Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Guest Post with Shannon Schuren - The Virtue of Sin

Photo Content from Shannon Schuren

Shannon Schuren works as a children’s librarian at a public library and writes from a cozy she-shed in her backyard. Her short stories have appeared in various journals such as Toasted Cheese Literary Journal, Big Pulp, and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. Shannon has never joined a cult, but might be tempted if they serve gluten-free cookies. Shannon lives in Sheboygan Falls, WI, with her husband and three children.


Hardcover | $17.99 
Published by Philomel Books
Jun 25, 2019 | 432 Pages | 5-1/2 x 8-1/4| 
Young Adult | ISBN 9780525516545


“Shannon Schuren weaves a complex tale of love, faith, and lies in her thought-provoking debut The Virtue of Sin. As important as it is entertaining, this is a must-read for anyone who knows that independent thought trumps fitting in. One of my favorite reads of the year.” ―Christina Dalcher, bestselling author of VOX

“Compulsively readable.” —BCCB

I was a voracious reader as a child! I loved so many books that I fear this blog post may just end up being a list of all the great books I read when I was young. My favorite picture books were How the Sun Was Brought Back to the Sky by Mirra Ginsburg and The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton. I also loved the Frog and Toad stories, so much so that my husband bought me copies of Frog and Toad for our first Christmas together. From there, I graduated to Trixie Belden. My mother owned the entire series and gave it to me, and I read all of those books over and over again.

I loved Trixie because she was feisty and curious. That girl was never going to leave a question unanswered or a mystery unsolved. She also had the courage to speak her mind. Sometimes that got her in trouble, but more often than not she was just saying what needed to be said. Not surprisingly, those are also the characteristics I gave to Miriam. We sometimes talk about ‘strong female characters’ in fiction as if it’s a trend, but the truth is, girls have always needed—and will continue to need—strong female role models. We all need to see young women who know how to speak their own truth, even in the face of adversity, and who have the courage to fight injustice and stand up for what they believe in. And we need to keep seeing it—in all forms,—until it’s accepted as truth, and not some fictional anomaly that generates a headline.

Looking back over this list of childhood books, I’m also struck by how most of these are stories of enduring friendships. When I started writing THE VIRTUE OF SIN, I was convinced I was writing a romance. Maybe two; possibly doomed. But now that the book is finished, my favorite relationships in the story are not the romances, but the friendships. Rachel and Delilah and Miriam have such a strong bond, and it was so much fun to explore how that bond is tested when they are pushed into this next phase of their lives and essentially forced to change from girls to women overnight. And Caleb’s relationship with his brother faces a similar challenge when one of them marries the woman he loves and the other doesn’t. There’s also a new relationship that forms over the course of the story, and I’m afraid to say more because I don’t want to spoil anything, but it is by far my favorite part of the book and a true testament to the importance and power of both friendship and thinking for oneself. 

In addition to my early fiction reading, I also have to mention the influence from my years of Catholic school and daily bible study. As a kid, I had a very loose understanding of the difference between fact and fiction, which is not at all the fault of my teachers, but rather my own refusal to reign in my imagination. So from the very beginning I was fascinated by all of those apocryphal stories and the people who lived them. I just could not imagine what it would be like to be a young man thrown into a den of lions and walking out alive, but I also couldn’t stop thinking about it! My understanding of these stories has matured, along with my understanding of parables and metaphors, but my fascination with this kind of storytelling remains. Whatever your beliefs, these are stories that have been passed down from generation to generation. I think there is a special kind of magic in stories that endure over centuries of retellings. My dream is to be able to write a story like that one day!

A novel about speaking out, standing up, and breaking free.

Miriam lives in New Jerusalem, a haven in the desert far away from the sins and depravity of the outside world. Within the gates of New Jerusalem, and under the eye of its founder and leader, Daniel, Miriam knows she is safe. Cared for. Even if she’s forced, as a girl, to quiet her tongue when she has thoughts she wants to share, Miriam knows that New Jerusalem is a far better life than any alternative. So when God calls for a Matrimony, she’s thrilled; she knows that Caleb, the boy she loves, will choose her to be his wife and they can finally start their life together.

But when the ceremony goes wrong and Miriam winds up with someone else, she can no longer keep quiet. For the first time, Miriam begins to question not only the rules that Daniel has set in place, but also what it is she believes in, and where she truly belongs.

Alongside unexpected allies, Miriam fights to learn–and challenge–the truth behind the only way of life she’s ever known, even if it means straying from the path of Righteousness.

You can purchase The Virtue of Sin at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you SHANNON SCHUREN for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Virtue of Sin by Shannon Schuren.


  1. I only rarely remember my dreams.

  2. "How often do you remember your dreams?" Relatively often!

  3. I remember my dreams some of the time.

  4. I rarely remember them, except for the ones where I feel as though I'm falling or being chased. Just don't wake me in the early morning hours; I do my best sleeping then and tend to be off-balance the rest of the day.