First things first, please introduce yourself.
I’m Shawn McGuire. I write young adult novels.
My début novel, STICKS AND STONES, was released on June 13.
How would you describe your writing?
My début series, The Wish Makers, has a contemporary setting with fairly serious coming-of-age issues for the characters and blends in a touch of magic/fantasy. I like to tackle tough topics in my writing. Life is hard enough though so I think tempering it with a little humor and mysticism makes it go down a little easier.
Do you have to plan to write or are you constantly jotting ideas and lines down?
Both! I’ve always got ideas, names, etc. coming to me and have notes on little pieces of paper all over my desk. I’m working on five books in The Wish Makers series. I really need to have a plan to stay on track with them.
Why do you write and when did you start writing?
I started writing when I was a kid, about 10 years old. At that time it was pure fun. My cousin and I would write our own Star Wars episodes so we could put ourselves into the storyline. Now it’s still fun – there’s a moment in every story when everything comes together, I love that moment – but I write more because I have things to say and hope that my words can make a difference in kids’ lives.
Who and what are your writing influences?
People in general influence me. I’m fascinated by how we relate to one another. I appear to be a very quiet person, and I guess I am, but mostly I get caught up in observing interactions.
Which comes to you first, the characters or the story?
The characters. I don’t always know what their current story is, but I almost always know their background and family life.
What is your most memorable moment while writing?
I was just starting to plot out the second book in The Wish Makers series, BREAK MY BONES (coming in September), and was sitting at my son’s Taekwondo class one evening. The lesson was on how to escape if someone is sitting on top of you and has your hands pinned to the ground. The main character for book #2, Crissy, started talking to me. Honestly, it was like she was sitting behind me and spoke in my ear. She said, “That’s what happened to me” meaning being held down in that way. The book poured out of me after that and I can’t wait to release it!
Do you only write one specific genre or are you multi-talented?
I’m focusing on Young Adult at this point but have an idea for a New Adult series and an Adult stand-alone. Do you find it difficult being an indie author when so many others are also now doing it? Not yet! I’ve only been officially out there for three weeks. There is a lot of competition, but I feel comfortable in the indie arena and am confident that I’m putting out good, quality books. I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me, but I’m ready!
What makes your book different than others in your genre?
I think it’s the blending of contemporary and fantasy.
What do you think it takes to stand out from the indie author crowd?
A great cover (my cover artist is a genius!), well-written books, a loyal fan base, and the desire to succeed. Never give up.
Do you ever suffer from writers block and if so how do you get back on track and start writing again?
I’m never stuck for ideas, I’ve got tons! If I ever feel stuck with a scene or the progress on a book it’s because something is wrong. Either I’m not being true to the characters or I’m trying to force the plot in a direction that just isn’t organic to the story. Once I’ve figured out what the problem is, words flow again. The best way for me to do this is to go for a walk. I have a large, wooded field near my house that I like to walk in. If I go in the middle of the day I have it all to myself. That’s important because I talk to the characters. Literally. I ask them what’s wrong and we talk it out. If there were any people around, they’d be calling for someone to come lock up the crazy lady talking to herself!
Who are you when you are not writing?
I’m a mom to an almost 13 year old son – the Taekwondo black belt. I also have a grown 21 year old son in his final year of college. I’m so very proud of them both! I’m married to the love of my life who whole-heartedly supports this writing thing I like to do. I love to read, cook and bake, do crafts, decorate my house, and hike. We live in Colorado a short drive from the Rocky Mountains. I love hiking and camping in the mountains. Nature infuses my muse like nothing else.
How do you find the promotional aspect of being an indie author?
Intimidating. I’m excited to share my books with everyone, but I don’t want to come across as pushy. It’s a fine balance. What is your favourite work and can we read an excerpt of it? The first chapter of STICKS AND STONES in on my website if you’d like to take a peek. http://www.shawn-mcguire.com/bookshelf-2/sticks-and-stones-chapter-1
Please describe your latest book
Here’s the back cover blurb for STICKS AND STONES: Everyone has a dark side. Mandy’s just moved in with her. The last time sixteen-year-old Mandy Matteo broke a rule, her sister died. Since that day she has done only what is expected of her, but life as a goody-goody has made Mandy so boring her friends have all but abandoned her. And she’s given up on ever getting Ethan, the boy she’s liked forever, to notice her. Desperate, Mandy makes a wish to simply be happy. Her wish is granted and happiness arrives in the form of Lexi, her childhood imaginary friend come to life. Magical wishes have conditions though: Once started, the wish cannot be altered or stopped. And once Mandy is truly content with her life again, Lexi must go back to where she came from. But Lexi loves being alive and she’ll do whatever it takes to stay that way.
What was the inspiration for your novel?
I started by exploring the starting-to-fall-apart friendship between the three girls in the story – Mandy, Brooke, and Crissy. That happens as we get older. Childhood friends fall away sometimes and it’s hard. As I was writing though, the story became much deeper. Mandy has a secret that she’s terrified will come out. The secret involves the death of her older sister twelve years earlier. For that, I wanted to explore what happens to a family when a member dies. This happened to my family. My brother’s daughter was killed ten years ago. Being the observer that I am, I watched what happened to my family as the years went by and wounds started to heal. This is book, in a way, a tribute to my niece.
What is your favourite theme?
Family and relationships.
Is there any other theme in this book that is a common thread in your work?
I don’t know that I’d call it a theme, but it’s important to me to have humor of some kind in every story. Life and all of its difficulties is much easier to deal with if you can laugh.
List your websites, blog, Facebook, Twitter and the links to your books or author page on Amazon and any upcoming promotional days.
Website: www.Shawn-McGuire.com – the various buy links for my book(s) are listed on the home page and scattered throughout the site
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ShawnMcGuireAuthor https://www.facebook.com/shawnmcguireauthor
/ Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3231214.Shawn_McGuire