So excited to have the fun and talented Shannon Kirk on The Ball today! METHOD 15/33 has achieved 6 finalist or winner awards in its first year of publication, a movie deal, three starred reviews, and sales with more than 15 foreign publishers. The School Library Journey named it one of 17 best adult books for teens, recommending it for fans of Stephen King. My favorite part is its strong female lead which takes the psychological thriller genre, twists it inside out, and delivers something Lisa Gardner calls “completely original and totally kick-ass.”
Check out details on how to win a copy below!
Who is one of your favorite (fictional or non-fictional) characters?
My all-time favorite fictional character is Count Almasy (Ralph Fiennes) in THE ENGLISH PATIENT. First off, he is unbelievably sexy. But beyond that, I find him attractive and compelling for being a quiet killer, the man at the bonfire who watches and calculates, reciting sensual poetry, rather than standing on a rock pounding his chest for attention. When he wears a tuxedo to the glamorous dinner party, I pretty much die every time I see this scene. How he thinks he rejects ownership and yet obsesses in the most extreme way over Katherine Clifton, this is so utterly human, this conflict of philosophy vs. biology. His character is tangible and gritty and I just want to crawl into the screen and be around him. He’s definitely my favorite character in literature (because the Ondaatje novel is miraculous) and in movies.
Talk about one thing that’s making you happy right now.
Literally right now in this very minute, the thing making me happy is my turquoise cashmere pashmina that I got for myself for my birthday at the Carmel Valley Ranch this past weekend. First off, it’s soft and the color matches my mermaid ring. But second, it brings the greatest birthday memory to mind. It was such a simple birthday weekend. A getaway to Carmel with my family. My mom, dad, son, and husband. For my birthday dinner, the five of us ate woodfire pizza on a picnic table and after we all played Bocce. I lost, but that’s okay, because every minute was fabulous and beautiful.
Where do you love to be?
In my home office writing while also dreaming of running away to the coast of Italy.
Do you have any phobias?
Oh yes. Walking down stairs. Every flight of stairs presents a horror story for me. I am so sickly afraid of stairs. If you get behind me on a set of stairs, know that it’s going to take some time. I heard the most horrific story once, and I have no clue if it’s true or if I have the facts messed up or what the source is…but here it is as I remember it…a woman is found at the bottom of her stairs with a broken neck and wound on her head. The husband is charged with murder, for allegedly smashing her head and pushing her down the stairs. But, on the staircase is an owl feather. The husband’s defense is that an owl flew through an open window in the stair landing, smashed into the woman’s head with its beak, and thus knocked her out and sent her limp-legged down the stairs, whereupon she broke her neck. Can you imagine anything more horrifying? This is what I think about at the top of any flight of stairs.
What’s your next big thing? (new book, new project, etc.)
The next big thing is the release of THE EXTRAORDINARY JOURNEY OF VIVIENNE MARSHALL, September 2016. This book is very special to me and somewhat personal. It’s the journey of a woman through her life as she adjusts to varied afterlife options. It’s a love story of varying degrees, of eternal love, physical love, maternal love, parental love, friendship love. All of it. I am thrilled about the opportunities with this book and have been receiving wonderful early response.
Has anyone ever thought a character you wrote was based on them?
Actually, this is scary, but yes. Unfortunately, a woman who was not doing well mentally imagined that the main character of METHOD 15/33 was based on her. I don’t even know this woman. As I understand, she doesn’t even have children, nor was ever pregnant. I’ve heard through a person who knows her that she happened to read METHOD 15/33 at the wrong time: when she was going through a mental break. Fortunately, she is currently getting mental health care. When I was told about all of this, I was obviously frightened. I know literature can impact people in very different ways. For me, it’s always been a positive impact, so for it to impact someone in a negative way is concerning. Of course I understand that psychosis can be uncontrollable and her break had nothing to do with the book, it was all the timing. She could have been reading The Joy of Cooking and seen some connection there. I don’t know. I actually feel really bad for her and hope she gets well and the care she needs.
Regardless of this one negative experience, I have otherwise had such wonderful reactions to my work, in terms of someone deeply relating to the story or a character. One woman who experienced a kidnapping in her family called me crying and said that reading METHOD 15/33 helped her to view kidnapping victims with power and strength. The best part of this call was when she said that she hadn’t read since her family experienced this kidnapping, but that METHOD 15/33 returned to her the love of reading. When she told me that, I was the one to cry. What an unbelievable thing for an writer to hear? If that one woman is the only person to ever return to the love of reading because of something I wrote, then I feel that I have already succeeded. That is enough for me.
For THE EXTRAORDINARY JOURNEY OF VIVIENNE MARSHALL, an early reader wrote to me that she read it while on a three-day getaway to deal with her grief over her mother’s recent death. She emailed to thank me for giving her a novel that gave her great comfort at such a vulnerable time.
Do you have a regular first reader? If so, who is it and why that person?
Most definitely YES. My regular first reader is my cousin, Beth Hoang. I actually call her my sister-cousin because we are cousins by blood, but sisters in spirit. She’s my sister, my cousin, my best friend, a voracious reader, a talented editor, and all that means she gives thorough and meaningful, constructive, and timely tough love criticism. She’s just basically the absolute best. I can’t recall a suggestion of hers I didn’t implement somehow. Frankly, I should be paying her. My other regular first reader is of course my agent, Kimberley Cameron. She’s just brilliant and a super fast reader and, as with Beth, I can’t recall a suggestion of hers I haven’t implemented. I really trust these two women to guide me and see things I’m not seeing in a manuscript. Also, both of them are masters of lacing tough love criticism with meaningful and genuine encouragement and compliments. Let’s face it, we writers need sprinkles of props after toiling in the dark for so long alone.
Shannon Kirk is a cross-genre, award-winning author residing in Massachusetts Cape Ann. When not writing, she is a practicing attorney and law professor. Her critically-acclaimed psychological thriller, METHOD 15/33, will be published in over 15 languages and is optioned for a major-motion film. Her second book, THE EXTRAORDINARY JOURNEY OF VIVIENNE MARSHALL, is an inspirational literary fiction novel to be published in September 2016.