Saturday, March 26, 2011

Inspirational Author Shawna K. Williams

Shawna K. Williams is an inspirational novelist who loves telling a story through flawed characters – the only kind she can relate to. God's Grace serves as a the major theme for all of her stories, but she also likes a good dose of nostalgia, which is why many of her stories are set in rural America during the first half of the 20th Century. When not writing, Shawna spends time with her husband and three children enjoying life on their ranch. She's also an avid reader, editor, book reviewer, blogger, homeschooling mom and jewelry designer.

Now let's get to know a little about Shawna and one of her new releases.

1. Name one of your favorite books as a child.

Clifford the Big Red Dog

2. Do you have a favorite author?

Francine Rivers

3. Out of all the books you’ve read, which one comes immediately to your mind? If there is a favorite scene you remember, please share.

Since I just mentioned Francine Rivers, I'm thinking of the book Sure as the Dawn, and a scene where the Rizpah is shot with an arrow, while she, Atretes and Theophilous are traveling back to Germania. I'm not going to say what happens because it's a pivotal point, but Atretes reaction is perfect. Nothing else would have convinced him to make the choice he makes in that scene.

4. Your favorite vacation spot (whether you have been there or not)?

I'd like to go to the Mediterranean and see Pompeii, Rome, Greece and Santorini. But if I can't go there, then Alaska would be nice. I went to Alaska as a child.

5. Which would you rather have: A custom closet or a custom kitchen?

I guess a custom kitchen. I can cook, but I don't love it. A closet would just get messy. What I'd really like is a custom office/craft room. I could set up one side for writing and the other for jewelry making.

6. It’s Saturday afternoon and you’re home alone. What are you wearing? And yes, you must have clothes on.

If it's cool out, sweats. If it's warm, shorts and a t-shirt.

7. What’s your favorite dish?

Grilled Salmon!

8. Other than writing, what do you enjoy doing?

I love where we live. It's beautiful! When I'm not writing I like to do stuff with my family, like going on a hike or digging for quartz. I haven't taken enough time to do that sort of thing, lately. I like being outside to enjoy our critters. They're cute and they relax me. If I'm indoors and not writing, I'm probably making jewelry

9. You’ve just landed a multi-book contract with a major publisher! Which vehicle would we be more likely to see you driving after you’ve collected your huge advance: a Hummer, RV, truck, muscle car, or BMW?

I don't know. I love to camp, so I guess the RV, but I'd probably rather take the family on a Mediterranean cruise.

10. What’s your favorite television show?

I love Firefly, though it was canceled years ago before it caught on. Outstanding writing!

Movie? I don't think I have a favorite movie. There are a variety that I like for different reasons, though. Oh Brother Where Art Thou and Galaxy Quest are both fun parodies with great one-liners, so those are my light-hearted mood movies. The movies I like best are those with strong characterization, an unexpected twist or a unique perspective; The Green Mile, The Village, Gosford Park are some I really like. I also like the theme of redemption. Life as a House is an excellent one to watch with that in mind.

11. You’ve won a talent show! What act did you perform?

Oh boy, well, if it's current day, then it would have to be the equivalent of the Gong Show -- gonged and winning being the same thing . But... if I jumped back in time twenty years ago, I was a fairly decent dancer. I even performed with a group of other dancers on a television show in Hong Kong. I have a trophy and medallion tucked away somewhere, with the title "Miss Halftime USA" engraved on them. Lol!

12. Would you rather have the power to be invisible or be able to fly, and why?

Invisible. I could learn so much! I guess that would be kind of sneaky though, so I should probably pick the ability to fly.

13. What was one of the most surprising things you learned during your journey to publication?

Getting rejections really does get easier.

14. What was the most interesting research you did for a book?

1950s Hollywood. My story took place during the studio era of Hollywood and my heroine was a movie star. I was born in 1970, and did I mention I live in Arkansas -- rural Arkansas. The last thing I wanted was to sound like a girl born 20 years too late, who lived in a cow pasture, writing about the glamorous life of a 1950s starlet. I read biographies of about nine different actresses from the era, plus numerous books about films of the day, behind the scenes stuff, the history of the studios and their system, etc... It was really very fascinating.

My research about the internment camps during WWII was every bit as interesting, but not quite as involved.

15. Where do you go when you need to get inspired to write?

A walk usually does me good. It's just hard for me to make myself take the time. Sort of a counterproductive attitude since it saves me time by inspiring me.

As good as a walk may be though, my best ideas seem to hit me while I'm in the shower.

16. Do you have any writing quirks?

I character journal. Characters are the driving force behind my stories, so I've found that when I'm having a hard time getting in the frame of mind to write, it's helpful to open my journal file and write as my character, as if the events in the books were real.

17. What do you think makes a good story?

Characters! Big surprise there, huh? I've found that I can read about any genre if the characters are compelling enough. If I can't connect with them, it doesn't matter how good the plot is because I just won't care about what happens to the people in the story.

18. What are you working on now?

A book called The Good Fight. I had quite a few people ask me about the character Roger from my debut book, No Other. Initially I hadn't intended to give him his own book, but when I wrote In All Things, No Other's sequel, it occurred to me just how important he'd been. I also started pondering how certain events from the first book might have played out in his life. Before long I had some pretty strong ideas brewing.

19. What's one of the more interesting experiences you've had with one of your readers?

Hmm... I have had positive experiences. I think one of the best is from a local guy who bought my first book because I was local and he wanted to be supportive. He is a Christian, but he didn't read romance or Christian fiction, so he hadn't really expected to like it. He's ended up being quite a fan, and has bought everything I've written since, on the first day, and been really encouraging by telling others how much he, as a guy, enjoyed the stories. I had really wanted them to be something a guy could enjoy.

20. Complete this scene: It was raining. The man came out of nowhere, and before I knew it...

How about two possible scenarios.

Scenario one:

It was raining. The man came out of nowhere, and before I knew it I was flat on my back in the middle of the sidewalk. He leaned over me, his mouth moving but the sound of his words lost in the steady thump of rain pounding the concrete I lay upon. His blue eyes narrowed. Whether from worry or agitation, I wasn't quite sure, but he did offer me his hand. I focused through the water droplets clouding my vision and wondered why. A sharp pain throbbed in the back of my skull to remind me. Oh yeah, I'd fallen.

Scenario two:

It was raining. I finally had an occasion to use my beloved Prada umbrella I'd bought on clearance last fall. The man came out of nowhere just as I poised to open it, and before I knew it I was engaged in a furious tug of war over my prized possession. Even on sale this thing cost a fortune and I wasn't about to give it up!

I blinked against the rain droplets pummeling my face, and my gaze locked with his. Both of our eyes burned with a single determination: Mine!

Be sure to check out Shawna's new releases! They can be purchased at Desert Breeze Publishing.  Just click on a cover for a direct link.

No Other blurb:

In the aftermath of WWII all Jakob Wilheimer wants is to get over his pain, get on with life, and if at all possible, forgive those who've wronged his family -- including himself. But it's hard to do when there are constant reminders. One of them being his former schoolmate, now teacher, Meri Parker -- Miss Port Delamar Pearl, Mayor's daughter, Belle of the town -- Meri Parker.

After enduring the stigma and isolation associated with the internment camp, the awkwardness of going back to school should've been a cake walk. But Jakob didn't expect to find himself inexplicably drawn to Meri. Or to discover that the pain and loneliness of her life surpassed his own. She needed to be rescued from the wretched people seeking to control her life. And more than anything, he needed to be the one to save her.

In All Things blurb:

Jakob and Meri's story continues...

Meredith Louis's Hollywood career is at a point of transition. No longer under Majestic Studios control, Meri is free to broaden her appeal as an actress and finally earn the recognition she desires.

Meri and Jakob return to their hometown for the holidays where Meri hopes to reconcile with her parents after a decade of silence. But after a disastrous encounter, Meri is plunged into turmoil as old fears resurface in unexpected ways.

Jakob, already dealing with unresolved family issues of his own, is further burdened by his inability to help his wife. Can he learn to step aside and trust God's plan. Will Meri recognize what she already has?

In All Things is a story of faith and restoration, grounded in the belief, "...that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

Orphaned Hearts blurb:

Pastor David Langley understands six-year old Caleb Holsheyer -- what it feels like to be damaged and alone. His family killed in a fire, and his body severely burned, David grew up in an orphanage, ridiculed and shunned. He couldn’t let that be Caleb’s fate.

When adoption plans fall through, David is desperate to find Caleb a new home. But in the midst of the Great Depression, most families are barely getting by. No one seems willing to take on the responsibility of an extra mouth, especially one belonging to a crippled child.

Except for Sadie Miller, the town spinster. In Sadie, David sees the answer to Caleb's needs. But Child Welfare doesn't agree, and demands other arrangements be found, or the boy be returned to the orphanage.

David and Sadie team up, determined to find a home for an orphaned child, but while searching, might they find a family instead.


Irene Jacobson said...

Thanks for another great interview, Anne. This is a new author for me so I look forward to checking out her books.

Anne Patrick said...

Hi Irene, thank you for dropping by. I'm sure you would love any of Shawna's books. She's a wonderful and gifted writer.

Cassie Simmons said...

Hi Shawna and Anne,
I loved the interview. All three of Shawna's books sound like wonderful reads. I'll be sure to add them to my TBL. Good luck to both of you!

Diane Craver said...

I'm glad you mentioned Francine Rivers - good reminder that I need to read her books. I love the character journal you use in fleshing out your characters - what an awesome idea!

I read Shawna's NO OTHER and ORPHANED HEARTS - loved both of them. I'm looking forward to reading IN ALL THING soon - it has also gotten outstanding reviews.

Shawna Williams said...

Hi ladies, thanks for stopping in!