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Meet Shane Delaney   3 comments

Interview one of your characters. Introduce them to a new audience or give existing readers new insight into their motivations.


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Getting to Know My Characters

I’ll be honest. I don’t do character interviews. I know authors who swear by them, but I prefer to get to know my characters in a more organic way. I’ve almost never interviewed my friends, either (exceptions have been made when they’re subject-matter experts). I get to know them by hanging out with them and listening to what they have to say or observing what they do in particular situations.

This is also how I get to know my characters. They tell me their stories. I write them down. Often, they talk to me during odd times — hopefully not in a meeting at work where I’m supposed to be paying attention or church (ditto). It’s just organic and free-form. I don’t seek out the communication. It just is. I think if I asked my characters questions, they might stop talking to me. And, trust me, I don’t want any of them to do that in the middle of a book series.


I decided to give it a try and see where it led me. I put out six questions and just invited the characters to answer them. And here you go. I’m really surprised Shane Delaney chose to answer the questions. I really expected either Cai or one of the women to bite on the topic. Shane isn’t particularly friendly or communicative even with other characters in Transformation Project.

A Brief Overview of Shane Delaney

Shane Delaney is 27 years old, a former mercenary who came home to rest after some devastating emotional trauma while on overseas duty. Even five books in the series, you don’t know what that trauma was because he doesn’t want to deal with it. Book Six (Winter’s Reckoning) spends a lot of time in Shane’s head, so there may be answers soon.

He is one of the main characters in Transformation Project and starts Book 1 (Life as We Knew It) with his own gun in his mouth. His depression and PTSD take the form of being irritable, not sleeping, and having nightmares, and his treatment for it is constant motion. As long as he’s focused on worthwhile goals, like saving the town, he’s functional. Let things get quiet, though, and he starts to nosedive. In terms of where the series is headed for this character … winter’s coming and at the end of Gathering In, Shane suffered a big loss, so you can maybe guess at the general trend for his life. But right now, he doesn’t know that.

What do you carry in your pockets/duffel bag?

You mean, my go-bag? A change of clothes, between 3 and 10 spare 9mm ammo mags (fully loaded 14 rounds, of course), a box of 45 shells for my backup weapon, extra sets of identification, a hunting knife, rope, a tarp, a windproof lighter, a box of tinder, backup batteries for my notebook computer and my work cell, extra charge cords for both, a double handful of Power Bars and a couple of canteens of water. I might also have a sleeping bag, hat, gloves and a coat if it’s winter.

On my person, I carry my current set of identification, my cell, the keys to whatever vehicle I’m driving, my 9mm and, usually, a set of zip-tie handcuffs. I might also carry a hunting knife.

How do you feel about your home/living space?

Wow, that concept of home — that’s — it’s been a while. I guess my folks’ house is my home. I used to feel safe there. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel safe anywhere again, but it’s the closest I come now. The people I love are there. If they weren’t – burn it to the ground. Who cares about a soul-less shell of wood? You know?

What early event shaped you the most?

When I was 13, I got bucked by a horse. A rattler spooked him and he bolted, swiped me off on a live-oak tree. I was miles from town with a dislocated shoulder and some broken ribs. My folks weren’t expecting me back for a couple of days and they aren’t the type to act on their worry over me, so I knew I was in trouble. When the horse circled back, I dragged myself back into the saddle and rode into town. I was just about unconscious when I rode up to the house and fell out of the saddle onto the lawn. I kind of learned never to give up from that. Pain is almost never as bad as you think it is. You can go forward if you just get up and move. Collapse when you get to a safe place.

Where is your favorite place and why?

The pilot’s seat of a small plane on the leading edge of a storm front. I’m in complete control in a beautiful dangerous situation. You can feel the buzz of the lightning’s electricity through the airframe, but it can’t kill you because you’re not grounded. I love that feeling of being tossed around by a force greater than myself, knowing that there’s a slim chance it could kill me, but completely sure I have the skills to live through it. I savor that juxtaposition of peril and control. It’s like balancing on a knife edge – an electrified knife’s edge.

What are your most important values?

Family, friends, loyalty, stubbornness, courage and a sense of realism. There’s no need for untoward pessimism in most of life, but I don’t believe in sugar-coating things either. Optimism is a mental illness, in my opinion.

What emotion/feeling are you afraid to experience?

Those come in plural, don’t you know.

I’m terrified of grownup love. I lost someone and I don’t ever want to feel that way again. In fact, I’m pretty sure I won’t survive it next time. I won’t want to.

Helplessness kills me. As long as I can respond to something — even if I’m responding wrongly – I feel like I can fix whatever is wrong. But if I’ve been rendered impotent – unable — I just can’t do that.

That’s why grief is so hard for me. I can’t fix death. I can’t shoot it or punch it in the nose. I can’t bargain with it. But six weeks ago, 30 million people died in a holocaust and now the people around me are dying. I know grief is coming and … yeah, I’m scared witless.

A word from the author …

Shane Delaney is part of an ensemble cast of characters in the Transformation Project series. Come get to know them.

Posted December 9, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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Watch for the Anthology   1 comment

Image may contain: one or more people, text and outdoor

My short will be part of the Agorist Writers’ Workshop anthology “Fire and Faith”.

Sign Up for My Author Newsletter   Leave a comment

Sign Up for my Author Newsletter and be entered to win a free book.…h


Posted November 12, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in book promotion

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Want to Win a Free Book?   Leave a comment

Sign up for my author newsletter and be entered to win 1 of 5 e-copies of “Life As We Knew It” (Book 1 of Transformation Project – an apocalyptic series).

Winners will be announced Friday, November 29.

#NewRelease   Leave a comment

The world as you knew it is gone. Who is your neighbor?

Isolated amid a crippled country, the people of Emmaus strive to survive through Midwestern grit and ingenuity as winter looms and desperate people threaten the town’s borders. Distant opportunities beckon, food and medicine dwindle, and disease flares. With starvation just around the corner, a time of gathering in begins. Not everyone’s going to live to spring.

Shane Delaney prides himself on his ability to stay cool in troubled times, but he can’t save everyone and now it becomes clear he may not even be able to save himself. 

When the world as you knew it goes off the rails, who would you bring home?


“Gathering In” Excerpt #6   Leave a comment

The medical center held the priority for fuel, so had lights, kept low to save electricity. The patients all slept. Shane went into the room where Mike slumbered under a heavy dose of sedatives. His temperature still ran high. Shane looked at the blood-tinged pus in the bag hanging beside the bed. The yellow-green color didn’t bode well for his friend’s survival.

God, we could use your help here.

Where did that come from? Driving through a mortar barrage, he found a rudimentary belief in the god he’d so long denied. Shane found it convenient to blame the eternal crap bag for all the evil in the world, but he didn’t expect him to be a cosmic sugar daddy. That kind of delusion belonged to people who thought the meddlesome old man in the long white beard loved them. He knew if his parents’ god was real, he’d lose no love on a monster like Shane. God’s love of monsters stood in the way of Shane even believing in him. Men like King David, with hundreds of deaths on their hands, didn’t deserve heaven.

I deserve death.

Did Mike? Probably a card-carrying member of the asshole in arms did, yeah. Did Alicia deserve to be alone, pregnant and unprotected in a world now spun out of control? All of morality pivoted there for Shane. He knew he deserved death by painful torture, but he also knew that would hurt his parents deeply and the knowledge kept his 9mm in its back holster and not in his mouth. He had to do his best to not hurt himself while they still needed his skills.

“Gathering In” Excerpt #5   Leave a comment

Julian headed off in the direction he’d indicated, carrying two gas cans, the wrecking bar he used for self-defense trailing out the back of his coat like a metal tail, his feet crunching dried leaves.

The empty street of clapboard houses and neat hedges on narrow sidewalks gave Perry the creeps. It felt like one of those horror movies where you find a deserted town and then the zombies climb out of the cellars. He popped the hood and methodically worked his way through the fluids – oil, transmission, brake, steering, and radiator. The truck’s age made windshield wiper fluid unnecessary. They needed to find a gas station with a working air hose. That back left tire looked a little squishy. They needed to get more trade goods. Perry had always been an honest man and it didn’t come naturally to think about stealing, but there might be stuff in these houses they could exchange for what they needed. Joseph had enormous resources that he couldn’t access in the current circumstances, but surely Ren Sullivan’s fortune didn’t go poof when the electrical grid fried. He’d have to talk to Joseph when he and Katharine came back.

He heard a scrape of a sole on pavement a split second before he felt the barrel of a gun in his right kidney.

“Don’t move! Hand over your keys.”

Posted October 23, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in book promotion

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