Name Shawn Reilly

Age 51

Where are you from

I was born in the small town of Martinsville Indiana but raised for the greater part of my life on the Southside of Indianapolis. However, despite the fact I lived just minutes from the city, where we could watch the Fourth of July fireworks, display atop the tallest skyscraper of the city from our front lawn, I still considered myself a country girl at heart. Most say I definitely sound like one. My parents were divorced and my mother had to work a lot of late nights. That meant my twin sister and I spent a great deal of our time trying to entertain ourselves. We loved to play outdoors in the summer with the neighbourhood kids and in the winter we watched a lot of television. I especially loved anything science fiction. We lived in an older home, that needed a great deal of repairs, and we didn’t have a whole lot of money, but I can’t say that I was an unhappy child. Other than my twin sis, I had two older brothers and a sister that tended to spoil us since we were the babies.  Dad often took us fishing on the weekends. I met my husband, of thirty-one years, at a concert at Ball State University. He was a drummer in a band. We dated for eleven months and married when I was just twenty. I didn’t have the chance to go to college. Instead, I became a stay at home mother to three daughters who wrote in her spare time.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

My latest book Thread, which is book three and the final book in the Children of the Alliance Trilogy, just came out on December 17th 2015.  Since that time I have suffered the death of two beloved family members (mother-in-law and brother) so my work has suffered greatly. However, I am currently writing the seventh book in my animal shifter series, The Union Series, titled Rise of the Raven. My goal is to have it released sometime this coming winter, 2016.


Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I have always credited my writing to my stepfather Jim. Unlike my sister I struggled in school. After nearly failing sixth grade my mother hired a tutor and it was then that I was told I suffered from dyslexia. When my stepfather learned that I was having difficulty reading, he took me to a used bookstore. At that point he told me to look for something I was interested in so I headed straight for the science fiction section. (I was a true sci-fi nerd.) Once while complaining that I didn’t like a particular ending, Jim told me if that was the case then I should write my own book. So I did.  My first attempt resulted in a horribly written western when I was fourteen, staring a cocky gun slinging cowboy by the name Curt Calhoun. Curt along with his seven brothers, who all shared C names in common, may never have seen the pages of a book, but that was the day I started writing, and never stopped. Of course I never entertained the thought of being published but with the explosion of Indie authors, I thought I’d share my stories with others.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Honestly, I started writing things at an early age. It helped me to pass long cold winters when there was nothing else to do. Writing taught me how to read, to express my feelings, and to vent my wild imagination. And yet, I have always considered myself more of a story teller.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

My first book was Call of the Raven, book one in the Union Series, and that one came from a time when I was recovering from a hospital stay on my living room couch, and my youngest daughter took me captive. She put an anime series in the DVD player and forced me to watch it. I was angry after several episodes when it ended abrupt, unexplained, and with no promise of a second season. At that point I started brainstorming ideals with her, and her two sisters, with the intention of writing my own story, sort of like an anime, but with human characters. By the time I was finished my very own animal shifter series was born.

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

I’ve been told by a few readers that they like my style but I have yet to determine what style in particular they’re talking about. I have written in both third person and first person and I can’t say I have a favorite. I think the story often dictates which style of writing I eventually choose. The Union series is told in third person through five different points of views, whereas the Children of the Alliance Trilogy (Bug, Spun, and Thread) are told first person through the eyes of one particular character which is a nineteen-year-old girl named Bug.

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

Titles are probably one of my favorite things about the writing process that I enjoy coming up with the most. I think a catchy title and eye-catching book cover are the things I notice first in a book.  The titles for my books (and sub-chapters) come from different sources, such as a quote or comment from the actual book or possibly from the lyrics of a song. Bug got its title because that is the main characters nickname.

 Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I mostly write in the science fiction paranormal/fantasy genre but no matter how unrealistic my worlds can be, I often try to insert real life situations. Bug may repeat the same third Friday of every month, where she collects a shopping list of weirdness for a mother that calls herself a witch, but in all respect she’s a young girl that suffers a problematic, lonely existence, such as some young girls do, and at school she is bullied. The Lake family in the Union series deals with many life struggles, mostly how to get along and love each other, and Elle my heroine deals with low self-esteem after running from an abusive relationship. I guess I like to write about life in the midst of the strange in hopes that somewhere out there someone can relate.

Fiona: How much of the book is realistic ?

Just as I try to include real life moments between characters within my fictional worlds I often insert historical facts or real places I’ve been to.

Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I wished I could say yes but I can’t. My characters, experiences, and worlds are merely pulled from my own imagination.

Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?

I’d have to say that my influence came from Author Rachel Caine. After reading her Morganville Vampire series I wanted to be just like her. Although, as you can probably guess I was a big Poe fan.


Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Hopefully this doesn’t sound too vain but currently I’m reading my own book which is Call of the Raven. Since the sixth book in the series came out a year ago I have written an entirely different series. That series has a complete different flow and feel, so I am rereading my own work to get myself back in character and in the right ballgame.

Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Erin McFadden is great. As an author I feel that we share kindred spirits. I have a few others that I’d love to give a try but I tend to read like a slug.

Fiona: What are your current projects?

Currently I am writing the seventh book in the Union series, which is Rise of the Raven, and outlining a future trilogy titled Sons of the Order.

Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

My street team, the Union, for one. I would name a few names but out of fear of not listing them all, I’ll just say I love every last one of them for the support they’ve given me. However, I owe my editor Karen Crain Hedger a great deal of praise for taking a chance on me, and my best friend Robin Day. I sincerely couldn’t be what I am without any of them.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

I don’t work outside my home and when I write it’s an all-day thing so right now I do see it as my career. Hopefully those long hours someday might truly pay off but for now, I’m just glad I can do what I love.  

Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Honestly early on I allowed outside sources to influence my writing but all it did was make me one miserable person. Not everyone may like my books—some readers or writers out there might even suggest that they would have written a certain situation, event, or ending differently, such as I did when I was younger, but when it comes right down to it, the story is mine and I told my story the way I wanted to, so to better answer your question, no I would not.

Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Yes in hating endings and the fact I didn’t like how a certain story was told. I know I probably sound contradicting, after my last answer, but when I first started writing I wrote stories that I wanted to read.

Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Sure, this is the first segment of the unedited prologue for Rise of the Raven, the seventh book in The Union Series, and I highly emphasis the word unedited.  I always try to start off each book in the series from the perspective of a character that otherwise isn’t heard from. This particular prologue is through the POV of Zareth Ross, one of the antagonists.

Prologue

Darkest Day

 

The super moon, bright and full, glistened down upon the lake casting a pale blue luster over its surface, thus illuminating the night. Everything was vibrant and alive with power. Except for him.

Inside his soul, Zareth Ross, felt nothing but a numbing disquiet. Long ago he had stopped feeling. Long ago he had stopped hoping. Long ago he had stopped living.

This night was no different.

But…he so very much wanted to live again

Aware of the rise and fall of the wood beneath his feet, Zareth walked to the end of the floating dock. With the wind cooling his perspiring brow, and the sound of the insects in the woods behind him, he looked out over the water.

Coming from the opposite side of the lake he detected the hum of an approaching vessel and knew he didn’t have long to wait. Either his plans would work or they would fail, like so many other times before.

The foreboding sensation, like a thorn digging deep into his being, would not go away. No matter how hard he wanted to believe—to trust again—the nagging was there, ever present, ever real.

Things had been too easy…far too easy.

A twig snapped and he turned and scanned the woods with eyes designed to see in the dark. The shadowy form broke away from the trees and he sucked in a relieved breath.

“Houdini, my old friend,” he patted his leg calling the dog to him. “It took you long enough to get here.”

Muscles dancing, under the gleam of the moon upon its black fur, the dog trotted toward him. Dropping down on one knee Zareth patted the animal’s thick skull in greeting. In turn he received a sloppy tongue across his neck and lower chin. He dried his face with his shirt sleeve and then removed the note from his pocket, and tucked it under the dog’s collar.

He secured it in place with just a little magic, and spoke a name, that of his sons, to seal the deal. “Be a good boy now,” Zareth scratched the Pit Bull under his chin and then gave him a gentle nudge of encouragement in the direction of the trees. “Go now, go on home.”

A blinding light from the approaching vessel shone in his face, just as Zareth came to a full stand. Behind him he heard the dog growl and turned to see that he had stopped short of the trees. “Go I said. I’m depending on you to deliver that message.” When the dog still didn’t seem to get the hint, Zareth sent a wave of magic his way and gave him an extra incentive right in the backside.

Houdini yelped and took off running into the thick trees. A few moments later, with the boat growing nearer, he heard a muted snarl, and knew that the stubborn dog remained lurking nearby.

The evil that the animal sensed only confirmed what Zareth already knew. Just like so many times before, the apprehension was real. He had so hoped that it was her coming and not his master.

Sighing, Zareth resigned to fate, sat down on the damp wood of the dock and dropped his legs over the side. There was no point running away.

No matter what he did, no matter where he went, he would be found…always.

Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

I’m dyslexic so I find everything challenging about writing but my imagination and passion to tell stories often outweighs those challenges. However, the biggest obstacle I face on a daily basis doesn’t come from my words but my minds ability to believe in my words. In other words I constantly doubt myself.

Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

If I were to pick one overall favorite  I’d have to say Edgar Allan Poe, which probably doesn’t come as a surprise given my first published book deals with a legendary raven. Why? I’d have to say for his attention to detail and description.

 Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

I traveled to several out of state signings last year but this year I have decided to only attend a few. The reason behind that decision is that I put so much time into promoting the books that I fell behind in my series. This next year I hope to finish not only The Union series I plan to begin two others.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Oh goodie, I’m always eager to brag about my covers. BluDoor Graphics, or more specifically my eldest daughter Kristin, designed all nine. She has even designed a few that haven’t been released yet for future books. For each cover I gave her a general idea of what I was looking for and she took over from there. The results always seem to be exactly what I pictured.

Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

While standing in line at a gas station a woman once asked me what I did for a living, whereas I told her I was a writer. Her response then was to say “I wished I had such an easy job as that.” Well, I have never, ever, considered writing easy. Some things just come harder to some writers than others. I just so happen to hate research and outlining and although I’m sure that contributed to the numerous tests I failed in school, I still wouldn’t consider that to be the hardest thing about writing. But, a lot of my fellow authors can probably relate to my one and only true answer, and that’s I find writing the blurb that goes on the back of the book to be the most difficult thing about writing. I guess I find it hard to sum up a book in just a few words, and make those words interesting enough to cause people to want to read them.

Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

Yes, that not everyone loves cliffhangers.

Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

My advice to other writers is to never give up, to believe in yourself, and to never stop perfecting your craft.

Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

The readers that have stuck by me and my books are the best. They’re wonderfully loyal and I couldn’t have done it without them.

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Yeah, it was all about the adventures of Dick and Jane, I believe. The first book I actually read for fun was Battlestar Galactica, hence the part about being a sci-fi nerd.

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

I hate standup comedy because I feel like I’m expected to laugh. What makes me really laugh is the unexpected. My family gets angry with me at times because I have been known to laugh at their expense, their falling down or blunders. Oh, if they get hurt I quickly get it together but I will admit my first response is to face the moment head on with humor. I guess that’s why I chose to become a writer and not a paramedic like my sister. What makes me cry is saying goodbye to loved ones.  I’ve had to do that far too often the last few years, and seeing my children hurt. Seeing my girls hurt or sad makes me feel helpless.

Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?

No one from the past but in the present I would love to meet my editor since she has been by my side since the beginning and we have yet to meet face to face, along with the members of my street team that have encouraged me along the journey.  I would actually love to reward them with a cruise someday.

Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?

Dare to believe in your dream.

I grew up believing that because I wasn’t rich or smart I didn’t have a right to dream but just as Eleanor Roosevelt, once stated “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams,” and I truly have come to believe in the beauty of mine.

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?

I have a few, such as photography, art (even though I’m not very good) fishing, boating, reading, and music. Unless I’m watching television music is always on, no matter what I’m doing. I can’t fold clothes without a beat.

Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?

My favorite show on television is probably Criminal Minds. I’ll watch just about anything science fiction though, good or bad. I even love the old black and white monster flicks.

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

My favorite food is Mexican. My favorite color is blue, like the sky. But when it comes to music I love several different genres, and that genre truly depends on what kind of mood I’m in or what I’m doing. I’m not much of a country music lover but I do listen to country while I’m cleaning the house. I guess that’s because I like to sing along. I listen to the classic stuff or even boy bands such as the Backstreet Boys while on road trips, especially if my girls are with me, and I listen to contemporary jazz while reading. On the other hand when I’m writing I listen to anything from Fall Out Boy, the Irish group Westlife, Breaking Benjamin, Celine Dion, to a variation of soundtracks, and what I listen to is determined by what kind of a scene I’m writing.

Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?

Now that’s a strange thought. In high school I pondered the idea of being a forest ranger and taking pictures in my spare time, or oddly enough I considered the thought of working for the Behavioral Analysis Unit, or BAU, as a profiler. But, truthfully all I dreamed about, from early childhood, was becoming a writer. My high school counselor, very kindly, told me though that due to my grades and IQ, I could never be those things so I got married and became a stay-at-home mom. In the beginning I actually resented that but over time I looked to those years with my children, staying at home and being a housewife, as one of the biggest privileges of my life. I can’t say that I would ever change that about my past. So, I’d have to say that there isn’t anything I would have done and now because my children are grown, I’m able to do what I want and that’s write..

 Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?

I have a website which is in need of some serious updating, which you can find here.

http://shawnreilly.wix.com/shawnreilly

Amazon Authors page USA http://www.amazon.com/Shawn-Reilly/e/B00DR8V27W/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

 

UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Shawn-Reilly/e/B00DR8V27W/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_4?qid=1456704478&sr=1-4

 

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