Sometimes the writing world is vicious, with a tendency to not believe there’s room enough for all of us at the table. But today’s writer is one of the kindest and most welcoming (real live) humans I’ve encountered on the other side of the Internet ; he sent me a card, just because he knew I might need encouragement. He shares his space and lifts up the voices of others …and that alone begs me lend him this space as well. Enjoy this interview with Shawn Smucker that features the release of his newest novel, Light from Distant Stars. I think you’ll love it.
Tell us a bit about yourself, will you? Maile and I live in the small city of Lancaster, PA, with our six children. I’ve been writing for a living for about ten years, mostly co-writing and ghostwriting memoirs for other people, but three years ago I signed my first book contract for fiction, and I’ve so enjoyed focusing on novel-writing. Our entire family is crazy about stories, whether in book or movie form.
Let’s talk about your book: what, in a nutshell, is your book about anyway? Light from Distant Stars is a novel about a man named Cohen who finds his father dead in the basement of the funeral home their family owns. This discovery leads him to explore memories from his childhood that involve his father and a mysterious pair of children he became friends with, as well as the dark and dangerous mission they went on. It’s a book about parents and children, how memories affect our current lives, and Cohen’s search for peace.
Do tell, what was the inspiration behind it? As a co-writer and ghostwriter of memoirs, I’m constantly encountering situations where two people’s memories of the same event are drastically different. This is so intriguing to me. Obviously, someone is remembering it incorrectly, but in their minds, each of them is remembering the truth. This led me to write a book based on Cohen’s memories, and I wanted to explore how is memories about his father impacted their relationship.
How do you hope readers will be changed by your words, and also, how have you been changed by writing the book? I hope people might consider the way they remember their childhoods, their relationships with their parents, or even how their spiritual beliefs have changed since they were little. For me, the book has helped me to reexamine my relationship with my own father. I came to realize that we had grown apart for a time, mostly because my family and I moved away for about ten years, but now that we’re physically close again I’d like to invest in our relationship, while we still have time.
We oftentimes talk about “coloring outside the lines” on this blog: so, how do you hope your book will help readers color outside the lines? The way you interpret your memories makes all the difference when it comes to the relationships you have with people in the present. Could there be a way for you to interpret your memories in a new or different way that could pave the way for reconciliation or something new?
How and where can we find you on the Internet? I blog over at shawnsmucker.com, and you can find me on Instagram and Twitter, both @shawnsmucker.
*Post contains Amazon Affiliate links