Hey there guys!
Another Tuesday and I have the pleasure of welcoming here another Author.
Shannon Baker is the Author of the new Thriller “Ashes of The Red Heifer” and you can check out my review HERE!
Shannon has also been very cool and is offering a signed copy or an eBook copy of the book (your choice) to my US readers or an eBook copy of the book for an International reader.
Giveaway deets at the end of the post…
- When did you first start writing?
I was a closet writer. My older sister was always the one with deep thoughts and she was the writer. I was shallow actor. A college English professor strongly encouraged me to write and I’ll never forget his comment on one of my papers: “You have a real facility for the language.” Of course, I didn’t believe him and it was years before I really let myself write seriously.
- Did you do a lot of research?
Writing about Judaism, Islam, and Jerusalem was pretty unlikely for a Nebraska rancher like me, so yes, I did a ton of research. The issue of the red heifer and what people are striving for and how they corrupt what should be good, grabbed me by the heart and absolutely wouldn’t let go. I loved researching--books, Internet, tours, talking to experts. The hard part was stopping the research and writing the book. The really hard part was cutting all the really cool things I’d learned to keep the plot moving along.
- Why writing a thriller with such a strong religious theme?
Religion fascinates me. Seems to me, it all starts out based on goodness and some pretty universal mores. But people ultimately corrupt it as they reach for power. Some religions are more corrupt than others. You have only to look at today’s headlines to see that. And yet, if you look a bit beyond headlines, you see some really great things that faith has accomplished—and sometimes that faith acts within the confines of religion.
- Did you have any preconceived notions about the Islamic or Jewish religions, that changed after researching them?
I developed a lot of respect for the ideals in both religions. I warmed to the humor I found in Judaism.
- Were you ever afraid of being too controversial?
As much as I recognize this book will piss off some people, I’m so much of that “good girl” that I hate it if someone doesn’t like me. Well, maybe not so much. Even before it was published, I was attacked pretty vitriolically by two people on separate occasions, both critquers in a neutral setting. It didn’t bother me too much. I figured if they wanted to take issue with my characters, they could write their own books.
- Favorite Movie? Gone With The Wind
- Favorite TV Show? Deadwood (but they only ran 3 seasons!)
- Favorite Book? Winnie-The-Pooh
- Favorite Author? Barbara Kingsolver
- Who is your favorite of your own characters?
Right now it is Nora Abbott, the protagonist of my work in progress. I like her because she’s always conflicted. She tries to do the right thing but messes up and feels bad. And through it all, she’s got a dry sense of humor. Other characters see her as brave and smart, despite her self-deprecating internals. Or maybe it’s Barrett McCreary, the villain of that book. He’s diabolical but it’s all for the best of reasons.
- Which character was the hardest to write?
Hassan in Ashes of the Red Heifer was difficult and he kept changing. I didn’t know if I wanted him to be a good guy or a bad guy or a love interest or best friend, clever or clueless. I must have written that ambiguity into him because after she read the finished book, my daughter had a whole different take on him than I did. I like that.
- What would you be if not a writer?
A drunk. One of my favorite things is to sit in the sun and drink beer. If I didn’t have a reason to stay clear headed, I just might not!
- Coffee or Tea? Coffee first thing, tea, then beer.
- Up or Down? Up
- Virtual or Real? Real
- Right or Left? I never can tell the difference. I used to use my wedding ring as a clue. But I don’t wear one now.
- Friends or Seinfeld? Seinfeld
- Rolling Stones or The Beatles? Stones (my first date with my husband was to a Stones concert)
- Reading or Writing? Reading… or writing. No, reading. Wait…
- What is your favorite part of the writing process?
First draft imagination, no editing, just GO.
- What is your least favorite part?
Making the plot pieces fit.
- "Ashes of the Red Heifer" in your own words?
Truth, lies, myth, God, Really!? I mean, Really!!?? Danger.
- What is coming up next for you?
This isn’t writing related but I’m going on a 9-day Colorado River rafting trip through the Grand Canyon in June. I can’t wait! Who knows, it might end up in book—would I be able to write it off my taxes?
- What are you working on right now?
I’m working on another thriller with religious overtones—Sacred Balance. It is set in Flagstaff AZ (where I currently live), so I don’t have to worry about getting the setting wrong. But I’m exploring ancient Hopi, which is a very secretive religion, so more new stuff.
- Do you have any advice or tip to those like me that want to become a published Author someday?
If you must, you must. But this is not a path for sissies! Develop a very thick skin and then expose yourself. Go to conferences, join a good critique group, study craft. But more than anything, write. I suspect, since you are so involved with books and writers, you know this already. I wish there was an easier way and that there was more success for everyone. I heard a seasoned agent address a group at a conference many years ago and she said something that stuck with me. She said to ask yourself this question: “If you knew you’d never get published, would you still write?” If the answer is no, then quit and do something else. If the answer is yes, then write for the joy of it.
- Anything you would like to say to your fans out there?
I love that you used the word “fans!” It’s like calling me an equestrian because I can sit in a saddle! But I would like to tell anyone interested in the research, “facts,” timelines, etc of the red heifer, to stop by my website:http://Shannon-Baker.com
Thanks, Larissa, for having me here. I know you take issue with some things in the book and I appreciate that you enjoyed it anyway! I also love your eclectic and voracious reading habits! Truly, the best of luck with your publishing pursuits.
Thank you for stopping by!
Now for the Giveaway!
There will be ONE winner!
You can Win a signed copy or an eBook copy of the book (your choice) to my US readers or an eBook copy of the book for an International reader.
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Thanks so much for tuning in and I’ll see you soon!