Shawn currently has two novels published. The first, The Space Between, was published through Martin Sisters Publishing (MSP) in 2013. More recently, MSP has picked up the sequel entitled The Devil’s Revenge which is due to release in late 2014/early 2015. In addition, he has numerous short stories in publications such as Writers’ Journal, SpeckLit, and Flashes in the Dark.
1. How long have you been writing and what got you started?
I have been writing stories since I was old enough to write, just a fun way to pass the time. It wasn’t until my summer break after my second year of college that I wrote my first novel. At that time, I was working overnights at a summer job and needed something to pass the hours as I sat awake on my nights off. (This was the early 90s and so I did not have a computer with an internet connection, my friends all slept during the night, and TV consisted of mostly infomercials.) The manuscript that I created during those lonely summer nights was never published, but it did one thing for me. It confirmed what I already suspected: I wanted to be fiction writer. The rest, as they say is history.
2. What is the best piece of advice you have for new writers?
Never stop writing and never stop reading. The written word is your craft and the more you immerse yourself in it, the better you become.
3. Are there any writing resources, such as books or websites, you’d like to recommend?
http://www.writersdigest.com is a great site full of resources for writers. Also, find out if your favorite authors have books about their writing journey. For example: Stephen King wrote one that I thoroughly enjoyed and drew inspiration from. I believe the title of that book is: On Writing, A Memoir of the Craft.
4. What is your favorite type of fiction and who are your favorite authors?
Wow. That is a hard question for me to answer. I guess my favorite genres are Horror and Fantasy, but I also dabble in other areas of fiction as well. Some of my favorite writers are: Dean Koontz, Stephen King, C.S. Lewis, Edgar Allen Poe, J.K. Rowling, Nicholas Sparks, Shell Silverstein, Max Lucado, Markus Zusak, and Dr. Seuss.
5. What tips do you have for finding time to write?
I live in a house with my four kids and wife. I do my best writing in silence by myself. Given this information, I am sure you can see how my role as father and husband might conflict with my ability to produce good writing. In order to juggle all of my roles, I often do my writing early in the morning before my kids get up for school, late at night after they go do bed and also on my lunch break at work. There are some tasks related to writing that I can do with the family present and I reserve those tasks for those times. For example: setting up book-signing events, communicating with Literary Agents and publishers, etc. (Also, I would like to point out that I have a very loving wife and family that understands my need to do what I do – I could not be a writer without their understanding and support).
6. Do you prefer to outline a story in advance or write on the fly? Why?
I might write one page of what most people would interpret to be scribbled gibberish. My plot outlines are mostly in my brain. My characters are there as well. Many writers that I have spoken with prefer to do more of a hardcopy outline. For me, it just isn’t necessary and is more fun because my mental outline is so fluid and constantly evolving (often unexpectedly). While I am writing – there are times when my pen (yes, my first drafts are handwritten) almost seems to be writing of its own accord faster than my conscious mind can perceive. To all writers who might be reading this interview and have tried this approach, I believe you probably know exactly what I am trying to describe. For any writers that might wish to try this approach, fair warning: it can be quite the rush.
7. How do you deal with rejections?
That is the hard part about being a writer. Rejection comes with the territory. In fact, at least for me, rejection is the majority. I won’t lie, it can really bring you down at times. Here is how I deal with it: I just remember why I am doing what I am doing to begin with. I write because I love to write. I tell myself that whether I am rejected or accepted, I can only do my best and nothing more. My faith helps with this. I am a Christian and as such understand that all things are in God’s hands. As a final thought: now that I have a good list of publishing credits to my name (two traditionally published novels and numerous short stories) I can keep in mind that if I had given up because of all the rejection, then those credits would not be mine. That is a huge impetus to ‘keep on keepin on’ (to quote the brilliant Joe Dirt).
8. What are your writing goals for the next twelve months?
I am currently trying to obtain agent representation for a YA thriller that I have written about the adventures of a boy growing up in Norfolk Nebraska in the 1980s (by the way, Norfolk is my hometown) and hope to have said representation within the next twelve months if not sooner. Also, I am currently working on the third and final installment of The Space Between trilogy a Fantasy Apocalyptic thriller series – the first two of this series are currently available in print and electronic formats from Martin Sisters Publishing.
9. For the next five years?
I would like to become a full-time writer. Currently, I work in sales and marketing in order to pay the bills. However, my writing income has been steadily increasing over the last three years (an answer to my prayers) and I hope to continue that trend until I can be what I feel God has created me to be: a full-time Fiction Writer.
10. Is there anything you’d like to plug? Feel free to share a link.
I hope nobody thinks this to be shameless self-promotion (it is of course, but I don’t want anyone to think it), but feel free to visit my website at www.shawnbrinkauthor.wordpress.com in order to learn more about me as a writer, as well as how and where to purchase my books or view my stories.