Friday, August 31, 2012

Author Interview and Giveaway: All Things Different by Shawn Underhill

I am so excited to be able to share a wonderful book with you by author Shawn Underhill. His book All Things Different is exactly what it says, a different great read that you really don't want to miss out on.

Not only do I get to share this book with you today (as well as my thoughts on it) but I also have a very special interview with the author and if that wasn't good enough, Shawn also generously offered to do a giveaway for an e-book copy of his book to one lucky winner.

But before I get to all of that, a little but about All Things Different.  


"I know that the night is not that same as the day: that all things are different, that the things of the night cannot be explained in the day, because they do not then exist."
~ Ernest Hemingway

Late in the summer of 2005, starkly independent Jake Thornton was on the verge of turning 16, expecting little more than his driver’s license in the fall, and the continuance of the quiet life shared with his father. So when 14-almost-15 year old Sara moved in next door and began vying for his father’s attention, Jake wasn’t exactly thrilled, and couldn’t quite understand his father’s motives for allowing it. But certainly he never anticipated the dramatic shift their lives would take as a result.

As the summer fades and autumn takes over, friendship between the two teenagers begins blossoming into a bond, until fate steps in once more, threatening to tear them apart as quickly as they’ve come together. The decisions that follow, and the emotive tale that results, opens Jake’s eyes to the simple yet life altering truth, a truth that Sara has understood all along: that love—not the feeling but the action—is the most powerful force in the world.

Author Interview:

MGO: "Thank you so much Shawn for being here today! I really enjoyed your book and I want to help get the word out about it so, in 20 words or less tell us about it."

Shawn: "Boy meets girl. Girl likes boy. Boy likes girl but doesn’t want to be bothered. Things happen. Outcome? Unsure."

 MGO: "When did you first truly know that you wanted to be a writer?"
Shawn: "Right around age 20. I was still angry about the ending of A Farewell to Arms, which I was forced to read for school and hated with a passion. I saw the film In Love and War and liked it, so I decided to give the book another try. Something just clicked. From then on I’ve been obsessed with Ernest Hemingway, reading everything I can by or about him, and trying to write my own stories, which seem quite pathetic in comparison. But I still love to try."

MGO: "What was your inspiration for coming up with the idea and characters for All Things Different? Are any of the characters based on people that you know?"

Shawn: "Many different people and circumstances inspired the story. The first was a Hemingway short story called My Old Man. I loved the flow and feel of the story, and I wrote a few pages (in 2005) and then didn’t know what to do.
A few years later, in ’09, I couldn’t sleep one night and started looking through some of the many abandoned story starts. I found the My Old Man start, and off I went, planning and typing until I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I used memories, friends, family members, stories I’d heard, a variety of actual places, modified everything and put it all together to form the 3 major characters and the setting. The first draft took about 3 weeks.

Also, I love the book Great Expectations, which I quote twice in ATD. I love stories about kids that span years, where you can see them grow and watch who they become, and I wanted to try and write something along those lines."

MGO: "What made you decide to self publish?"

Shawn: "Necessity. Agents and publishers expressed interest in my books a few years ago, but ultimately they turned everything down. I figured with self-pub I could at least find out how it feels to sell a few copies, and maybe get the writing itch out of my system. It hasn’t gone away yet."

MGO: "If you could travel back in time, who is the one person you would love to meet and talk to?"

Shawn: "I can’t do just 1 if I’ve got a time machine! Jesus first. Then Alexander The Great. Two people that absolutely rocked the world. Talking with them might be awkward, though, as I’m guessing they wouldn’t understand English. :/ "

MGO: "Are you currently working on anything new?"

Shawn: "I have my old starts but I’m not writing anything at the moment. I’d like to do a comedy or a parody of some sort. Maybe a bumbling detective novel. Who knows!"

MGO: " Thank you so much Shawn for being here today and answering all of my questions and of course for agreeing to offer up a copy of your book for a giveaway as well! I really appreciate it!" 

Shawn: "Thanks for having me on your blog! And thanks to anyone that gives my book a try!"

My Thoughts and Review:
This is a beautifully written coming of age story that I think any lover of YA will really enjoy.

The author managed to transform the reader right into the world he created using rich detail that made you feel like you were right there breathing in the mountain air and walking along side the characters as their story unfolded.

The characters in this story felt very real to me. They were all loveable and endearing and made me wish I knew them too. I liked them all so much, I am not even sure I could pick a favorite.

Jake and Sara both grew a lot in this book mentally and emotionally. Nothing was ever completely simple or carefree, they dealt with problems that anyone of us could have. I love that even though Jake and his father were strangers to Sara in the beginning that they all grew to be very much a family unit.

And while the romance aspect wasn't all that I hoped it would be, I still really enjoyed the innocence and sweetness of it.

This story was very detailed and descriptive (sometimes a little too much so) but it was nicely written and I will be keeping my eye on this author for any of their future work because I think we can expect some great things from them in the future as well.

Overall I give this one a very well rounded 4 Stars!


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  1. Very pretty cover.
    i am glad you uncovered another good indie read. Sounds like fun. Wow! Ernest Hemingway, I have to admit he isn't one of my favs since he is so depressing!

  2. I agree Heidi, he can be sort of depressing, in fact a lot of the earlier poetic works were IMO. Beautiful but tragic too.