Shawn Gillespie joined the Writers’ League last month. He lives in Austin, TX.
Scribe: In what genre(s) do you write?
Shawn Gillespie: So far, picture books and Middle Grade. (I’m polishing up my first Middle Grade novel now. Literally, right now. Leave me alone, kid. I’m working.)
Scribe: What authors would you like to have coffee or a beer with and which beverage?
SG: Can they be brought back from the dead? If so, I wouldn’t mind having a drink and a cigar with the Twain man himself, Mr. Samuel Clemens. If they can’t be brought back, then forget it. I don’t want to spend my time talking to a smelly corpse. That’s just gross, guys. Geez!
If they have to be living, I’d go with Walter Moer. I’d be interested in picking his brain about balancing writing and illustrating for older audiences.
Scribe: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?
SG: How to Survive on a Deserted Island by Tim O’Shei. Sorry. I’d like to tell you that I’d read Crime and Punishment and that I’d spend my life getting all those R-names sorted out, but the truth is, I haven’t been camping in a long time and would need to brush up on survival tactics. Otherwise, the Shawno gonna die.
But, assuming I could survive, I’d take along A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.
Scribe: What have you learned from your association with the Writers’ League?
SG: One day, I got the not-so-bright idea to write and illustrate a picture book, thinking I could self-publish and it’d be an easy way to supplement a mural gig or two. But, as I mentioned, writing is HARD. What an idiot Past-Shawn was. You know it. Present-Shawn knows it. We all know it. So, to improve, I started reading grammar books, and basically relearning the English language. Grammar books led to books on style. I tried writing a novel. It was crap, so I wrote it again. And again. And again. And did I mention, WRITING IS HARD? Eventually, I reached a point where my writing is as good as I can make it on my own. So… Writers’ League. I am sure I will learn a lot, but I’m just settling in, right now.
Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?
SG: This is an odd sort of question that seems to suppose I am a mastermind with a master plan and master things (like a Batman toolbelt! Ugh, I wish!). Nothing is further from the truth. Whether it’s painting or writing, I don’t create because I think it will get me anywhere. I do it because I have no other choice. An idea sneaks its way into my head and will claw and scratch around my brain until I get it out. It’s a fine line between passion and compulsion, and one I walk daily. My only focus is to become the best writer I can be and hope that, one day, my work might reach people who enjoy it and I haven’t boondoggled my life away. But, in the end, even if I was the only person left on earth, I’d still create. No choice. Creative brain ants, remember? (Plus, now I really want that Batman tool belt.)
Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world? An opportunity for blatant self-promotion!
SG: I have webpages. I am hoping to start a blog in January and refocus the sites around writing and illustrating more than murals. It’s a work in progress.