Shawn Walker is the author of No One Is Invincible; here is a link to the books Amazon page:
Q: What is No One Is Invincible about?
A: “No One is Invincible” is about a 16 year boy named John, who runs away from a domestic violence filled home and finds himself alone on the streets… That is, until he finds solace in a charismatic, 6 year old, little girl (nick)named Candy, who, having faced a similar plight, recently ran away from the local orphanage. He eventually finds himself taking on the big brother role to her. Together they face extreme hunger, horrid winter weather, and apathy and inhumanity amongst the people. Starving and at deaths door, their saving grace happens when they run into a local beat up building called “Mom’s Coffee Shop.” Inside they meet a mysterious old woman who everybody just calls “Mom.” Nobody knows her real name, but her calm demeanor and sweet personality welcomes them in and she tries to feed or take care of them when she can. She’s expecting a business inspector soon, so even her supply of help is limited. The three misfit friends seem to take the world by storm, until a painful epidemic known as cancer quickly becomes the focal point of our story to one of the beloved characters…
Q: What life experiences did you draw from when writing it?
A: This book has a completely candid take on cancer, the process one goes through, and even the irritability one has after going through chemo/radiation. See, end of 2014-2015 was a hard year lived in. Not 1, not 2, but 3 people I really love and genuinely care about got different forms of cancer, one being my 3 year old little nephew who was diagnosed with acute lymphoma leukemia type b. All of this was an indecent reminder of what I went through in 2000, losing my dad to cancer. Sadly, my hippie friend died, and I had to be the pallbearer at his funeral… Good news is my nephew is in remission, who the story is loosely based on. I would like to be a thorn in the side of this epidemic and donate money in the fight against cancer based off of the accolades of this book.
Q: What makes John worth reading about?
A: His dynamic personality. You never know when he’s going to go on a rant about something he feels is morally corrupt in this world. He’s all about transparency. He is candid to a fault, but has a deeply caring/empathetic heart.
Q: What do you think is the one thing John doesn’t want anyone to know?
A: That he’s infallible. Though he is quite modest, he doesn’t want Candy or Mom to know that he sometimes could use a little help. He’s very independent, so he doesn’t like to accept help.
Q: In what kind of atmosphere do you like to write?
A: I like to write in places that foster nostalgia. I wrote a big part of this book in my Dad’s old shop he used to spend A LOT of time working in when he was alive. I felt more connected to him, like I was trying to harness his story and his love into this novel.
Q: What kind of day job do you have and how does it influence your writing?
A: I work at the Dollar Tree, which helps immensely with a lot of the opinions in this novel and has an obvious influence on the writing. I learned there is a lot apathy and petty animosities that exist is this world. Unfortunately, a lot of these problems stir and saturate because of the power card the, “My way or the highway”, way of thinking. I believe if you don’t want problems you should educate people in your opinions/wants, NOT dictate them.
Q: Have you ever tried a writer’s group and what did you think?
A: No. I made really high grades in English and literally half of my senior English class was failing, whereas I had an A. This class was trying to take it to college English level and I loved the challenge. (Though I didn’t want to admit it then.) I always had a propensity for writing, but I believe that no one, and I mean NO ONE should ever tell you how to write. Just immerse yourself in reading and English, but NEVER let anyone tell you how to write. Don’t let some pretentious person poison the waters of creativity, I think
Q: What do you think you can tell your readers about cancer that has not already been said?
A: It not as much what I can tell them that’s anything new as much as it is a sense empathy. There is a big lack of understanding/communication in this world that I feel it’s time for a realistic view. I want to give that since of understanding and empathy to not only people who have personally battled cancer, but to the family, friends, and loved ones who have had to watch their loved one suffer… I have spent much time in hospitals and sat there in that chair watching them deteriorate… I want people to know I care.
Q: What have you done to promote your book?
A: Unfortunately, my mom and I only have one car to get back in forth to our jobs and promotion. I have a video and also a radio interview on the Page Publishing website. I have sent books off to reviewers, hit hard with a social media campaign, and whatever else this poor fella could do!
Q: What character from classic literature does John remind you of?
A: John has the realistic, working class aesthetic of say a lot of Mark Twain literature. That, and a Johnny Rotten esque personality, and you’ve got yourself a character!
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.