I fell in love with Shawn Smucker’s writing from the very first page. His first two book, though considered YA books, were a great delight to read. (Yes, I am waiting for book #3) His 3rd book, Light from Distant Stars released today and I had a chance to sit down and ask him a few questions.
Thank you Shawn for joining me today.
In 2017, you wrote your debut novel, The Day the Angels Fell, for young adults. Now you are transitioning to an adult fiction title with Light from Distant Stars. Why did you decide to switch your audience?
I don’t see it as a huge switch, actually. My YA books are
enjoyed by adults as well as young people, and a story told well in many cases
can be appreciated by a wide age range. But some of the themes in this book,
such as how parents and children can grow apart, might only be fully
appreciated by people who have lived long enough to see this happen.
Can you provide
a brief description of Light from Distant
This is a novel primarily about a child’s relationship to
his father, the mistakes they both made through the years, and how long it can
take us to find each other again. The main character, Cohen, finds his father nearly
dead in their family funeral home and spends the next week thinking back over
the formative events of his childhood, trying to find out where he and his
father lost each other and what happened to the faith of his childhood.
character experienced some traumatic events in his life that affect both his
past and his present. Can you expand on this?
Everything we have experienced finds its tangible result
in the relationships we have now. I think Cohen is trying to find an
explanation for how he’s become who he’s become, and where his relationships
with his father and God have gone.
Although Light from Distant Stars covers some difficult elements, it is also a story that explores grace and hope. How is this portrayed in your story?
It’s a dark story at times, but at the heart of it is a
man trying to find his father. And in the end, he has realizations about himself
and his dad that change the way he views the events of his life. I think we are
all given this task—to try to bring hope to the things that have happened to
memories are an underlying theme in Light
from Distant Stars. Did it require specific research to understand how
memories impact one’s overall outlook on life?
I was mostly intrigued with how children create imaginary
friends, and how this sometimes happens as a way of coping with life that
doesn’t fit their ability to understand. This continues into adulthood in some
ways, as I think all of us create imaginary or reproduced versions of our past
that we can live with. Cohen is in this phase, trying to figure out how he is
going to define his life with his father.
have a favorite character?
I love Cohen as a boy. I love his hope and the way he
views the world from a sheltered place. As an adult, he makes me a bit sad
because of how he responded to what life handed him, but I understand him too.
have compared your writing to James L. Rubart and Neil Gaiman. How do you feel
your style is similar to these authors?
I’m very intrigued with stories that take place at the
edge of the imagination, with one foot in reality and one foot in something
that might be beyond reality or a reality we don’t understand very well. I
think this is similar to Rubart and Gaiman. I’m very flattered by the
you working on next?
Another tale that has one foot in reality and one foot in
readers connect with you?
Readers can find me at http://www.shawnsmucker.com.