Shawn and I met through social media. Through this interview I discovered he studied in my home state – yeah Wisconsin!
Shawn Douglas Gale is a Canadian screenwriter, an academic, and a critically-acclaimed author.
Gale graduated from Fraser Valley Writers’ School with a Master’s diploma. He then graduated from Humber College’s prestigious School for Writers, where he was awarded a Letter of Distinction. He completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Creative Writing at Bircham International University. He was a student at University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Creative Writing department from 2014 to 2017, where he earned two certificates in screenwriting. He has completed various other courses and programs in areas such as trauma, psychology, criminology, and vocational training.
Gale’s many stories and articles have been publshed in anthologies and periodicals in the U.S. and Canada. He is the author of the acclaimed, award-nominated story collection The Stories That Make Us. He is also the author of World of Dawn: Arise and World of Dawn: Reveal, books one and two of his critically-acclaimed fantasy series for all ages. Books three and four will be published in 2019 and 2020, respectively.
Gale is a member of Burnaby Writers Society and The Writers’ Union of Canada.
Tell us about yourself?
I was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and grew up on military bases in eastern and western Canada. Throughout my late teens and early twenties, I worked as a carpenter’s apprentice and later carpenter. I built custom timber frame homes in Ontario’s Muskoka lakes, on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.
I’ve been an avid reader since I could read and played Dungeons & Dragons seriously in my teens. Some of my favorite movies are Braveheart, Apocalypse Now, Guardians of the Galaxy, and both the Hunger Games and The Lord of the Rings series. I have an eclectic taste in music. In particular, classical music, foreign folk music, and 90’s dance and hip-hop gets my motor revving. Although I don’t write poetry, I read, recite, and memorize it daily. My favorite poems are by Leonard Cohen and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I also really like Anne Sexton’s “The Starry Night” and Marianne Williamson’s “Shine.”
When did you know you wanted to be an author?
In late 2009, at the age of thirty, I had a life changing experience. It was during this time that I committed to becoming an author. I’ve never strayed.
What genres do you like to read? And are these the genres you like to write?
I read pretty much every genre, except for romance (nothing against it), though I do lean toward sci-fi, fantasy, and literary fiction. More often than not, I have three books on the go: fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. For non-fiction, I usually read history, philosophy, and self-improvement. I’m reading Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly right now for a university course. When it comes to poetry, I read everything and anything. Lately, I’ve been memorizing “The Builder” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
Writing is an adventure, and I enjoy challenging myself. If I take on a project, I’ll lean into it with everything I got. I’ve written sci-fi, fantasy, memoir, essay, screenplay, and literary short and long fiction. After I finish my acclaimed World of Dawn, WOD, sci-fi fantasy series, I’ll be working full time on a novel loosely titled Into the Caliphate, which I’m doing research for as we speak. It’s literary fiction in the vein of Cormac McCarthy’s style. It’s about a young man who heads to ISIS’s Caliphate at the height of its power to rescue his younger sister, who’d travelled there to become an ISIS bride. Keep your eyes open for it. I promise it’ll be a doozy.
Is your book for adults, young adults, or children?
My WOD series is for ages twelve and up. I’ve heard glowing feedback from teens to adults. There are themes, subject matters, and characters that I believe will resonate with everyone. With that said, I do suggest parents read up on World of Dawn via reviews, excerpts, etc. before buying books for their children.
What is your current release project?
Currently, I’m preparing to launch World of Dawn: The Great Reach, which is book three of my series. At the same time, I’m seeking financing to produce book one’s feature film and promoting the series in its entirety.
Tell us about your key characters?
The main characters are a band of troubled youth from Earth. On their journey to find a way home, they meet a host of other characters. Some join their adventure for a time, while others pop in and out throughout the four books. As I noted earlier, there’s literally someone for everyone in WOD.
The core characters are the young cowboy Tanner Kurtz. There’s Colby Watts from the streets of Detroit. The sisters Anna and Tabitha Conroy are from a wealthy San Francisco family. Simon Watts is from a Snohomish Native American reserve in the Pacific Northwest. Glooscap is a legendary brave of the Sawnay people who’ve been on World of Dawn for centuries. Ambrose Bierce is the mentor of the group. He’s based on the real-life American writer who actually disappeared in 1917 while searching for a stargate in Mexico. (Yes, I am serious.) And Dejunga is the fiercest brave of the cannibalistic Wendo tribe, who’s hunting the group for WOD’s super-villain One Who Sees All.
What is the blurb or synopsis of the book?
Here’s the synopsis for the soon-to-be-released book three, World of Dawn: The Great Reach. Book one’s and two’s can be viewed on my website https://www.worldofdawn.com/category/world-of-dawn/.
Finding a way home to Earth has proven elusive for the boys and girls of Halton House. Now, in the Women of the North’s alpine village, they believe they’ve made it. They soon learn, though, it won’t be as easy as they’ve been led to believe. With foes around every corner and One Who Sees All’s bounty hunters on the stalk, the group’s mettle is put to the ultimate test. And when a people need help, they’re faced with yet another dilemma. One that may kill them. The time is nearly at hand. A convergence of unimaginable forces are about to collide. And the truth of World of Dawn will soon be revealed. Continue the adventure in the third installment of World of Dawn. A coming-of-age story in which a journey to find a way home becomes a quest to save a world.
Do you have a favorite scene?
This is a tough question to answer, because there are a plethora of excellent scenes. That said, I’m gonna say the final scene of each four books. All four books end with a scene in Dejunga’s point-of- view. There ends up being much more to him than initially meets the eye. That’s all I’ll say. Read the books if you want to know more. And trust me, you want to know more.
What advice would you give a beginner?
If you want to be an author, write every day. Practice your craft and study the market and literature daily: by yourself, in school or workshops. It takes will, courage, and vision to be a critically and commercially successful author. People dream of writing for a living, yet unfortunately many throw in the towel before publishing. Maybe they can’t handle the rejection. Maybe their friends and family question their sanity. Or maybe they just don’t have what it takes. You need to persevere, be strong and brave, and believe in yourself. And of course, you need to have something important to say.
So what are you waiting for?
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