Fiction Focus: Q&A with ‘Do Over’ author Shannon Guymon

Do Over_2x3Shannon Guymon’s “Do Over” was released on Feb. 12, 2013, and has received praise from several reviewers, including the Deseret News, which said the book “…weaves a good story [that involves] solid characters without getting preachy or graphic. It’s a fun, quick read that will have you smiling in the end.”

As part of the book’s promotion, Guymon appeared on ABC4’s “The Daily Dish” in Salt Lake City on Feb. 15.

“Do Over” is Guymon’s tenth novel and is available on BooksAndThings, Amazon.com and BarnesAndNoble.com.

We’re happy that Guymon took a few minutes to sit in the Fiction Focus hot seat and field a few questions.

What is “Do Over” about?

“Do Over” is a book of second chances. What do you do when your life becomes messy and embarrassing? You tape up your broken heart, pull on your boots and start again.

What inspired this story?

“Do Over” was inspired by my divorce to be honest. I knew I had to finish my Alpine series with Trey’s story because I could not leave that guy hanging. So I combined the two and voila! It’s great therapy for me and makes the story and emotion more real. So Iris, Trey’s love interest, ends up dealing with a lot of things I was dealing with at the time. It turned out to be a fun, uplifting story and a positive and healing experience for me.

Who would you like to see play the main characters in “Do Over: The Movie”?

Emma Stone as Iris. Not the blond Emma though. Picture Emma from “Crazy Stupid Love” with all that super dark red hair. She has that feisty personality I love too. And for Trey, I was seriously going with Ryan Gosling, but my friend Tawni convinced me that Channing Tatumwas a way, way better choice. I have to agree, she has a point.

What is your writing routine like?

My writing routine goes something like this: Anytime the house is quiet ““ I write. Period. It’s so simple really.

Who are your favorite authors?

Jane Austen first and foremost. She is the queen of writing to all romance writers.

Favorite music artists or bands?

I love Rob Thomas, The Script, Train, Cee Lo Green, Andy Grammer, Maroon 5, Rascal Flatts and a few others.

What would surprise us about Shannon Guymon if we could spend a day with her?

The most surprising thing I think would be the utter and complete normalcy of my life. I’m the mother to six amazing, energetic and slightly exhausting kids and so my life is centered on them and not my writing, which in my mind, makes me a better writer. I have a lot to write about because of my life, so it’s a huge blessing. I don’t take my writing for granted and when I do focus on a book, it’s a pleasure and I feel like I’m going on a vacation. Writing is never work (unless I’m editing).

What is the greatest amount of joy your writing has given you?

I think anytime a human being develops a talent God has given them, they’re going to feel joy. It’s impossible not to. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been blessed with a musical talent, the gift of painting or writing. If you create something, it’s almost like you’re collaborating with God and you get that zing of joy. You’re fulfilling the measure of your creation so to speak when you yourself create something. Sometimes after a few hours of writing, I’ll read back something I’ve written, and if I’m lucky, I’ll get that writer’s high because I’ll realize that I’ve written something that goes beyond my limits. Another way I feel joy as a writer is when I meet a reader and they hug me and tell me that something I’ve written has helped them deal with a trial in their life, or when a reader contacts me to express their gratitude for putting into words something they were feeling but couldn’t express. And that’s when I know that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. And that is joy.

You were recently on “The Daily Dish” in Salt Lake City. What did you like most about being on TV?

Yikes, not a lot to be honest. I grew up sitting on the very back row in school rooms. I tend to be drawn to the corners and shadows. I was the book-reading nerd growing up, not the cheerleader. So being on TV was not a natural or comfortable experience for me. But I was still very grateful for the opportunity to reach out to such a large audience and tell them about my book. Would I do it again? Of course, if I had the chance. But being on TV is definitely in the same category as dental visits and painful medical procedures.

What advice can you offer to aspiring novelists?

The best advice I can give an aspiring novelist is pretty easy.

1.) Read Stephen King’s book, “On Writing”

2.) Go to a couple writer’s conferences

3.) Write what you love to read

4.) Write often. Write as much as you can.

5.) Go for it!