An Interview with Shawn Lamb
Meet Shawn Lamb….
Shawn Lamb is the author of the epic Christian young adult fantasy series Allon, along with The Huguenot Sword. Previously, she wrote for the animated series BraveStarr, produced by the same studio that did He-Man and She-Ra. She has won several screenwriting awards including a Certificate of Merit from the American Screenwriters Association. This year she is among Author Shows 50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading 2011.
Now for the interview….
Rosie: Welcome, Shawn. I am so pleased to have you here on my blog today. I want to let our readers know that you are currently doing an online book tour with your newest novel, The Huguenot Sword. I know this is “Rosie Rambles On,” but I want to give you the floor, Shawn. Could you tell us when you began writing?
Shawn: Thank you, Rosie. I am enjoying the tour. As far as when I began writing, that was back when I was a teen. History was my favorite subject, which translated into a love for historical fiction. I became captivated by anything during the 17th century and loved swashbuckling stories. I started writing The Huguenot Sword at age 16 in homage to those writers such as Dumas and Sabatini.
Rosie: The Huguenot Sword is in the genre of Christian Historical fiction. What inspired you to make the switch to YA fantasy?
Shawn: It came about at the request of my daughter for a story when she was in ninth grade. She liked fantasy, but nothing too dark, rather the old-fashioned stories like Tolkien and Lewis
Rosie: That must have been quite the change! Was it difficult to make the switch?
Shawn: Having previously written for the animated series BraveStarr, I was familiar with writing for kids. It was my privilege to place aside historical fiction to fulfill her request.
Rosie: What did her friends think of it?
Shawn: When her friends learned her mom was writing an epic fantasy, what began as one book turned into a series due to the questions their interest sparked. The majority of the kids were immigrants from Iraqi, Kenya, Laos, Somalia, and Egypt. Their backgrounds were Muslim and Buddhist. They had questions about why Americans acted certain ways and about Christian beliefs. The main need each kid expressed was the need for hope. Each story points them to the Truth, to hope.
Rosie: How many book are in the YA Allon series?
Shawn: Currently there are four books in the Allon series.
Rosie: Plus you’ve published The Huguenot Sword. Do you have a favorite?
Shawn: The Huguenot Sword is definitely my favorite. It is the first book I ever wrote and I poured a lot of myself into it.
Rosie: Tell me about The Huguenot Sword.
Shawn: My research led me to discover the most fascinating man in history, Duke Henri de Rohan. In a time of constantly changing morality, religion, and allegiances, Rohan was raised a Protestant (Huguenot) and remained true to his faith. He was a man of high integrity and could not be bought or corrupted. He withstood Richelieu and is credited with almost singlehandedly saving the French Huguenots. Once I learned about Rohan, I created a story that melded The Three Musketeers with the Huguenots from a different perspective, from the perspective of the Protestants.
Rosie: Sounds like an interesting read. Fictionalized history—that’s how I like to have my history lessons. 🙂 May I ask where your characters come from? Do they have any similarities to family members? Friends? Yourself? Or is it too dangerous to admit that?!
Shawn: No, (lol) it’s not too dangerous for me to admit since I strive not to make any of my characters recognizable as friends or family. I get this question a lot since I wrote Allon for my daughter, Briana—and no, she isn’t the female heroine of the series even though she designed the costume and portrays Shannan at events and in photo shoots.
Rosie: What’s next on your list?
Shawn: Next year I’m planning to release two more in the Allon series. There are nine books in all. I’m also working on another Christian historical fiction set during the English Civil War.
Rosie: What is your greatest challenge in writing? Finding the time? The ideas?
Shawn: I’m never at a lack for ideas. 🙂 With turning to self-publishing, the challenge is fitting in the production schedule. We—my husband, daughter, and I—do everything for my books. This includes the cover design, character drawings, bookmarks, videos, website, typesetting for print, and conversion to e-book.
Rosie: Being a self-published author of three Christian suspense novels, I can totally relate! Can I ask what your least favorite aspect of writing is?
Shawn: Marketing and promotion. In the past, authors didn’t have to devote so much time to selling themselves. It’s draining and can take away from creativity.
Rosie: What do you do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies?
Shawn: Hobbies? 🙂 Writing was a hobby that became a passion—and now a career! So, no, I don’t think I could take up another hobby at present.
Rosie: I can appreciate that. Writing is also a passion of mine. One more question: Where can we find out more about you and your work?
Shawn: You can visit my website, Allon Books. It’s kid friendly and very extensive with videos, character pages for Allon, an interactive map of the Kingdom, excerpts for each book, and links for where to buy my books. Links to Facebook, Twitter, and my blog are all there.
Rosie: Thank you, Shawn! Your website sounds like a one-stop place for everything! Thank you for stopping by to visit today. I wish you the best with your book tour.
And finally, a synopsis of The Huguenot Sword!
In the time of Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu, when being a Protestant could mean death, The Huguenot Sword roamed the streets of Paris by night, defending those of the young heretical religion. The nobility scorned them as ruffians, to the oppressed Protestants they were a savior, but to the Cardinal’s Guards they were a pestilence needing to be terminated.
The situation becomes desperate when those in power launch a bold plan to destroy the group. One wrong move could prove fatal. But the ordeal of Paris pales in comparison to the possible annihilation of their faith and people at the battle of La Rochelle.