Long and Short Reviews welcomes Shawn Martin whose latest book Forget Me Not is released today. Forget Me Not is the second book of the Shadowflesh Series. Leave a comment for a chance to win one of two print copies of the book.
The books in the Shadowflesh Series are as follows: Shadowflesh (February 2013), Forget Me Not (March 2013), Invisible Ink, Shadow of Doubt, and Nevermore (the last three TBA). Shawn subscribes to the theory that even though a picture is worth a thousand words, a poet believes a word is worth a thousand pictures–so he tried keeping his titles concise, using words that were rich with passion, lament, fear, and dreamy imagery.
“If, for example, I had called the books Aileen’s Story, Aileen’s Other Story, etc… the titles may have been accurate, but they wouldn’t have made anyone’s world move. Titles should make the ground quake and the skies swirl,” he explained.
Much of what is in Shadowflesh and Forget Me Not was taken out of the pages of Shawn’s personal experiences. He encountered bullies and intolerant religious types and outcasts who hid in the shadows. In fact, the outcasts–the group who belonged to no group–was the group he hung out with in high school. They hid themselves from the bullies, or simply hid from themselves. He has known both love and pain, life and death. He has seen dreams come true and nightmares shatter hearts.
“Somehow I had managed to survive those years with my memories intact, without reconfiguring my past to conform with the future I had constructed,” he said. “Of course some of the paranormal elements were spawned in my imagination, but they were nourished from both the darkest and brightest days of my teen years.”
For the last several months, Shawn has been working on the third installment in the Shadowflesh Series, Invisible Ink.
“I had found myself with the book nearly finished, but felt it lacked the passion and promise of the other two books. That was likely a grim reflection of my personal life,” he admitted. “However, my darkness has been vanquished, and light is shining on both Invisible Ink and my life once again. I’m spending my nights rewriting the story and hope to have it out sometime next year.”
Shawn began writing fiction during his high school days. I asked him to tell us about some of his early writing.
“Everything from a touching tale about a killer whale falling in love with a submarine, or a musical play about a lonely girl trapped in an insane asylum, all mirroring the time when Alice had been admitted to Wonderland Memorial, or heart-wrenching excuses written to school counselors telling them why poor Shawn had missed school the last three days because he had saving nuns lost in a cave,” he said. “Ten years ago, I spent serious time refining my art, hoping that one day it would rise up to the level of being a talent. After many Zen moments of near success consumed by the dragon of failure, my status went from amateur to pro in February 2013, with the publication of Shadowflesh.”
“Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?” I asked. “If so, what do you do about it?”
“When writer’s block comes to visit, it often plans on staying a while. It robs the psychic nourishment from my mental fridge. It kicks me out of my bed, steals the remote, and worst of all, runs away my muse—that super-secret inner voice which whispers words into my pen and breathes life into my soul. I fight writer’s block by forcing myself to get a change of scenery, a change of perspective, and a change of attitude. Writer’s block doesn’t like change, and he often slams the door and leaves. Then my muse comes wandering back home, ready to tell me about her adventures.”
Shawn told me that he doesn’t invent his characters as much as he meets them, just like he meets people. He will find himself immersed in a situation or event, where new and interesting people cross his path, and he gets to know them.
“So, really the plot, in its rawest, brutish form, comes first,” he told me. “Then I meet the characters, and they blossom like a rose nearly a week after Valentine’s Day. But then once I get to know my characters, the plot grows and details emerge, and more characters are met. And so on, and so on. Plot does indeed come first, but it is woven in with the characters so much that it’s easy to lose sight of where it all began.”
“What is your work schedule like when you are writing?” I wondered.
“I have to balance my writing schedule with the other obligations in my life. While I’d like to be one of those old Victorian authors in his oak paneled study puffing on a pipe in his red velvet smoking jacket, writing, writing, writing, I live in the 21st Century and am a slave to our times. I work as a firefighter, which has my undivided attention 24 hours out of every 72. I don’t write on duty, so that gives me two days to devote to my stories. I prefer the late evening into the early morning hours for writing. My inhibitions are low and my creativity is high, a perfect combination for spilling ink onto paper.”
“Now, a fun question. Have you ever eaten a crayon?”
“Wow, what a question! I’m afraid the answer is, yes. I’ll offer this explanation, which should never be interpreted as justification. When I was young—grade school young—and far from my finest moment, I had upgraded from the standard sixteen crayon box to the exquisite sixty-four crayon box. The colors had such fascinating names, such as mulberry, and mulberries sounded absolutely delicious. The crayon looked so ripe, and I thought, what could be the harm? One nibble later and I was sorely disappointed. It tasted nothing like any berry I had ever eaten. It more closely resembled wax and made my teeth feel gummy. Since then, I’ve sworn off crayons.”
“Thanks for stopping by! And, good luck with the new book.”
“It was a joy sharing a little about myself with you, and I want to offer a big Thank You to Long and Short Reviews. Never stop reading, dreaming, and living.”
About the AuthorShawn Martin calls Springfield, Missouri, home. After graduating from Missouri State University with majors in Economics and Political Science, he bounced around the Midwest only to end up right where he started.
His day (and night) job is being a firefighter. Aside from rescuing cats in trees and removing burnt pot roasts from ovens, he spends his time finding the hardest way to do the simplest of things. The rest of his time is spent weaving words into another installment in the Shadowflesh Series.
Fortune has smiled on seventeen year old Aileen McCormick ever since Addison came back into her life, giving her the love she has so desperately longed for. That is, until a mysterious man slithers across her path and slips a spellbinding cameo around her neck. The cameo holds more than just the image of an enchantress who hungers for souls. It possesses a curse that strangles away every memory Aileen has of Addison.
Addison, a three hundred year old fugitive from the netherworld, recognizes the wretched woman inside the cameo and the curse she has cast on his unsuspecting love. The enchanted cameo has but one purpose: to torment Aileen with hints of love she can no longer recall.
Nothing more than a stranger to Aileen, Addison insists that she knows him, that she has felt his lips on hers. Thinking the handsome young man in his leather jacket and dark Wayfarers is playing some cruel game, she pushes him away and runs into the arms of Geoff, the one person who could ever rival Addison.
Geoff has waited oh, so long for Aileen. Before the opportunity slips away, he sweeps her off her feet at the Christmas masquerade ball. But fate thrusts Aileen into Addison’s waiting arms. One passionate kiss later, she knows beyond a shadow of doubt that she loves the icy stranger with smoky blue eyes.
Her newfound love is overshadowed by tantalizing hints of the first love she shared with Addison, just beyond her memory’s reach. And remembering comes at too high a price. Aileen cannot escape the deadly cameo. She runs for her life with the curse only a breath away. If she truly wants her memory back, the enchantress is all too willing to restore it. It will cost her, though. Cost her everything.