked it or what impact it had on you?
I was in seventh grade when, for the first time, I read The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I had picked the book up from the bookstore days prior after experiencing a stressful event at school. I didn’t expect to read, nor finish it right away, however, I was swept up by the book and ended up finishing it in a matter of days. I read it at a time in my life when I was stuck; when, much like the main character, I felt alone and without anyone who could understand me. This book, particularly with the way it is written, provides the author with a sense of familiarity with the main character, Charlie. Charlie himself is quite the relatable character – a shy, fifteen-year-old with a story that struck the hearts of many – including myself. There isn’t much I can write about the book without accidentally spoiling portions, however, I recommend it to any reader who is old enough to read a book about such topics.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
With a friend, I published my first two novellas in the sixth grade. However, those books are outdated compared to the work I am producing right now. To say the least, they were a start to much greater things.

When the pandemic hit, I was left isolated without much to do. I had already done my share of binge-watching Netflix and playing video games until I was too tired to do much else. And those days, it seemed as though the pandemic would never end. In the wake of my isolation, I began to write with more serious thoughts in mind. My goal was to complete another novella, this time around 15-20,000 words, and then to either self-publish it like I had previously done, or find an agent and traditionally publish. By the time I had started the seventh grade, my writing took off. Biome Lock had grown from being a silly novella to a nearly 250,000-word novel that needed a lot of work. It could not stay the way it was, spanning nearly 900 pages in length, thus, I made the choice to split it into three serialized novels. I ended up writing a fourth one later on. I turned thirteen with five books under my belt, and continued to both write and edit in the coming months.

In the time when I was not working on Biome Lock, I wrote three 100-paged novellas in a series called The Nightmare of Ziel DeLaine. The first two books ended up being published prior to the publication of the first Biome Lock novel, among other books that I had written during that time. One of these books was You Won’t Know Her Name, a novel-told-in-poetry that despite what I once thought, has grown into my most popular book. Finally, after having published five books, the first Biome Lock was published on August 27, 2021, and no breaks were taken upon doing so.

As of today, I have published nine books, and have written fourteen. I am currently writing both my fifteenth and sixteenth book simultaneously, and have many more that need to be written.

While none of this has been easy, these experiences have taught me a lot about writing and publishing – and everything else that is related to those topics. However, I think that the most important lesson I’ve learned is that there’s always room to improve, and someone’s ability to write is not defined by their age – or anything else.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Considering I moved right before the pandemic hit, I haven’t had much time to go out and discover entertaining places. However, being a teen, I would certainly take a visiting guest to Orion Skatepark, and then back to my house, where I have cats that are more entertaining than myself.

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?
My mentor, Danielle, who answers all of my silly questions and helps me make sure my books are as perfect as they can be!

Website: shantihershenson@gmail.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shantihershenson/?hl=en

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShantiHersh

Other: https://www.tiktok.com/@shantiwhowrites

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutSocal is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.