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#49: Letters From Wheatfield - Patrick Shannon (With Interview)

Synopsis & Book Info:
What do you do for fun if you live in a small rural town, dauntingly far from the nearest city's plentiful amusements? Upon what resources do you draw to spice up your existence? Letters from Wheatfield provides the answer - and it isn't always pretty.
The fictitious town of Wheatfield is a tiny island in a vast sea of wheat fields and cattle ranges.
Its nearest neighboring towns, similarly small, are well over the horizon. But its isolation has no effect on its inhabitants. Theirs is a society of mirthful, blithe, spritely wags - a condition abetted by the presence of not a few eccentric individuals.
In Letters from Wheatfield, two transplants from Manhattan write to a cousin back home about the remarkable community that has assimilated and transmuted them - much to their amazement and great pleasure.

Paperback: 236 pages
Publisher: Outskirts Press
ISBN: 9781432757052
Purchase at Amazon

Author Bio:

Patrick Shannon, author of the young reader's book, Viva Cisco, currently resides in Conrad,
Montana. After serving in the U.S. Coast Guard, he worked thirty-three years for a major oil
company, bringing him rich experiences from traveling in Asia, the Middle East and the U.S.
Born and raised in Southern California, Shannon attended East Carolina and Oklahoma
Universities and UCLA. He is a member of Phi Kappa Phi scholarship society.

For more information, visit the author's webpage.

1. How long have you been writing?
I have been working at writing ever since High School, some 62 years now. My ability to write didn’t really kick in until my retirement, though. One day I took a look through all the stuff I had written over the years, and I was shocked. It was just garbage, and I resolved then and there to start writing something better with which to replace it. To my utter and pleasant surprise, I discovered that, at this late stage in my life, I had finally learned to write.

2. How many drafts do you normally write for a specific project?
Three, essentially. The first draft is done on a letter pad, in pencil, with me ensconced in my contour chair. I get solidly into a right-brain mode and just get the story line down as fast as it will flow. I don’t worry about words, punctuation or sentence structure. I just get the story line down.
The next draft is done on that same pad or on attachment sheets. In this one I do some correcting of sentence structure and a lot of word replacement. This is where I give my old thesaurus a good workout to select words with exactly the connotation I want.
The third draft occurs as I type the pencil draft into the computer. Something about the pace and streaming of that process makes me sensitive to the “musicality” of my sentences – the lilt, the tempo – and I make some pretty significant changes to sentence structure at that time.
After that, of course, there are countless passes at editing for spelling and punctuation.

3. What was the hardest part of the editing process once you started working with the editor?
I try to do my own editing as completely as possible before it gets into an editor’s hands. It’s just a pride thing, I guess. My biggest problem with that is maintaining concentration. While I should be scrutinizing every word for spelling and punctuation, I get caught up in rereading for content. I’m my own biggest fan, I guess.

4. Favorite genre to read?
Fiction, but I divide my time between classic novels, spy thrillers and mysteries.

5. Favorite authors?
Among the classics, I love Thomas Hardy and George Eliot. Jude The Obscure, Mill On The Floss and Middlemarch are among my favorite stories. For just plain escape, I read Le Carre, John Lescroart, Jeffrey Archer and Alexander McCall Smith. On the serious side, to try to understand what is happening to our country and our world, I turn to Naomi Klein, Noam Chomsky, Chalmers Johnson, Andrew Basevich and Chris Hedges.


My Opinion:
With this book I am struggling to write a review. Have the right words to say exactly how I feel without stepping on any toes.
I wanted so much more from it.
I expected it to be so funny it would have me laughing out loud. It didn't.
It did have some mild wit about it, but maybe it was too dry for me to really enjoy.
I thought the story was cute, the characters were enjoyable enough, especially Ranger Ned and his eccentricities. It just wasn't enough for me to remember a month from now.
I don't want to discourage another from reading it. Maybe our humor tastes are different. I just wanted to give my honest opinion of my taste to it.


Recommend? No.

~I received a copy from the author. I was not compensated for my opinion.~


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