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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Welcoming Shaunna Today


Today I'm welcoming Shaunna Gonzales to my blog for an interview and a splash of her upcoming book, Dark Days of Promise. Take it away, Shaunna!

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 loving, 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.
ISBN: 978-1-61252-218-0



A little Q & A from the Author
Personal:

Where were you born? 

Believe it or not, I was born in a nursing home for the elderly in Rigby, Idaho. My life history begins with "I was born a poor black child--black and blue from lack of oxygen." I was born breach, the doctor pulled so hard on my leg that he thought he'd broken it. Now, more than a few years later, I'm pretty sure which leg he pulled on though my mother could never tell me.


What are you most passionate about, other than writing? 

PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and the friends it has brought into my life. After the first scene that I wrote between Kelly and Victoria (The one I wrote, not the one that they both appear in) I realized that I must learn why Kelly reacted the way he did. I had no idea that the scene would become such a pivotal point in my own life.
I went forward with one question in mind. What would make someone behave is such a way?
The only clue I had was memories of stories shared by my brother about his best friend. I'll try to boil those stories down to a single sentence. "You just never, under any circumstance, touched George (the best friend) when he was asleep." This best friend served as a Green Beret. That sums up what I knew.
Memories from childhood spurned me to ask the only military personnel I knew at the time some difficult questions. That one-on-one soon grew to a small group, me, the inquisitive mind and three gentlemen, one actively serving at the time and two veterans. All three were very kind, allowing me a very unique inclusion for a brief time into a very tight brotherhood. I soon learned that each had a unique story to tell as well as many they will never share.
I had to learn military acronyms, most of which I have forgotten and most importantly how to ask questions and when to back off. The sure fire and humorous but deadly response of "I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you" taught me first. That was followed by recognizing expressions that warned I'd asked a dangerous question.
I love these guys and appreciate all they have shared. Friendships and trust run deeper than I ever imagined they would or could.
The novel complete, it is time to develop other friendships. Friendships that are teaching me that one does not need to be a soldier to suffer from PTSD. And with each story that is shared with me, I always ask, "May I use this in a novel?" So far, no one has said "no."

Questions about your writing:
What or who inspires you to write?

I'd rather answer "Who and What." Many things. Of late I believe it is my husband when he prays for me "To do what I love." Oh he knows me so well.

Why did you begin writing? 

After reading most of J.K.Rowlings Harry Potter series I craved more great reads and went to the local library. After spending months wading through awful fiction, one touting its prize winning status, I threw it across the room. (In my weakened condition it only made it to the bed for a soft landing.)
"I could write better than this!" I grumbled. My hubby, ever understanding of my turbulent moods answered with a calm, "Then why don't you?" It wasn't long before I set out to do just that!

What was your favorite book growing up that inspired you to try your hand at writing? 

Oh I'd have to say I read everything by Walter Farley, especially his The Black Stallion Series. Girls and horses…I wanted to belive my horse was the Black Stallion reincarnate even if she was a buckskin with no Arabian blood in her.

What do you find most rewarding about writing? 

When a reader thanks for for dealing with PTSD realistically. Oh that is sweet, brings tears to my eyes.


Have you experienced writer’s block? And if so, how did you cure it?

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. Of course there is the nature break. 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.

About Your latest book:


When is your next book due out?  

Dark Days of Promise is an Inspirational Romantic Suspense published by Deseret Breeze Publishing. Release date is September 21, 2012. 

How did you come up with your premise for Dark Days of Promise

I had this love story so smooth that it bored me, the writer, to tears, literally. I knew I had to "speed" it up, give it something to make it fly but didn't know what. I prayed and pulled my chair up to the computer. My fingers flew with very few mistakes, something that is unusual for me. That scene is in the book with very few changes -- only a few grammatical corrections. I'll give you a hint: Victoria goes flying!


Are there any fun tid-bits about this story you can share with us? Other than Victoria Flying? 

Hmm. Carter and Phillip are very loosely based on my children. And we once lived near where the story takes place.

How did you decide on the setting? 

That was difficult. I knew I had to have snow and that I needed to know the area at least vaguely. So maybe readers in Tooele and the surrounding areas will tell me how well I did or how bad my memory is. Okay, so as I writer I took a good share of creative license. Hope residents don't hate me forever.

Is there a message in Dark Days of Promise you want readers to grasp? 

It is my hope that readers will become more aware of PTSD. It effects more than the veterans and their families, those who love them. It isn't unusual for me to be talking with someone and get this "Oh, they are dealing with Post Traumatic Stress" this way or that way. The "Disorder" part, as far as I have learned, comes from intense stress, such as battle and other potentially fatal situations. Some deal with PTSD with faith and prayers on the one hand while others use counseling and sometimes drugs to manage the disorder. But for me, my PTSD is rather low key and manageable.




Exerpt:

Why him? I needed help; I even needed a rescuer, but not him. I found myself welcoming his presence in spite of the clenching fear in my stomach. My mind spiraled around the possibilities. Would I freeze to death? Would he attack me? Would I survive? I must get home to my children.
"Kelly! What're you doing out here?" My breathing came out hard.
"I don't know," he drawled. His words formed ghostly shapes in the freezing night air. "Do you want a ride or do you really plan to run home?"
I looked down the road in both directions hoping for a second pair of headlights. I found none.
Run.
The fact of my standing on ice and snow escaped me for the moment. I anchored my foot for take-off and slipped, going to my knees. Kelly moved fast, I didn't see him open the Jeep's door before he grasped my arm, lifting me to my feet.
"You okay? You went down pretty hard." He propelled me to the passenger's side. Numb feet measured each jarring step around the front of the Jeep. Why had he come looking for me? The possibility of his not looking for me in particular, but anyone -- anyone alone, screamed across my thoughts.
Afraid of a cold death at the side of the road, my thoughts stalled. He'd proven himself faster than I. I shook his hand off to climb in and settled myself as close to the door as possible. He walked around the front of the Jeep, his footsteps sure on the icy surface.
"Have to admire your spunk," he said climbing in.


 

1 comment:

  1. I've got my copy and just started reading it today. =D

    ReplyDelete