Interviewing Shane Wilson

Today we're sitting down for an interview with Shane Wilson, author of A Year Since the Rain, which we recently published and which had a fantastic pre-order period. I've said it before, but it bears repeating: if you want to know what you can do to make a publisher's life easier, look at everything that Shane has done. Shane is absolutely fantastic. He's easy to work with, he has a great work ethic, and we're very honored to have him as a Snow Leopard Publishing author and a big part of Allegiant Publishing Group, both as an author and as the Chairman of the Author Advisory Board.

- Christian Lee, Chairman and Chief Marketing Officer of Allegiant Publishing Group

Tell us about yourself!

I feel like I say this in every interview, but the first sentence is always the hardest to write. I almost wish there was a way to bring me in a bit more casually, but that’s neither here nor there.

Hi! I’m Shane Wilson. I’m a full-time college English instructor in North Carolina, which keeps me plenty busy. I’ve been dealing with some serious allergies this week, which is a terrible by-product of some beautiful weather. I think running outside in the pollen last week must have done me in.

In a nutshell, I’m always looking for good (new, alternative rock and hip-hop) music; I sometimes chase the day with a cocktail (when my sore throat isn’t raging like it is tonight); and I’m a big fan of falling asleep to the sound of the TV.

Tell us about your book!

Oh man—A Year Since the Rain is this weird little book about a guy named Alan who is dealing with some love-life and family drama. That sounds more trite than it really is, I promise. Or maybe it’s the appropriate level of trite. Alan is, in many ways, a man who has to learn what it means to grow up and take charge of his life. He has mostly let life happen to him—which isn’t as Zen as it might sound—and it’s time for him to take over.

Beyond that, Alan’s life is filled with interesting characters. For example, there is this neighbor who explores his dreams with him by literally walking around inside of them. There is a physical and existential threat to Alan’s life and town that takes the shape of a giant sinkhole, which is causing the earth to crumble from underneath him. I would consider it a close relative to magical realism/ surrealism.

It’s definitely weird and requires a certain kind of suspension of disbelief. But if you don’t have a willing suspension of disbelief, I don’t know that you’re reading very many books anyway.

How'd you come up with the idea for your book?

The idea for the book comes from many places—as do most ideas for most books, I suspect. The first time I wrote the title on a sheet of paper, I thought it was a poem. It was very different as a poem from what it would become as a novel. I struggled with that poem for a few weeks and finally decided it wasn’t worth it. I closed the journal and moved on.

Then, just about another year later, I wrote the first sentence of the novel—“Last summer, when the rivers dried up, I was living next door to a witch.” And if I can be honest with you for a second—I have absolutely no idea where that came from. But suddenly, I was off to the races. At a few thousand words, I wrote the title