Name – Shawn McGuire
Age – 49
Where are you from – Parker, Colorado
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I was born in San Antonio, Texas, then lived in Florida and Illinois but was very young so don’t remember any of it! From first grade until I graduated high school, I lived in the beautiful Mississippi River town of Winona, Minnesota with my parents, younger brother, and a variety of pets including a dog, cats, fish, and birds.
After graduating from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, I moved to the Milwaukee area of Wisconsin where I lived for many years. Now I live in Colorado in view of the spectacular Rocky Mountains.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I’m currently hard at work on BACK TOGETHER AGAIN, the final book in my Wish Mistress series which should release in mid-March. I just released an adult suspense novella, ONE OF HER OWN in December. At the end of March some writer pals and I will be releasing an anthology titled TICK TOCK: SEVEN TALES OF TIME.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing when I was a kid, about 10 years old. At that time, it was purely for fun. 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 for people who need that.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I didn’t consider writing for publication until my younger son was born in 2001. I was a stay-at-home mom and needed to do something to exercise my brain. (Talking to an infant all day doesn’t keep one on one’s intellectual toes!) I started writing while he napped in the afternoon and soon thought, maybe I can do this for a profession.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
STICKS AND STONES is my first published book. I wrote the very first draft of that book about nine years ago, so I honestly don’t remember what the initial inspiration was. It was a middle grade novel at that time and it was a hot mess. I put the manuscript away, and, as some stories tend to do, it would speak to me periodically. I finally took it out again about four years ago. The same three girls – Mandy, Crissy, and Brooke – survived from the original version, but the story grew up a lot. Mandy is the main character, and she wants what everyone wants, to simply be a happy person. She thinks that she’s unhappy because her friendship with Brooke and Crissy are falling apart. As the story progresses, she realizes that it’s normal for friendships to change, and that the thing that’s really making her unhappy is something that goes much deeper.
The thing that kept this story on my mind all those years was a character. Desiree is a hippie-genie with an attitude problem. She grants wishes, because that’s her job, but she’s become quite bitter over everyone else getting what they want and not her. She is by far my favorite character.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I blast through the first draft as quickly as I can. Otherwise, it will take me forever to write a book. Then I spend a little more time with a first revision before sending it to my critique partners for feedback. I revise base on their feedback and then send it to my editor.
I tend to write mostly dialogue in that first draft, so subsequent revisions involve adding details.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Oh, titles are hard for me! My first book went through so many, all of them awful. One night a friend had come to my house for dinner and helped me brainstorm. If not for her, I still might not have a title.
At the time I thought the series would only be a trilogy so STICKS AND STONES, BREAK MY BONES, and NEVER HURT ME seemed perfect. It became clear to me as I wrote the second book, that the series would need more than three books for Desiree’s story to be fully told. I was out of nursery rhyme so had to find another that would fit. The final two are HAD A GREAT FALL and BACK TOGETHER AGAIN.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
My books deal with the tougher issues that kids/tees deal with in their lives. I do my best to never come across as preachy, but the main message that runs through all of them is, the strength to survive any situation lies within you.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
All of the books have contemporary settings and issues, despite the fact that there’s a genie and wishes are coming true! Since the books deal with those tougher issues, I put in a little fantasy and humor to make the topics a little easier to deal with.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Yes. In STICKS AND STONES, Mandy deals with the death of her older sister. More than a decade ago, my six-year-old niece was killed while she was crossing the street. The pain that ripped through my whole family was awful. I knew then that someday I’d write a story based on that time, and Mandy’s story is it.
BREAK MY BONES deals with dating violence. While I’ve never been physically abused, I did date some guys who were very controlling and emotionally abusive. Getting the message to stand up for yourself, and leave if necessary, to those who are in this type of relationship – both girls and boys – is a passion of mine.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I had the greatest time writing ONE OF HER OWN, my adult suspense novella. I had so much fun that I want to write more suspense now. I’ve been reading/listening to a lot of books in that genre lately. Right now, I’m reading TWENTY-EIGHT AND A HALF WISHES by Denise Grover Swank and listening to DOWN THE DARKEST ROAD by Tami Hoag.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Too many to mention!
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I mentioned my latest releases above. Once I’m done with The Wish Makers series, I’m planning to do a serial about a small town populated by fortune tellers, psychics, and other quirky characters that bring drama and suspense to the un-gifted main character’s life.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) was the first professional writing organization I ever joined. I highly recommend them, especially for new authors.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I’m sure that if I were to open the document on my computer there would be many things I’d tweak. Just thinking about the book, no, I can’t say there’s anything with it that I wish I would have done differently.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
My interest started with the original Star Wars movie. I absolutely fell in love with the storyline and couldn’t wait for the next episode to release. So, I wrote my own!
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
From STICKS AND STONES
The girl was a little older than me, super thin, and had long, slightly mussed dark-blonde hair. Her feet were bare, and she wore a flowing tunic shirt, tie-dyed in psychedelic colors, and jeans that flared really wide at the bottoms.
“Well hey to you too,” she said.
“Where’d you come from?” I asked.
“Texas originally. San Antonio.” She had a mellow voice that held a hint of a southern accent.
I glanced at my cell phone sitting on the futon and contemplated whether I should call the police to report an intruder. No. Uncle Enzo would get here faster. He only lived ten minutes away. Then I looked at the girl again. She didn’t really look like that much of a threat. “Who are you?”
She didn’t move a muscle except to hold up a hand with two fingers splayed into a V. I stared at her, wondering what else could possibly happen to make this day any freakier, when she said, “Peace.”
“Yeah.” She spoke slowly, like her battery was running down. “It’s all good.”
“What’s all good? Who are you?” I repeated, coming up with a more demanding tone this time. “What do you want? Do you always enter people’s homes uninvited?”
She sighed and shook her head.
“You made a wish,” she said and dropped into my sling chair that hung from the rafters. “This is far-out. Like a little hammock made for your butt. I love hammocks. Used to have one for a bed.” She sat quietly in a daze for a second, presumably thinking of her hammock. “I’m Desiree, by the way. I’m a Wish Mistress.”
She held out her hand to pet Brulée, who backed away in a crouch and hissed.
“A what?” I looked around. I really should keep a weapon of some kind up here.
“You made a wish last night. A golden birthday wish right smack at the last possible second of your day.”
How could she know that? How did she know yesterday was my birthday? Oh, wait, maybe she was at the party last night and…what, followed me? That was a little psycho.
“So what did I wish for?” I asked, crossing my arms. “And what’s a wish mistress? Some kind of fairy godmother? Or a genie or something?”
“I’m neither a fairy nor anyone’s godmother,” she said, settling deeper into the butt hammock. “And I live in a renovated school bus, not a bottle or a magic lamp. I help make wishes deemed grantable come true. I’m a Wish Mistress. Came up with the title myself. Sorta groovy don’tcha think?”
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Plotting! I love characters and relationships; those seem to come easily for me. Plotting, especially the middle, is something I constantly have to work at.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Again, too many to mention. Currently, I’m loving Tami Hoag’s and Toby Neal’s suspense novels. I think it’s because not only are their mysteries captivating, their characters are fantastic. I’m a sucker for great characters.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not right now. Google Earth helps greatly with that. I’m certainly not opposed to doing so, though. I love to explore new places!
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Obviously, I learn a lot from the research I do for each book. I’ve also learned that it’s nearly impossible, no matter how hard an author tries, to not put something of yourself in your books. Halfway through NEVE HURT ME, I realized that Desiree’s struggle over wondering if she’s made the right choices in her life, was something I had also be wondering. That’s true for just about everyone, though, I think. It’s a rare person that never doubts their choices.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Don’t be afraid to try writing in a different genre. I never dreamed I could write an adult suspense. Not only did I do it, I loved it and want to do more!
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you! I absolutely love hearing what my readers think of my books.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My family makes me laugh. I grew up with laughter in my house and am blessed to still have that. Listening to my sons’ laugh makes me laugh and fills my heart. A lot of things make me laugh. I believe that finding the humor in situations is best.
If my sons are going through a hard time, I’ll cry. People finally getting something they’ve worked really hard for makes me cry. Elderly gentlemen who remind me of my grandfather make me cry. Singing Silent Night at Christmas makes me cry – that was my grandmother’s favorite Christmas song. Guess I’m a big crybaby.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Perhaps Elizabeth Gilbert, author of EAT, PRAY, LOVE. She seems to be a beautiful spirit. Otherwise, I think the versions of people that we have in our minds rarely matchup with the actual person. To find out someone I thought was wonderful was actually a jerk would be heartbreaking.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I’m a really creative person. In fact, I get very crabby if not allowed to create! As a kid, I used to make my own clothes. I quilt. I love to crochet and am learning to knit. I cook and bake. I used to garden, but where I live now there are tons of deer, and they eat everything!
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Grey’s Anatomy / How to Get Away with Murder / Downton Abbey / Castle
There are others, but those are a few of the ones I don’t like to miss.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
I like a lot of different foods. Recently, I discovered that carbs are not good for me, so I avoid them which is hard because I love a good rustic bread! I love food/meals that are as close to their natural states as possible, so not a lot of sauce, etc.
Purple is my favorite color.
My favorite music depends on my mood. I honestly like just about anything. Not crazy about rap or metal. Recently, I’ve been listening to a lot of folk music while I write. Instrumental only. Lyrics distract me.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I always thought I’d be an astronaut or an oceanographer, but I was never very good at math or science, though. Every now and then, I think about opening a Bed & Breakfast.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
I don’t blog often, but my website is www.Shawn-McGuire.com
Social Media Links
Email – Shawn@Shawn-McGuire.com
Newsletter Signup – http://eepurl.com/V21k1
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/shawnmcguire1/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/Shawn_McGuire
Instagram – https://instagram.com/shawn.mcguire1/
Sticks and Stones http://tinyurl.com/k5upza6
Break My Bones http://tinyurl.com/kbhbors
Never Hurt Me http://tinyurl.com/nc78orh
Had a Great Fall http://tinyurl.com/qh2mq4t
Box Set: Books 1-3 http://tinyurl.com/na3mxc3
One of Her Own http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0197C65T6