Updated: Aug 12
TL Shively wrote The Secret Sanctuary, a thrilling story about unique teenagers on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Sanctuary, a place where everything is not as it seems as they must suffer through various treacherous trials to see if their powers are worthy. To the outside world, Sanctuary is simply a safe haven for mythical creatures. In reality, those selected to become a part of the Sanctuary Guardians are destined to protect not only the mythical creatures but also the entire world from the Shadow Master. Throw in an Alpha leader with a hefty chip on her shoulder, a Gamma leader who is as unstable as the crystal essence he works with, and you have an adventure full of twists and surprises.
We asked Shively to share her journey with us, "I want [readers] to be able to escape the world for just a few hours into a world of magic and fun," Shively began.
TL Shively writes YA fantasy with a twist for all ages. Growing up reading stories of all kinds, she preferred those with a fantasy elements that let her escape reality, even if it was only for a short time.
So, when she took up the hypothetical pen to write her stories, it was the fantasy genre that she always came back to. When writing, she enjoys adding twists to her stories that no one expects. She strives to bring out the elements she has always loved in reading to her stories.
Living in Michigan with her husband, she is the mother of three sons who provide endless inspiration to her writing. In 2019, she won her first award, for her second book in the Sanctuary Guardian series, The Town That Time Forgot. Since then, she has also acquired the title best-selling, something that is still surreal to her at times.
If you’re looking for fantasy with a twist, look no further.
Readers can expect to learn about the importance of teamwork and friendship in this adventure tale. You and your teen will be captivated as you are whisked away into a new world with every chapter. The characters in her story must work as a team, be open to new friendships, and not forget the friends they already have in order to reach their final goal.
The Inspiration Behind the Book
Shively explained that there was not one thing that inspired her story, but rather a waterfall of ideas that came together. The main characters were actually created when she was in 3rd grade. As she grew up and entered into adulthood, these characters evolved into the Guardians.
"My love of Greek mythology was an inspiration as well as my love of fantasy. All my life the Guardians played many roles, in many different stories going on in my head before they became the Sanctuary Guardians," Shively explained.
The Journey to Publishing
For Shively, joining all the ideas and stories floating in her mind into one complete story that made sense was a struggle.
"I had scrapped several stories that started out great but I couldn’t get them to come together so that I could finish the story," Shively told us.
As she worked through her story and worked toward her goal of publishing, Shively met
many other authors who, like her, were working toward their dream of completing and publishing a story. These people inspired her along the way, helping her fulfill her dream.
Support Among Family
The road to writing and publishing a book is a tumultuous process, but many authors have one special person in their corner, helping them reach the finish line. For Shively that monumental person was her mother.
"She was always my biggest supporter," Shively stated, "but I am also lucky enough to have very supportive family and friends."
Excerpt from The Secret Sanctuary
“So, have any of you told anyone back home about any of this?” Telara asked her friends.
“Yeah. Hey mom! This place is cool, but you know what? I think there’s a mermaid in the lake, and hey, guess what? Tia can shoot air out of her hands!” Chad said chuckling. “I think I would be going home to some guys with a nice white jacket that has my name on it.”
“Actually, mom would just laugh and figure you were trying to pull a Lark on her,” Chance chuckled. And with Chad’s track record, no one argued.
“Probably,” Chad conceded. “The point is, though, who would believe us?”
Tia picked up one of the couch cushions and smacked Chad upside the head, her long hair whipping with her as she did.
“I did not shoot wind from my hands,” Tia told him frowning.
“Well then you explain where the wind came from.”
“I don’t know, but it wasn’t me.”
“On the contrary, my dear, the wind did indeed come from you,” a smooth voice said from behind them.