After reading Time Snap, an eighth-grade reader named Max interviewed me for his English class. Here is part of our conversation:
Max: Do you outline your stories?
Shane: No, never. Sometimes I’ll have an idea where I want my story to go, but I like the surprise of making things up as I go. A lot of times I’m as surprised as anyone by what happens. Have you read my book, Demon’s Treasure?
Max: Oh, yeah. That’s the reason I was excited to read Time Snap.
Shane: Cool. One of the main characters started out as one of the “good guys,” and one of the “bad” guys ended up being a hero. When I started writing, I had no idea that was going to happen. And when the guys “flipped,” I remember thinking, “I can’t believe that just happened!”
Max: Did anything like that happen in Time Snap?
Shane: Not exactly. But I was surprised by the dinosaurs that kept popping up out of nowhere. I didn’t really know I’d be writing about them until they came jumping out of the darkness.
Max: Like the “dinobirds?”
Shane: Exactly! One minute Chase was sneaking up to that clearing in the woods, and the next instant those dactyl-things were dropping out of the sky. I really didn’t know ahead of time that was going to happen. Scared the bejeebers out of me.
Max: What about the tyrannosaur?
Shane: The tyrannosaur was different. I knew he was going to play a huge part, so he was part of things right from the start.
Max: Do you have any favorite scenes?
Shane: All of the scenes with the tyrannosaur. They were so much fun to write. I love action sequences anyway, but the rex added an extra jolt of energy. I just had a great time with them.
Max: So, I’m not supposed to ask where you get your ideas–
Shane: Really? Why not?
Max: It’s supposed to be too obvious a question, I guess. Like one you get asked all the time? But I’m curious . . .
Shane: It’s okay. I actually like hiking around the desert looking for fossils, and when I’m doing that, I can’t help thinking of dinosaurs. You know, picturing what things must have been like back in the day. And then picturing what it might be like to actually run into a bunch of them. And then finding a way to make it happen . . .
Max: And you really found pieces of–what are they called? Fossilized poop?
Shane: Coprolites? Oh, yeah. I use them for paperweights.
Max: The girls are gonna think that’s gross–
Shane: But the guys will love it!
Max: Yeah. Um, so do you have any weird writing habits?
Shane: A few, I think. At least I think they’re unique to me. The first thing, probably, is that I can’t write at the computer. I have to write everything out longhand, and then type into the computer later.
Max: How come?
Shane: Probably ’cause that’s how I learned to do it. I started writing before we had word processors, so it’s still easiest for me to write everything out first. It takes a lot more work that way, but for me, it’s a tough habit to break.
Max: Anything else?
Shane: Well, I can do my editing when I’m sitting at my desk, but when I’m actually writing–when I’m actually creating stuff–I hate being cooped up. I like going to ballgames and sitting in the bleachers and doing my work there. Before I moved to the country, I often went to one of the local malls and found a table in the food court where there were a lot of people around and worked there. I don’t know why, but being around lots of people like that always sparks my creativity.
Max: Isn’t that distracting?
Shane: Sure. But it’s also energizing. I can come home from the mall, or a ballgame, and feel like I’ve got a lot done. But when I’m cooped up at my desk, I get bored, and tired, and it’s easy to get lazy.
Max: So is there going to be a sequel to Time Snap?
Shane: There wasn’t going to be. But I’ve been surprised by how much people like reading about dinosaurs. I actually had another project I’ve been getting ready to jump into, but I might put that off and do another dinosaur book.
Max: Sweet! Will you tell me when it comes out?
Shane: Count on it!