Thursday, February 10

And now, introducing Shawn

This week on Word Wranglers we are interviewing our fellow blogmates. It is my pleasure to introduce you all to Shawn Dalton-Smith who writes paranormal fiction with a touch of suspense and romance.

1-Good or bad, what has been the biggest surprise as you pursue
becoming a published author.

Answer: My biggest surprise was how hard it was going to be. I always assumed an author could just bang out a book, send it to a publisher, and become a success. It takes a lot more than that. It takes talent, commitment, a thick skin, and a lot of luck. A really good surprise was that authors are willing to help each other hone their craft. A lot of times in business,(and writing is a business) people tend to sabotage each other. They keep knowledge to themselves because they fear someone will take their place. I'm astounded at the type of support I get from other writers, whether pubbed or not.

2-What do you love about the writing process? What do you hate?
Answer: I love writing the rough draft. I can get the story down on paper, get to know the characters. They make me laugh, sad, angry. Sometimes they even surprise me.
What I hate? Wow. Rejections, revisions, query letter, summaries, cutting sections from the story I fell in love with... This is painful. Can I stop now? Even given all the things I hate, I can't stop. I'm a story junkie.

3-Would you consider yourself a disciplined writer? (and if so, how do I become one?) Or do you write when the muse hits?
Answer: I think I'm the most undisciplined writer on the face of the earth. (sorry, no help on that one) I love to write, but I hate to sit in the chair. Once I'm there, about twenty minutes in, I'm in the zone and I have to pry my fingers from the keyboard. (got a day job, got to sleep.)
Do I write when the muse hits? Oh yeah.

4-Speaking of muses, do you believe in them?
Answer: Yes. His name is Sheldon Smith and I married him 23 years ago. I have days when all I want to do is sit in front of the tv and veg out. That's when Mr. Muse comes and says "Aren't you supposed to be writing?" He knows I have a problem with butt in the chair, so he does what he can to get me there. But sometimes, I think he wants me out of the way so he can play video games. (Sneaky isn't he?)

Love this answer. I think what has come through in all of our interviews, is that we have suppportive families. I know I couldn't do it without the support of my husband and daughters. Okay, on to the next question.

5-You write paranormals, is there another genre you'd like to try?
Answer: The first story I wrote was a contemporary. It was so bad, the thought of it makes me cringe. Maybe someday I'll branch out, but right now, I like the strange and unsual too much to try anything else.

6-Do you listen to music while writing and if so, what kind?
Answer: I do listen to music while I write. I listen to everything from hard rock to hip-hop. Except country. I can't write to it. I can listen to it, especially since I have a mother-in-law that loves it. I remember when the in-laws came to visit once, she had country music blasting through the intercom system in the house. She's very fond of Red-Neck Woman. I was humming that song for about a week after she left.

7-Let's talk names. Do you get the names for your characters before you begin writing or as you're writing? And since you always have such original names, where do they come from?
Answer: My male names aren't that original. Most of them come fron the bible. In the book I'm revising now I have: Malachi, Luke, a set of twins named Enoch and Philip, and Stephan. In my new wip the hero's name is Jude. I always looked at biblical men as alpha males. As for the women, when I write, their names just pop into my head. It's like they come to me and say "Hi my name is...." Except Somiar. I wanted my heroine to have a name that meant something. So I looked up foreign languages for the word dream. The Catalin word, somiar, jumped out at me.

8-You write about ethnic characters--do you think that's an advantage or disadvantage in today's market?
Answer: That could go either way. I want my stories to be read by everyone. I read books featuring all types of cultures and ethnic groups. I hope lots of other people feel the same way.

9-Plotter or pantser. What works best for you? And do you have a writing routine?
Answer: I couldn't plot my way out of a paper bag, and believe me, I've tried. It just doesn't work for me. I feel stifled when I try to plot, try to fit everything into a neat little package I've planned out from begining to end. The weirdo in me won't let that happen. I like not knowing what comes next.

10- If the world was going to end within the next 5 days, what 3 things would you HAVE to do before everyone perished?
Answer: This is going to sound really strange, but I can't think of a single thing. I'd be thinking, "Everyone's about to die. What's the point?"


  1. Wow, great interview. I think you have another calling as a Barbara Walters-type interviewer, Margie!

    I loved your answers, too, Shawn, and wasn't too surprised you don't like revisions. :-)

  2. Hey Liz! Yeah, revisions can be pretty ugly. Thank God I'm almost through. I have to grudgingly admit that the revisions the editor asked for did make the story better once I figured out how to work them in. Glad I won't have to do it again time.

  3. Shawn, I'm so glad you went through with the revisions. We all knew you could do it ;)

    I had an agent suggest some changes on a previous manuscript and they were spot on, enhancing places I hadn't even considered. Too bad it took me two years to get around to it and by the time I was done, she quit handling YA.

    So, that's another lesson, don't let the big fish get away because you're too scared to cast the line.

  4. Margie, you are so right. I'm glad I went through with it too! Now I'm adding some emotions and checking for typo's. I should be ready to resub soon.

  5. Shawn, my muse is my husband, too. Don't you love it when they nag?

    Oh, and get used to revisions. No, seriously. LOVE revisions. That's where the real story comes out!

  6. Christine, sigh. I know they are a necessary evil. Maybe one day I'll get to where you are and learn to love them.

  7. great interview, Margie and Shawn!

    Revisions are definitely a I'm trying to conquer.

  8. Shawn!
    So proud of you hanging in there and getting those revisions done!
    Way to go!