I first met Shawn Grady on Shoutlife. Welcome, Shawn. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
Having written Through the Fire in first person, I’d say quite a bit with my protagonist Aidan O’Neill. I approach my writing similar to how a method actor would with a role.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
That’s a hard one. Once, as part of a church scavenger hunt about twelve years ago, I did dress up as a homeless man and sit on a bench in the middle of downtown with a cardboard sign that said "Impeach Nixon" in black marker.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I’ve been writing since I was very young, but did not feel I was ready to write a novel until after I read A Moveable Feast by Hemingway about 7 years ago. Reading that made me realize that I didn’t need a stack of detailed 3x5 cards and a completed story arc and timeline all mapped out to be a writer. I just needed to start writing. So one night, at a coffee house with a pen and a napkin, that’s exactly what I started doing.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
It’s a broad range and I enjoy all sorts of books that are well written. I am often drawn to literary fiction. It is usually the voice that makes me buy a book. I don’t like to read back cover copy. To me, it gives away too much. I look at the first sentence on the first page, and if I like that I’ll read more. If I like the voice on the first page I’ll usually pick up the book.
What other books have you written, whether published or not?
Besides Through the Fire, I have one other completed novel based around a paramedic. I’m reworking it for release as my second book with Bethany House Publishers in 2010.
I'll want to feature you again on the blog when that releases. How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Funny you’d ask that. At the fire department when we respond to calls we call them runs. On my days off, my writing career seems to be increasingly demanding more time. My wife is an incredibly supportive partner in all this and we make it a point to not do writing on the weekends when I’m home and instead place extra focus on each other and our family.
Very wise. How do you choose your characters’ names?
Sometimes it is the actual meaning of the name. Like "Aidan" in Through the Fire means "fiery". Other times a name will just seem to me to fit a character.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Knowing and walking with the Lord. Then marrying my wife. After that being a loving father to my three children.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I might want to be a Labrador because they get to go on hikes and swim and roll around on their backs and are pretty much happy and content with life and the world that God has made.
What is your favorite food?
Right now, I love vanilla yogurt with Grapenuts and blueberries.
Yum! What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Learning how to effectively structure a story is a big challenge that I have grown in with my craft. Attending writing conferences like Mount Hermon and ACFW and being shepherded by talented writers like James Scott Bell has strengthened me in that.
What advice would you give to an author just starting out?
Write what is on your heart. Write what you know. Attend writing conferences and learn the industry and hone your craft. Network with other authors whose writing you respect.
What would you like to tell us about the featured book?
Through the Fire is about Aidan O’Neill, an angst driven fireman with a gift- the fire speaks to him.
Already haunted by his father’s death in a warehouse fire five years prior, a near fatal experience leaves Aidan sensing flames that are out for him personally. When a serial arsonist surfaces in Reno, Aidan employs the help of young arson analyst Julianne Bordeaux. Together they’re thrust into an incendiary chase in which Aidan must come to terms with his mortality in order to find his father’s killer and attain a lasting peace.
Sounds really exciting. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Or check out my pages on http://www.shoutlife.com/ and http://www.facebook.com/
Thank you, Shawn for spending this time with us.
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