Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Interview with Shaun Allan

Name of the book:
Kindle Price:
99c £1.14

Available from:
(i.e. Amazon Kindle US, Amazon Kindle UK, Smashwords, Nook, etc)

Amazon UK:
Amazon US (ebook):
Amazon US (print):
Barnes & Noble:
Lulu (in print):
Apple US:
Apple UK:
Authors Website:

A writer of many prize winning short stories and poems, Shaun Allan has written for more years than he would perhaps care to remember. Having once run an online poetry and prose magazine, he has appeared on Sky television to debate, against a major literary agent, the pros and cons of internet publishing as opposed to the more traditional method. Many of his personal experiences and memories are woven into Sin’s point of view and sense of humour although he can’t, at this point, teleport.
Shaun lives with his one partner, two daughters, three cats and four fish!

Tell me about your book?

Well, the ‘blurb’ goes like this…
What would you do? Could you kill a killer? Does the death of one appease the deaths of a hundred? What about that hundred against a thousand?

What if you had no choice?

Meet Sin. No, not that sort of sin, but Sin, crazy as a loon (you ask Sister Moon), and proud of it. Sin locks himself away in an asylum and, every so often, gets violent. That’s only so they’ll give him those nice drugs, though. The ones that help him forget.

It’s a pity they don’t work.

Sin, you see, has a serious problem. Well, it’s not so much his problem, as ours – yours, mine and everyone else’s. People die around Sin. He doesn't like it and there's nothing he can do about it. But someone else knows, and Sin has to stop them... and himself...

Flip and catch...

It’s a supernatural thriller that centers on one man, Sin. Sin just wants to be an ordinary guy. He wants to be like everyone else. But he’s not, and it’s not something he can help. As such, and after discovering his sister committed suicide after finding she was similarly afflicted, he incarcerates himself in an asylum in the hope that drugs and therapy will help. When it doesn’t, he escapes, only to find, thanks to a visit by his dead sibling, that his ‘talent’ had been discovered and was being used.

Sin has to stop the person responsible, but first has to learn to control the beast inside himself – before someone else gets hurt.

What will readers like about your book?

The writing style of Sin in somewhat unusual. It’s a narrative and, as such, is written in the first person, but it’s written in such a way, Sin’s points of view, strange thought processes and dark humour are a very big part of the story. You laugh at things that are gross, and, hopefully, Sin questions things that you, the reader will wonder about yourself.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

Sin started life as a short story. That was all I’d intended it to be, but he wouldn’t stay quiet, so the short story became the prologue to the novel. In fact, Sin still doesn’t keep still and has his own blog – his diary from within the asylum. And a sequel is in the offing too.

There’s a lot of me in Sin. And I don’t know if that’s a good thing!

When did you start writing?

I began writing when I was a young child. Apparently I used to write stories and draw pictures to go along with them. As I’ve grown older, my writing has (I hope) improved, but my artistic skills certainly haven’t, so I’ve left the drawings behind! Probably a good thing!

When did you realize that you were a serious writer?

I realized I wanted to be a serious writer when my English teacher (to whom Sin is partly dedicated) read To Kill A Mockingbird to the class. We were all spellbound and I wanted one of my stories to have that effect. Luckily Sin has been getting excellent reviews, so I hope I’ve achieved that!

When did you decide that you wanted to write a book?

I always have. I’ve started many, but it wasn’t until I began putting myself into it (sense of humour, thoughts etc.) that the short story became something more.

Why did you choose this particular genre to write your book in?

I didn’t choose the genre. It chose me. I wrote the story and that’s what it ended up being. Although I do love Stephen King and Dean Koontz – both of which Sin has been compared to. How humbling is that!?

What is your writing process?

I start to write. I don’t plan the story – I can’t seem to do that. For the blog, for example, I only have the first sentence and the story flows from that. Occasionally I’ll have an aim – the blog will sometimes feature a someone’s book so their main character will become an inmate to help promote, but even then I have no idea how it will turn out. I quite like it though – if I’m surprised by what happens then perhaps the reader will be!

How long does it take you to write your first draft?

I don’t actually have a lot of time to write. I squeeze it in between work and family. Sin actually took ten years to write, although I did manage 15,000 words whilst on holiday in Egypt!

Why did you publish on Kindle and other eReaders?

I once, about 15 years ago, appeared on Sky TV, on their technology channel, to debate traditional publishing (championed by an agent from Curtis Brown) as opposed to online publishing (with me raising the standard). At the time I ran an online magazine for poetry and prose, so it was natural for me to move into that area when I finally completed my novel. At the time, I had no idea I’d eventually be able to read a full length book on my mobile phone!

What kind of advice would you like to share with an aspiring writer who’s looking to publish a book for the first time?

Take a deep breath, and don’t let it seem too daunting. Promoting your book can be harder than writing it, but it pays off, and you meet some fabulous people along the way – all in the same boat!

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