When a young autistic girl goes missing in the small Appalachian town of Harper Pass, Brooks Raker and his friends are inadvertently drawn into the police investigation. As the town suffers a mysterious death, more kids disappear and the boys experience a series of unsettling phenomena; it becomes clear that the fate of their missing classmate, Margo Combs, pales in comparison to what lies in wait in the margins of the town.
Between avoiding the bullies who are stalking them, and running from the encroaching lethal darkness, the walls are closing in around Brooks and his friends. They soon realize their fates are inextricably bound, and if they have any hope of surviving, they must unravel the dark secrets of Harper Pass before those secrets can devour them.
Which character would you like to be in this book?
I can’t say that I’d want to be put in any of their positions and face the horrors of Harper Pass and Grief Hollow. The group of boys that comprise the Markland X Crew have glimpses of my childhood running through them, so they resonate on a nostalgic level for me. I do miss the days of childhood where every day was a new mystery and adventure. The main protagonist, Brooks Raker, is based on my oldest son who shares the same name. I think readers will also identify strongly with these characters and it will conjure nostalgic memories for them as well.
Do you always take a book/erader wherever you go?
I always have my Kindle with me on any trips I take, but I prefer a printed book whenever possible. I find it’s a more digestible medium for me.
Say someone asks if they can use your name in a book. Would you rather be the ‘good one’ or the ‘bad one’?
I love writing both types of characters. I’d say I’m right at home writing some pretty sinister characters. Conversely, I enjoy writing how antagonists’ behaviors and actions shape the behavior and actions of what we might consider to be the good character. For the use of my name, I’d say I’m good with either, but it might be more fun to be the bad guy.
Do you prefer to read/write standalones or series?
The Tear Collector is the start of a series. I’m currently working on the sequel. However, there’s something really great about a standalone. If done well, it’s everything it needs to ever be with all its narrative threads woven together into a great finish. I would lean toward the standalone, but I like both.
Where can I find you when you are reading?
A variety of places. At 30,000 feet on one of my flights, in a hotel room, in my bed, in the den. I usually have 2-3 books I’m reading at any given time.
Where can I find you when you are not writing/reading?
At one of my kid’s sporting events, on the golf course, at a Gator football game or a concert.
Can you walk past a bookstore without going inside?
If I have time, I’m definitely stopping. I’m always curious to see what interesting books are inside. It reminds me of perusing the shelves at Blockbuster Video, which is now obviously a thing of the past. It’s a different experience when shopping shelves for your next read. It also quickly reminds you the importance of a great book cover in terms of jumping out to a shopper.
What are you most proud of?
In terms of writing, it’s definitely getting my debut novel published. I’m so excited about this story and can’t wait to share these memorable characters with more readers.
What goes through your mind when you hold your new book in your hands for the first time?
It’s a culmination of all the blood, sweat and tears manifested into a physical book in your hands. It’s powerful. And for me, perhaps because this was my debut, it was more emotional than it was thoughtful. But at that point when your first author copies arrive, it’s a feeling of tremendous excitement and some anxiety that you will soon be sharing it with the wider world.
What piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write what you want to read. If you’re not loving your project, you’re probably working on the wrong one.
Thank you, Shawn Burgess and Book On The Bright Side Publicity & Promo
About the author
Shawn Burgess has a BA in English from the University of Florida, and he focused on literature for his postgraduate studies at the University of North Florida. His travels have taken him to most parts of the country, where he often drew inspiration for his stories through meeting interesting people and experiencing unique places. Beware! If you find yourself behaving curiously within the crosshairs of his vision you might end up on one of his pages. In his spare time, Shawn enjoys travelling, attending concerts, reading, and playing golf. He typically makes year-round preparations for Halloween by building props and elaborate sets. Shawn claims Jacksonville, Florida as his home, but he has lived all over the southeastern United States. Many of his stories are set in those towns he once called home, or in fictional places inspired by them. He says, “I enjoy building upon the natural mysteries surrounding those areas I’ve personally experienced.” The Tear Collector is Shawn’s debut novel, but he’s currently working on a YA Fantasy novel, as well as The Tear Collector’s sequel. He is active on social media, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Goodreads Author Page: Shawn Burgess