Paula Shene (courtesy photo)
By AK Dale
SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – All it was supposed to be was a simple tale of a puppy mill dog overcoming adversity.
That dog was a metaphor for Paula Louise Shene’s granddaughter, Mandy.
“I’ve been writing off and on through the years, but I did not seek publishing until I wrote Mandy the Alpha Dog, written for a child, my granddaughter,” Shene said. “She was experiencing anxiety, fears, nightmares, because of the breakup of her parents’ marriage. She knew Mandy, the real life counterpart who was reported to be a biter, but she and Mandy would walk in the yard together, stop and ‘converse’ and I took this as an opportunity to write the book of Mandy’s overcoming her bad beginning.
“My granddaughter was only four but showed her book to her friends, our neighbor’s children who were six through ten and we got fantastic responses on wanting more stories,” Shene said. “Several of the children went door-to-door to talk about animal abuse and to raise funds for our local no-kill shelter after reading Mandy the Alpha Dog. This book was truly geared for the older child who loves wise cracks, yet covers serious issues. There are fat jokes, short jokes – which the kids think are hilarious although some parents feel they are not politically correct. However, Mandy deals very well with the joking as does the author who is both short and fat. Fortunately my husband is tall and thin, so it evens out.”
Thus, Shene’s career as an author for youth books began as did the adventures of Mandy as her series has climbed to a total of NUMBER books.
“My readers of the children’s books are kids that want the world to be a better place for them and for the animals they love,” she said. “When I have a seven or eight or sixteen-year-old reader tell me the story was fun, or right on, and ask when the next one will be available, I know I am making a difference in how to deal with a problem, yet have them learn, through humor.”
Shene also has other works out for reader consumption and has plans for more.
“My adult fare also deals with life issues but not on such a humorous basis except Sacrificial Lambs which won a spot for inclusion in the e book Sandcastles and Other Stories, a collection of seven stories of Social Injustice by seven authors,” Shene said. “I have now branched out and am writing a science fiction/fantasy series called The Alaisdair Chronicles which was slated to be finished this month but my hero, a lanky nineteen-year-old, is giving me problems. He finally started to move again this week and we’ll see how close to deadline we keep the finish line.”
All of that writing during her career while dealing with battles of her own.
“I am basically retired after a second bout of a different strain of breast cancer and having approximately thirty-six lymph nodes removed,” Shene shared. “I have a condition called Lymph Edema which causes swelling and at the beginning six years ago, I was unable to return to work at all. I now have the ability to type without too many problems but there are days I cannot be on the machine. My husband has a form of dementia caused by a near fatal car accident that occurred on our way to the VA hospital for a clinic appointment. I am also his caregiver and thankfully since removal of drugs given for dementia, he has mostly good days.”
Despite all of that, Shene’s life has been rich with great tales of yore.
Shene’s history is quite remarkable on its own merits.
“Mandy the Alpha Dog” is the story that launched Paula Stene’s career (courtesy art)
“My husband, Paul and I have been married for forty-seven years,” Shene said. “An odd fact in both our backgrounds is that our great grandfathers fought in the Battle of the Wilderness, his grandfather fatally wounding mine. This was determined by the nickname his grandfather was called. After battles, all information that could be had was written down. It’s fortunate mine had just returned from a leave at home where he impregnated his wife or I would not be typing this report.”
But she is here amongst many readers and fellow authors and is doing quite well for herself, keeping busy.
“I have my own on line business selling gently read paperbacks and a few hardcovers,” she said. “Our motto is every book deserves at least a second chance. My online store is on a hiatus move from one platform to another but several hundred of our stock is listed under the same name -Paul and Paula’s Plaza, Inc, on eBay. My living room walls are decorated with over 10,000 paperback books of all genres.”
What her life has been decorated with is a river of memories so lovely they must balance the reflections of battles fought and won.
“When I married at nineteen my goal was to be a housewife and that never happened,” Shene said. “I’ve had times off from the traditional workforce but I’ve always worked at something. The best thing I ever did was write down what I wanted in a husband and except for the rich part, I got all and more. I have traveled all over this beautiful county and lived in six states. I have been a part of several businesses with my husband and have been fortunate in that I’ve been able to travel this life with my best friend at my side.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION on PAULA LOUISE SHENE
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