Here we are with another Inquisition! Has it been a month already? You bet it has, and today our hot seat holds author Shaunna Gonzales. Hello Shaunna, and welcome.
Shaunna: I knew a veteran as a child and I will not soon forget the cautions when playing with him. He would bounce me on his feet in the air or let me use his huge muscular frame as my personal "jungle gym" as long as he was on his back and invited me to do so. He loved children and still does. Never, ever could I touch or try to tackle him from behind. Today I know why. Then I didn't.
What have you learned in your research that has surprised you most about PSTD?
Shaunna: It amazes me how common this is on one level or another. Most cases of PST are not extreme, but if you think about an experience in your life that frightened you, you might realize you deal with the post traumatic stress. For me, I was in a car accident as a child. It was during winter months and the car flew several feet into the snow. (I drew on this experience for a scene in the book.)
There was a situation in my life many years ago involving a helicopter. It was years before I could hear a helicopter nearby without an ominous feeling. But let’s move on to something lighter. What is your favorite bit of writing advice?
Shaunna: Write what you know and love. Write for yourself, not your imagined perfectly matched editor or publisher. Should you one day find them, they will, if they know their stuff and we all hope they do, bruise you and your precious fledgling novel. (Smile - those bruises heal and make you both better.)
So you have imaginary publishers too? [whispers off stage: I thought I was the only one.] You can’t imagine how relieved I am to hear that. [smiles happily]
Yes. And you shouldn’t let him or her bruise you either. That’s abuse, and totally unnecessary in writing. [whispers off stage: I need to start bringing counselors to these interviews.]
Shaunna: You misunderstand—
It doesn’t matter if you have a misunderstanding. Don’t let your imaginary publishers and editors abuse you. Be strong woman! Stand up for yourself!
Shaunna: I have a real publisher. Not a pretend one.
Oh. [shoulders slump] Well don’t let them abuse you either.
Shaunna: [raises eyebrows] Can we move to the next question?
Sure. What do you when you’re feeling the dreaded [whispers:] writer’s block?
Shaunna: I often become stumped, especially in my current WIP. Those are times to take a water or food break to feed the head and the body.
They say the way to every writer’s heart is through his/her stomach.
Shaunna: Of course there is the nature break.
I like walking out in nature too. I don’t do it often though. I live in the city.
Shaunna: [frowning] If the stump was small, it is usually fixed with the small distraction. Other times I have to walk away and get involved in living until the "Wow, it's been awhile. I better go see what is happening in my WIP." Some times that is just a day, but other times a bit longer.
Some of my neighbors plant flowers in the bigger stumps in their yard. Have you tried that? The small ones are a tripping hazard. You can burn them out, did you know?
Shaunna: What? [turns head sideways, brows pinched together]
When you’re feeding your head and body, what do you feed it?
Shaunna: I have an antique library desk with drawers and usually I will stash whatever sugary treat that caught my fancy there. It varies, on the healthy side to nuts, sometimes chocolates and right now? Sour Patch Watermelon.
What is your writing process after your initial story idea?
Shaunna: For me, and I don't advise doing this. Pray for inspiration then sit down and let my fingers follow the racing, but calm thoughts. If I really listen, there aren't a lot of changes. With my current WIP it is different, this WIP has been written for a while, submitted more times than I care to count and yet, it won't let me sleep. Basically I'm merging the thoughts with what is already there on the page. Some of it is good and needs to be kept, some of it needs to be deleted.
So, you don’t advise authors to pray? [eyes open wide in disbelief]
Shaunna: I do advise authors to pray. I don’t advise ... well, never mind. Next question.
Are you a plotter or a pantster?
Shaunna: I'm a pantster. Sometime it gets me in trouble, like now with Talisman. I have to keep it fresh enough that I don't get bored knowing how it ends.
Do you have a favorite flavor of ice cream?
Shaunna: That's easy, Rocky Road, preferably Dreyers Grand Light (I used to work for Dreyers.)
Meep! [lip quivers] You worked for Dreyers? [takes a shaky breath. Turns to the side: I don’t know if I can continue. Then, nods] Do you have a favorite writer’s ice cream—I mean memory? Writer’s memory?
Shaunna: The day I knew Dark Days of Promise would be published. I didn't know by whom or when, I just knew it would be.
Tell us a little about your newest book coming out. The title, blurb, genre, publisher etc.
Shaunna: Dark Days of Promise is an Inspirational Romantic Suspense published by Desert Breeze Publishing. Release date is September 21, 2012.
Thirty-four year old Vicki Laramie must learn to trust before she can love, but she might die trying.
While Vicki’s children grapple with the death of their father—a man whom she’s successfully fabricated as a loving father, a lie her rebellious teenager recognizes—she must find a way to support her family and find a role model for her boys. She never intends to fall for Staff Sergeant Chase, her best friend’s son, who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She’d much rather choose a safer man to love, but her children have a voice in the decision she makes. With two deaths to deal with, a suitor after her money, a rebellious son, and Sergeant Chase’s repeated attacks, she can only hope to survive the danger she faces. If she doesn’t, her children will be left without either parent.
Whew! Well, it’s time for some ice cream. Don’t you think?
Shaunna: You won’t hear an argument from me.
I love Rocky Road. Let’s go get some together. [stands] Hey, book fans, to learn more about Shaunna and her book, go to: