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03 October 2011

An Interview with Author Shawn Grady

Your hostess: Gail Pallotta
Read the excerpts here
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  Meet Shawn Grady
  The Author of Through the Fire, Excerpt A  

When asked to share something about Through the Fire that readers would want to know Shawn said, “Since I wanted to build multiple layers into Aidan O'Neill's experiences in Through the Fire I drew heavily from classic literature, particularly Dante's Inferno for the scenes in Mexico during the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) festivities. Aidan follows the guide Virgil (in the book- a lanky tall Mexican youth) on a massive horse named Geryon (after the giant winged beast that Dante descends into the Seventh Circle of Hell on) down a spiraling path toward the Playa del Septimo Circulo (Beach of the Seventh Circle) where fire and death imagery are key setting details (bonfires, skeleton costumed fire dancers). It is there that Aidan descends even further into the ocean in his efforts to save a drowning boy. It is a baptism of sorts that ends with him pulseless and apneic on the beach. Aidan wakes three days later in a Mexican hospital in the bosom of Dr. Abraham.”

Wow! Generally, would you say you are a plotter or a pantser?I enjoy seat of the pants writing within smaller contexts. I tend to plot my stories like one could prepare for a cross-country road trip. I know I want to go from San Francisco to New York, so I'll chart out the main freeways and highways I'll be taking and the states and cities I'll be passing through. I'll study the route I've chosen and get familiar with what to expect, but inevitably there'll be detours or sights and experiences that will arise that I didn't anticipate. I get to enjoy the organic and creative nature of crafting scenes, letting the characters be who they are within a certain context and then watching the surprises that come out of that. But I also have the structure of where it is all going and that helps me plan out how many days and hours I need to budget out to get the job done by a deadline.
When's your favorite time to write, Shawn? I typically write between eleven AM to three PM on my days off from the fire department. That gives me time to take my kids to school first thing and then to spend the morning with my wife and that way I am able to be home when the kids get out of school.
Where do your best ideas come from?My wife is my inspiration so often, as are my children. But the experiences I've had in my professions as a firefighter and paramedic and the people I've worked with also provide a wealth of fiction fodder.
What snack do you like to have nearby as you write?Coffee. Oh, sweet nectar of the muse.
What was your top reading pick of the last year?I have thoroughly enjoyed Jill Williamson's brilliant multi-Christy Award winning Blood of Kings trilogy. Non-fiction-wise I was very moved by The Heavenly Man about the remarkable experiences and life of Chinese pastor Yun. Frank Viola's Reimagining Church and Neil Cole's Church 3.0 have also been very impactful reads for me.

Thank you, Shawn.

Shawn is offering Falls Like Lightning, his new book. To read more about Falls Like Lightning go to Shawn's Web site.Be sure to come back on Wednesday to read our interview with Tanya Stowe.
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Unknown said... Monday, 03 October, 2011

Michelle, thanks for offering this insight into Shawn's life, writing, and inspiration. Shawn, I love that your writing comes from your actual profession, because that offers a precise understanding of what it feels to risk your life to save another and the struggles you face as you tend to hurting people. I love that you need the sweet nectar of coffee nearby as you write, as well. Ahhh! Me, too! Headed to Amazon now to check out your books. Blessings!

Lisa Lickel said... Monday, 03 October, 2011

Nice to see a piece of your real and writing life, Shawn. Thanks for another great interview.

Anonymous said... Monday, 03 October, 2011

Great interview! Dante's Inferno, huh? Hmmm...now I really must read this book.

I can relate to the coffee thing, although I must admit - my "coffee" is Dr. Pepper! :D

April Gardner said... Monday, 03 October, 2011

So sweet, Shawn, that your wife is your inspiration!
So much chatter about Jill's books! Must read.
Me and you both on the Dr. P. Delia! Although coffee suits me (almost) just as well. :-)

Michelle Massaro said... Monday, 03 October, 2011

Shawn, what a fantastic interview! I have this on my kindle already waiting for me, and now I'm even more eager to read it. I'm so glad to see you here at COTT and get to know more about you. Thanks.

And thanks, Gail, for the great interview.

Christine Lindsay said... Tuesday, 04 October, 2011

With your actual profession as the nuts and bolts behind your story, this makes it a fantastic read. One I'll be putting on my TBR list.

Item Reviewed: An Interview with Author Shawn Grady Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Gail Pallotta