Shawn Lamb, author of Heir Apparent is my guest today. Welcome, Shawn. Tell us a little about yourself.
Thank you, Susan. I’m the author of the YA fantasy series ALLON. Before writing fiction, I did freelance writing for TV animation back in the 1980s. The series was called BraveStarr and put out by the same studio responsible for He-Man and She-Ra. In fact, my husband Rob, was a staff storyboard artist and writer for He-Man, She-Ra and Fat Albert.
What is your most rewarding experience during the writing process?
Actually, it occurred during the beginning draft of the first Allon book. The whole thing started when my daughter asked me to write her a fantasy. She was in high school at the time. When I agreed, she told her friends, who became very intrigued at learning her mom was writing this ‘big, epic fantasy,” according to my daughter. Now, I had to live up to the billing.
Her friends came over to the house to discuss the story. Nashville has becoming a city of immigrants and refugees, so most of them were from immigrant families, like Iraqi Kurds, Somilia, Laos, Kenya, Egypt. They crossed the cultural, ethnic and religious spectrum. The conversations turned personal and they asked direct questions, wanting to know what Americans thought, why Christian believed different. And they wanted direct answers. But mostly, they expressed the desire and need for hope. Coming to America was somewhat disappointing and they struggled to find what they believed was hope and a better life. Those conversations and expressed needs motivated me and the one book turned into a series in an attempt to provide answers and hope.
Tell us more about Heir Apparent. Is it available in print, ebook, and Kindle formats?
Allon Book 3 – Heir Apparent is a continuation of the series. Most of the characters from the previous 2 remain, with new ones added as the family grows. This one is based more around family issues, although not losing any of the fantasy elements.
Each book is self-contained, and I try not to leave ‘cliff-hangers’ but clues can be found to what may come later. It is available in print on Amazon. We are working on converting the series to e-books, and they should be ready shortly.
Do you think your writing has improved since your first attempt? If so, in what way?
Yes, there should be a natural improvement and progress as any author writes. To go from script to prose, I studied for 3 years. Where the course taught me about the mechanics of writing, it wasn’t until after the publication of my first book that I really grew as a writer and author. Baptism under fire, if you will. Not just the review factor, but being suddenly placed under the microscope of the public.
Were any of your books more challenging to write than the others? If so, why?
Actually, this one – Heir Apparent. If I say too much, I may give the story away. So I’ll just say, putting familiar characters you’ve lived with for so long through certain things isn’t easy.
You're so right, Shawn. I can relate.
Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?
Great question. I addressed this issue in my blog recently in a two-part post about free flow writing vs. flash card or plotting. I’m the free-flow type, I rarely make notes, keeping everything is in my head. Sounds difficult with a series, but I cringed at those lessons of plotting or writing character traits and scenes on flash cards then arranging them to form the story. It was too confining and frustrating.
Describe your ideal reader.
Funny, if you asked me this question when my first book came out, I would have describe the ideal reader different then now. I wrote for older teens, high school to college - but middle school kids have really grabbed onto the series. Kids as young as eight have read my books, even up to 88 year-old adults.
I tend to keep my stories clean of language and sex, although there is romance, danger and consequences to actions. So I would say, anyone who wants a good fantasy in the tradition of Narnia and Lord of the Rings is the ideal reader, regardless of age.
Where can folks learn more about your books and events?
I have both a blog and a website. The website is http://www.allonbooks.com Visitors will find access to all kinds of activities, an interactive map, character pages, excerpts, links to videos, FaceBook, Twitter. I have an email subscription list for the first alert of upcoming events, releases, special discount, etc. I do make announcements on the website in the New & Events section for the public.
The blog http://allonbooks-thekingdomofallon.blogspot.com/ is where I post about writing and publishing industry. I also encourage and accept private email from aspiring writers of all ages, and a few from across the global are picking my brain.
Thanks for letting us know more about you Shawn, and continued success!