Shonna Milliken Humphrey was born and raised in northern Maine’s rural Aroostook County, where her mother read to her every day. She attended her first writing conference at age 11 or so and listened to children’s author Ouida Sebestyen speak. Her brain clicked. “This,” she thought, “is something I want to do.”
She spent several years after college trying on different careers, eventually settling with development writing for homeless shelters. While working for So Others Might Eat in Washington, DC, she was invited to a holiday party hosted by Dr. Maya Angelou. In a $30 dress from Sears (which plays an integral part of the ongoing love story with her husband), she arrived at the party and was greeted by Dr. Angelou herself. Dr. Angelou took Shonna's hand and said in her distinct voice, “I am impressed with the work you do.”
While flattering, Dr. Angelou referred to her work at the homeless shelter, and as she held the hand of her personal literary idol, Shonna realized she had strayed too far from her childhood writing goals. The difference between grant writer and book writer was vast, and she began researching MFA programs the next morning.
She now provides writing, editing, marketing, development, and coaching services in all genres to individuals and organizations. Her first novel, Show Me Good Land was published in 2011, and her short work has appeared in The New York Times, Salon, Down East, and Maine magazines. Shonna also contributes regularly to The Maine Sunday Telegram as a food writer.