Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Author Interview! Shandy Lawson THE LOOP

If you don't know who Shandy Lawson is, you soon will. 

A singer songwriter based in New York City, Shandy is the author of the fantastic new young adult novel, THE LOOP, coming this Tuesday, April 30th, 2013 from Disney Hyperion. I've read his stuff, and y'all, you need to check him out. I've asked him here to give us a little interview and to fill us in on his upcoming release.  Ladies and Gentlemen, Shandy Lawson.


Hello! I'm very happy to be here. Thank you, Stephen, for allowing me some paragraph space on your fine blog.

Before I answer the interview questions, I feel some backstory is in order, to put this guest-post into context.

The year was 2009, and I had just completed a first draft of THE LOOP. The economy was, as we all remember, in sorry shape, and I...

...Eh. I'm kind of realizing just now that this is a really long story. For the sake of expediency I'll cut straight to the wrap-up. I had typed it all out before seeing how long it was, so I'll just copy and paste the ending, which is really the only important part:

So, clearly the catapult worked even better than we had planned, and by the time I fished him out of the trees, Stephen had pretty much sworn off Mexican prisons as a source of quick cash. The armadillo population bounced right back (just as I had said it would) and thanks to top-notch doctoring on both sides of the border, Stephen and I both got our right arms reattached–– though with us being of similar height and build, the surgeons were not exactly sure which arm belonged to whom. To this day we can never be a hundred percent sure, but I like to think I have a little bit of Stephen with me wherever I go.

And if you're wondering about that poor girl with the hiccups, well... she didn't make it. Rest in peace, kiddo.

ANYWAY. True to his word, Mr. Duncan is letting me pimp my book on his blog. And all I had to do was bust him out of jail with a catapult. Gracias, amigo.

Where did the idea for the book come from?

My first agent kept complaining that I didn't have enough romance in my stories, so I thought I could shut him up by writing one where the universe draws these two teens together, only to have them get murdered over and over and OVER just as they're beginning to really fall in love. A little dark, sure, but I found the premise very romantic. 

[EPILOGUE] The agent didn't like that story either, so I found a better agent and now you can buy my story in stores and stuff.

What genre does your book fall under?

Young Adult Suspense, is what I'd call it. I'm not sure what Hyperion files it under. I should ask.

What actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

That's a tricky one, because I really have no idea who the young players are in Hollywood these days. I guess I could rule out the kids from the Twilight movies, just because there's something about them, the boy especially, that I don't like. The boy looks like maybe he doesn't smell so good or something.

But to (partially) answer the question, I'd cast Tom Waits in the role of Steve, since he can do sketchy like nobody else. I'm sure I'll come up with a better answer as soon as it's too late for one.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Set in New Orleans, two teen lovers desperately try to break out of a time loop that always ends with them being killed in a botched robbery.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Forty-six days. Followed by three and a half years of revision.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Hmm... I don't remember there being any one inspiration, mostly I just wanted to write something that hadn't already been done to death. Which is ironic, given how the story is predicated on the same events happening over and over and overnadoverandoverandover.

What else about the book might pique a reader's interest?

Well, my mom said it was the best novel written by one of her children that she's ever read.* Not too shabby, yeah?

*My mother has no other novel-writing offspring, and she has not actually read my previous novels.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

TAGGED! The Next Big Thing

by S. L. Duncan

So, nearly two months ago, Wendy Orr (NIM’S ISLAND, THE NIM STORIES) tagged me for this sort of blog chain letter called The Next Big Thing. As I am a complete slackass, I totally got tied up in the new job and have neglected all things writerly.

But no longer, I tells ya!

So, while I object to the implication that what I’ve written might be ‘the next big thing,’ I’ll play along.  Here’s my interview on how my first book, The Revelation Saga (Medallion Press, 2014) came to be!

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I was living in Birmingham and had graduated from college with this geographically useless film / broadcasting degree that was tethered to an equally useless lack of ambition and direction. Also, I was totally chickenshit when it came to the idea that I may have to move to LA or New York to make my dreams come true.

Instead of taking a leap of faith, I ended up in law school. In – no surprise here – Birmingham. Something about the sterile nature of legal writing for the classes I attended caused my creative inner self to revolt. At the same time, I was having this moment where my religious upbringing didn’t match with what I perceived in the real world. I began researching canonical and non-canonical religious texts, trying to figure it all out, and just got inspired. Basically, I wondered what would happen if the books of the Bible were compiled in error, and the one book that might hold the key to surviving the second war between the angels and demons had been purged by Constantine’s Rome in the homogenization of the religion. After living in England for a semester abroad, Gabriel Adam’s story began to materialize. Then it was just a matter of getting it down on paper.

In hindsight, I probably should have been studying Con Law or something.

What genre does your book fall under?

It’s a Young Adult Adventure / Thriller.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

I’m going to go with Jodie Foster, Abigail Breslin, Bindi Irwin, and Gerard Butler. I promise I didn’t steal this answer from Wendy Orr.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Seventeen-year-old Gabriel Adam learns he is the Archangel Gabriel born human and sent to stop the second war between Heaven and Hell.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Altogether, probably a year. I false started a lot. These days, I’m running about four months on a draft. The long hours come in editing.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Really, the experience inspired itself. It was fun, and that created a momentum until that last day when I typed “The End.”

What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?

My agent, John Rudolph of Dystel & Goderich Literary Management pitched the book as RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK meets some of the fantastical elements of HARRY POTTER.

Also, there may or may not be a dragon in it. 


I'm tagging agency siblings Shandy Lawson (THE LOOP, Disney/Hyperion April 30th, 2013), Andrew Smith (WINGER, Simon & Schuster May 14th, 2013), and Rachele Alpine (CANARY, Medallion Press August 1st, 2013).