Author Shelba Oberto holds her latest picture book, On My Way Home

Many Argyle Fox Publishing authors are new to the publishing process. Shelba Oberto had two books under her belt before bringing her thoughtful picture book On My Way Home to us for consideration.

Learn more about Shelba, her writing process, and her goals for publishing her latest book.

Let’s get started learning about you. Who is Shelba Oberto?

First of all, I am a wife to my husband and best friend of nearly 57 years. We have shared our Christian faith and interest in education throughout these years.

I am mother to our only child who spends much of her life doing volunteer work. She married and blessed us with a son-in-law and three wonderful grandchildren. These now-adult “kids” (Where did those years go?) have chosen careers to make positive contributions in the lives of others. The oldest teaches special education. The middle one just graduated from college to be a youth pastor; the youngest is still in college majoring in education.

I am a retiree. For thirty-eight years, I focused on teaching elementary students. Teaching academics was important, of course, but so was inspiring them to be avid readers, life-long learners, proud Americans, and all-around good citizens. Finally having the time to pursue my dream of writing for children, I delved into research for my first book, a travelogue of the fifty states titled Roadtrip, Discovering Weird and Wonderful Places.

For over two years, I have been my 98-year-old father’s caregiver. When it became too difficult to live alone, he left his beloved Arizona to live with us and endure what he believes are frigid Iowa winters!

Tell us a bit about On My Way Home. What is it about, what inspired the story, and how long did it take for you to move toward publication?

On My Way Home is a story about Kasey and the different phases of her life from birth until her final days. The stages of her life illustrate some of the joys we experience in life’s journey. I believe God has created us to have a joyful, productive life as long as we are here on earth, but this is not our destination. He wants us to ultimately live with Him in our heavenly home.

 After surviving a serious medical condition, I felt inspired to write On My Way Home. As a believer, it has always been my conviction that this life is not all that there is. Each day brings us one step closer to home. At whatever age a person’s earthly life is over, their eternal life begins. If they’ve invited Christ into their heart, they enter the glorious joys of Heaven. To me, On My Way Home, has a happy ending for Kasey and a hopeful ending for the family.

My hope is that parents or grandparents may use this story to have a conversation with their children about the wonderful things to come for people of faith. If they have lost a parent, grandparent, or friend, they have the comfort of knowing they can one day see them again!

I tend to write in spurts. This manuscript was picked up and put aside for probably a year or more before I began thinking of a publisher.
How did you find Argyle Fox Publishing, and what made you think we would be a good fit?

When I began thinking about a publisher, I did what I always do—good or bad, I Googled. One publisher that a local author had used turned the manuscript down because she did not see it as a “positive” book. This was so contrary to my feeling about the story that I narrowed my search to those who accepted Christian books. Some of those had negative reviews.

When I saw Argyle Fox Publishing, there were positive comments from authors about how their manuscript was treated with respect and handled in a timely manner, etc. Every writer wants someone to care about their work, and that seemed to be true of Argyle Fox. It seemed to be a good fit, and I have not been disappointed. Daniel proved to be professional, patient, and efficient throughout the process!

This isn’t your first book. You also published Stinky Feet. Tell us a little about that book and how the publishing process was different with that book compared to working with Argyle Fox Publishing.

Stinky Feet is about bullying in the early grades. Unfortunately, teachers frequently deal with bullying. My first two years of teaching were in kindergarten/first grades. The remainder were in third/fourth grades. Bullying in the middle grades was more secretive and more hurtful. I questioned why a child resorts to this behavior and how it could be corrected or, better yet, prevented. Teachers are very busy teaching. When it comes to behavior problems, there’s little time to do anything more than enforce consequences.

In Stinky Feet, I wanted us to think about why a kindergartner (Alexander) needed to hurt another student (Lizzy) by calling her hurtful names. When Lizzy befriended Alexander, she learned that he was worried about his parents and what might happen to him if they divorced. Is the bully a child that’s hurting? Is he/she lonely? Through parent/child conversations about bullying, perhaps we can raise awareness about the root cause of the behavior and ways to help.

I used Zion Publishing, a local publisher, for Roadtrip, Discovering Weird and Wonderful Places and Stinky Feet. We actually sat together through most of the process. The formatting for Roadtrip was complicated since it was filled with photos. For Stinky Feet, illustrator Najah Clemmons sent me sketches of the illustrations she had created based upon her perception of the text and characters. I noted my approval/disapproval, and then she added the color.

On My Way Home was done through email and phone conversations with Daniel. As the book progressed, I was able to see the format showing the text with each illustration. It worked very well. Having the two different publishing experiences was educational and enjoyable.

What is your writing process?

Although we have a spare bedroom/office, I only used it for Roadtrip because there were volumes of notes and photos! The last two books were done on the family room recliner sofa with my computer on my lap desk! I’m a night person. Get everyone in bed, TV off, then write. A cappuccino always helps!

Now that On My Way Home is published, how will you measure whether it’s a success? What is your goal for the book?

My goal for On My Way Home is to help a child needing comfort after they have experienced a loss and/or cause someone of any age to think about eternity and embrace the joy that can await them. My whole writing journey will be worth it if it benefits a reader.

What are you doing to market your book and let folks know it is available?

Unfortunately, marketing is not my strong point. I have an author Facebook page, website, and Instagram account, and I’m on Goodreads, although not currently active.

My days are full as a caregiver, but I have participated in an author fair. My next event is a book signing scheduled at a local bookstore/boutique.

What feedback have you received so far on your book?

I currently have only five reviews (two written) on Amazon! What is the secret to getting readers to follow through on doing reviews? Everyone means well, but I understand they are so busy. I have received some positive comments via texts and comments on Facebook.

What would you say to other authors who have a great story they aren’t sure if they should publish?

Just do it! Making money should not be the reason for writing or publishing. If you have something you want others to read, even if it’s just your family and friends, you really should write it. Holding your book in your hand brings a personal feeling of accomplishment!

As you’ve published two books, I suspect there is another bouncing around in your head. If so, where is the next book in process, and can you give us a sneak preview what it’s about?

After Stinky Feet, I really didn’t have any thoughts of another book, but then On My Way Home was brought about by a major bump in the road in my life’s journey, so who knows?

Olena Vecchia Pittura provided elegant, unique illustrations for your book. How did you find Olena, how was the process working with her, and did her work match the vision for the book?

After seeing the work Olena Vecchia Pittura had done for another author, I began reading about her and saw the amazing work in her portfolio! Olena lives in Bulgaria, but we were in close contact through email and messaging. I had a certain style in mind for On My Way Home, and Olena allowed me to have endless input into the illustrations so they would meet my vision for the book. She was kind, encouraging, and patient, and when I gave her my idea for the cover, she took the idea and nailed it. The cover says it all!

Where can readers find you online?

They can find me on my website ( I’m also on Facebook and Instagram and can be contacted via email.

Thanks so much, and here’s to success!