Monday, March 05, 2012

Welcome Shawna Williams.

Welcome, Shawna. I've read all your books, enjoyed them and would recommend them. But some readers may not know about you or your books. So let's remedy that.

Tell us a little about yourself? Hi Tina, and thank you for having me. Well, I'd like to think I'm a wife and mother above all else, and I certainly try to be, but there's a lot that makes up me. I'm a writer. I write about the things I'm passionate about, which always includes a message of Grace. I love my critters. We live on a ranch so I have plenty, and room for more. I work as an editor for two publishers and as Social Media Specialist for The Wordsmith Journal magazine. I also enjoy designing jewelry, rock hounding and hiking.

Tell us about your writing journey? I had never considered becoming a writer until close to a decade ago when over the Thanksgiving holidays I had a dream. It was just a really fascinating dream with people I felt like I immediately knew. For about six months I thought about it nonstop, trying to fill in gaps and work out certain details. Eventually it became too big to keep straight in my head so I began to write. Initially this was just to satisfy my own curiosity, but over time it turned into a love for the characters and their journey and eventually writing itself.
I completed an entire book without any study of the craft. It was dreadful, maybe not the bones, but certainly the technique. For about five years I toyed with this story, putting it away, and then pulling it out and trying to make it better -- still without any teaching, so it was one bad draft after another.
One day I just felt it was time. I became determined to learn and make it into something publishable. The result was my first two novels: No Other and In all Things.

Do you put yourself into your books/characters? Oh yeah! Even if I don't mean to. Characters come from the writer, and though we go out of our way to research and understand our character's persona and situation, it still gets interpreted through our senses.

I do have a couple of characters however that I have felt more of me in than most. Mine would be Jakob from No Other and In All Things. Yeah, he's a dude, but according to hubby I think like a guy, so maybe that's why I can identify with him. My other character is Pennye in The Good Fight. There are some personal issues with her that came directly from my own experience. The analogy, 'An elephant can paint its ear and flap them in a flowered meadow but still not be a butterfly," was something I once said in reference to myself. I'm older now though, and have come to realize that the above statement may be true, BUT elephants are quite marvelous, just in a different way.

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them? Umm... yeah... Right now I have a sink full of dishes waiting for me. Oh joy.

What's your favorite time of year? WINTER! Cold, ice cube, bone-chilling winter. Bundle me up and let me hike through three feet of snow! Unfortunately we live in an area that only gets a few inches at a time, if that, but I'll take it. It beats the humidity and non-seasons from when we lived in Houston, TX. (No offense to Houston. Winter is just my thing). I adore Christmas, and nothing says Christmas time like a blanket of snow.

How important is faith in your books? It's everything! Faith gives me direction and I don't think I could write a story without it. The story simply wouldn't be there.

What is your favorite book you’ve written and why? In All Things. I had a discussion with a reader about this book today. She'd written to say she loved it but I had scared her for a bit with a certain scenario with Meri. I told her I know I did, but I didn't do it for the thrill. Meri's character had to come to terms with some serious issues from her past that had been driving her actions. For a struggle to be real there has to be the threat of making the wrong choice, so I took it to the edge with Meri. But that was part of the beauty of the story to me. To see how things could have fallen apart, but instead were restored. The book is a continuation from No Other, so to me it completes Jakob and Meri's story. These two characters are very dear to me, and writing those final words in that story and having everything fall into place was a great feeling of satisfaction to me as an author. I hope readers feel the same way.

What is your writing schedule like? Used to write nightly and all was fairly calm. Now it's like, "Oh crud! I gotta deadline approaching. Kids, Hubby, fend for yourselves!"

What distracts you from writing the easiest? Stuff! Actually, pressure. It's hard to write under pressure, so I find myself looking to do other things, like waste time on Facebook, browsing without buying anything, checking my sales ranking on Amazon, etc. Of course this is completely counterproductive because it just adds pressure by decreasing productivity. Blah!

Tell us a little about your new book. Well, I have three I'd like to talk about. No Other, In All Things and The Good Fight are three books in a series I didn't intend to write. No Other and In All Things are books inspired from my dream that began this whole writing journey. The Good Fight came later when readers asked me to tell a story about Roger, Jakob's rival turned ally (sort of) in No Other. No Other has recently released in print, and it begins the story of Jakob and Meri -- two young people from very different backgrounds who are struggling to get back to life as normal at the close of WWII. In All Things picks up with their journey ten years into their marriage, when some things have gone very right, and others very wrong.
 The Good Fight, my latest release, visits Roger a decade after No Other. He's redefined his life after letting go of a life-long pursuit and placed his value in human integrity instead of social status, which sounds good on the surface. But without compassion, integrity can be a cold and harsh thing. In this story Roger meets Pennye, a woman who challenges his view on everything, and forces him to see people. It really is a beautiful tale, if I may say so. I know I'm a little biased. The end is my favorite because Jakob and roger come full circle to not being reluctant allies, but being true, life-long friends. It's not easy though. Oh goodness, I hope I didn't just give too much away. You'll still like it! I promise!

All three books are available as digital copies.

What are you working on right now? Right now I'm working on a sequel to my Depression Era historical Orphaned Hearts. This is another "My readers made me write it story" but I'm not complaining. I'm quite happy to revisit Sadie, David and Caleb. In this story Caleb is grown up. Instead of saving Caleb by finding him a home, this story is about Caleb saving his home by saving the town. It's a romance, of course, and we learn very early on that it was a good thing in Orphaned Hearts that the Sheldons backed out of adopting Caleb when Elizabeth Sheldon learned she was pregnant. She gave birth to a baby girl. Hmm...

Sounds awesome, and sometimes readers know what the next story should be. Look forward to reading it.

Thank you, Shawna.

Learn more about Shawna, take a closer look at her books;
Book links:
In All Things:
Also available at B&N,, Kobo and Sony Reader Store


L MCMAKEN said...

What a great interview. I had two of your books - but haven't gotten to read them yet! Sigh! Can't wait.

June Foster said...

Since I'm reading Orphaned Hearts right now, I can't wait to read your new book when you finish it. June

Anne Patrick said...

Shawna, you are a gifted writer and a wonderful editor. My best wishes to you in all your endeavors!

Lynn said...

Great interview! Thanks!

James R. Callan said...

You should be biased toward your books. If you don't love them, it's unlikely anybody else will.
Thanks for the lovely interview and giving us an insight into who you are.
Jim Callan

Shawna Williams said...

Tina, thanks for having me today!

And thank you guys for the kind comments and encouraging words!

Kathy Maher said...

Thanks for introducing us to Shawna, Tina. This was fun! I relate to dreaming about characters who tell their story. I'll have to check out her books soon.

Deborah M said...

Hi Shawna,
As you know I've read all your books and recommend them highly. Can't wait for your next book.
Deborah Malone
debbiejeanm at gmail dot com