FEATURED ARTIST FRIDAY: Shaun Horton

Please welcome Shaun Horton to the blog today! Shaun is an author I stumbled across during the A-Z challenge. He writes mostly Horror, so far. He has one book published The Unknown Neighbor, and I hear he’s working on a few others, as well as several short stories he is trying to get published. You can learn more about him and get snippets of his writing on his blog.

Carla Carvine is a typical single mom, working full-time and carefully managing her money. She gets along well with her daughters and most of her neighbors. Her life may not be perfect, but her street and home are nice, quiet, and most importantly, safe. When she wakes up late one night, all that changes. She discovers news about a murder on her street, shaking her world to its foundation, making her question the safety of her daughters, and the truth of the neighbors she thought she knew. As she struggles to hold herself together amid her fears and confusion, she starts to wonder if there might be even more going on that she’s unaware of. The truth she finds is worse than even her fearful imagination could have envisioned and as she is pushed to her limit, she wonders if she will have the strength to protect her daughters…

1. When and why did you start writing?
I’ve been writing for a long time. My grandma had one of the first Apple computers and I remember being younger and just hammering away on the keyboard, doing short stories, fanfics, whatever came to mind. As for why, I don’t know really, it was just something I did naturally. I was always a reader and moving on to my own stuff just seemed to be the next step.

2. Why did you choose to write in this genre?
I’ve always been more one to believe that rather than us choosing the genre, the genre choose their writers. It’s really just the way some people are wired. I’ve always been tuned more towards Horror than any other type of story, though fantasy makes for a close second with sci-fi being a distant third. One of my favorite tales to tell from my childhood as an example is that my mom took me to see ET when it first came out. She had to carry me out of the theater because I wouldn’t stop screaming. A year later we saw Gremlins and it was instantly one of my favorites. I even had a die-cast figure of Stripe on the bookcase next to my bed.

5.What is one of your fondest writing memories?
One of my fondest writing memories is from 6th grade. My teacher somehow saw my talent and encouraged me to do something for a young writer’s contest at school. I made some silly little book about dinosaurs living above the clouds and how tidal waves were made by one of them falling off the edge. I managed to win (I don’t think there were any other entries besides myself), and I got to spend a day away from school wandering around the local community college, listening to different speakers talk about the
mechanics of writing, grammar and all kinds of stuff that I didn’t pay attention to. I mostly remember sitting on a grassy hill, eating lunch, holding a pencil which had my name on one side and young writer’s conference on the other, just rolling it back and forth between my fingers like one of those pieces of paper which read “How do you keep an idiot busy? Turn over for answer.” on both sides.

9. What is the best part about writing?
The best part about writing, in my humble opinion, is when I’m wallowing waste-deep in the work and I finish a passage which really speaks to me. It can make me giggle or it can send a true shiver down my spine, but either way I end up with a smile on my face. It’s those moments that tell me I really might be doing what I’m supposed to be.

10. What is the hardest part about writing?
The hardest part of writing, for me, is just finding the will to write. It’s not writer’s block, per se, as it’s not an issue with creativity or not knowing what to put down. It’s kind of like…squirrel! Kind of like that, I guess, to a degree. It’s like ADD, which I am on the spectrum for, though never medicated, combined with a sense of disinclination. I just don’t feel the mood/energy/will to write and if I try to sit down and force it, I get pulled away to other, more interesting things. Sometimes I can force myself to start writing in spite of myself, but more often than not, I just have to wait for it to pass.

14.What is your favorite thing you’ve ever written? Why?
The favorite thing I’ve ever written, is a flash fiction story I did up in High School. Compared to my work now it’s obviously immature writing, but it’s so short, simple, and to the point I can’t help but love it. It’s just three snippets of conversation spaced apart, not even 100 words total. Here, I actually managed to find it, and I figured it’s short enough, I won’t take up too much extra space.

“Let’s go digging for fossils!”
“Sure, that sounds like fun.”

“Look at this! I think it’s an egg!”
“It’s just a rock.”
“I’m going to try hatching it.”
“You’re stupid, you know that right?”

“What happened to you? What’s with all the band-aids?”
“You know that rock we found a few days ago?
“Yeah.”
“It hatched.”

15. Who has been the biggest influence on your writing? Why?
Who has been the biggest influence on my writing? Pretty much everyone who has ever published a book that I’ve read. I try to read with an open eye, so that in addition to enjoying the story as-is, I’m constantly learning. Picking up a word here or there, taking in good examples of description, foreshadowing, characterization. I try to learn from every book I read, even if all I learn is what not to do. So, I can give a single answer as far as who has been the biggest influence on my writing, Stephen King probably comes the closest,  but the better question, and the one which I can easily answer: What has been the biggest influence on my writing? The answer to that, is reading.

17. How would you like to be remembered?
I honestly don’t know that I would like to be remembered. All the books, all the classics that have stood the test of time; books like
Frankenstein, Dracula, Of Mice and Men. They all get torn apart, re-assembled, examined and picked through. There’s all the talk about “What did the author mean when he made the curtains Blue in the pivotal scene?” “Perhaps he made them blue because he was sad and depressed and the scene is a metaphor for a major turning point when for a while he considered ending his life?” “Or maybe the curtains were just @#$%ing Blue.” As works get older, they become less stories and more instructional material and I
don’t know that I want that. I’m not writing to pursue a political agenda, spout my opinion, or educate people. I’m writing because I enjoy it, people seem to like it, and (let’s be completely honest here) there’s the possibility I may be able to support myself with it. I want to entertain people. If I’m remembered at all, ten, twenty, fifty years after I’m gone, I would like it to be someone picking up an old, tattered copy of one of my books at a used bookstore and have that person say after having read the piece, “That was worth the price of admission.”

Thanks for being a part of Featured Artist Fridays, Shaun!

~ jenelle

One Comment

Jacquelyn Perkins-Horton

Of course I love the writer since I am his grandmother but I have not yet read his book. I enjoyed what he had to say. I did not know you had a blog like this so I believe I will be looking at it more often since I too love to read..

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