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Shawn Grady has served for more than a decade as a firefighter and paramedic in Nevada, where he lives with his wife and three children. Named the "Most Promising Writer" at the 2008 Mt. Hermon Writers Conference.

 

 Our Interview with Shawn Grady


 

How did you get started as a CBA writer?

My first introduction to the CBA came through the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in the Santa Cruz Mountains of Northern California. It was through the contacts made there that I was eventually able to sign a three-book deal with Bethany House.

How did you come up with the concept for Falls Like Lightning?

Thunderstorms and wildland fires play a significant role each summer in the Sierra Nevada near where I live. I wanted to write about the wildland aspect of firefighting in a suspenseful format. I developed the idea for a story about a smokejumper who is promoted into a supervisory role, and then thrust into the middle of a mammoth blaze with a crew that is hiding a murderous secret.

What is the back story behind your writing Falls Like Lightning?

At nineteen years old, I worked my first firefighting job as a seasonal wildland firefighter with the Nevada Division of Forestry. I learned a tremendous amount and got to fight fire not only in remote brush-covered locations but also in the timber hillsides of the eastern Sierra Nevada. I always thought smokejumping would be a great route to pursue had I stayed in the wildland career path.

What is the symbolism for the title Falls Like Lightning?

In addition to the fact that lightning is a primary cause of wildland fire in the West, the title Falls Like Lightning is significant to the story of Silas Kent, a smokejumper who has borne a weighted guilt for several years after bailing out on a relationship with the woman he loves.

Fearful of commitment and building a home (as an orphan, something he has never truly known), Silas feels he deserves to be cast toward the earth and the blackened soil. He yearns for redemption, but is drawn to the destruction he combats in his job.

How much research did Falls Like Lightning take?

A bit more than with Through the Fire and Tomorrow We Die. I was able to draw from my own experiences fighting wildland fires on the ground, but needed to spend time researching and reading about smokejumping in particular. I also interviewed a co-worker who served as a smokejumper for six years.

 

 

What was the most interesting fact you learned while researching and writing Falls Like Lightning?

The informal hierarchy of the smokejumper world. They're like special-ops soldiers at the top of their game. They're given a lot of freedom and latitude in their organizational structure to accomplish the tasks they're assigned.

What are some of the challenges you face as an author?

Mainly fatigue. Balancing life at the fire department, running multiple calls after midnight, and then needing to come home the next day and still put words on the screen. It's great fodder for fiction, as long as I have the energy to harness it.

What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?

Getting in the flow of writing. When I'm rested, and that well of inspiration is refilled, there are times when I am enraptured in a flow of creativity.

And, of course, completing a book. Seeing my work in print and being proud of what was produced.

What clubs or organizations are you involved with that help in your writing?

Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference has been a great encouragement. I keep in touch with friends who are writers, and enjoy good books on the craft of writing.

What books did you read as a child?

I remember a lot of Dr. Seuss early on, then Roald Dahl’s Choose Your Own Adventures books. I loved the Scholastic Book Club ordering forms.

Are there any other new projects on the horizon?

Yes. I have a few projects I'm very excited about but that are still in the development phase.

Who/what has been the most significant influence on your writing career?

Early on, my mother was instrumental in encouraging me to write and create. Daily, my wife is a wonderful advocate and partner.

What message would you like your readers to take from reading Falls Like Lightning?

"Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

 

What is your greatest achievement?

Apart from accepting God's free gift of salvation, marrying my wife and being a father to our children. They are my love and joy.

What do you do to get away from it all?

Spend time in the outdoors. We ski in the winter and spring. Hike in the fall, and camp and surf in the summer.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I love connecting with readers. I can be reached via http://www.shawngradybooks.com or http://www.facebook.com/shawngradybooks


 
Tomorrow We Die - eBook

Tomorrow We Die - eBook
Shawn Grady
CBD Price: $5.59

Through the Fire - eBook

Through the Fire - eBook
Shawn Grady
CBD Price: $5.59

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