Are you Shannon Hilson, the fantasy artist?
Am I the same person that was known online for making fantasy art years ago? Yes. Am I still "Shannon Hilson, the fantasy artist"? Hell no. I made that artwork over a decade ago and no, I will not be making any more of it, as I decided to focus on my writing instead quite some time ago. Why, you ask? Are you still interested in exactly the same things you were into 10+ years ago? Are your goals the same? Are you the same person? Yeah, me neither.
What do you really do for a living? No one online that says they're a professional writer really is one.
I'm the very last thing from one of those hacks that self-publishes all their crap on Amazon and thinks they can call themselves a professional because they guilt-tripped their parents into buying a couple of copies. Writing really is what I do for a living. I'm not a novelist or anything though. I'm primarily a copywriter and a ghostwriter. I do not have a second job, nor am I independently wealthy. I have some help for which I'm grateful, but I need to work to live the same as anyone else and I earn a very real living that is equal to or better than any living I'd be able to earn working somewhere else. I pay bills with this money. I feed us with this money.
What's your nationality and/or ethnic background?
This is a question people know they shouldn't be asking, because it's not supposed to matter. Nevertheless, I can't think of a single person I've met ever in my life that didn't ask me this at some point, so let's just get it out of the way on the FAQ page. I consider myself to be mixed race, but to be more specific, I'm biracial -- half black and half white with a little bit of Southeast Asian thrown in there for good measure. (Yes, really. For all intents and purposes, I'm black.) As for my nationality, I'm American. I've always been American (despite having been born in Germany). My parents are both American, too.
How old are you?
Another from the "shouldn't be asking but most people want to know" files. As of March 14, 2018, I'm 42 years old. Yes, really. Yes, my profile picture is relatively recent (summer of 2015). No, it's not Photoshopped. (Come to think of it, I don't even think I color corrected that particular photo.) That's the thing about being of black descent. Most of us really do age incredibly well.
Can you teach me to draw/write/earn a living freelancing?
No. Not if you paid me and certainly not for free. Take a class like everyone else. Either that or just teach yourself. That's what I did.
This might sound crazy, but I feel like you might really "get me". Is it OK if I message you with a confession or some other overly personal piece of information?
Please don't send me really personal messages or email unless we actually know each other personally. I don't want to hear about your deep dark secrets or listen to your TMI personal stories. Really, I don't. I definitely am not interested in giving you life advice. I don't know why or from where people get the impression that messaging me to share such things would somehow be totally fine with me. It's not. And trust me, I'm a lot more judgmental than I probably appear on the surface. How about tell your priest, pastor, or counselor about it instead.
Do your clients read your blog? What about your family?
Since I do sometimes talk about personal things that don't always paint other people in the best light, it's a common assumption that this must be some secret blog I'm hoping to hide from other people. For the record, this is not a secret blog. It is a personal space for me to be open about my thoughts, feelings, struggles, and so forth. That said, I don't really care who reads it or what anyone thinks of anything I might have to say. I'm not doing this for them.
Do you ever feature guest bloggers?
No. This is a personal blog, so I'm not interested in featuring anyone else's content. I don't really keep a blog roll here or anything either. This is a one-person show, period.
Do you ever do sponsored posts?
This blog doesn't have much reach to speak of, so I really don't get much opportunity to even publish sponsored content, but any time I do, you can trust that it will be labeled as such. You can also rest assured that I would never promote a service, product, or business for any reason unless I legitimately believed in whatever it is. My integrity is very important to me and I want people to be able to trust in any recommendations I might ever make.
Do you ever hire other writers to help you with your writing business?
No. I don't outsource any of my work or employ other people to help me with my business and I'm not interested in changing that. Please realize that no really does mean no in this case. Don't send me your damn resume assuming that "it can't hurt to ask". I don't want to hear your sales pitch as far as what you think makes you the special snowflake I should actually pay attention to either. I can assure you that I don't give a shit. I also can't stand people that don't follow directions, so I will most likely not even dignify your inquiry with a response. And no, I will not "point you in the right direction" or give you the names of any of my contacts. I'm not your career counselor. Fuck off.