I am excited to host Shawna this month for an interview and giveaway. I hope that you enjoy it, too. Shawna has been kind enough to offer a PDF file of her book "No Other" or "In All Things"and a freshwater pearl bracelet. Without further ado here we go:
Indeed, my first two books are the result of a dream -- an actual dream. It nagged me for six months as I mentally tried to fill in all of the gaps. I finally had to write it down. Since then, God has continued to bless with me inspiration at times of His choosing.
Technically, I'm an Inspirational Romance writer. But I like to think that romance includes more than the relationship between two people. It can also be about the era or place, or even a single moment in time, when an elusive whisper reaches inward and ever so gently taps the soul, saying, "This. Remember this."
It's my desire that my stories create such a moment.
Some of my methods for filling my creative reservoir are reading about the histories of small towns, pouring over old photos in antique shops and people's homes (if I'm at yours, I'll ask to see your picture albums) and asking prying questions about your best family stories. Oh! And if you ever see a lady on the side of the road, taking pictures of old, dilapidated houses and buildings, it's probably me.
1. Have you always wanted to write. Shawna how did you come up with this series and how long did it take you to finish your first book - including editing.
In All Things and No Other are linked very closely. In fact, the original version of both books was one story. That story was inspired by a dream, and before that dream I had never intended to be a writer.
The dream was really profound, like scenes from a movie. I found myself thinking about it constantly for the next six month, trying to fill in the details between scenes. It eventually became so complicated that I had to start writing it. At first it was to satisfy my own curiosity, but over time I grew to love the characters, love their story, and love writing.
This story actually took about eight years to mature into its finished form. When I started it my kids were very small, so it took me about two years to complete, and it was dreadfully long and horribly written. I made several attempts to revise it, but I hadn't taken the time to really learn what I was doing, so I pretty much just revised it from one terrible book into another terrible book.
When I did decide to get serious about writing, I spent some time just learning before I really dug in to make the book the story I knew it could be. I realized immediately that it wasn't one book, but two. I wrote No Other first, and it took about six months. A lot of the editing came as I wrote, and more edits through the publisher after it was under contract.
Desert Breeze went ahead and contracted In All Things even though it wasn't revised and rewritten into its own book. Writing In All Things was quite an experience. I worked on it for nine months before it was due, but the final story didn't really form until the last four. The previous five months I kept starting new drafts, and I'd get 2/3rds of the way through and feel like the whole thing was slipping away from me. Part of the problem had been that I was trying to hold onto some elements and a character from the original that no longer had a place in the new book. Once I let that go, everything fell in place. I wrote the last thirty thousand words in the three weeks before the due date. I had a friend and my hubby read as I wrote to help catch typos and poor phrasing, but it was edited by the publisher after I turned it in.
2. I really enjoyed "In All Things" the second in a series, but it was a little different from "No Other". How did you come up with the plot? By the way, I loved the ending.
Well, I always knew that Jakob and Meri's story wasn't complete in No Other. No Other is about their romance, but their underlying struggles are still there. I think by the end of No Other they were more aware of them, but dealing with them doesn't come so easily. Knowing that one needs to rely on God isn't as easy as actually doing it. And their path was complicated by past events. I wanted to explore how those things might have played out in later years, not just between Jakob and Meri, but with other members of both families.
In All Things is ten years later. It's actually more of a character journey than a romance. I also wanted to write about a mature marriage. So many stories end with the guy and girl getting together and life being happily-ever-after, but marriage takes work. Sometimes couples really struggle. I wanted to write about that, too. The main idea of the story, though, was to complete the journey from No Other, with all things coming together in healing.
3. What is next in the series, and do you have anything planned after this series?
I'm currently working on a spin off about Roger. I'd like to write about his journey from the snotty, kiss-up, wannabe son-in-law to the district attorney. I have a feeling he's going to be going after Meri's dad for his involvement with the mob. I'm even planning on bringing in that character I had to cut from the original. I also plan to include Esther, Jakob's sister, in this story. No romantic involvement; she's way too young for Roger, but there'll be a link between her, Ralph, Ralph's sister and Roger. I haven't signed a contract for this yet because I'd like to be further along before I commit to a deadline.
4. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
You always hear the phrase 'write what you know' but I think it's equally important, if not more-so, that an author writes who they are. Yes, we have to learn the craft, pay attention to trends and whatnot. Those things are important. Just be sure that in doing so you don't lose yourself. God gave us this calling because of who we are, and the best stories come from a sincere heart.
We start off with this dream to write because of this passion deep inside, and of course we want to get published, but I hope beginning writers will ask themselves which is more important; to write what you love, or to write to get published. There's a difference. I'm not saying that they are exclusive of each other because obviously they aren't. It's just that it's a tough journey and the reason for writing can be easily obscured.
Do you have anything you want to donate for a giveaway?
I'd love to give away a pdf copy of either In All Things or No Other and a freshwater pearl bracelet.
THINGS TO DO TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY:
1. BE A FOLLOWER OR BECOME A FOLLOWER. LEAVE AN EMAIL ADDRESS SO I CAN CONTACT THE WINNER.
2. VISIT SHAWNA'S WEBSITE AT http://shawnakwilliams.com/Home_Page.html. THE PICTURE OF THE HOUSE PLAYS A SIGNIFICANT ROLE IN HER BOOKS.
3. TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK OF EBOOKS. DO YOU HAVE AN EREADER (NOOK, KINDLE, ETC) OR ARE YOU INTERESTED IN GETTING ONE. WHAT PART DO YOU THINK THEY WILL PLAY IN THE FUTURE OF BOOKS.
4. The Giveaway ends December 20th, 2010,