Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Welcome Shawn Grady

Good Morning Everyone,
I am excited to introduce you to our guest today. Say hello to novelist Shawn Grady. I want Shawn to share some things with us about his writing life and what interests him, so PLEASE ask questions. It’s not everyday that we get to quiz a fire fighter, and paramedic who is a Christian and an author.

His debut novel, Through the Fire, came out earlier this year and is burning up the shelves. Shawn has kindly offered to give away a copy of his book to one of our guests today.

You can find out even more about Shawn at

I met Shawn in James Scott Bell’s mentoring class at Mt. Hermon in the spring of 2007.

Mount Hermon 2007. Here I am with my mentoring group led by the amazing James Scott Bell who is in the middle of this pack. From left to right is: Jenn, Shawn, me, Michael, JSB, Katie (Rachel and Jill#2 in the front), Barbara, Katie and Jim. A fantastic learning experience with a wonderful group of writers.

Shawn and I used to have great fun on-line asking questions related to our differing genres. It’s a great way to close the divide and learn more about another author’s genre. I'd say something like, "What does every gentleman in the Regency wear around his neck?" Then he'd have to go look it up and get back to me. Then Shawn would ask me something like, "What does every fireman carry into a fire?" I'd have to go look it up. Shawn’s a great sport and an awesome writer.


We’ve been posting about different personas who we think of as our
alter egos and I’m sure we could all come up with more than one.
Let me put you on the spot, Shawn, and ask you who one person might
be that you consider and alter ego? Details please.

I think I'd like to be Zorro. I remember watching the show as a kid and wearing a mask that my mom made. It was a rectangular piece ofdark corderoy with two eye holes cut in it and a string of yarn. I'd pretend I would escape from the jail the bad guys put me in andgo all over the house writing "Z's" on everything with a sword.

Zorro Pictures, Images and Photos

Can you share a little bit about your experience with Bethany House, Shawn, and when you got the call?

The Bethany House team has been fantastic to work with. In January of 2008 we got word of the three book deal and were ecstatic. We invited both sets of parents over for dinner and told them the news. It was a great celebration.

In the fall of 2008 I had the opportunity to go back to Minneapolis and visit Bethany House. They're still in the same building they've been in for the past fifty years, so it was really neat to go there and to feel welcomed into an established family with a long history in publishing. They used to have an in-house oil painter who did all their cover designs, and some of those original oil paintings are still hanging on walls there. The team there was really great to me and I am so happy to be working with them.

How do you get your writing done?

Typically I'll go to the library or a coffeehouse, or both, so that I'm out of the house and focused to accomplish the word goal we've set for the week. Somedays it is more difficult than others,
depending on how many calls I may have run at the firehouse if I worked the night before. My wife is a huge support and we really work together to establish an effective schedule so we can ensure we're putting our time together and as a family first.

You have a yellow lab at your home. Can you fill us in on some information about that doggie?
Marlette! We love her. We call her Lettie, or Mookie Head. Or dozens of other names. They come spontaneously. The other day I called her Mook-a-naut. She's fun, and for the most part really well trained. But she has a voracious appetite that will occasionally drive her to sneak food when we're out of the house. She is showing the wisdom of 2 1/2 years though in that she's at least learned not to eat the bag along with the food inside of it. She actually has over a hundred fans now on her facebook page:

What's your next book about, Shawn?The next book is also an emergency suspense with a romantic subplot. It's called Tomorrow We Die and focuses on a Reno paramedic who feels like he's chasing the Angel of Death. More info can be found at

Okay everyone. This is your chance to ask questions. Don't be shy. And remember that you are elgible to win a copy of, "Through the Fire."


  1. Hello, Shawn! Congratulations on your debut novel. Best wishes for much success. As a fire fighter and a paramedic, you frequently face danger and life-or-death situations. How has your faith evolved through these experiences?

    gcwhiskas at aol dot com

  2. Hi Shawn, Welcome to Inktropolis! I have a couple of questions waiting for you--

    I'm one of those few people who haven't seen Fireproof, the movie based on Eric Wilson's novel. Did the timing of your release benefit from that?

    From a purely 'marketing' point of view, I imagine this book appeals to both men and women. How does your fan response reflect that?

    We're all so glad you're here. Doesn't Lisa make the coolest headers?
    (Thanks Jilly!)

  3. Shawn, wish I would'a known you when I wrote the fire scene for my third book! Thank goodness a local fireman stepped in at the spark and exited at the inferno.

    Tell me how you incorporate your fireman's knowledge with your plot.
    Are there any true incidents within the pages of Through the Fire?

  4. Hi Shawn!
    I'm so glad you're here. I have to ask(because I've always wondered) if the fireman on the front of, Through the Fire, is you? If he's not he could be. Both covers are great. How did you come up with the idea for this series and what did the Bethany House team say was that special something that really grabbed them?

  5. Hi Shawn. Thanks for visiting. Your books sound great. I hope to check them out soon. I find firefighting fascinating. A close friend of mine became a firefighter a few years back.

  6. HI Shawn,

    Congratulations on your debut novel...looking forward to reading it.

    And I tip my hat off to you for your courageous work as a firefighter and paramedic...I think too often you guys are taken for granted.


  7. Hi, Shawn: Welcome to Inktropolis. Any dog lover is a friend of mine. Combine that with your courageous work,being a writer and a friend of Jill's, and it's really great to get to know you.

    I find it interesting you leave the house to find your writing space. That would tax my love of people-watching.

    You talk of 'we' and I wondered if that's the royal 'we' or you and your wife. There's nothing equal to having that home support.

    Congratulations on your debut novel. I look forward to reading it soon.

  8. Congratulations on your debut, Shawn, and your upcoming release.

    Thanks to you and your firefighting brethen. I come from a family of volunteer firemen, a couple of generations.

    Is there anything related to firefighting that you wouldn't write about? Do you think you'll venture beyond fire stories in your romantic suspense ?

  9. Hi Virginia C!
    Emergency work has definitely given me a first hand understanding of our mortality. Our lives are just a breath, and this world is fallen. But it's like the wheat and the tares, and I praise God for the glimpses of eternity that we see even now.

  10. Hi Debra!
    Yes, Lisa's headers are fantastic. An all around great looking site.

    It's a difficult thing to measure how one movie/book affects another, but I think that Fireproof definitely helped raise awareness of Christian fiction as a whole.

    I have had tremendous response from female readers who seem to really connect with the main character in Through the Fire, Aidan, through the first person viewpoint in the novel. The blossoming relationship with arson investigator Julianne Caldwell brings in the element of romantic suspense as well.

  11. Hi Patti!

    That's strange, firemen usually love to step in at the inferno part ;)

    Many of the fires and emergency calls in Through the Fire are drawn from real world experiences, though none are meant to be depictions of them. Many characters and scenes are composite vignettes, like a mosaic of things I've heard and seen and smelled. A big goal for me in writing the novel was that it would feel very real.

  12. Hi Jill! Thanks for having me here at the Inkwell!

    That's not me on the front, though I do actually get asked that a lot. Paul Higdon and the cover design team at Bethany House are among the best in the industry and do fantastic work.

    I decided to stick with the old adage to "write what you know". I think the fact that I did that with a style the editors liked is what led to their three book deal offer.

  13. Hi Dina!
    So glad to hear that! The first chapter of Through the Fire is available to peruse on my website if you'd like to read it.

  14. Hi Connie!

    I think being a friend of Jill's is what scores me the most points ;D

    And yes, the "we" is my wife and I. Balancing the two full time careers of writing and firefighting means we really have to work together to schedule things and prioritize our time together. She's a tremendous blessing to me and our family.

  15. Hey Shawn.
    i am a reader, not a writer. SIgh!
    I read the first chapter of Through the Fire. I will look forward to reading the whole book.
    My question is - Do you find it easy to write in first person? First person books are my favorite type of books and I find few writers use it. When I read the chapter that was the first thing I noticed.
    Congrats on your debut
    mrstgr at msn dot com

  16. Hi Patricia!

    It's hard to say what I would or would not write about firefighting. There are some aspects that I depict more "offstage" in the novel.

    My next book focuses on a paramedic who works for a private ambulance company, so in that respect it is very different from the fire department. The love story in Tomorrow We Die runs even stronger than in Through the Fire.

    Volunteer firefighters really do a lot to serve their communities, that's neat to hear of your family's history with that.

  17. Hi Theresa!

    I am with you on the first person aspect. Many of my favorite books are written in that viewpoint.

    First person does present certain challenges though, such as be able to depict what is transpiring in other places and with other people through the point of view of only the protagonist.

    I felt like it was the most natural and personal way though to relate the story of Aidan O'Neill in Through the Fire and that it lends a sense of veracity to what is being told.

  18. Hi Shawn,

    If you didn't write about firefighting and paramedic work, what would be your next choice?

  19. Hi Shawn! Thanks for visiting the Inkwell today! Your stories sound action-packed and I'm looking forward to reading them.

    I think the questions I had have been addressed already, but it sounds as if you've done very well in balancing your career, writing, and family time. Balance is always a struggle for me, so I commend you for keeping your relationship with God paramount and prioritizing time with your family.

  20. Hi again,

    Your writing is excellent Shawn. You've developed a very good habit of ending
    your chapters in a way that makes the reader want to keep going and that's all about skill.

    You really bring the fire to life. :) Maybe that wasn't the best phrasing. Or maybe it was. :)I'm sure you will have many books published in the future and I'll read them all.

    Tell your awesome wife, Sarah Beth
    to come visit us and thank her for letting us pull you away for awhile.

  21. What a great interview. I liked hearing how Shawn manages his time to write. Time management is a big problem in my writing world. I look forward to reading Shawn's books.


  22. How fun to read everyone's comments, thanks Jill for interviewing Shawn and inviting me to stop by as well :) I am so blessed to be married to such a God honoring, talented and loving man.

    I would have to say that being married to a novelist/fireman is an exciting life but it isn't always easy. I am the one that schedules everything in order to have balance. We have 3 kids which keep things even more interesting and I worry at times for his safety at the firehouse, but I know we are in the Lord's hands and that He has truly blessed us. To see Shawn's book (soon to be books) on store shelves is so amazing and we basically pinch ourselves everyday.

    For those aspiring writers out there, keep it up, it is worth the wait and the work :)

    Thanks again and God bless!

    Sarah Beth

  23. Hi Sarah Beth,
    You're a sweetie for dropping by. I can't imagine the schedule you have to come up with and how you keep everything and everyone going. You might want to become a time management coach for all of us that fall into the procrastination trap. :)

    You and Shawn are a special couple and I bet your kids are fun.

    All of us here at the INKWELL will keep your family in our prayers, especially your hubby's safety.

    Come visit us anytime and often.

  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

  25. Hey Shawn,
    One of my fellow inkies has a question for you.

    Hey, Jill,

    I can't get on the computer. Too windy. I can't leave a comment using cell phone, though I can read them. Go figure. Anyway...I wanted to tell Shawn thank you for posting. I will try to comment tomorrow if we don't lose power. I want to know how he walks in those pants. I tried some on once and couldn't move my legs. They are so heavy.


  26. Hi Jill & Shawn -

    Great interview! Congrats on your novel, Shawn. Oh, how I'd love to be in a mentoring group with JSB! You folks are blessed.

    Please enter me in the contest.

    susanjreinhardt (at) gmail (dot) com


  27. Hi Shawn,
    I just want to thank you for being our guest today. It was nice having a guy on the blog.:) You're a brave man in more ways than one. And I'm glad we got to hear from Sarah Beth too.

    After everyone's had a chance to finish up asking questions and you share your final thoughts I'll figure out who won the book. We'll probably announce that this weekend.

    Now it's EST here in Ohio and this gal's signing off, but I encourage all you night owls to keep on blogging until we're all blogged out or Shawn falls asleep.:)

    What's the weather like out there in Reno? We've got rain in Cincinnati.

    God Bless each of us with the words we need to write and the words we need to read. May
    smiles fill your hearts everyday.

  28. Hey Shawn, welcome to the Inkwell. I have a healthy respect for fire and commend anyone working in as a firefighter or related trade. Kudos and thank you.

    You know, it's kinda nice to see a masculine face around here for a change. ;)

  29. Hi Edwina!

    Great question! I think the core themes of the books I'm writing right now are very literary in nature- mortality, forgiveness, redemption- and that these emergency suspense titles are the best and most opportune vehicles to relate those at present. But the whole world (and beyond) is our stage, and the men and women its players, so I look forward to (God-willing) crafting a wide variety of stories in years to come.

  30. Thanks, Susanne! It's great to be here.

  31. Thanks, Vicki! Sarah Beth is such a blessing to be with on this adventure.

  32. Hi Suzie!

    Lol. Yeah, turnout pants are a bit bulky, but the kind we have are comfortable enough. Wearing full gear with an air bottle and personal axe weighs an extra seventy pounds, so it can be a workout just walking up and down stairs and hallways.

  33. Thanks, Susan! Jim Bell has been a great mentor- every Luke needs an Obi-Wan. (Is that too guy-ee of a reference?) How about... every Anne needs a Muriella?

  34. Hi Anita!

    Thanks, it's been great visiting!

  35. Thank you so much Jill and Inkwellers for the opportunity to visit today!

    It's been cold but clear here in Reno, but my weathergirl wife says that a storm is coming in with snow likely :D

    Many Cheers-


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