Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Life with Shannon McNear (Giveaway!)

Shannon McNear's on the Diamond Mine!

Transplanted to North Dakota after more than two decades in Charleston, South Carolina, Shannon McNear loves losing herself in local history. She’s a military wife, mom of eight, mother-in-law of three, grammie of two, and a member of ACFW and RWA. Her first novella, Defending Truth in A Pioneer Christmas Collection, was a 2014 RITA® finalist. When not sewing, researching, or leaking story from her fingertips, she enjoys being outdoors, basking in the beauty of the northern prairies.


๐Ÿ’– Featuring an AWESOME Giveaway! ๐Ÿ’–
(details after the interview)

Hello folks, it's another great week on the Diamond Mine! This week, I have the honor to introduce Shannon McNear. I love this lady and I'm sure you will too. Not only is she a talented author, she's an amazing woman. So, without further ado, let's get started with the interview.


๐Ÿ‘ฉRenee: Hey, Shannon, welcome to the Diamond Mine.. I'm happy you could join us.

๐Ÿ’–Shannon: Thank you, and I’m so glad to be here! I love connecting with readers! 

๐Ÿ‘ฉRenee: Why don't we start with you telling us a little bit about yourself?

๐Ÿ’–Shannon: Well, let's see... I go by Shannon. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ Unless you want to call me Shenandoah (an old nickname, drawn from what my mom says she’d have named me if she'd had the nerve), or the Barbarian Queen (for years I’ve affectionately referred to my children as the barbarian horde), but otherwise … Four years ago we moved to southeastern North Dakota from the Charleston, South Carolina, area—which was my husband’s first duty station with the Air Force, and we just put down roots. We were married 30 years ago last summer, and have 8 kids plus 1 in heaven … are basically a couple of country kids always longing to get back to the country, and finally achieved it with our move to ND. Plus it was a way for us to be back together as a family after his spending most of a couple of years in Afghanistan as a civilian with the Navy. Except that we left our 4 oldest behind in the move. But it’s taught us to appreciate family all the more! And what a blessing that we’re tightly knit enough to really miss each other … :’-) 

๐Ÿ‘ฉRenee: LOL From Charleston to North Dakota? Wow! Culture...climate shock! Sounds like you're having a blast though. I won't touch the 8 children part. I could barely handle one boy. You are awesome in my "book." Speaking of books, I hear you have a new one coming out, can you tell me about it? Is there anything unique or special I should know?

๐Ÿ’–Shannon: For The Backcountry Brides Collection as a whole, it’s the time period—I believe this is Barbour’s first-ever all-colonial novella collection. All the authors are contributors to the historical blog Colonial Quills. My novella, The Counterfeit Tory, deals with an obscure sliver of Revolutionary War history which takes place in the backcountry (what’s now called “upstate”) of South Carolina. I also tend to like mixing a bit of action with my romance, and this one was no exception.

For The Highwayman—which I mention because not only is it the prequel to The Counterfeit Tory, but is a brand-spankin’-new re-release, originally part of The Most Eligible Bachelor Collection but now a standalone ebook with Forget Me Not—again, it’s a colonial era story, and probably the most frivolous thing I’ve ever written. I borrow heavily from the dash and daring of stories like Zorro, the Lone Ranger, and even The Man From Snowy River—and of course the Alfred Noyes poem “The Highwayman.” The combination works for some readers, not so much with others. But you could say that about any story.

๐Ÿ‘ฉRenee: So true. Both stories sound fascinating. I'm sorry, but for some reason, I keep thinking of 8 kids. When on earth do you find time to write?

๐Ÿ’–Shannon: When my oldest children were all little, I wrote late at night, but eventually gave up writing fiction for a few years, because small children and focused time on other pursuits do not mix. After feeling the nudge to pick up the writing again, I went back to the late-night sessions, because if I tried getting up early to write, my babies and toddlers always seemed to wake up earlier as well, like they had radar: Mom is up! She must need COMPANY!! Then as my older kids began to reach their teen years, they suddenly chose those later hours to come sit at my knee and unburden their hearts. Precious times, yes? I did my best to listen in the moment, to give them a decent amount of attention before gently saying, "Look, I have to work for a while now." So you’d think, with half of them gone, and only 3 teens left at home, that it would be easier to make time to write? Noooo … 

๐Ÿ‘ฉRenee: You are so right about the RADAR. Kids (and husbands) have it built into their DNA. Do you have a favorite book of your own? If so, where do you like to read?

๐Ÿ’–Shannon: I have to pick just one?? And if it’s okay to admit this, my favorite place for reading these days is … soaking in a nice, hot bath.

๐Ÿ‘ฉRenee: Oh, I love soaking in a hot bathtub and reading. I can leave the world behind! The only comparison I have that's close is when I'm painting. Do you have any hobbies or anything in particular you like to do when you aren't working?

๐Ÿ’–Shannon: As a mom of many, it feels like I’m always working.  That said, I do love to read (see above), sew (in the past I served as costume seamstress for our ballet and drama companies), and here in North Dakota, I’ve found I actually enjoy tending my flower beds and helping my husband with the garden. The heat isn’t so unrelenting, and there are far fewer bugs! I also like to cook, bake, and can—mostly, that is, because the cooking aspect has been limited somewhat, at least rendered less fun, by my being diabetic (and trying to stay diet-controlled). But my husband and I have been doing a Whole 30/Paleo diet recently, and I’m discovering I enjoy cooking again when it’s something I can eat without guilt. I love experimenting with new flavors. Oh, and I’m very much a geek about alternate medicine and natural health.  ๐Ÿ˜Š

๐Ÿ‘ฉRenee: It's cool when you actually like the food you eat (prepare) and the results it offers. We know you have a large family, but what about critters...and I'm not talking about bugs? Do you have any pets running around your busy home? I mean, you have even more to make your life fun, right?

๐Ÿ’–Shannon: We have 4 outdoor cats and 2 indoor German Shepherds. I’m honestly not much of a pet person these days but the cats help (mostly) with the mouse population, and the GSD’s pretty well stole my heart as puppies. It was always my husband’s dream to have a GSD, so while we were in the process of moving here, we also researched breeders and got on a waiting list for one on the other side of the state. Long story short, we wound up getting first pick on a long-coated female, who we named Freya (her sire’s name is Odin, and we decided to go with the whole Nordic thing common to North Dakota), and she’s been nothing short of amazing. This past March we added a male puppy, dubbed Heimdall (from the impressive guardian of the gate in the movie Thor), and he’s been pretty cool as well. Very different in temperament from Freya—thankfully much more chill where people are concerned—but a nice match for her.

๐Ÿ‘ฉRenee: What a cool name! Heimdall. Just so you know, I'm a Thor nut. I even have his hammer as a keychain! Okay, redirect... Is there a special quote or verse that helps you through your journey, in times of need or adversity?

๐Ÿ’–Shannon: A couple of different verses … “Do not be weary in doing good [literally “being excellent”] for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart” … and “for I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Both a reminder that our hard work will have an expected end, and that nothing we go through is so terrible that it overshadows what God has for us.

๐Ÿ‘ฉRenee: Sometimes it's hard to see the good through the adversity, isn't it? I thank you so much for your time for this interview, Shannon. You are truly an inspiration to all authors. But before I open the floor for questions and comments, I do have one final "question" As you know God uses life to teach us lessons. Can you tell us or share one lesson He has taught you?

๐Ÿ’–Shannon: The biggest one for me has been on practicing gratitude. Where is my focus? Not to minimize hardships or grief—or maybe it is ๐Ÿ˜Š because I’ve experienced plenty of both in my life—but it makes all the difference in my ability to cope when I can look at all the ways God has blessed me, or how abundant His mercy and grace has been on me personally and my family, or just at the Cross itself and what Jesus went through to buy our salvation.

๐Ÿ‘ฉRenee: It's an honor to have you on the Diamond Mine. Thank you for sharing your heart, family, and writing with us.

๐Ÿ’–Shannon: I so appreciate you giving me the chance to share myself and get to know a few more of my readers! Because Backcountry Brides doesn’t release until May 1, I don’t have copies in hand, but I’d like to offer one as hot off the presses as I can get it! (Probably late April.) If you’d rather not wait, and would prefer a copy of my first novella from The Pioneer Christmas Collection, I’m offering that as an alternative.




Comment below for your chance
to win a copy of The Backcountry Brides Collection.
Valid entries must include email and name.
Winner will be selected from comments (valid entries)
via random draw on 3/28/18 and notified via email.

Prize: One copy of Backcountry Brides Collection (May 2018, Barbour), OR The Pioneer Christmas Collection (2015, Barbour)


About the Book:

Love on Colonial America's Frontier

Eight 18th Century Women Seek Love on Colonial America's Frontier.

Travel into Colonial America where eight women seek love, but they each know a future husband requires the necessary skills to survive in the backcountry. Living in areas exposed to nature’s ferocity, prone to Indian attack, and cut off from regular supplies, can hearts overcome the dangers to find lasting love?

The Counterfeit Tory by Shannon McNear
1781 – (South Carolina)
Tasked with infiltrating an infamous Tory gang, Jed Wheeler has no wish to endanger the leader’s cousin, Lizzy Cunningham. He risks not only his life. . .but his heart.

About the Author:

Transplanted to North Dakota after more than two decades in Charleston, South Carolina, Shannon McNear loves losing herself in local history. She’s a military wife, mom of eight, mother-in-law of three, grammie of two, and a member of ACFW and RWA. Her first novella, Defending Truth in A Pioneer Christmas Collection, was a 2014 RITA® finalist. When not sewing, researching, or leaking story from her fingertips, she enjoys being outdoors, basking in the beauty of the northern prairies. (I use this for my own visual reference while I’m writing, so some of my boards have more pins than others)

Meet the Miner:

A pharmacist by day, but any time she can spare, Renee Blare writes Christian fiction amidst the foothills of the Wyoming Black Hills. She loves to fish, hunt, and pick away on her old guitar. Renee finds joy in God’s Country and writing about Christians and their exciting journeys. She invites you to ride along. Discover what it means for the Wild to meet the Forgiven.


Unknown said...

Wonderful interview with a new to me author. Book sounds like a good one.

Jan Drexler said...

Great interview! I've "known" you for awhile, Shannon, but now I know you better!

Looking forward to reading the whole collection. :-)

Susan Marlene said...

I loved this interview! Oh and Colonial novella- I'd love to read that. Thank you for posting this. That is one of my favorite time periods! :)

Susan Marlene said... I'd meant to leave my name too. Susan Marlene! I just posted a book review and author interview on my I invite you to visit! I love your blog!

Kay Garrett said...

Shannon McNear is a new author to me but one that I’d love to get to know especially through her books. “The Backcountry Brides Collection” sounds exactly like the type of book that I love to read.

Really enjoyed the interview with Shannon. Love getting to know the person behind the book so to speak. To me it’s a major accomplishment to have had nine children. I thank you for adding your precious one in heaven. Often they seem to be left out of the count. We lost our only child at the age of 17. It will soon be 30 years and I still make sure everyone knows she did exist and always will in our hearts and minds.

Loved the quote Shannon picked. We all need reminders that regardless of how hard we think life is that we only have to remember that God is always with us to pick ourselves up and move forward.

My question is what kind of research do you do for your books or is it all from your memory and life experiences? Also, how do you get the ideas for your books?

Thank you for the wonderful chance to win a copy of “The Backcountry Brides Collection”!
Kay Garrett from Mountain View, AR
2clowns at arkansas dot net

Library Lady said...

Our church library readers love these books and I do too.
Thanks for entering me in your giveaway.
Janet E.

Becky said...

What a fun, fun interview! This line had me smiling, "leaking story from her fingertips." What a fun visual that is! And I LOVE this: "nothing we go through is so terrible that it overshadows what God has for us." Amen! I also love to be reminded to be "practicing gratitude". We only have 6 children, and I have also found that the time when I was the busiest, seemed to always be the time they needed me the most! North Dakota is one of the 8 states we still have not visited. Just wondering if your children read your books before they are published, or do they wait for the finished product? You are a new author to me, but I recognize other authors in this collection. Thanks for the great interview!

Shannon McNear said...

Thank you all so much for the sweet comments, and wow, Renee, you did a great job putting it all together!!

Okay, to answer questions ... Kay, I do as much research as I can possibly cram in, before starting to write a story ... in fact, I'm such a research nerd that I have to force myself to stop reading at some point and actually *write.* :-) Wikipedia is a great place to start for basic facts and timelines, then whatever websites I can find (especially for locations--touristy historic sites often have great Facebook pages), and any and all primary sources I can lay my hands on. Google Books has been an amazing source for older, out-of-print titles. I try to list as many of my sources at my website, but of course that section needs updated for Backcountry Brides. :-)

And bless you--I am so sorry for the loss of your daughter, at 17! <3 That heartache never completely goes away ... but heaven ... :'-)

Becky! "Only" 6 children? :-D I often say that whether you have 1 or 10, they'll drive you nuts. LOL ... many of my children read my stories in process. A couple of my daughters vied with each other on both Counterfeit Tory and my upcoming full length (The Cumberland Bride, releasing Oct 1), in sections as I was writing them ... their enthusiasm often helped keep me going when I was feeling weary and discouraged with the story! Some of them do wait until I have a finished, mostly polished product. But I'm blessed regardless that they read and like my stories. Not all of my writer friends can say the same.

Unknown said...

Love the picture of you and Freya!! I miss that dog and all of you! Also love the picture of the crazy youth! I don’t know what to asked you because I already know so much...when are you going to visit me again? -Tasha (

LiteOfTheNite said...

Thanks, Ann! Someone you haven't read? Really? Wow! Love you! Thanks for stopping by!

LiteOfTheNite said...

Hi Jan, thanks for stopping by the Mine. I'm so glad yippy enjoyed the interview and learned a little more about Shannon. :)

LiteOfTheNite said...

Hello, Susan! Welcome! I love the colonial period too! Thanks for stopping by the blog. I'm so glad too meet you.

LiteOfTheNite said...

I will stop by! I promise!

LiteOfTheNite said...

Nice to meet you Kay. Mountain View, Arkansas? How far is that from El Dorado? Thanks for stopping by!

LiteOfTheNite said...

I bet they would! That's an awesome idea, Janet! Thanks for stopping by the Diamond Mine. :)

LiteOfTheNite said...

I've never been to ND either, Becky. Someday, someway. I'm glad we could introduce you to a new author in Shannon. She's pretty awesome, huh? Thanks for stopping by!

LiteOfTheNite said...

Ahh! Someone who knows you already, Shannon. Lol Welcome to the Mine, Tasha!

Shannon McNear said...

Taaaaashaaaa!!! <3 Soon, darling ... very soon!! I'm so overdue for one of your hugs, sweet girl!

Caryl Kane said...

Great interview! These Barbour collections are a must read!


LiteOfTheNite said...

Hi Caryl! I agree. I've enjoyed every one I've ever read. Thanks for the comment!

LiteOfTheNite said...

Only 6 children ... oh hush. Both of you make me sick. Lol I was grateful for the one and he ran circles around me! Of course, his father joined him on many an occasion! So in reality... I guess I had TWO children, didn't I? ;)

Anonymous said...

Awesome interview, Wow 8 children, I am the oldest of 10.your book sounds awesome and you are a new author to me. Thank you rose blackard (at) gmail (dot) com

LiteOfTheNite said...

Hello, Rose! I'm glad enjoyed our little back and forth! It's always a pleasure to bring new authors to readers. :) Welcome to the Mine!

Terrill R. said...

Shannon (and Renee) - I loved the verse you shared from Galatians. So much so, that I looked up different versions and basked in it's truth. While in the midst of life's hardships, I have always tried to remember that it is a season and I will see the blessings of that hardship in the future. Whether it is in a month, a year or from heaven itself, I will get to see the blessing of that trial. It isn't always easy to see past the pain, but God's Word is such a wonderful reminder. tlhcoupon(at)Hotmail(dot)com

LiteOfTheNite said...

Hi Terrill! Thanks so much for your comment. I hold on to the same promise so tight I hear my knuckles pop. We do have Ann awesome God, don't we?
Thanks for stopping by! I'm glad the interview could touch you in a special way. Maybe it will again??? ;) God bless!

Shannon McNear said...

Rose--thank you for taking the time to comment! Seems like big families are kind of a rare breed, but maybe not quite so much anymore? I'm very happy to "meet" new readers and hope you enjoy my work!

Terrill--so very true ... hard to see in the moment, sometimes, but nevertheless true. Thank you for commenting, as well!

Renee--absolutely, each child is a priceless blessing!!! <3

Thank you to EVERYONE who stopped by! <3

LiteOfTheNite said...

I'll be drawing for the winner of the giveaway at 6pm tonight so there's still time to comment or ask away! Don't miss your chance to win a copy of Shannon's writing. :) Spread the word.

LiteOfTheNite said...

The winner of the giveaway is Rose Blackard. Congratulations and you will be hearing from Shannon soon! Thanks for all your comments and questions. It's been a blast!

LiteOfTheNite said...