Thursday, September 8, 2011

Blogoversary Author Interview & Giveaway: Trevor Shane

Hi Everyone,
Make sure you check out all the other interviews and giveaways by checking out the Blogoversary Tab or Picture at the top of the page.

Today we welcome an author whose books was just released today, and I personally think that it was a fantastic read.

Please Welcome TREVOR SHANE to Blood Rose Books today

Children of Paranoia was just released today, any party or celebrations planned for this achievement?
Dutton is throwing me a book release party at BookCourt in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn (I talk about it, and my love for BookCourt, a little on my website). I have a lot of friends and family coming, which is really nice. If anyone is in the neighborhood, they should definitely stop by. I think it will be a lot of fun. After that, I’ll spend the weekend with my family and slowly come to the realization that having my first book published hasn’t immediately changed my life. 

Have you always wanted to be an author? Is there a book, author or experiences that led you to want to be an author?
When I was a kid, I wanted to be an author. One Christmas my Grandmother brought me a subscription to a classics book of the month club. Every month, I’d get a new, beautiful, hardbound classic and read it over and over again. I must have read Treasure Island twenty times. I was a big daydreamer as a kid and wrote stories all the time. Then I grew up and the whole thing started to get away from me. I kept writing but only for myself. I almost lost faith that what I was writing was worth sharing with the world. Then I turned thirty and realized that I was running out of time to chase my dream. The idea for Children of Paranoia came to me shortly after that.

Children of Paranoia is your first published novel, can you tell us the process it took to get the book published?
The process of getting Children of Paranoia published was pretty typical. I wrote and edited the first draft and then began querying agents. My queries were pretty horrible. I remember at my first book signing a woman asked me to tell her what the book was about and I said that I found it difficult to explain concisely. To which she replied with a laugh, “It always is, isn’t it? They’re your children.” (This woman had obviously been around a lot of authors). It’s very true. My son is the most amazing little person I’ve ever met but I can’t describe him to you in three sentences—same thing for my books. Lucky for me, my wonderful agent (Alexandra Machinist at Janklow & Nesbit Associates—Linda Chester & Associates at the time) saw the potential for a great book in a lousy query. 

After helping me to edit the book, Alexandra sent it out. We received a lot of interest but a number of people requested certain changes that I thought would weaken the book. It’s important to listen to advice but it’s also important to stand your ground. In the end, the book is going to have your name on it. Finally, we got the book in front of Dutton and my current editor Ben Sevier. It was clear from the beginning that he really understood what I was trying to do. Once Ben showed me that he understood what I was trying to do, I was much more willing to make changes for them. The editing process, and working with professionals, has really been enlightening. The whole process, from query to publication, took a little over three years which, in this business, is pretty quick. 

The thriller genre has many different authors with different ideas of what it means to be a thriller author. What is one aspect that you believe needs to be in a thriller novel? How do you think Children of Paranoia stands out from other novels?
The key to a good thriller is to thrill, to get the reader’s heart pumping, to make people regret the moment when they have to put your book down. I think that the easiest way to separate genres is not by subject matter but by what aspect of writing is most important. For some genres, the most important aspect of the writing is the intricacy of the plot or the beauty of the language or the humor. For thrillers, I strongly believe that the most important aspect of the writing is the pacing. And it shouldn’t all be fast. You need to manipulate the reader so that the pace of their reading matches the action on the page. 

I think (I hope) that Children of Paranoia stands out because of its characters and because of its unique concept. Dystopian novels are very popular right now and I’ve thought that one of Children of Paranoia’s central themes is that the world is always a dystopia for some people even if others are blind to it. When everything is falling apart around you, it doesn’t matter that everything is sunshine and roses for someone else. So the concept, which carries a dystopian outlook into regular life is, I think unique. Beyond that, I’ve been told that the characters, their struggles and their motivations really resonate with people. It makes people think about what they would do if they were in Joseph’s or Maria’s shoes.

What do you think would be the hardest or most challenging genre to write a novel in and why?
I think any genre would be nearly impossible to write in if I felt like I was trapped in that genre. All the fun is in playing with, and bending, a genre’s rules and elements. I’ve always felt like a genre is simply an extension of language and how successful you’ll be is directly related to how well you manipulate both the language and your readers’ expectations.

Where did you get your inspiration for this novel? Did you create the storyline, the war or Joseph first?
I thought of the first chapter first. I was walking down the street where the first scene takes place and the entire chapter popped into my head. The rest of the story evolved from there. The first question I struggled with was how to make someone who follows a woman home and strangles her in front of her house while her two children sleep inside into a somewhat sympathetic protagonist (hopefully this isn’t a spoiler since you can read the first chapter on my website). The only way that I could think of to make this character a likable protagonist was to make his victim evil. That begged the question of what is good and what is evil? I tried to capture that ambiguity as I developed the storyline and created the war in which the story takes place. 

Joseph is a fascinating (and Fantastic) character, he borders on the anti-hero (which I love), what is one aspect of Joseph’s character that you hope that readers are able to relate to and understand about him? Was it hard to write Joseph in the end?
My goal was to make Joseph the most twisted everyman in the history of fiction. I want readers to be able to relate to and understand all of him. I want them to be able to slip into his shoes and try to think about what they would do differently if they were in his situation. Because of this, I think it was important to write Joseph as a quiet man of understated introspection. He’s no Hamlet. He’s a man who was taught how to act and not how to think. I hope the reader is then able to follow his path as he begins to, and in some ways is forced to, question the world around him. 

I think that if you’re true to your characters and you understand them, then it’s never hard to follow through with the story in the most honest way possible.

Why did you decide to write a semi-journal format of a novel? What do you think the pros and cons are to the journal format?
From the moment that the idea popped into my head, I knew that Children of Paranoia would have to be told in the first person. All of the advantages to writing in the third person—the ability to be omniscient, the ability to step outside of a character—would have had a detrimental impact on the story because, in order to understand Joseph and feel his paranoia, you really need to step into his shoes. The idea to write this in a journal format and specifically in a journal format that is addressed to another character came later. My hope is that by writing in this format, readers get drawn more quickly into the story. Even if they can’t empathize with Joseph, they can empathize with the person Joseph is writing to. When he writes “you” he’s referring to Maria but my hope is that the reader forgets this at times and feels like he’s referring directly to them. I also think the first third of the novel is pretty male focused even though the book itself is largely about love and family. By making almost the entire novel an extended love letter, my hope was that those themes would grab people a little earlier. 

The hardest part about writing in the journal format is fighting the desire to cheat. When you write a book like this, you (as the author) have to know everything that happens both to and around the characters but, with each sentence that I wrote, I had to ask myself, “Would Joe know that?” Because this is a journal written by Joe to a woman he has fallen in love with, I also had to ask myself, “Even if Joe knows that, would he have written that to Maria?” Joe’s pretty open in what he writes but there have to be limits. I think readers can have lots of fun theorizing about those limits (and reading between the lines in parts) but if you’re going to choose to write in this style, you really have to keep your discipline and avoid, for example, turning your narrator into a mind-reader.

I know it may be a bit premature as your first book came out today but do you have any information on the sequel to Children of Paranoia? (I cant wait to get my hands on the second book) Do you have any information on upcoming events that you are able to share?
First of all, Dutton will be publishing the entire trilogy. Though I think Children of Paranoia can stand alone, it was pitched and sold as part of a trilogy. I’ve been working very hard on book II. It’s basically been written but we’ve just started the painful editing process. I believe the plan is to try to publish each of the books roughly a year apart so hopefully book II will come in the fall of 2012. The feedback I’ve gotten so far is really great.

After the Release Party, I don’t have anything specific planned. I know that I’ll be doing a reading in Boston in the near future and have talked to some other bookstores about possible events but want to wait until the book is published to cement anything. Other than that, I’m open to suggestions if anyone out there has any.

What is one book on your shelf that you cannot wait to read (can either be a new or old favorite)?
My wife’s been raving about In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. We don’t always have the same taste in books and I read a lot more fiction than nonfiction, but when she likes something this much, I have to give it a try.

I want to say Thank You to Trevor for agreeing to be part of my Blogoversary. You can find out more about Trevor's books by checking out my review of Children of Paranoia and checking out Trevor's Website. Trevor has also donated one SIGNED HARDCOVER copy of his book as a giveaway, thank you once again Trevor.

1.  Please leave a comment and/or question as well as a way to contact you (you do not need to be a follower to participate, but it is always nice for you to join)
2. For an extra entry Post my Blogoversay Button on your website (please leave a link)
3. This Giveaway is Open Internationally
4. The Giveaway ENDS on October 7, 2011
5. The winners will be notified via email and will have 48 hrs to respond, otherwise a new winner will be chosen
6. Book was provided by Trevor Shane


  1. Thanks for the interview- Joseph sounds likes an interesting character to meet! Rae,

  2. I am a follower and this book sounds like a great read.
    Thanks for the chance to win it.

    cenya2 at hotmail dot com

  3. Thanks for the giveaway! It sounds like an interesting book. Hope you have a wonderful day!


  4. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!!!

    GFC: Paige

  5. I'm looking forward to it. The fact it's just been released makes me even more excited to read it.

    Thank you for making this giveaway international.


  6. Congrats on the 100+ followers, and Happy Blogoversary!

    Please enter me in the draw, and thanks for the giveaway!

    GFC - Darlene
    darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com

  7. I absolutely loved this book! Not very often does a book stay with me for months after reading it, but I still catch myself thinking about Children of Paranoia on occasion. If you haven't read this book yet, GO GET IT.

    Trevor- Congrats on release day and I'm thrilled that Children of Paranioa is getting such a great response for readers! My only question is, can I *please* get the sequel early?? LOL


  8. I would love to read Child of Paranoia! I love reading thrillers. They make me feel like I'm on an exciting journey. I'm a GFC follower - Aik.

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

  9. Trevor you stated it perfectly, thrillers are suppose to thrill and I love that you want to manipulate our minds, very cool.

    I would love to try and win, adding to Wishlist.


    Happy Blogoversary

  10. Hey everybody - it's been a worldwind couple of days with Children of Paranoia's release on Thursday but I wanted to drop in to thank Blood Red Books and all those that posted nice comments. Good luck in the contest to all those that entered!

    -Trevor Shane

  11. I would love to be entered, and I follow on gfc. Thanks so much for the contest~

  12. the book sounds awesome. i gladly enter the giveaway.

  13. Thank you for sharing your journey for CHILDREN OF PARANOIA.

    GFC: Mary Preston


  14. I love getting in on the ground floor of a trilogy!! Thanks for an awesome interview and giveaway:)
    jwitt33 at live dot com

  15. Great interview, I'm always looking for good thriller books and authors!!! Thanks for the review and insight!