Monday, July 9, 2018

Shane Morales Author Interview


Photo Content from Shane Morales

Forever young and living on the fringes of society, Shane Morales delights in questioning authority and challenging social norms. Drawing from his own teen experience, he writes young adult stories about first love and second chances.

Shane grew up overseas and attended a boarding school in Switzerland during the 80s. He went to college in Maryland where he earned a degree in physical geography with an emphasis in comparative paleo-anatomy (he knows a lot about dinosaur hip structure). After graduating, he disregarded his training, promptly fell in with a bad crowd and spent the next 17 years in IT.

He can usually be found at his computer writing, coding, or wreaking pixelated havoc online with his friends.

Shane currently lives in Florida with his wife and two Feline Masters.

        
  


What inspired you to pen your first novel?
In 2013 I started watching Japanese anime. In particular, I enjoyed a genre of anime called Shoujo, which is typically about high-school romance. I’m a romantic and young at heart so the stories spoke to me. The more I watched these types of anime, the more I wanted to write my own high-school romance. Then one day, rather unexpectedly, an idea about a teen girl popped into my head and almost on its own the idea turned into a fully realized character. The story began to build around her and not long after I started writing.

Tell us your latest news.
Currently, my creative energies have been focused on Dungeons & Dragons, which requires the same sort of creativity as writing a book – you have to come up with good stories and create a setting and believable characters. I’ve been tentatively thinking about writing another book, but I only have a vague idea of what the story would be. It’s been over a year since I wrote She Doesn’t Know and I kind of miss writing.

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
As I mentioned before, shoujo anime has been a huge influence. In order to feed my teen romance addiction, I started reading young adult romance as well – over 250 titles – and I was influenced by some of those stories as well. By far the biggest influence, however, has been my own teen experiences. Many of the things that occur in my books are based on real life events from my rather unique youth.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
I want readers to feel. I want them to laugh. I want them to cry. I want them to fall in love with the characters and root for them. Also, I want them to experience the unique upbringing and different culture that I grew up in and to realize that some kids grow up differently than those living in the US.

Did you learn anything from writing SHE DOESN'T KNOW and what was it?
I learned that I write best about more serious topics. I enjoy writing sweet romance, but my creativity really kicks in when the story turns a little dark.

For those who are unfamiliar with Chloe, how would you introduce her?
Chloe is a quiet, unassuming girl who tries to see the good in people. Despite being mature for her age, she is still innocent. She has a strong sense of self-respect and the will power to stick to her beliefs.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating Alex?
That he isn’t as strong as you might at first believe.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I would love to introduce Chloe to Jess from the Scars of Youth series, because both girls experienced a very powerful first love which life took away from them. They both got their second chance and ended up happy. They have a lot in common.

SHE DOESN'T KNOW” touches on real life issues such as underage drinking and teenage sex. Aiming at a realistic approach, how difficult was it to write about these issues?

It wasn’t difficult at all because I drew heavily from my own youth experience, which was very different than that of a typical teen growing up in the US. The compound in Saudi Arabia in which She Doesn’t Know is set is a real place and I grew up there. Alcohol and sex were common aspects of our lives. As an adult I certainly don’t condone this type of behavior – especially here in the US – but we were young and we didn’t have a lot of adult supervision. It might not be what US readers are used to – or approve of – but this was simply my reality and above all I write true to my own experiences.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I haven’t ever thought about this so I don’t really consider any one writer a mentor. I try to learn things from every author I read.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
Think for yourself; question authority.

Tell me about a favorite event of your childhood.
The most fun I’ve ever had in my life was sledding on the Swiss Alps while I was attending boarding school. Most people associate the Alps with skiing, and I did enjoy that, but the real kick in the pants was sledding. Sleds were allowed on some parts of the mountain and my friends and I happily took advantage of this. Sledding down two miles of snowy goodness has to be lived to believe. It was amazingly fun.

Any Camp stories you would like to share?
I was chased by a bear once. It happened at night while I was filling up a bag with water at a stream. A bear suddenly appeared and I froze because people always tell you not to run away from a bear. So I just stood there. But the bear came closer and closer and closer until it was about five feet away. I turned and ran like mad back to the camp and I could hear the bear crashing through the bushes behind me. It must have lost interest though because I made it back to camp in one piece.

What do you usually think about right before falling asleep?
All sorts of things. I have insomnia so I usually lay in bed for a couple of hours before falling asleep. My mind wanders all over the place.

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
I had the opportunity to travel all over the world when I was a kid. This gave me the chance to see how other cultures live. An experience that changed the way I think about the world was when I went to India in 1984 and witnessed the abject poverty that some people live in. This made me realize how lucky I was.

What is your most memorable travel experience?
I visited the Galapagos islands when I was 11. It was unlike any place I’d ever been, before or since. The sheer beauty and wonder of the isles was overwhelming.

Where can readers find you?
I live in the Tampa area in Florida. I can be contacted at shaneauthor9@gmail.com.

TENS FAVORITE FANTASY WORLDS - IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER
  • The Old World from the Warhammer Fantasy mythos
  • The Four Lands from Terry Brook’s Shannara novels
  • Hârn from the HârnWorld roleplaying game
  • Creation from the Exalted roleplaying game
  • Oerth from the Dungeons & Dragons Greyhawk setting
  • Talislanta on the world of Archaeus from the Talislanta roleplaying game
  • Middle-Earth from J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings mythos
  • The Hyborian Age setting from Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian stories
  • The Forgotten Realms from Dungeons & Dragons
  • Valdemar from Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar novels

Chloe Parker has just been uprooted to a tiny American compound in Saudi Arabia. You’d think after fourteen years of being an Air Force brat, she’d be used to being the new kid, but it still sucks. At least until she meets charming, charismatic Alex and falls for him hard.

But Alex is a year older and is heading off to boarding school in Switzerland. Chloe won’t see him again for nine months and it’s breaking her heart. She doesn’t even know if Alex likes her back until he gifts her his private binder of hand-written stories and song lyrics to remember him by. That has to mean something, right?

At long last the wait is over and Alex returns, but he's a haunted shell of his former self. Something bad happened while Alex was away, something that killed the light in his eyes, and Chloe is determined to help him. She has to get the old Alex back.

But Chloe doesn’t know you can’t bring someone back from a place you’ve never been. All you can do is be there when they finally decide to come home.


You can purchase She Doesn't Know at the following Retailers:
  

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you SHANE MORALES for making this giveaway possible.
10 Winners will receive a Copy of SHE DOESN’T KNOW by Shane Morales. 

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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