Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Kate Eileen Shannon Tries to Raise TFA's Irish

An author herself, Kate Shannon can ask some tough questions. You should check her blog on a regular basis. Last week she went after The Famous Author with both barrels and managed to rough him up pretty good. Can you believe he's still wearing that hula shirt? Here are the questions Kate thought to ask him:

Are you as interesting as Austin?

Heavens no. I read and write all day long, then a TV show or two, go to sleep. Guys don’t get much more boring than me.

Why are you using that old picture again? I thought Austin and I had cleared that up!

It’s all I have, plus the marketing department (the wife) says I need to look younger. And you should never believe Austin. He’s a big liar.

I heard your granddaughter has a coloring book that has sold better than your books. Care to share a link?

No way. You think I’m going to help her sell more books than  me?

If the Playboy Channel (do they still have that?) were to pick this up as a TV series, who do you see playing Austin since George Clooney is too old?

Johnny Depp would do Austin Carr nicely, I think. He dresses up very well.

Is your wife a redhead?

Not this one. But my first love was, my high school sweetheart. I married her when I was twenty. We were just kids and really didn’t like each other much, so the marriage only lasted four years, but at least she was a redhead.

You know I am not the only guy who has a thing for redheads. It’s documented. Maybe it’s just because they stand out — they’re different. All I know for sure is that my interest goes back further than high school and my first wife — all the way to Lucille Ball. I LOVE LUCY was a popular TV show at our house, and she was not only gorgeous, but funny. I like funny. Silly is really good, too, and ridiculous … well, ridiculous makes me hot.

I know you will be re-releasing BIG MOJO but what do you have in the works that is new and can you share a bit about it?

Actually BIG MOJO is new, never before published. I’m still in the process of final editing as I answer your questions. And there are many important changes coming to Austin’s world in this third episode. In #2 BIG MONEY I introduce a new character, Mr. Vic’s grandmother, Mama Bones, and in #3 BIG MOJO, she becomes a major player in Austin’s life and the series. She is a strong and interesting character. Writing #4 BIG SHOES, I’ve had trouble keeping Mama Bones under control. She wants my job. I’ve heard writers say, oh, yeah, it was thrilling that my character came alive and just took over the book. But that’s not for me. The story is mine, Mama Bones. You can’t have it.

We joke around but the fact is you have mad skills when it comes to writing. Seat of the pants with clean up in edit or careful plotting with editing as you go along with your writing?

Kind of you to say I have writing skills. I work hard to keep them hidden. As for my process, the first draft is exploratory. I don’t know exactly what my story is until the first draft is done, so I don’t spend much time rewriting while I’m getting that first pass on paper (computer). I let the manuscript sit a few weeks, then read it, decide what the story is REALLY about. Next is a crude outline — one line is one scene — then the second draft. This is the hardest part for me. Everything has to make sense this time. One chapter should follow the next without hitch. In other words, I really have to work on this draft. The third and final pass is pure fun — I play with words, usually cutting as many as I add. This is when I click on the thesaurus and find another way to say something I’ve said before, and paint things up a bit. One writing instructor called this part “adding sparkle chips.”

I know you are active n MWA. Any plans to teach a class with MWA University? There are lots of us who would sign right up!

You really are a peach, aren’t you Kate — thinking I should teach a class in writing. Nice idea, very flattering, but I don’t believe MWA would agree. My books are not eligible for their awards, nor I can sell them at MWA events. In some cases, I can’t even attend as an author. I’m not grousing — my publisher is new and MWA has rules — but I think MWA would like to limit my activities to attending events and paying dues. I really appreciate your saying that, however. Thank you.

Now three things I ask everyone that have nothing to do with writing or your book:

What is your favorite food? Deep fried beef tacos. Anything Mexican is a close second.

What is your favorite TV show? Justified on FX. The producer Graham Yost has done just what he said he wanted to do — put Elmore Leonard stories on television.

What is your favorite music? I grew up listening and dancing to rockabilly, so give me three major chords and a dance beat, watch me go. Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmy Bowen, and Elvis shaped my life for years. Sun Records Rules!

Thank you so much for showing up yourself this time. Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers before you go?

I want to thank people for taking the time to read my work. For most writers this is all we really want — for readers to be entertained by our efforts — and so often we never find out if our plan worked. I spent so many years being rejected by agents and publishers, so many words written that have never been read, I find now myself overwhelmed with the number of reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. There are millions of books to read these days, but I can see people are in fact giving me a chance. It’s wonderful. And thank you.

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