Novel PASTimes welcomes back Shannon McNear for Day 2 of her delightful interview:
Tell us about your writing journey: When did you begin and how did you know you were called to be a writer?
I’ve been writing stories since way back in third grade, just little ones at first and then a short story series. At fifteen I started my first novel. I think I began to get a sense of being called to it sometime in college, but that really wasn’t confirmed until my first writers conference about ten years ago.
Are you a full-time writer or do you hold a day job? And how do you balance a busy life while accomplishing your writing projects?
My “day job”—and night job, and everything in between :-)—is that of homeschooling mom. What is this balance of which you speak??
Seriously, balance is the hardest thing. I don’t multitask well, and I tend to be obsessive. When I first came back to writing fiction after several years, it wasn’t, “how do you find time to write?” but “how do you still feed and clothe your family and remember to make eye contact while writing?” I’ve learned to compartmentalize a bit, to seize odd slots of time, to see every life event as an opportunity for research.
Well-stated, Shannon. Balancing is a HUGE challenge! Have there been any authors who you feel have inspired your own writing? And do you have any favorite fictional characters that stand out in your mind?
Too many to list! First and foremost, C.S. Lewis. In historical, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Francine Rivers, Louis L’Amour, Stephen Bly, Georgette Heyer. In speculative, Robin McKinley, Lois McMaster Bujold, Stephen Lawhead, Karen Hancock, Kathy Tyers. (I’ve been as much a SFF fan as historical.) In contemporary, Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck, and before them, Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt.
Favorite fictional characters? Dr. Elwin Ransom. Eowyn and Faramir (who was absolutely ruined in the movies, LOL). Any of the Sacketts. Stuart Brannon, Abramm Kalladorne, and Firebird. :-)
You are well-read in many genres! J Can you give us a few hints about your current writing projects?
Well, I’ve always got a few blog posts on the back burner ... devotionals for my slot over at The Borrowed Book, as well as Colonial Quills and my personal blog. In the meantime, I’m simmering the sequel to one of a pair of novels I recently finished. It’s a bit of a guilty pleasure—YA-ish fantasy, kind of a historical set on another world, in an alternate future.
Researching for historical fiction often reveals surprising discoveries. Can you think of one or two unexpected facts that stand out in your memory?
The biggest surprise for me was discovering the emotional and political complexity of the Revolutionary War era. So not the clear-cut “righteous patriot and heathen Tory” as was so often portrayed in school-age history!
In actual facts? From my research on bladesmithing, the lightness of a real-life longsword. The heaviest top out at only 5 or 6 pounds. The average was 2.5 to 3. So much for the myth of the 30-pound sword!
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
It’s about the journey ... really. :-) I hated hearing that, but it’s true. Getting published is just one point along a very long road, and it doesn’t mean you’ve arrived—it only brings you a higher level of responsibility. Focusing on the publishing as your main goal in writing is a fast track to heartbreak.
On the other hand, when we walk with God, every detail is in His hands, and He makes the journey absolutely worth it.
Agreed. :) Any final words?
Just to thank you for the opportunity to share!
Thank YOU for sharing with us at Novel PASTimes!
You can be entered to win a copy of A Pioneer Christmas Collection by leaving a comment with your e-mail address AND answering Shannon's question. Here it is:
Many of the stories in Pioneer Christmas focus on God’s hand working through difficult situations, deepening the grace often found during holidays. So instead of the usual “favorite Christmas memory” question, I’d like to ask ... what was your most difficult Christmas, and how did you experience God’s grace in it?