Interview with Shandy Lawson

Shandy Lawson

Shandy Lawson's "day jobs" have ranged from making wine recommendations to being a machinist, a dispatcher in an auto repair garage, a philosophy tutor at a local college and a stone mason. Creatively, he put most of his energy into a career as a performing song writer before turning his focus to writing fiction. Shandy lives and works in New York City. The Loop is his first novel.


The Loop (2013)
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Thank you so much for stopping by the Books That Glow: YA & MG 2013 event hosted by Richa at City of Books and I to answer some questions about yourself and your book!
If your book had a WARNING! label on it, what would it say?

HARMFUL OR FATAL IF SWALLOWED. And there'd be a pictogram of a little stick-figure guy with a book halfway down his throat and he's making that mime-sign for "I'm choking." I think it's important that people read, and not eat, my book. You could choke.

What gave you the inspiration to write THE LOOP?

Hard to say, really. I was just trying to come up with something new, and I didn't want to write about monsters, or vampires or zombies or anything else that was already out there. Not saying that the time loop concept is all that original, but it seemed pretty fresh at the time.

How did you come up with the characters? Do you see yourself in any of them?

I suppose I see some of myself in Benjamin, and maybe some in Maggie, too. It's difficult to imagine how a character will react in a given situation without first putting yourself in there and seeing how it plays out in your head. So Ben and Maggie make a lot of the same decisions (and mistakes) that I would.

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? What was the journey like with publishing your book?

I always wanted to be a writer, yes. But it took me a long time to actually get serious about it and write.I think I was 34 when I started writing The Loop. And the journey has been amazing– Two agents, six years, and uncountable drafts of the manuscript before it found its way onto store shelves. I'm still learning the process as I go, and I'm finding the business of publishing fascinating.

In your opinion, what's the best thing about writing YA?

I love that readers are so active, and I mean in terms of blogging, swapping ARCs, reviewing, etc. I want to be connected to my audience and interact with my readers, and the YA set is great for that. I'd love to get to a point where I have a busy community on my website's message boards, and we can discuss our favorite books and talk about writing.

You have a time machine! You travel to the past and meet you in your teens. What advice do you give to the past you?

I'd tell myself to be extra careful and not get hit by a bus or anything, because if I make it to forty they're going to give me a TIME MACHINE. Time machines are AWESOME.

What's the weirdest thing you've ever eaten?

GREAT question. A hard question, too. I find that as I get older, and as I travel more, my idea of what's weird changes quite a bit. I mean, when I was a kid, the idea of eating raw fish and seaweed creeped me out, but these days sushi is one of my favorite foods. I suppose chicken feet is kind of a weird one, though in Chinatown (very close to my apartment) it's a pretty common menu item. They have them at my corner grocery store, in fact. Anyway, the texture can be a little off-putting but the flavor is pretty great.


Last book read? 
Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn

TC show you're OBSESSED with? 
Three-way tie: Breaking Bad, Southland, and LOST.

The three closest things to you? 
My phone, a bottle of water and my cat, Sputnik.

Movie you can't wait for? 
Well, there's not much on the horizon, but Gatsby looks pretty good. Then again, Leonardo DiCaprio could stand there doing nothing for three hours and I'd still think it was a great movie. 
[NOTE: this interview was done a while before, so that's why Gatsby was "upcoming" then...]

What can we expect from you next?

I can't really say much about it, unfortunately. I have one project pretty much outlines and I'm about ready to start writing a draft, but I think I'm supposed to keep it under wraps for now. I suppose I can get away with giving you one little clue:


Not much to go on, I know.

When you're not writing, what can you be found doing?

I like to cook a lot, and living in New York City means exploring– so I'm usually out wandering the neighbourhood. And of course I read any time I happen to be sitting still. Unless the TV is on.

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Thank you so much to Shandy Lawson for answering questions about himself and his fabulous novel, The Loop! I loved the book so much, so you should definitely check it out. Here's a little bit about it:

Ben and Maggie have met, fallen in love, and died together countless times. Over the course of two pivotal days—both the best and worst of their lives—they struggle again and again to resist the pull of fate and the force of time itself. With each failure, they return to the beginning of their end, a wild road trip that brings them to the scene of their own murders and into the hands of the man destined to kill them.

As time circles back on itself, events become more deeply ingrained, more inescapable for the two kids trapped inside the loop. The closer they come to breaking out, the tighter fate’s clutches seem to grip them. They devise a desperate plan to break free and survive the days ahead, but what if Ben and Maggie’s only shot at not dying is surviving apart?

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