I am please to welcome author Shannon Ryan into the spotlight today. Shannon lives in Iowa and loves to write funny urban fantasy stories. We all need a little more humor in our lives, right? Shannon started as a blogger has, just recently, become a published author.
Author Interview Shannon Ryan
Welcome to Second Run Reviews, Shannon! Thank you for being In the Spotlight. I appreciate you stopping by and answering a few questions. So let’s get things started.
In a tweet (140 characters or less), tell us a bit about yourself.
I love the unexplained: ghosts, UFOs, cabals, and secret agencies. I mix these with a sense of humor to comfort and captivate.
Wow! The unexplained can be so fascinating and sometime utterly creepy.
Please tell a bit about your journey to becoming a published author. What’s been the best things about it and the worst?
I started off with a blog, which never gained a huge amount of popularity, but I did have a few nice experiences. One of my posts was mentioned in a Slate article, one of my articles was read by the great Art Bell on the Coast to Coast Radio Program, and I was contacted by an editor for Cracked magazine who was looking for paid bloggers. Based on this, I decided my writing wasn’t horrible.
In 2006, I did a NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) where I wrote the rough draft that would become my book Fangs for Nothing. And after writing on my own for a couple years, I decided I needed to join a critique group if I wanted to take my writing to the next level. I joined the Noble Pen in Cedar Rapids and kept writing.
I tried the traditional route to getting published, but the most enthusiastic rejection called my work, “Way out where the busses don’t run.” I was flattered, but unrepresented, so I submitted my book Minion of Evil to a small press, and they ended up publishing my first two books in 2012.
From there, I continued to work on my novels, but I didn’t finish anything for the next couple of years due to a bout of bronchitis and chaos in my day job. But in 2014, I did an internship as an editor for KHP books, where I got to work on a few very good novels, including War of the Worlds: Goliath, by Adam J. Whitlatch.
Around this time, a friend of mine had started his own publishing company, Broken Typewriter, and I really wanted to work with him. My contracts were up on Fangs for Nothing and Minion of Evil, so we came out with new editions. Then, in 2015, we published my newest book Panic No More, a bit more ambitious that my previous offerings, but hopefully just as whimsical.
The best thing about becoming a writer is the terrific people I’ve met. I’ve found most of my fellow writers to be supportive, encouraging, and fun to be around.
The worst thing is the self-doubt that gnaws at my soul, threatening to plunge me into an abyss of self-loathing and despair, and people who don’t use the Oxford comma.
What a facinating journey. Adam was featured In the Spotlight last year so I am familiar with his work. And don’t worry, after interviewing several authors, I’ve found that many of them say the same thing as you regarding the worst thing.
You’ve attended ICON for a couple of years now. What do you enjoy about attending these types of events? What advice do you have for attendees? Do you have any brushes with fame or fun stories to share?
I was in my mid thirties before I attended a con, and ICON was my first. It wasn’t long that first year until I realized I had found my tribe. I pretty much like everything about a con. My only regret is not having enough time and energy to do more.
The very first panel I attended was with Jim C. Hines, early on Friday afternoon, and for the first five or ten minutes, Jim and I were the only ones in the room. He was the guest of honor that year, and I told him that someday I’d like to be sitting where he was. Jim offered to trade chairs with me.
I’m not much for fanboy moments, but I am a huge Trekkie, and “The Trouble with Tribbles” is one of my favorite original series episodes. I was at the dinner after the pre-ICON book signing this year when I realized I was sitting at the same table as David Gerrold, the writer of that episode.
I just starting attending Cons recently as well. After attending ICON 37, I became hooked. This past year I attended 3 different conventions and bought a membership to MidAmeriCon II in Kansas City in August.
What types of books do you enjoy reading the most? What three books to you find yourself recommending to your fans over and over?
This might come as a great surprise, but I enjoy humorous books. My all time favorite is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy—Douglas Adams was a genius taken from us when he was much too young.
Terry Pratchett is another of my favorite authors. It’s hard to pick out just one, but because I love a good Christmas book, I recommend Hogfather.
I also recommend the Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer. It’s the YA book I wish would have existed when I was fourteen.
I LOVED Artemis Fowl. That series was so clever and got overshadowed by Harry Potter. I wish more people would read the series especially if they like a bit of time travel.
What is your current obsession? Any secret obsessions you would like to share?
I’ve been doing a lot of UFO research lately. I actually got more into the subject after hearing a MUFON member give a lecture at Demicon a couple years ago.
I like to get on YouTube and watch the most outrageous videos I can find. I especially like ones about how the music industry is run by the devil and Jay-Z and Beyoncé are witches.
There is some pretty cool stuff on YouTube. I’m a fan of Honest Trailers and WatchMojo.
Any final thoughts or wise words you would like to share?
One of the hardest things about writing for me was putting myself out there once the project was done. I think we all try to spend our time hiding our crazy from other people, but writing involves letting your crazy out to play and setting it down on paper for posterity. At first, the prospect frightened me horribly, but after several years, I’ve almost gotten used to it.
I’m happy that you were able to overcome that fear, Shannon, and sharing your thoughts and your writing with us. I wish you all the best on your future projects and I hope you’ll be In the Spotlight again.
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Synopsis: Even the best families can have dark secrets.
Some people would say that Nick Baker has it all: the trust fund, the family connections, and the country club membership. However, the Baker dynasty is in decline, and being a Baker comes with obligations as well as a family history of insanity.
Already prone to panic attacks, when Nick sees a supernatural creature dancing outside his office window, he wonders if he’s just hallucinating or suffering a complete mental collapse. However, the creature is all too real, and it has come to collect on a promise made by one of Nick’s ancestors, the secret of the Baker’s success. Nick must choose between thwarting the ambitions of his family or facing the wrath of an ancient god.