Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Creative Edge Author Interview – Shane Wilson

April 8, 2021
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1. How old were you when you wrote your first writing project? What genre was it?

That’s hard to say. I was writing short stories and designing cover art when I was in second grade. I was writing screenplays and making movies in middle school. I published poetry in college. I started writing my first novel, A Year Since the Rain, when I was in my late twenties, I guess. It was a magical realism novel, and it took a few years for me to finish it.

2. Do you have a favorite genre? What draws you to it?

I like contemporary fantasy/ magical realism because I think these genres allow for an interesting exploration of human experience. I appreciate the ways that realistic characters and settings are allowed to bump up against elements of magic.

3. How does your expression differ from your poetry to short stories to novels?

I look for poetic language in everything, so I try to find something poetic in narrative work as well. Obviously, it’s harder to keep this up for 70,000 words than it is in a page of poetry, but I still look for ways to elevate the diction of my prose with poetic language. With poetry, we’re talking about a stricter economy of language—more limitations based on form and so forth. As a rule, though, my poetry plays with narrative and my prose plays with poetry. I like to explore the marriage of different forms.

4. Magic plays a vital part in your stories – is it a fascination for you?

Like I said before, I think the incorporation of magic in otherwise real settings allows for an interesting exploration of human nature and human experience. If most of the setting and characters feel somewhat familiar, I think readers can buy in a little more. Also, I think the world is full of magic, right? We all experience wonderful and terrible things that we can’t explain. These inexplicable moments are a very human kind of magical experience. That’s how I see it, at any rate.

5. How did you create the characters in your World of Muses Universe?

A lot of my characters are just conflations of real-life people. There are no direct translations of real people, but I definitely mine real life experience for characters.

6.  Are there messages in your stories for your readers? What are they?

Absolutely. These messages vary, but I think that mostly I want readers to consider their relationship with the world, with other people, with creativity, and with their own experience. I’m not prescriptive in my messaging. I just want a reader to think.

7.  You combine music with poetry/stories – how did this idea/collaboration begin?

I wanted to write a story that would explore creativity and the different goals artists might strive toward. I settled on musicians and visual artists (because, again, I don’t want to write things that are too close to home). When I decided to write about musicians, I started teaching myself to play guitar. I wanted to understand what I was writing, and I wanted to be able to describe it in an organic way that would provide the narrative with a realistic texture. In the long run, I fell in love with the guitar and started writing songs. I even wrote some of the songs from that novel. It’s a cool experience to play these songs at live readings. I think it lends an air of legitimacy to the story.

8. Has your teaching influenced your writing?

I’m not sure that teaching has had a direct influence on my writing. I’ve never written about a teacher or even students. I actively try to avoid writing stories that would hit too close to home in that way. So, I guess in my attempts to write stories from outside of my experience as a teacher, teaching has indirectly influenced my writing.

On another level, though, I do teach literature courses. Reading these classics with my students offers me a great refresher in these stories. I think reading and analysis of stories is incredibly important to a writer, so the fact that this is my job gives me ample opportunity to dive back into those stories from time to time.

I think that my writing has probably influenced my teaching, but that feels like a whole other conversation.

9. Has your MFA course in Creative Writing changed how you write?

I think the most important thing I’ve learned from the MFA is how to better discipline my writing. I have a better sense of how planning and outlining can help streamline a project. The MFA program also forced me to read and work in genres I was less comfortable with, and I think all of that experimentation is good for the process. We could all do with a little more of that experience with discomfort.

10.  Do you have a message for your readers?

This is an interesting question. I’m not sure that I’ve ever considered the prospect of speaking directly to the people who read my books. I’ve long considered the writing to be the final word in my part of the conversation. Once a reader has read my book, I’m interested in what that reader has taken from that experience. So, I suppose if I could say anything to the people who read my books it’s this: Thanks! I hope you found something to enjoy.

11.  Where can readers find your books?

My books are available from all major retailers, but the easiest way to find my work is on my website, http://www.shanewilsonauthor.com

12. Do you have a blog? Where are you on social media?

I don’t really have a blog that I keep up with consistently at the moment, but people can always catch up with me on social media. I’m @ThatShaneWilson just about anywhere you might care to look.

Bio

Shane Wilson is an award-winning author of magical realism and low fantasy. His two novels,  A Year Since the Rain and The Smoke in His Eyes are available through all major retailers. He has also published short fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. He maintains a blog that focuses on a variety of topics including topics in publication.

Shane has a Master’s degree in English from Valdosta State University and has taught English at community colleges in Georgia and North Carolina. He has been te

 Shane Wilson is a storyteller. No matter the medium, the emphasis of his work is on the magical act of the story, and how the stories we tell immortalize us and give voice to the abstractions of human experience. His first two contemporary fantasy novels as well as a stage play, set in his World of Muses universe, are currently available.

 Born in Alabama and raised in Georgia, Shane is a child of the southeastern United States where he feels simultaneously at-home and out-of-place. He graduated from Valdosta State University in South Georgia with a Masters in English. He taught college English in Georgia for four years before moving to North Carolina in 2013.

 Shane plays guitar and writes songs with his two-man-band, Sequoia Rising. He writes songs as he writes stories–with an emphasis on the magic of human experience. He tends to chase the day with a whiskey (Wild Turkey 101) and a re-run of The Office.

 Shane’s novels are A Year Since the Rain (Snow Leopard Publishing, 2016) and The Smoke in His Eyes (GenZ Publishing, 2018). Shane’s short story, “The Boy Who Kissed the Rain” was the 2017 Rilla Askew Short Fiction Prize winner and was nominated for a 2018 Pushcart Prize. An adaptation of that story for the stage was selected for the Independence Theater Reading Series in Fayetteville, NC. More information about Shane can be found at: Shane Wilson Author

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – False Spring in Alberta and Book Review.

March 23, 2021
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Apologies for my tardiness today.

As I am an acclimatized Albertan (for the most part!) I was enjoying the warm spring weather last week. Being able to walk with Sammie without piles of warm clothes on was such a treat. However, when I opened the front door for our early Monday morning walk – there it was a light dusting of snow. This is what Albertan’s call ‘false spring’ and it can be a see-saw of weather conditions. Warmth and cold, back and forth for several weeks. So out come the boots and heavy coat only to be too hot later in the day when the temperature goes up. The landscape is brown spotted with white and we anxiously await the blush of green in due course. It will come we just have to be patient.

I finished reading Road Tripping, which was a fun book and full of wonderfully eccentric character’s and places. My review:

A great trip around Alberta! Lots of place I have visited on my own road trips too. Great humor, local history and food! A fun read.

I will start Miss Benson’s Beetle tonight.

Miss Benson's Beetle

What are you currently reading?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Sharing Another Story

February 2, 2021
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This week’s I’m sharing another story from my Six Weeks, Six Senses writing course. We had to use scent as the main element. Let me know what you think.

A Cruise Romance – SCENT

An unaccustomed briny aroma invaded Josh’s slumber conjuring up dreams of pirates and tall ships in his mind. A large black bearded captain loomed over him, shouting orders. The pirate’s breath blasted Josh’s face making him reel backwards. It was disgusting, a mixture of rotten teeth, belched stomach contents and rum.

                “Get ye up the foremast, boy and be lively about it!”

                Afraid of a flogging, Josh ran barefoot on the wooden planked deck, scurrying past burly, unsmiling men. Their rancid sweat emanating from their toiling bodies. Each man busied themselves with their tasks, keeping their heads down low to avoid the captain’s stare or displeasure. The salty air and bracing wind assaulted his face and lungs. At the bottom of the mast, he looked up at the rope rigging and the impossibly high climb to the crow’s nest. The wet ropes had a pungent smell of kerosene. Josh could feel his fear clawing at his stomach. I can’t do it, I just can’t. A huge swell broached the ship’s side tossing men, rigging and barrels across the deck. Briny water and debris crashed onto the wooden planks, adding to the unpleasant smell all around him. Josh stumbled hitting his head. The shock woke him from his dream. Disorientated, thinking the rocking movement underneath him was a figment of his imagination, Josh opened his eyes. Blinking several times, he saw a round porthole and blue sky and splashing water. Am I still dreaming?

                A knock on his cabin’s door and his mother’s voice alleviated his bewilderment. We are on a boat, but not a pirate ship. A fresh linen smell replaced the buccaneer odors.

                “It’s time to go to the dining room for breakfast, Josh. Are you awake?”

                “Yes. Mom, I’ll meet you there.”

                Once he was dressed, Josh slipped on his new dark blue canvas shoes. He smelt the rubber of the sole, the canvas fabric and the waterproofing spray his mother has insisted on applying. He’d picked them especially for the cruise.

                The large dining room was filled with wonderful aromas of bacon, toast, coffee, and fruit. A long serving counter held hot plates at one end and chilled bowls at the other. The hot plates sizzled with fatty fragrance. A long line of people stood choosing their preferences to eat. Josh found his mother standing to one side waiting for him.

                “There you are. Let’s get in line so we can pick our breakfast, find a seat and eat together.”

                Their choices made, Josh and his mother sat near the rear of the room, near the exit. Josh spread golden butter generously on his toast, then opened a strawberry jam jar. The tangy sweetness of the fruit unmistakable at the lid popped open. Next he poured maple syrup over his pancakes, the odour a mix of caramel and toffee. He cut into the pancake pile and added a strip of bacon to his bite. Delicious! The waiter refilled their coffee cups giving rise to a nutty, smoky aroma.

                “I’m going to find a nice spot with a deckchair to read. What will you do this morning, Josh?”

                “I was going to explore a bit, Mom, as it’s the first time I’ve been on a cruise ship.”

                “Well, have fun. We can meet back here at one o’clock for lunch.”

                “Sounds like a plan. I’ll see you later.”

                Josh pushed open the heavy metal door; a whiff of grease wrinkled his nose for an instant before the rush of briny air invaded his nostrils. The ship rocked back and forth like a cradle. Josh braced his legs and walked along the deck rails for support. Ahead was the lido deck, filled with the sound of excited voices and splashing. Its faint chlorine smell merging with the stronger brine aroma. He took steps upward and was surprised by a tumbling ball of string heading towards him. He caught it and began winding the loose thread back around the ball. At the top of the stairs, he was met by a beautiful face, a hand grasped to her mouth.

                “Oh goodness, I’m so sorry. It just slipped from my hand.”

                “No worries. Glad I was there to catch it. It could have rolled straight over the edge into the ocean.”

                “That was what I was afraid of. Thank you for rescuing it.”

                Josh shrugged and handed the twine to the girl. Her green eyes transfixed him and she smelt so good. It was a heady mixture of citrus and cinnamon.

                “Why do you need string for on a cruise, anyway?”

                “Oh, well you may think it odd but I use it for macramé. I make wall hangings and wall art out of it.”

                “I don’t think that’s odd, sounds kind of cool actually.”

                “Would you like to see some of the things I’ve made? Only if you have time, I’ve probably stopped you going to do something as it is.”

                “No, I’d like to see. I was just taking a look around. This is my first cruise. I’m Josh, by the way.”

                “Heh, I’m Heather. Come this way. I’m all set up on the viewing deck. Might as well have a great view while I craft eh?”

                Josh was impressed with the array of coloured cotton cord; Heather had lain out on two loungers. He could smell a delicate cotton and musky scent as she lifted up an intricate piece.

                “That is so cool. Can you show me how you make them?”

                Josh and Heather soon became an item and spent many hours together, either exploring the ship and it’s attractions the any port of calls or sitting making macramé. He knew he would get a ribbing from his mates back home but once they saw Heather they’d stop. She was a knock out and smelt so good.

I am also continuing to read Misconduct of the Heart by Cordelia Strube. The writing style is fast paced, full of details, dialogue, internal thought and not a book to relax with. It keeps you on your toes who the protagonist is talking about/to or where/what she is doing.

This week I attended the creative writing workshop hosted by the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County and we covered the romance genre. This genre is popular and has many categories and sub-genres, including historical, paranormal, erotic, contemporary, spiritual, suspense and YA. Our writing exercise gave each participant a sub-genre and a title. I got paranormal – Bad Boy Earl’s Desert Mistress. I will share the result in my newsletter. It was fun.

Which romance genre do you like to read?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Sharing a Story & 2021 Reading Challenge

January 5, 2021
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I am engaged in a six week writing course and thought, I could share my submissions with you. The first week is the sense of SIGHT. This was my story using the image.

The Jungle Wall

Lush greenery clings to a rocky reddish brown mock cliff face. A sheen of a waterfall cascades onto a flat hard surface, in a splashing burst. Sunlight shimmers in the veil of water, creating a band of rainbow colours. To the side are smooth, burnt sienna stones and pebbles, piled atop each other. Lighter green foliage creeps among them mimicking rivets of a stream. Large fern like leaves in glossy dark greens surround  the liquid of the waterfall and quench their thirst.  The throng of office workers pass by without a care or indeed interest. The mock jungle wall has become commonplace, a background feature. Too familiar to see anymore.

That is until, Sandy enters the building for an appointment. She initially enjoys the cool air so pleasant after the hot humid summer day outside. As she’d entered the building, she noticed the glass façade created stripes of light on the grey sidewalk, in stark contrast to her comfortable red soft leather shoes. She pulled at her indigo jeans, wishing she had taken time to hem them properly instead of folding the fabric at her ankles, where it now bunched and folded.

Sandy heard the water falling before seeing the green and brown jungle wall. A smile grew on her face at the joy and thrill that came over her as she looked at it. She was drawn to the lush greenery, the sparkling water and how the sunlight, funneled from an overhead skylight, danced on the surfaces. She walked to the edge of the installation and the noise of traffic, voices and footsteps fell away. It was as though she had traveled to an exotic location – a tropical forest. The falling water drew her eyes from  top to bottom and around again – pulling her forward ever closer. Unconsciously, she leaned over the glass panels, reaching out to touch the delightfulness of the scene. She was within the installation in her mind’s eye – the russet browns and verdant greens grew in richness and intensity. She looked at every leaf, every rock and plant – committing to memory the sights.

Suddenly, her dream was broken, a hand gripping and pulling her backwards. Her purse tumbled from her shoulder to the ground, its contents spilling across the tiled floor. A woman’s voice muffled in Sandy’s ears, a stranger’s face full of concern.

“You nearly fell over, my dear. You need to take care. Here let me help you with your belongings.”

Sandy struggled from her daze and thanked the woman, as they gathered her possessions. With all the items gathered Sandy thank you woman and watched her walk away, unsure how she could have been so absorbed in the jungle of her imagination. Glancing at her watch she gasped to see she was almost late for her appointment. Without another look, she hurried away.

In the depths of the rock wall, eyes shone out. The treasure was just inside the glass panels. As the building emptied later on that evening, a small creature crept to retrieve the pink and black vial. It put it with all the other treasures and grinned. Another susceptible human drawn in. 

Let me know what you think of this story.

I have once again entered the Goodreads Reading Challenge – I am committing to read a minimum of 15 books in 2021. I hope I can make this goal, as I missed my goal by two books last year, mainly because I was busy completing my steampunk novel, The Commodore’s Gift and promoting it once it was published and participating in NaNoWriMo. This year I will edit and revise my manuscript for the first book in my crime/detective trilogy, so decreased my reading goal slightly. Have you signed up?

My current read is If It Bleeds by Stephen King. It will not take much longer!

What are you reading? What was your favorite book of 2020?

A Happy New Year and My Blog Schedule for 2021

December 29, 2020
mandyevebarnett


As many of you know, I commit to a blog schedule at the end of each year for the up coming year. In 2021, my twice weekly posts will continue to be divided between writing topics and delving into my books and writing life for my readers.

I hope you will find the content interesting, enlightening and fun. I will post every Tuesday and Thursday each week as follows:

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday

Stories behind my published books and also from works in progress.

First pages

Update on events I will be attending – if possible physically, if not virtually in 2021

Glimpses at my current writing project.

Sharing short stories or poem’s I have written from prompts or workshops.

Character Interviews

My book reviews

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday

Special Interviews with authors from Creative Edge

Writing Tips

Writing contests

Literary Birthdays

Author Toolbox – once a month

Monthly Author Interviews (please sign up for one – first Thursday of every month.)

I will continue with my monthly newsletter, so please sign up when prompted. I hope we can develop a great relationship with this new venture – Sneek Peeks & Glimpses. Thank you in anticipation.

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