Shandi Harvey

  • Shandi Harvey, Academic TransferShandiHarvey_web

    Shandi loves to read and write, so it seems only natural that her imaginative story, "The Dead Don't Tell Secrets," is featured in Volume 16. A true creative spirit, she talks with us about her creative drive, her obsession with horror, and her fabulous middle name.

    Illuminations: Your short story, "The Dead Don't Tell Secrets," is a scary trip! What was your motivation behind writing it?

    Shandi: My motivation behind writing "The Dead Don't Tell Secrets" is good old-fashioned horror. I have been a horror fan for the greater part of my life, and I love all things spooky. I first came up with the idea on my way back from Iowa. I was discussing my ideas for Illuminations with my boyfriend, and I was toying around with a zombie-themed short story. We began to elaborate on the idea, and that is pretty much how we came up with it. I specifically decided to leave the interpretations of what happened to the people to the reader; I wanted the readers to be undecided on whether the people had turned into zombies or into something else completely.

    I: Indeed! In your Vol. 15 bio, you say that you're a "huge book nerd." What do you enjoy reading, and how do these books influence your writing?

    S: I enjoy reading pretty much anything I get my hands on. I tend to lean more towards horror, supernatural, and true crime books, primarily. I like scaring people, and I guess that is the biggest way these types of books have influenced my writing.

    I: In your bio, you also say, "Writing is what makes me 'me'." What other writing projects are you working on? Why do you think writing is so important to you?

    S: Well currently I am working on my first novel entitled "Angirean." It is the first of a trilogy. I am also working on ideas for the next Illuminations. Writing for me has always been important. Before I knew how to write, I was always telling stories. Writing has been there for me when people haven't. I hold writing very close; words are a passion, and if you know how to use the words correctly, you can have a huge impact on people.

    I: Agreed! You were named after a KISS song. What other quirky facts should we know about you?

    S: Well, when I was around two or three years old, I would help my dad by modeling costumes that he was creating. I also worked at a haunted house here in Lincoln for about three years; I started off working in the dungeon room and then later on moved on to be a tour guide. That was the most fun job I had ever had. Also, my middle name is Starr, and it is unique by having it spelled with two "r"s.

    I: "Shandi Starr" - now that rocks! Back to writing, what do you find to be the most challenging aspect of writing? What's the most rewarding?

    S: For me, the most challenging part of writing is finding the time to be able to write. Being a full-time student and a mom has my time pretty much filled up, but even though it makes writing challenging, I will always find a small amount of time every day to write at least something. The most rewarding part of writing for me is being able to come up with something so creative that even I feel inspired. Being able to see the words that I wrote in print or in my notebook fills me with so much joy; it is simply something that I do not take for granted.

    I: What other creative activities do you enjoy?

    S: I dabble with photography, stage makeup, and everyday makeup. The brighter the colors, the better!

    I: Terrific! What advice would you give others who want to write fiction?

    S: The advice I would give others is to simply write. Write what you know, or write what you don't know. The important thing is that you're writing. Even if it doesn't make sense at the time, it could be the next best thing that the literary world has been waiting for. Just remember, there really aren't any rules for writing fiction. That is the best part, and those that say there are rules are only stifling your creativity.

    I: Good advice! OK, last but not least, here's the zany question of the day. Do you believe in ghosts? Why or why not.

    S: Yeah, I believe in ghosts. I have had firsthand experience with a few! Also, I own a 1960s Ouija board, but it's mainly for show.

    I: Thanks, Shandi!

    From "The Dead Don't Tell Secrets"
    by Shandi Harvey

    Ahead is the door to the pilots, and I hear the radio frantically emitting noise. I can't make out the noise because of the tearing of flesh and the horrendous screams going on behind me. The door is cracked, and I slowly open it. Another stewardess is in the pilots' area, but she is no longer a stewardess. Her lips are pressed to the pilot's ear as she whispers something. A sulphur-like smell emits from her parted lips as she speaks. The pilot seems asleep and to have no idea what is happening to him. I run up behind her and grab her off him.
    "Not nice, not nice, NOT NICE!" she screams. The smell hits my nostrils, and I gag. I can feel the bile rise in my throat like a tidal wave.
    "Stop!" I scream back, and she continues gnashing her lips with that awful smell. Saliva shoots from her mouth, and it looks like tar. A drop lands on my arm as I have her pinned between the wall and myself, and I scream. It burns badly, and my skin peels away, exposing tendons and bone….