Meet M.J. Shaughnessy, Author of Doom & Gloom
After years of tallying publishing wins and losses...
I decided to launch my own career and joined the indie movement, releasing two YA novels through Jumping Jackalope Press. I’ll be adding more titles in the coming months and years, increasing my ever-growing list. (www.monicashaughnessy.com)
BBB: What inspired you to become a writer?
MJS: A love of books inspired me to become a writer. Growing up, we had shelves and shelves of them in my house. We gave them as Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, and anytime gifts. We combed garage sales for them. We camped out in libraries and shops to read them. So I gradually formed the idea that books were important objects. Funny thing was, it never occurred to me to write one, not until I was an adult.
MJS: Years ago, I saw a movie called The Others, in which a woman's children are born with xeroderma pigmentosum (XP). She spends most of the movie eerily shutting drapes and ushering her children into dark places to protect them. Soon after, I became fascinated with the idea of creating a character with this real life disease. I even contacted the XP Society to ask them about the challenges XP kids face. When I struck upon the concept of a superhero book, I knew right away that XP was the classic foible I'd give my hero.
BBB: Tell us about your main character, Dane Winter.
MJS: The biggest thing you should know about Dane is that he has xeroderma pigmentosum, a real life disease that makes him highly susceptible to skin cancer. Just walking outside in the sun for a few minutes is enough to burn him severely. Because of this, he rarely leaves his home by day, and when he does, it's in full UV-protective clothing. To compensate for his isolation, his wealthy family hires tutors and fencing instructors and nannies, but it's not the same. Living apart from kids his own age makes Dane a curiosity, and he's acutely aware of this fact.
BBB: What do you think readers will like most about Doom & Gloom?
MJS: Two things: super-high action and Dane's accessibility as a character. Even though Dane's problems are not the reader's problem, not exactly, he's really just a twelve year old kid who wants to be like everyone else. I think that's very relatable.
MJS: I'm taking a short break from middle grade for the next few months as I finish my first adult book. But soon, perhaps the fall, I will return to Dane's story. I envision a total of three books in the series and have them all mapped out. I only need time to write them!
You can find out more about M.J. Shaughnessy and her books by visiting www.monicashaughnessy.com and monicashaughnessy.wordpress.com.