Friday, March 25, 2011

Get to Know the Author: Shawn Lamb

Today's Get to Know You Interview is with Shawn Lamb, an award winning screen writer. Now she's moving into YA fantasy novels. Welcome to JDP News, Shawn!

JDP: Did your mother read to you as a child?

Shawn: No, I can’t recall if my mother read to me. Then again, at my age, recalling things from childhood is hit and miss. lol  We did read to my daughter and encouraged, especially with the classics. So much emphasis is placed on being current that many fine works are ignored or even scorned. The use of refined language and words is frowned upon, replaced by short-cuts in speech, email and Twitter.

JDP: Do you remember a favorite book from your childhood?

Shawn: I had so many favorites books as a kid, but I’d say the one that really caught my attention was The Three Musketeeers by Alexandre Dumas. From that I developed a love for historical fiction.

JDP: Ooo, ooo, ooo! (Jumping up and down!) The Three Musketeers is one of my favorite books EVER! Okay, settling down now. Name a favorite author as an adult.

Shawn: Again I have to narrow down my list of favorite authors to only one. That being the case, I’ll say Alistair MacLean. He set the stage and standard for writers like Tom Clancy and wartime thrillers. MacLean’s mastery of description even translated well to first person, not a POV I’m fond of and rarely read. 

JPD: Another thing we have in common. 1st person isn’t my first choice of POV for reading, either, although I’ll admit a few of my favorite books are written in 1st person. I haven’t read Alistair MacLean, but I recall him being a favorite author of my sister’s.

Shawn: But those who most influenced my love for history and desire to become a writer were John Jakes, Taylor Caldwell, Dumas, and Mary Stewart. I LOVE reading historical fiction where you can’t tell the fictional characters from the real people. The type of story that puts you there and used history to guide the story, not as flavoring. Where a full cast, rich description and emotional speech are welcomed and not the austere approach of today with few characters, little physical description and no dialogue tags. I believe an author doesn’t need to sacrifice a good pace for description and solid identifying dialogue.

JDP: As an historical author myself, I agree with you there! Can you share a book you’ve read and enjoyed multiple times?

Shawn: What title I’ve read the most is a tie between San Andreas and HMS Ulysses, both by Aliastair MacLean and both about warfare in the North Atlantic during WWII. HMS Ulysses was his first novel and unbelievable in ability to make one feel the emotions and reality of the men and time, drawing upon his experience with the merchant marines. Great example of what I meant about not having to sacrifice pacing and action for description and dialogue. They can all live together and create a fine story.

JDP: Again, I agree with you. Now, Kindle, Nook, or good old hard copy?

Shawn: Good old hard copy!  There is nothing like the feel of a book in your hand, or the paper cuts on your fingers. Not only is a book easily transportable, but doesn’t need batteries or electricity. Battery acid doesn’t have the same effect as a paper cut.

JDP: What’s your favorite place to read?

Shawn: I don’t really have a favorite place to read. Some times I read sitting in a recliner, other times I read in bed – only that doesn’t last long before sleep takes over. Another age factor.

JDP: What are your three favorite reading genres?

Shawn: Three genres? Historical fiction is by far my favorite – European mostly since I think Civil War and westerns are overdone. I guess after that would be mystery – but historical mystery like Ellis Peters or Simon Beaufort. I don’t venture much beyond older authors since I don’t want to read graphic sex or foul language - which is hard to find from today’s authors and another example of the degraded use of language.

Surprisingly, I read very little fantasy, although I write it. I shape my fantasy stories from history, mythology and culture.

JDP: What’s the last book you read?

Shawn: Chasing Mussolini by Zarle Williams. Zarle is a friend and fellow YA author and wrote a fascinating book based on the real life story of Antonio Buffa and his childhood living in Fascist Italy during WWII. She even traveled to Italy with Antonio to met is long lost friend from the war.

JDP: What are you’re reading now?

Shawn: I’m not reading at the moment. I’m busy promoting Allon #3 Heir Apparent for publication in April, preparing for 2 major conventions this spring, followed by editing and prepping Allon #4 – A Question of Sovereignty for summer release, then 2 more festivals in the fall.

JDP: What’s next on your reading list.

Shawn: Ditto answer #9. If I can fit in time to read I will, then I’ll read whatever strikes my fancy for the mood I’m in.

JDP: What you would like to read more of? (author, genre, etc)

Shawn: Historical fiction. I’d like to see if any of my favorite authors have anything new I haven’t read or maybe re-read something I haven’t in years.

JDP: Share a favorite book that you’ve read in the last 12 months

Shawn: Chasing Mussolini. I wish Zarle had written more in-depth, but it is YA book and gives a glimpse into the hard life under the Fascist regime.

JDP: Thank you so much for joining us today, Shawn!

More about Shawn! : Shawn has written for children’s television and won several screenwriting awards, including a Certificate of Merit from the American Screenwriters Association. She current lives in Nashville with her husband of over 25 years and their daughter, a budding film concept designer. Visit her at her website  (It is a kid friendly site, complete with interactive map and character pages.)

Allon -Book 3 - Heir Apparent will be released spring 2011, but a short summary, link to the video trailer and excerpt can be found on the website.

Summary of Allon: Book 1

The land of Allon was a paradise until the fall of the Guardians paved the way for the rise of the Dark Way. Evil King Marcellus now controls the land as his forefathers did, with an iron fist and the help of the evil spirit, Dagar. But an ancient prophecy speaks of a time to come when the Guardians will return and Allon will be restored—lead by its rightful heir. All the while, the exiled teenage Promised Prince, Ellis, must prove himself worthy to be king through a series of supernatural trials that test his character, wisdom, courage, and his heart. The first in the Allon series, this magical tale of adventure, destiny, and faith will test the reader’s strength and awaken their spirit of adventure.

1 comment:

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