Hello, Monday! Today I'm featuring Shawn Keenan here on my blog and on NA Alley. He is an NA/YA author, and his 2 books, The Buried Covenant & The Intern's Tale are exciting and creative reads that will keep you gripped from beginning to end. Read on to learn more about Shawn and his writing!
Hello, Shawn! Thanks a million for joining us. Introduce yourself to the world!
Thanks for the chance to be featured on your site! I’ve been writing for a few years now and have two completed novels. THE BURIED COVENANT is about a teenager who is tied into an ancient covenant and learns he has certain physical gifts to enable him to fulfill his responsibilities, should he chose to do so. THE INTERN’S TALE has been described as Camelot steampunk, which I thought was cool. It’s set in the future after a devastating war has forced the country to embrace a new feudalistic order. I live in Florida with my beautiful wife, two kids, and two ungrateful rescue dogs that surely wouldn’t destroy so much of my house if they understood how indebted to me they are.
You've said that your books are NA. Although the characters are younger than most NA characters, they are not in high school and they deal with edgier issues. Can you elaborate?
While THE BURIED COVENANT fits the traditional YA mold, THE INTERN’S TALE fits more comfortably in the phantom genre of New Adult. The protagonists, Kip and Abbey, are not in school but working in lowly positions at Vassalcorp, one of the all-powerful corporations whose knight-executives lord over The Incorporated Realms of America. While Abbey is looking to buck the restraints of a male dominated society and avoid an arranged marriage, much of the story deals with Kip’s decision to abandon his childhood dreams of knighthood. YA typically deals with problems of the moment, crushes, and peer-pressure issues. I think NA is a place to see characters decide who they want to be, fall in love for a lifetime, and make sacrifices for a greater good.
What is The Intern's Tale about?
In a nutshell (which is a strange place to put anything other than a nut) THE INTERN’S TALE is an adventure with unlikely heroes fighting a system that no one dared question for a hundred years. In The Incorporated Realms, power is held by a few at the expense of the many. Kip starts off inside the system (albeit at the bottom) and discovers, with Abbey’s help, that he’s on the wrong path in life. Just like in real life, there’s time for love, humor, and fast friends along the journey.
I love the aesthetic of the middle ages and the concept of chivalry. I wondered what life might be like if in the future something cataclysmic happened that caused us to go backward, to embrace norms and standards from that time in a futuristic setting. So in the story, there are mechanical horses that ride like motorcycles, a tumbler that looks like a dragon, and swords that retract and extend with the push of a button.
Last question: what are some words of advice that you would offer to aspiring authors who are writing in the NA category?
I think I’m the one who needs advice! I love writing in the genre. I think it’s extremely freeing. You lose some of the restrictions on you in the YA market, but you don’t have to make everything heavy and deep to feel all adulty (new word). I think people with a passion for writing about this time period in people’s lives between childish naivety and adult cynicism should write these books and the market will follow. I think the genre will take off when readers see what it offers and inspiring books are in print that people start talking about.