Time for another Author Interview
Horror, mystery, and some really spooky stuff! A book I had the pleasure of buying and reading, The Tear Collector. The Author, Shawn, is already writing up a storm on other books but I thought he needs a break and let us the reader get to know him better. So I messaged him and asked if he would do an interview with me. So glad that he said yes and here we go into another interview to get to know a great author.
1. What sparked your interest in writing?
I was still in Elementary school when I started writing stories. Even from that very young age, they tended to gravitate around horror. Some of my most crisp memories from my early childhood are my dad telling me scary stories before bed. Looking back on those stories now, they were probably a little hokey, but at the time, they kindled my curiosity and fueled a love for the genre.
2. Has anyone in your life inspired you to write?
I’ve always been drawn to write. My sister always wrote so beautifully, though she hasn’t pursued it professionally (I keep telling her she should). As her younger sibling, I always looked up to her for that and followed in her footsteps to also choose English as my major for my undergraduate degree.
3. When did you decide to publish?
My first novel, The Tear Collector, released in December of 2019 with the audio book just releasing at the beginning of September. It started after my son asked me to write him a book. I agreed, but the project turned into so much more and reignited my love for writing. After having some very positive reactions from readers, I decided to query it. I found my publisher during #PitMad on Twitter and ultimately decided to sign a publishing deal.
4. Are you an Indie Author or Traditional Author? Why did you choose the path you did?
Indie Author, though I think the line between the two is becoming more blurred. I do have a publisher, RhetAskew Publishing, who I think did a terrific job helping ensure that the final product we put out with The Tear Collector was basically indistinguishable from traditionally published titles. From the cover art, to the quality of the edit and story, I’m confident that readers will appreciate the meticulous work and care that went into its creation. Indie publishing also allows a press to be more nimble in the marketplace and encourages stories that aren’t necessarily reflective of some of the more cookie-cutter aspects of many traditionally published stories. Indie publishers are more receptive to different ideas on story structure, if it makes sense for the story and can be successfully marketed.
5. What is your first published book?
The Tear Collector. It’s a fast-paced paranormal thriller set in small-town Appalachia that follows a group of four boys and a police detective as their lives intersect in their searches for a missing autistic classmate, Margo Combs. The book has the pacing of a thriller but weaves in elements of horror and mystery as well. It was such a fun book to write! Luckily, this book has found an audience with older generations that enjoy some of Stephen King’s books and younger generations who are fans of Stranger Things and YA.
6. Are you happy with how your books are coming out? Would you change anything?
I’m very happy with my stories. That’s the great thing about writing. If you don’t like it, you get to change it before anyone sees it. Storytelling is as much about writing as it is about editing to tell the best possible story that you’re capable of. I think if you’re not loving the project you’re working on when writing it, you’re probably working on the wrong project.
7. Will you continue to publish books for many years to come?
Well, no one knows what the future holds exactly, but that is certainly the plan. I do know my publisher would’ve liked my sequel a couple of months ago. I do plan on publishing it with them when it’s ready. Additionally, I have two other books in the works and a bunch of other ideas I want to run with. It’s just a matter of carving out the time.
8 What genres inspire you to write?
I actually read across the spectrum but tend to gravitate toward thrillers and horror. I wouldn’t say I’m so much inspired by a genre as the thought of characters facing seemingly insurmountable odds and tragedy and seeing how they would react in the context of who they’ve become on the page. Sometimes that forces me in another direction than I was initially planning or thought I was going. Horror and thrillers just happen to be a perfect recipe to tease out a character’s true essence by how they react under overwhelming pressure. Secondarily, I would say that like life, characters are being put these trials on the pages and just like when people experience adversity in the real world, they come out of those experiences transformed in some way.
9 What is your favorite genre to write? What is your least favorite genre to write?
My favorite genre to write is dark fiction, and I would consider this to potentially include thriller, horror, urban fantasy, mystery, sci-fi, dystopian or a blend of any of those multiple genres with a decidedly dark bent. I really don’t have a least favorite because I won’t spend time writing in a genre that I don’t enjoy or have the aptitude for.
10 What challenges have you faced publishing?
Unfamiliarity of the landscape. For a writer getting serious about publishing for the first time, this can be particularly daunting. The Tear Collector is the first thing I attempted to publish. I wrote a full-length novel but shelved it. It’s collecting dust in my attic. Joining Twitter and getting immersed in the writing community was extremely helpful in publishing. There are so many wonderful authors there who are incredibly generous with their time and experiences. I would recommend it for any writer getting serious about publishing. It’s a great way to solicit helpful information in a generally non-judgemental environment. We don’t know what we don’t know, so Twitter is a great way to get a crash course by following some of the threads on publishing.
11. What challenges have you faced in writing?
My biggest challenge was and remains time. Carving out enough hours in the day to make consistent headway. The pandemic through my writing schedule completely off. I’ve regrouped and formulated a new writing routine. Typically, I’m working on my manuscript between the hours of 10PM-2AM.
12. Where do your ideas for your books come from? Where do you keep those ideas?
I love writing micro fiction on Twitter. Sometimes that is the gensis of an idea for a novel. Other times it’s me just thinking about something random saying, “What if?” That’s all it takes really, a kernel of an idea that you build and build around until you have a complicated interweaving narrative with realistic characters.
13. Are you also a bookworm and does reading other works help inspire your own writing?
I love books, movies and music. I read a lot, but I draw inspiration from all three mediums. Art begets art. In books, I love to see how different authors handle some of the mechanics of writing differently. I’m a pretty descriptive writer so movies have always been a favorite medium of mine. I typically listen to music when I write. Mostly alternative. I think the music just inspires me with tone, pacing and providing some white noise.
14. Do you have a website where we can follow you?
15. What is the link for your books so others may look and possibly purchase them from?
Here’s the Amazon link. The book is also available through Walmart, Barnes & Noble and Audible. Also, if you’re interested in a hard copy of the book, whether that be hardcover or paperback, don’t forget about your local independent bookstore. Most can order it if they do not currently carry it, and they’ve been hit especially hard by this pandemic and could use your support.
So happy that Shawn said yes as it was great learning more about him through this interview. Sounds like he is a great guy, dad, husband, and writer. I hope you check out his book. I did do a review for his book a while ago if you wish to read that too. Enjoy the book though! It is A-Ma-Zing!