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  • Anna P.

Indie Support Sunday: Shawn Maravel

Scrolling through Instagram one day, I came across a book titled The River House by Shawn Maravel. The blurb sounded interesting and I loved the minimalist cover so much that I instantly added it to my TBR. Of course, like all readers, it sat on my TBR for a long time. However, I did then realise Shawn had written another book titled Broken and instantly downloaded and read it. And promptly fell in love with her writing style, the strength and power in her story and knew that I needed more.

Since then, Shawn and I have followed each other on Instagram and I spend almost every day chuckling over the fantastic content she posts in her reels. Plus, I have loved watching Shawn’s journey as she reworks an old story of hers—Healing in the Heartland will be re-released March 3rd, 2024—to share with the world. As a fellow supporter of indies, Shawn’s posts are beautiful and the human herself is absolutely wonderful.

Shawn’s books are available in Kindle Unlimited and if you’re looking for heartfelt stories deeply rooted in the journeys of the main characters, these are the perfect ones for you!


Who or what inspired you to write?

The lame answer to that question is that, when I picked up Twilight in my first year of college, I discovered a love for reading. Once I started reading, however, I rediscovered a love for storytelling I had only just barely explored as a kid.

After taking eight years off from writing to focus on raising my kids, it was writing I turned to after my mom’s sudden passing in 2020. She has always been one of my biggest fans and LOVED books. It felt like a way to get closer to her and to explore my feelings of grief and love for her.

What’s the best and worst part about being an indie author?

The best part is meeting readers and fellow authors on a personal level. You’re more approachable when you’re an indie author so your readers don’t hesitate to pick your brain about your work, which I love.

The worst is navigating the platforms and the people who use it. Not everyone who acts supportive actually is. I don’t have space in my life for false friendships—who does—so when I feel I’ve lost some weird popularity contest and am no longer welcome to sit at certain tables with no explanation, that’s hard. I don’t operate that way. I think some people here feed off the position of others, so as a smaller lesser known indie, I might not feel like a worthwhile “investment.”

Why did you choose to self-publish instead of going the traditional route?

I’ve queried in the past. The process is long and grueling and it’s a wall I would rather not remain behind. The idea of needing one person to agree my story could be loved by the masses truly baffles me. I’d rather work ten times as hard than take one person’s opinion as reason enough to give up. I want to share my work with the world, self-publishing allows me to be my own authority and the only wall that could ever keep me from doing that. And I won’t be a wall, only a launching pad when it comes to my goals and dreams.


Why did you choose romance as the genre to write in? What is your favorite thing about the genre?

I love love and the way sharing a life with someone forces us to learn and grow and compromise. I enjoy writing about how finding the right person can result in that kind of growth.

What are your most and least favorite tropes?

I’m learning that I don’t have favorites trope or ones I dislike, only preferences on how they’re written. Enemies to lovers feels like an easy one to swoon over, but only if it’s written well. Grump/sunshine used to be one of my least favorites, then I write Broken which falls into that trope and it’s really grown on me. I think if I had to pick ones I don’t enjoy it would be love triangle and miscommunication. Neither of those appeal to me and I don’t see myself ever writing them.

If you write closed door romance, why did you choose that and what are your favorite ways to build tension between the characters?

I write closed door romance because sex, while beautiful, is very personal for me. My husband is my one and only romantic partner, so I can’t write about sex without it feeling like opening a door into my own bedroom. I write him open door romance scenes for when he’s away for long trips (he used to be in the Army and is still in the reserves and often goes to training courses for his job now.) So I can definitely write open door scenes, I just prefer not to for the general public.

A long stare, an electrifying touch, words that penetrate the soul…I love adding tension and angst to scenes. Creating that vulnerability and exposure between characters is my favorite!


What inspired your published stories? How and when did you come up with these stories and plots?

For the sake of keeping within a reasonable word count, I’ll focus on my more recent publications.

The River House was inspired by time spent at a friend’s river house in Virginia. My family visited there a few months after my mom passed and it was so healing. I was inspired to take up writing again and to pour myself and my grief into the story. A love letter to my mom, if you will.

Broken is a complete re-write on a story my twin sister wrote when we were in college. We both always loved the premise and both agreed it needed to be told. Because I continued writing, it only made sense that I would be the one to tell it.

Healing in the Heartland is a rewrite of one of my earlier novels The Wanderer. These characters are so special to me and I wanted to give them the story they deserve.

Do you already have a favorite character from the stories you’ve written?

I think my forever favorite character of all my books is Max Abrams from Healing in the Heartland. She’s just a really strong and inspiring character. Flawed as all people are, but just really cool and badass and fully capable.

If you were to cast your book for a movie/television show, who would you cast in the lead roles?

Jack from The River House was heavily inspired by Henry Cavill. Jocelyn from the book would be Elizabeth Olsen. For Broken, I see Gabriel and his twin brother as Charlie Hunnam and Norah as Emilia Clarke. Healing in the Heartland would be Ryan Reynolds and Julia Jones.

How much of yourself do you put into these characters?

I’m sprinkled throughout my stories. Nothing heavy handed, but little nuggets here and there. But I also sprinkle in people I love like my mom.

When you write these stories, what are you hoping your readers will feel?

I want them to feel seen. To feel healed. To feel inspired.


  • Paperbacks, hardbacks, ebooks or audiobooks—Audiobooks for reading purposes because it’s hard to make time to read in a writing season.

  • Contemporary, fantasy, historical or romantic suspense

  • Single or Dual POV

  • Standalones, series or standalones in a series

  • Open door, ajar door or closed door romances—I don’t need all the details. But I read a mix.

  • Music or silence when writing

  • Plotter, pantser or plantser

  • Water, tea, coffee or….wine?

  • Cold or warm weather

  • Write better in the morning, afternoon or night?—It really depends. I usually write at night but it’s not always better, just all I can manage to squeeze in.

  • Illustrated or photo cover?—I used to love photo covers but I’m definitely leaning towards illustrated these days.

Make sure you follow Shawn on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok. She also has an Etsy shop that sells merch based on her books, as well as signed paperbacks!


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