Interview with Shannon McNear

Shannon McNear

This week on the Brave Blog, I’m interviewing Brave Author Shannon McNear. Shannon is a RITA finalist and Selah Award winner, and the author of fascinating historical fiction. Shannon is giving away one of her books, so make sure to check out those details at the end of the post. Welcome, Shannon!

Sarah: How would you define bravery? What is it? Where does it come from?

Shannon: Being willing to write whatever it is the Lord lays on your heart, regardless of the winds of culture or politics or … anything else. And of course, only He can give us true courage!

Sarah: I love that. So true. Who’s the bravest person you know? Why?

Shannon: My oldest daughter Erin. In the first few years of her marriage, she suffered several early miscarriages and was diagnosed with both PCOS and MS—and yet pushed on to become an EMT, endure two and a half years of treatment via self-injection three times a week, then dared hoped again for a baby … and now is a mother of two darling and energetic boys. (And she hasn’t ruled out the possibility of at least one more!)

Sarah: That’s beautiful and inspiring. You must be proud. Does she get it from her mom? Do you consider yourself brave? Why or why not?

Shannon: I really haven’t. I came from a background where I was conditioned to just take whatever life dished out and not complain. I was always terribly fearful of confrontation, to the point of letting myself be walked on. I’ve grown a bit past that a wee bit … although whatever bravery I possess is the Lord’s Spirit in me, because I sure didn’t have any of my own!

Sarah: I appreciate your heart in that and your faithfulness to allow the Lord to infill you with His courage. In Brave Authors, we say #writebrave #readbrave. You’re a writer, but you’re also a reader. What was the last book you read that you felt was brave?

Shannon: A Church Girl’s Guide to Courting Danger by Brittney True. This one snagged me on title alone then shocked me with how much I loved it. It deals with the foster care system, gang issues, crime syndicates, dysfunctional families, and church hurt—with a swirl of romance. So, SO good!

Sarah: Thanks for the recommendation. Speaking of reading, what are 3 books you’re looking forward to reading this year?

Shannon: Seamstress of Acadie by Laura Frantz … Shelterwood by Lisa Wingate … Lady of Basilikas by Ronie Kendig

Sarah: Awesome. Let’s move on to the #writebrave side of things. What is your author tagline? Why did you choose it?

Shannon: Real History. Real Romance. Real Faith. I wanted something that reflected a bit of my passion to “get it right” when it comes to historical accuracy and spiritual issues—and to not just write fluff, but stories that get to the heart of the human struggle and true love.

Sarah: What about your process? Do you listen to music while you write? Do you need complete silence? Or something else?

Shannon: Yes. 😁 Music often helps me capture the mood and get into the right mindset, but then there are times it’s just auditory overload and I have to shut it off. Especially if it isn’t instrumental. Nature sounds are also nice—even if it’s just having my window open to birdsong.

Sarah: You do impeccable research for your books. What subject have you done the most research on for your writing?

Shannon: I’d say the most obvious would be the Lost Colony, and after that the American Revolution (particularly the Southern Campaign) … but aside from a particular time period, it has to be bladesmithing. I delved pretty deeply into that, years ago, while writing fantasy.

Sarah: What is the biggest piece of advice you’d give to someone who wants to write their first book?

Shannon: JUST DO IT. Carve out the time, don’t be afraid to just throw words on a page, give yourself permission to write as badly as you need to, the first time around. And then—don’t be afraid to study the craft and take criticism. Oops, that was more than one piece … 😊

Sarah: I’ll allow it. 😊 Now, time to testify. How has the Lord shown Himself faithful in your life?

Shannon: Our family has just been through an absolutely brutal year, emotionally and spiritually. In the midst of it all, I felt His presence very tangibly, and His reassurance that nothing in our situation took Him by surprise, or was out of His control to work for our good. And that He has never abandoned us, and that nothing is wasted. Our family has been drawn together like never before, and our youngest son was able to open himself to accepting the love of a girl who held out for him for years—and their wedding was just a little more than a week ago.

Sarah: Congratulations! That’s wonderful. One last question as we close. What are you working on now?

Shannon: Virginia, the surprise book #4 of Daughters of the Lost Colony. This one is the story of—who else?—Virginia Dare herself.

Shannon is giving away a paperback copy to 1 US winner of their choice of either Elinor, Mary, or Rebecca (see Shannon’s website for story details). To enter, simply comment on this post. Winner will be chosen on March 19th.

Shannon McNear

After more than two decades in the South, Shannon McNear now makes her home on the windy northern plains with her husband, two of their eight children, two German Shepherds, a bunny, two cats, several chickens, and a noisy flock of guinea fowl. She serves in worship and youth ministry, and has been writing novel-length fiction since age 15. Her first novella, Defending Truth, from A Pioneer Christmas Collection, was a 2014 RITA® nominee, and her most recent novella, The Wise Guy and the Star in Love’s Pure Light is a 2021 SELAH winner.

When not cooking, researching, or leaking story from her fingertips, she enjoys being outdoors, basking in the beauty of the Dakota prairie.

11 thoughts on “Interview with Shannon McNear

  1. I first picked up Shannon’s book, Elinor, on a whim simply because I’ve always been fascinated with the history and mystery that surrounds the Lost Colony of Roanoke. I was mesmerized by her writing. The story was so richly filled with history and God’s grace and love. I was hooked and couldn’t wait for the next books. I am so excited to hear there is fourth book coming.

  2. It’s exciting to read this interview and hear Shannon’s comments as if I am standing right there, as I have often been right there with her, even on the wedding day of her handsome son to his beautiful bride!!

  3. Shannon, it was a pleasure getting to learn more about you. I’m so sorry your family has had a tough year, but thankful that God was with you step-for-step. Congratulations on your son’s recent wedding! Great interview!

  4. I LOVED Elinor, and I need to read the others! I found it very thought-provoking, and was completely invested in the story. There aren’t nearly enough books written about that time period.

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