An Interview with Shauna McGuiness
In the two-and-a-bit years since I’ve been writing full-time, I’ve had the opportunity to meet many fantastic writers and creative folks and the time has come to give them a bit of time in the spotlight of my blog. First up is American playwright and author, Shauna McGuiness, who, in between looking after her husband and two teenage children, is producing works of fiction like a woman possessed. So, in the first of what, I hope, will become a regular feature, let’s meet Shauna McGuiness!
So, tell us a little bit about yourself. Who are you? Where did you spring from? What part of the world do you call home these days and what is your biggest love?
My name is Shauna McGuiness. I’m from California, but I’m not a typical California girl. I live right smack in the middle of Silicon Valley. For real, I’m not kidding. I’ve walked to Yahoo! and I can see the Google Cloud building rising up from my neighbourhood. Biggest love? Along with all the sunshine, I love the diversity around here.
What, if anything, do you bring to your writing from your real life?
I think there’s a little of real life in all my writing. My brain is constantly recording things for future use. So, watch out!
What’s the biggest buzz you’ve had from your writing so far?
I started out as a playwright and have penned hundreds of theatrical pieces for all ages. I also served as resident playwright for various Bay Area schools and there is no buzz quite like seeing your words performed live and in character!
If you had the choice, what would you prefer to do, publish traditionally or self-publish?
I self-published a Young Adult (YA) novel, Frankie in Paris, in 2012. I loved writing it and wasn’t sure what would happen. I published it using Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). One of my best friends is an editor and edited it for me. Another did the cover art. Through sales, and giveaways it’s been downloaded over 12,000 times and even spent a week as the number one selling YA book on Amazon. I feel really good about the experience, but part of me wants the validation of being traditionally published, (Pick me! Pick me!) so I’m querying a project, now.
How did you find working with friends on Frankie in Paris? Were there times when the relationships got difficult or was it a completely enjoyable experience?
I was really lucky. My friends were patient with me. Also, they knew me well and were able to help in a way they knew I’d like. I’m super grateful.
Have you always aspired to be a writer, or did the idea just spring into your mind later in life?
I’ve wanted to write, since first grade. Swear to god. I still have a couple of my ‘books’.
Can you remember the first book that really had an impact on you? What was it and how old were you?
I read my first Stephen King novel, in fifth grade. It may have been, IT.
Have you ever started to write a story and then completely given up on it? If so, what were the reasons behind your decision?
My stories become all-encompassing, pretty quick. I’m basically a ‘pantser’ but my brain plots away without me. I’m not sure I’d be able to drop an idea forever. I just picked up a story again that I’d shelved a couple of years ago.
What’s the most uncomfortable thing that you’ve had to do as an author?
I am 43 years old, and I still cringe at any sex, profanity, or drug use, being read by people I know in real life.
Are you working on anything at the moment and if so, when and where can we expect to see it?
YES! I’m queuing a YA Contemporary Fiction, Necromancer’s Garden, wish me luck! I’m also working on the second draft of an adult fiction, In Passing, and am furiously working to finish the first draft of another YA book, Will Travel!
Finally, do you have a message for your fans out there and also any sage words of advice for aspiring authors?
Lots of people have advice. There are loads of writing rules. Instead of following them, find authors you look up to and see how they do their art. Most of the real greats weren’t rule followers, at all.
In addition to doing all of that writing, Shauna McGuiness has also just launched a blog called Tweep Tattler, which showcases writers from the vibrant Twitter writing community. And what is more, I’m going to be on it! Check it out here.
While you’re here, why not give some of my other blogs a go? I’m sure that you’d love them!