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Interview: Shannon Kennedy

Welcome to Readers Write to Know!  I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance.  This week, I’m so pleased to introduce to you Shannon Kennedy.  Shannon is a horsemanship teacher and substitute teacher who comes up with story ideas while she mucks out stalls or drives her bulldozer named Frou Frou.  I had the best time with this interview, and hope you enjoy Shannon’s answers to your questions as much as I did.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Shannon lives (and works) at her family business, Horse Country Farm, just outside of Granite Falls. Teaching kids to ride and know about horses since 1967, she finds in many cases, she’s taught three generations of families. Her life experiences span adventures from dealing cards in a casino, attending graduate school to get her Masters in Teaching degree, being a substitute teacher, and serving in the Army Reserve – all leading to her second career as a published author. Using her grandmother’s name of Josie Malone, she writes mainstream western romance. Her third book, A Woman’s Place just came out in trade paperback. Throw Away Teen, a young adult novel, will be out in December from Black Opal Books and No Horse Wanted will be a July 2013 release from Fire & Ice YA . Shannon is the newest contributing writer for Mountain Loop exPress.

What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block?

When I attended Washington State University several years ago, I really wanted to find a critique group in Pullman, WA. I did and learned a great deal from the other writers who met once a week at the Skippers restaurant in nearby Moscow, ID. We traded our latest chapters. Then we were expected to read our work from the previous week aloud, getting not only written critiques but verbal ones as well.

The name of the group was Writer’s Bloc, and the expectation of regular submissions to critique along with the assignments due for my English and History courses since I was doing a “double major” meant there wasn’t time for me to opt out. I had to write every day either for class or for critique. As more experienced members told me, it’d be easier to listen to their advice if I brought in the “raw” or “rough drafts.” After all, I’d be revising and polishing that work anyway. I still send my first drafts off to my critique partners and try to write every day.

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Muse Monday: Links

But in pursuing writers’ blogs, I have noticed that many of them do not have ANY obvious “follow me” signs. I have to hunt and search for Facebook links,Twitter handles, and Google+ pages, and often I can’t find them. I’ve had to go so far as to search for their names in Facebook or Twitter and then make guesses as to whether I’ve found the right person or not.

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Interview: Matthew R. Horn

In my world of romance writers, it’s so refreshing to have a guest on my blog who is a man and who writes a different kind of story.  The one he talks about in this interview is about a masked vigilante, a hero, the war internally and externally between good and bad.  I am excited to introduce to you author Matthew R. Horn.

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I live in a small town in north central Indiana with my wife and our newborn Ella (10 weeks old).  I am the Chief Financial Officer for our small family company Modern Materials, Inc.  I am an active guy, I love to play basketball and tennis.  I love water activites like skiing, wakeboarding, kneeboarding, and swimming.  My wife and I both love to run or go for walks.  I am a deacon at Macy Christian Church and I often counsel people on personal finances.

Tell us about your current release. 

The Good Fight was released by Brighton Publishing in September ’11.  It is my first published work and is 200 pages long.  It is about a young boy named Jeff who is bounced around from family members to orphanages before finally ending up on the street.  After getting into some trouble, his life is saved by a dark-suited vigilante.  The instance is life-changing for Jeff who goes back to the orphanage and goes back to school.  16 years later, Jeff has the opportunity to save the life of the vigilante.  In doing so he learns the man’s identity, only he is not quite the hero Jeff thought he would be.  Jeff becomes the hero’s reluctant protege, and eventually is forced to decide to either wear the suit himself to stop his former mentor, or let things be and try to continue on with his life.  The decision will affect everything that Jeff has worked so hard to become.

What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block?

Writer’s block is a real doozy.  I have tried a lot of things.  My most prolific failure was to start 8 different book ideas at the same time.  At the time I figured my problem was my interest level and that if I had a lot of books going all together that surely at least one of them would interest me.  That really didn’t work.  What I’ve come to find is that sometimes I’m blocked and there just isn’t anything I can do about it.  I wait patiently until my next idea comes and then get back to it with a passion.  Patience really is the most effective way for me.

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The Faith Element

Oh, but the story is a GOOD story. GOOD. GOOD. This is the kind of story that a reader would totally devour.

At my book signing, we were all standing around talking about it. I explained that looked at it and looked at it and thought, it’s a good story, it can be cleaned up, but I honestly don’t know that a faith element would add to the book. So, maybe I’ll just make it a “clean” romance and publish it like that.

Everyone encouraged me and said it was a great idea.

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