Well, I'm a pretty regular gal. Apart from being a writer, I'm also a wife to one husband and mom to three teens. We live on a ranch in Arkansas and raise cattle for grass-fed beef. We have a variety of critters, including pygmy goats, miniature horses, cats and dogs. I collect rocks, make jewelry, edit for two publishers and work as a social media specialist for The Wordsmith Journal. When not doing those things I pet my dogs. It's good stress relief.
When did you first discover that you loved writing?
I first discovered my love of writing almost a decade ago, when I had a dream that inspired a story. I thought about the dream for about six months, filling in gaps and putting together pieces in my mind, but it eventually became too big to keep straight. I had to start writing. At first my writing was to solely satisfy my curiosity, but as the story formed, I grew to love the characters and writing itself.
Why do you write the type of books that you do?
I love history, especially the era between the 1920 and 1950s, and especially rural settings. The nostalgia of that time and setting seem to speak to my heart in a cozy sort of way. It's hard to explain, but I'm drawn to it. I do intend to eventually branch out into other eras and settings, though -- maybe even futuristic.
What was your greatest obstacle in writing and how did you overcome it?
I guess the biggest obstacle most anyone who wants to be a writer has is just getting started. It’s daunting; learning how, figuring out where to begin, and venturing out of one's shell to share what you wrote.
Once I decided to get serious I spent a lot of time online googling everything. I joined several online critique groups and bought hoards of books. The first couple of years I pretty much focused on education and trying my hand at short stories. There's a lot to navigate. One of the hardest things was putting myself out there with my first submission into a critique group. It stunk of course, but once I got past my hurt feelings I was able to take the criticism and learn from it. Got a little easier each time after.
I guess the key to overcoming was that tried and true quality known as perseverance. There's lots to learn and plenty of mistakes to be made, but you keep after it.
Has writing changed your life in any way?
Yes, my house is messier. Lol! I’m not happy about that! It's just very hard juggling deadlines, promotion and all the family's daily activities. On a more serious note, though, it’s given me a purpose, something I feel passionate about. I never really knew what I wanted to do until God dropped that dream/story in my lap. Writing has also put me in contact with so many people and I've developed some of my closest friendships through it. I feel truly blessed because of these relationships and that’s been a wonderful thing.
What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most?
Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” This verse gives me great comfort. I’ve seen the truthfulness of it time and time again. My grandparents story is one of the most beautiful and served as inspiration for my book Orphaned Hearts. I believe so strongly in this verse that its woven into most of my story lines. I guess doing so is also a reminder to me in life.
Is there a book you’ve read that has been truly spectacular?
Francine Rivers' Mark of the Lion series is amazing. The story's setting is during the reign of the Roman Empire. She paints such an amazing picture of life during that time and the story is just truly beautiful. On the other spectrum, I recently read Freeheads by Kerry Nietz. This book is the third in a Christian Science Fiction trilogy. I'm now reading the others, and I'm just blown away. Amazing vision of the future, and relevant issues even for today. I've been recommending this series a lot lately.
Oh, I've been wanting to try the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers!bWhat’s the funniest/quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?
I don't know about ever, but last time my daughter had a sleep over they stayed up watching scary movies, I talked hubby into joining me by putting on rubber monster masks and going outside to scare them through the window.
Ha! Ha! I wonder if they got scared:) Please tell us about the featured book.
|Buy At Amazon|
The Good Fight is the third book in a series. The first two books are No Other and In All Things. Initially I didn’t plan for this to be a series, but enough readers asked me if I planned to give the character of Roger his own book and I began to ponder on story ideas. I had several really good angles and the story that came forth seemed a very natural direction. While this book is the third in a series, it can be read as a stand alone.
Here’s the blurb:
Roger Talbot's life is defined by his devotion to public service. Having just successfully prosecuted a brutal murder case, Roger turns his attention to discovering the shady dealings of Niles Parker -- the town's former mayor, Roger's old boss and the father of the woman Roger almost married.
Pennye Carrington ran away from Port Delamar with plans never to return. However, learning that her brother had murdered a family member of a famous movie star changed those plans. Pennye comes back with the hope of bringing stability to a family in disarray, but facing the torment of her childhood may be more than she can handle.
Roger's mission to bring down Niles Parker and Pennye's desire to keep her brothers out of trouble create a middle ground, where two people who couldn't be further apart, embark on a danger-filled journey of discovery to find themselves and each other.
Can you please give us the first page?
This is the prologue. It’s actually a little over a page. This scene takes place ten years before the main story, but it ties the book to the series, sets up the reasons for Roger’s life choices later on, and is Roger’s first encounter, albeit unknowingly, with Pennye, the woman meant for him.
March 18th 1948
Had he really just thrown it all away? There was no career to go back to -- not that it really mattered. It had always been about her, and he'd just let her go back to... him. Taken her back, to that... that...
Roger slammed his hand against the steering wheel of his Lincoln. He couldn't even think of a word to describe Jakob -- a man he so despised he could almost feel hatred oozing from his pores. How had he lost the woman he loved to such a... nothing?
The man was a high school dropout. His family bore the stigma of having been held in an internment camp. He worked at a grocery store, for Pete's sake, and now she carried his child! Roger groaned and hit the steering wheel again. A jolt of pain radiated through his forearm. Was there anything about Jakob that wasn't an affront to his sense of honor?
Roger bit hard at the inside of his cheek. A metallic taste told him he'd drawn blood. How could she have let him touch her in that way? His blood burned with rage at the thought of it. What did she see that made her choose Jakob over himself? After all of the years he'd know Meri and planned their lives together. It wasn't supposed to be this way.
Why did you let her go?
Why did he? She would have been his if he'd just done what her father asked -- taken her to the airport and flown to Havana while they arranged the annulment. She might not have hated him for it. He wouldn't have made her give up the baby. He could have protected her instead, and even raised Jakob's child as his own. The child would have been better for it.
He slowed at a stop sign and breathed a defeated sigh. He could have had her, but he didn't want to see her disgust for him on a daily basis. She'd have been miserable, and he loved her too much to make her live that way. So instead he'd let her go. What the hell was wrong with him?
You're not like her father.
He wasn't like Niles Parker, and for the first time since knowing the man, he was glad. Roger started to accelerate through the stop sign, and a horn blared to his left. His heart leapt into his throat as he slammed on his brakes. A car sped through the intersection, too fast for him to make out the model. All he saw was the dark, flowing hair of a young woman poking her head out the passenger side window. She'd yelled something he didn't understand and then bit her thumb in an obscene gesture.
"How ladylike of you!" Roger barked within the confines of the cab of his car. That was the kind of girl Jakob should've ended up with. Not Meri. "Imbecile," he mumbled and watched the tail lights fade into the black. With a calming breath, he proceeded across the roadway.
There was no horn, only lights from out of nowhere and the squeal of brakes locking. Instinct pressed Roger's foot to the gas pedal as he raced to get out of the way. From his rearview mirror he watched a car spin about beneath the streetlight and skid sideways into the ditch.
"Great! Just what I need." Roger slowed and pulled over. Probably more idiotic children with bad manners. Since he'd suddenly become such a nice guy he might as well make sure they were all right -- even if their accident wasn't his fault.
He opened his door and stepped onto the gravel. The driver stumbled out of the other car, and a slur of curse words coarse enough to grind metal erupted into the night air, silencing Roger before he could ask the man if he was hurt. The man stepped toward Roger and lost his balance, falling sideways. He quickly got back up and continued with the verbal onslaught. His filthy, unkempt appearance made it hard to determine his age, but he was older -- late forties, fifties? Who knew or cared. It was obvious that he was drunk out of his mind and blind with anger. The man took two wavering steps closer, knelt over, and vomited in the grass, but even that was merely a brief interruption to his rampage.
Roger sneered and got back into his car. Pathetic, and not his problem. He'd lowered himself enough by handing Meri over to that dimwit she'd married. The riffraff in the ditch could dig his own way out, or sleep there, for all he cared.
He had enough on his mind with figuring out what he wanted to do with the rest of his life -- now that all of his plans were shattered. Roger shut the car door and drove away.
Thanks for the fun interview, Shawna. I'm still chuckling about your statement that petting dogs is good stress relief:) Readers, for more information on Shawna you can visit her website: http://shawnakwilliams.com/
Shawna has kindly offered the winner a choice of one of her three books: No Other, In All Things, and The Good Fight. All are available in eBook format and No Other is also available in print. Thanks Shawna for this great giveaway opportunity! Just leave a comment with your email address to be entered in the giveaway. Giveaway is available to the lower 48 U.S. states only.
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Giveaway ends at midnight (Eastern time) on Friday May 11, 2012. Winner will be chosen using Random.org.