Shawn lives with her husband in Germany where he's stationed in the Army. She's the author of two books, Volition and Severance, which I have on my TBR list (and in my Kindle). Can't wait!
Shawn, tell me a bit about your writing bio: (when you started, fav genres/authors)
I started writing when I was young. I once wrote a story about a family going on a trip…the brother, after being attacked (I forget why) resorted to using his Bop-It as a weapon of self-defense. I actually really enjoyed writing that story…but I remember that the word “plunged” was used A LOT. Anyway…I started to write seriously about three years ago when my husband enlisted in the Army and even more seriously when he deployed in 2009 for a year to Iraq.
My favorite genres are Young Adult, Literary Fiction, and Romance Novels (as sort of a guilty pleasure). I write both YA and Literary Fiction and…to be honest, I would love to write romance novels but I’m pretty sure I’d have to create an alias for that! As for young adult, I like paranormal and just good old everyday stuff. The main ingredient for me is a great love story…if “love story” was a genre, that’s what my favorite genre would be!
My favorite authors are Stephanie Meyer for her fluid and easily relatable writing, the kind of story that feels written just for you. And Nicholas Sparks, who, though predictable at times, has written some great love stories…some of which I watched the movies, others that I read, most of which I love! I idolize J.K. Rowling, though I haven’t read the Harry Potter books…I know, it’s a disgrace. But I started to read them when I wasn’t into reading and never got into them simply because I hated to read up until about three years ago when I started to write more seriously. By then I’d already watch the movies and I have an issue with reading a book after seeing the movie. It’s just not something I do.
What was the first writing project you ever did?
I’ve written a lot of stories about my pets in first grade…but I’m going to assume that you mean my more recent projects! I wrote a book called “With Eyes That See” three years ago, are you sensing a pattern? It seems everything picked up around the same time. I finished it and knew that it wasn’t publishable. And I recently tried to rewrite it but it needs so much work that it may not actually be a workable story. It’s sad…but in truth, it still provided me with a stepping stone to advance in my writing.
What's the most thrilling part of writing?
I think that the most thrilling part, or the best part, is falling in love with the characters. Learning their personalities, and handing over the reins a bit to let them tell their own story. It’s kind of surreal and non-writers often look at me like I’m nuts when I say it…but every book I’ve written has gotten to that point. There’s nothing else like it.
The worst part?
Writer’s block. Some writers claim that they don’t get it and for them…I’m glad, but I do get it. I often feel that if I continue as is I will ruin the story because I’m simply writing to write. If it doesn’t feel solid and it feels forced in any way I can’t continue. I hate that feeling, wondering if the story will never be told.
Tell me about how/why you wrote Volition and Severance
I wrote Volition while I was taking online classes and my husband was deployed. When I didn’t feel like doing homework, I wrote. When I didn’t feel like writing, I did homework. By the time I wrote Severance I’d stopped going to school to focus on writing. My major was English and all I wanted to do was write books…school was distracting from that and with the crazy seat-of-your-pants lifestyle that is the Army I figured, hey, I’ll just focus on writing for now. The idea was spurred by my need to fill the void of my husband being away with a new and fresh love story that was exciting and mysterious. The story sort of told itself, and with the help of my sister and friends, it grew to be something great!
What are your long-term writing goals?
Ideally, I would like to make a career of it but, hey, wouldn’t we all? Realistically, I just hope to be able to keep writing and to share my stories with my family and friends and as many others as I can! The writing world is a crazy and unforgiving one so I’m just trying to stay positive and keep doing what I love!