Tuesday, 25 October 2011 | By: Nicole @ Nicole About TOwn

Author Interview: Trevor Shane - Children of Paranoia

So today I am joined by Trevor Shane, author of Children of Paranoia.  He has graciously agreed to allow me to interview him about his debut novel.  Children of Paranoia is published by Dutton Books and was released on September 8, 2011.

N: What inspired you to become a writer?

T: Ever since I was a very young kid, I’ve been a gluttonous reader and an uncontrollable daydreamer.  The daydreaming has simply always been an integral part of how my brain works.  Not only have I always daydreamed incessantly, but all of my daydreamers take on a very vivid and often complex narrative.  So I didn’t really need any inspiration to write; the stories were already in my head.  I simply needed inspiration to overcome the fear of the rejection that is inherent in being a writer.  The inspiration to overcome that fear came from three things that hit my almost simultaneously: (1) a sudden realization that I was getting older and that the time I’ve been allotted is finite; (2) a day job that I hated; and (3) a story that I felt like I had to share with the world.  Children of Paranoia just happens to be that story.

N: What was your favourite chapter (or part) of Children of Paranoia to write and why?

T: Not to give too much away but there is a scene in Children of Paranoia where Joseph, the main protagonist, is on an island during a moonless night and is running away from people who are clearly out to kill him.  He eventually reaches a dead end on a beach and realizes that the only way he might be able to escape is to try to hide from them in the churning, black ocean water.  If you’ve ever swam in the ocean at night (or, failing that, if you’ve ever seen the first scene of Jaws), you know who scary floating in waves in the dark can be.  I tried to take that fear even further by forcing Joseph to plunge himself down into the water to avoid being seen by his chasers, leaving him floating in a black abyss.  A lot of Children of Paranoia was fun to write, but that scene probably tops my list because it is so visceral.

N: Was it a conscious decision to make this a series and not a standalone book?

T: From the moment that I conceived of it, Children of Paranoia was always the first book in a trilogy.  When done right, I love trilogies.  The key to a good trilogy to me is to have each part of the trilogy have a natural beginning and ending and to have each part tell a complete story but to have the three parts work together in a way that makes each part even more satisfying than it would be on its own.  With Children of Paranoia, I also saw a unique opportunity to tell each of the three books from a different perspective and to have each of the three books focus on a different character.  While that may have been done before, it’s a new concept to me and something that I’m really excited about.

N: Is there a message that you want readers to take away after having read the book?

T: I’m a firm believer that you can’t dictate the message in your writing.  If you try, your work is going to be much less compelling and you’re not going to convince people of your message anyway (though I’ll admit there are a whole bunch of Ayn Rand fans out there who would seem to prove me wrong).  Essentially, I believe that, once you publish your work, you don’t own it anymore.  Once it’s out there, it belongs to the readers and it’s up to them to find their own message.  All I’ll say is that I hope Children of Paranoia makes people think and that they find something in it that makes them look at the world a little bit differently.

N: If you had to go back to the beginning and do it all over again, is there any aspect of Children of Paranoia that you would change?  Why or why not?

T: This is a tough question.  I’m pretty sure my answer will be different ten years from now, but I can’t think of anything that I’d change in the final product.  I’m immensely proud of Children of Paranoia and incredibly happy with the feedback that I’ve gotten (you can read a bunch of the reviews here).  So, I guess the real question is the “why not” part.  Getting your first novel published by a traditional publisher is still an immensely grinding process.  I finished the first draft of Children of Paranoia in 2008 and it didn’t get published until 2011.  When I finished it, it had a different title, was 30% longer than the final product and wasn’t nearly as good.  I got lucky though and got to work with a wonderful agent and a great team at Dutton, all of whom really loved the book and understood what I was trying to do with it (so I never had to fight them on the things that I considered important).  All of whom also had opinions on how to make Children of Paranoia better.  I really think that the things that needed to be changed in Children of Paranoia were changed through this process and I ended up with a book that’s way better than I ever dreamed it would be.  So, no, I wouldn’t change a thing in the finished product and hope that most readers agree.


I would like to thank Trevor for stopping by and participating in the interview.  You can order a copy of his book here!

Be sure to connect with Trevor Shane online!


Trevor said...

Thanks for the fun interview (and for the great review)!

-Trevor Shane

Gwenny said...

Great interview!

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