Thursday, November 10, 2022

Interview With Screenwriter & Novelist Shelby Renjifo



1.     What motivated you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and turning it into this book? I never wanted to humanize the WASPy Long Island families that I grew up around. From my experience, money can buy classism, but certainly not common courtesy. Why should I empathize with anyone in that world? Writing this fictional family helped me understand that people are who they are, because of where they came from. This story isn’t meant to demonize anyone—and it’s certainly not meant to put them on a pedestal. It’s meant to help us understand where an outdated American mentality forms, and how fragile it has become.  

2.     What is it about and who is it for? My book is a fictional family-drama contemplating (and often poking at) the downfall of white, aristocratic American ideals, through the death of a blue-blooded family’s final heir. While this story tackles serious issues, it’s for anyone who wants a good cry and, well, a good laugh.  

3.     What takeaways might the reader be left with after reading it? I want my readers to see a piece of themselves in these characters.  

4.     How did you decide on your book’s title and cover design? I was always taken aback by the unnecessarily cold and exclusionary nature of the people I grew up around on the North Shore of Long Island. So what would they be like at a funeral? I chose this cover as a nod to The Great Gatsby, and to represent the all-seeing eyes of a broken legacy.  

5.     What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers? Don’t fear what people think about you or your work.  

6.     What trends in the book world do you see -- and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading? Unfortunately, we’re fighting a million different entertainment mediums. From TikTok, to Instagram and Snapchat …  I’m just waiting for the next instant gratification monster risen from the depths of the Metaverse. Due to our deteriorating attention spans, we want quick and captivating. Therefore, I feel the publishing industry is on the cusp of quality over quantity content … cue the novella! If it’s written well, it will sell.  

7.     What challenges did you overcome to write this book? I had major difficulties channeling my inner child to write Brookes’s POV in the final chapter. I took a ton of time chatting with friends and family to figure out this blockage. I realized it was simple: I didn’t want to deal with her again! Do any of us really want to relive our awkward teen years? However, this was a challenge I needed to face, not only for the completion of my book, but for myself. Brookes is a culmination of my younger self as well as a few people I grew up with; sure, we all sucked, but I’m glad I took the time to understand us through my writing.  

8.     How would you describe your writing style? Descriptive and honest.  

9.     If people can buy or read one book this week or month, why should it be yours? My book makes you empathize with people you would normally scoff at. For example, my friend and I once argued about comparing hardships. I told her, “I’m hurting deeply over XYZ, but there’s people who suffer far worse.” So she responded with an analogy: “A billionaire in a hot car cruises down the street near a child on a tricycle, and suddenly, they both break down to the side of the road. The car sits big and expensive beside the tiny child in an ordinary tricycle. However, they are both broken, and they are not moving forward.”  

About The Author: Shelby Renjifo is a screenwriter and novelist who grew up in Glen Cove, New York, and is a graduate from Emerson College. Shelby recently released her critically acclaimed novella “A Wasp at a Funeral,” and has a portfolio of screenplays currently in different stages of production. She is also diligently working on her first novel. No matter the writing medium, she hopes to use her voice to unite others through art. She can be reached at Instagram: shelbyrenjifo or LinkedIn:


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About Brian Feinblum

Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2022. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This award-winning blog has generated over 3.2 million pageviews. With 4,400+ posts over the past decade, it was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 years as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and two jobs at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Susan RoAne, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, IBPA, Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, NewsdayThe Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. He has been featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. For more information, please consult:


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