by Katie Sampias
Shawn D. Brink is a fiction writer living in Nebraska. He is the author of the Christian horror novel, Pets for Legion. You can watch the book trailer over here.
In an intimate interview with our Interviews Editor, Katie Sampias, Shawn discusses his faith, literary career, and future projects.
Tell us about yourself. Where are you from? Who do you live with?
I was born in Clovis, New Mexico, U.S.A. However, I’ve resided in eastern Nebraska, U.S.A. since the age of five and therefore consider myself a Nebraskan. I live with my wife, children, an elderly miniature schnauzer, and two guinea pigs.
How do you spend your time and what are the activities or things that give you life?
In order of priority, things that give me life are: God, family, writing, music (I play the guitar), and other assorted miscellaneous things.
How did you get into writing? Was there any experience you had that confirmed your drive to write?
I’ve been telling stories since I can remember and writing them down since old enough to hold a pencil. In that regard, I didn’t get into writing, writing just always had its grip on me.
I was 20 in 1992, living with my parents and working overnights at a Kmart store as a summer job to help pay for college. So, the question came up — What should I do with my nights off? I didn’t want to switch around my sleep pattern, and my friends all slept at night. Back in 1992, I didn’t have internet access and overnight television broadcasting consisted of infomercials. So, I decided to write a novel. I didn’t have a word processor and typed the whole thing out on a Smith Corona electronic typewriter. That novel never got published, but it did get me hooked on writing longer pieces of fiction. I’ve been creating novels ever since.
Do you follow any particular routine or process for your writing?
I know many authors write out character profiles, plot outlines, write during certain times of day or for so many hours, etc. I don’t do any of those things.
When I start a new novel, I already have the characters in my head (actually, they’ve usually been in there for a while, so it’s a relief to get them out and onto the page) so I don’t type out any character profiles. The same is said for the plot. I already know basically what’s going to happen along with the major twists, so writing it out ahead of time is redundant.
By keeping the organized chaos in my head, everything remains fluid. The characters take on a life of their own and often guide my fingers as they type. The same is said for the plot. Since I don’t write it out, everything remains dynamic and can change on a dime if it makes sense to do so.
I do give myself goals. Depending on how much time I have to dedicate to my writing on any given day, I’ll set word counts and tasks that I want to accomplish, and I make sure I get them done before calling it a day.
Where does your writing fit in with the rest of your life?
God is first. Family comes second. Writing is third.
You write some unique genres of fiction. What inspired you to write them?
All the fiction I write is written through the eye of a Christian. Whether I’m writing for the secular or the Christian market, the reader can rest assured that I won’t glorify things that go against my faith.
Most of my writing falls under the speculative fiction umbrella, which encompasses horror, science fiction, fantasy, supernatural suspense, etc. I haven’t found many other writers who dive into these genres from a Christian perspective (I believe it to be a small slice of the Christian fiction pie). Some of the bigger names in this area include Frank Peretti, Ted Dekker, James L. Rubart, and a few others.
What inspires me to write this fiction genre? Hmm, that’s a difficult question. It’s just what I’ve always loved. It’s just the way God made me. I guess that’s as good an answer as any.
Do you approach your writing with a faith-based perspective?
My faith tends to come out in my writing of its own accord regardless as to if I’m writing Christian or secular fiction. I’ve always written from that angle because authors write best when they write from the heart. And Jesus is in my heart, so I guess that’s why I’ve always written that way.
Where do you get your inspiration for the themes in your work?
I get themes from everything and anything. This infinite list includes my dreams, nightmares, things I witness, things I experience, things in reality, things I fear, things I read (especially from the Bible), things from my imagination, the list goes on and on.
Have you always been a Christian or was there a transformative moment in your life which inspired you to become a Christian or become more dedicated to your faith?
My parents raised me Christian, and I’ve had a relationship with Jesus since I can remember. I’ve been on this road for my entire life. It’s a road scarred with places where I’ve stumbled, fallen, been picked back up, and even carried along. I thank God for his mercy, love, and patience as I continue to learn, grow, and walk with Him.
What are the beliefs or the statement of faith that your Christian works are based upon?
I write flawed characters who are not capable of saving themselves. They need a savior, a redeemer. They need God.
How do you hope to influence your readers in regards to their faith through your work?
My hope is that all people will come to a knowledge of the truth. Here’s my Statement of Faith from my website: https://shawnbrinkauthor.wordpress.com/statement-of-faith/
Can you tell us a bit about your most recently released work, Pets for Legion? What inspired you to write this work?
‘Pets for Legion’ is a Christian horror novel. The Bible is filled with stories that lend well to horror. One such story is about the Legion of demons that Jesus cast out of the possessed man. “And he [Jesus] asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.” – Mark 5:9 – The Bible (KJV)
That story from the Bible got me thinking. To summarize the story – there was a man possessed by demons. Jesus approached him and commanded that they leave the man. The demons beg Jesus not to send them away from the area, so he gives permission for them to go into a nearby herd of pigs. They enter the pigs. The pigs go berserk, run into a lake, and drown.
So, I asked myself, where did the legion of demons go from there? Demons can’t drown, so they didn’t die with the pigs. Well, in Pets for Legion, they’re living under a small town in Northern Iowa, U.S.A. and manipulating the citizens to do their bidding. When a woman named Sasha James discovers the truth, Legion doesn’t take it kindly. From there, things really start to get interesting.
Here’s the book blurb:
When local school paraprofessional Sasha James rescues a child from a mysterious assailant, she unknowingly marks herself as the next target. To survive this supernatural foe, she will need to search deeper than the physical, pray for power beyond the natural, and fight like there’s no tomorrow.
What is your next writing project? Can you tell us about that?
With help from my literary agent, I’ve recently signed a contract with Tell-Tale Publishing Group to publish my next novel. It’s a Christian supernatural thriller/horror novel entitled Bound by Blood.
Here’s the working book blurb:
Two factions seek to control one city. A demonic cult and a Christian church skirmish for territory. Battle lines are drawn. Angels and demons square off as brother goes against brother. The spoils of this war are human souls. Who will rise victorious, and at what cost?
What words of wisdom do you have for writer who are starting out?
For any writer starting out, my advice is this: Don’t give up. Writing is a craft and you only get better through continual practice.
Also, this business is rejection-centric. You’ve got to rise above the rejections. Don’t let them get you down. Love writing so much that the rejections won’t even raise your pulse. Again, don’t give up.
For Christian writers specifically, aim to perfect your craft using your God-given gifts to the best of your ability. Write to honor God, and in all things, give Him the glory.
Shawn’s latest novel, Pets for Legion, can be purchased over here.