Seriously. Working with Shawn is great fun. I know you will find this hard to believe, but he is actually pretty funny. Also, he is well read in the field of Fantasy/Science Fiction, and he takes it seriously. You wouldn’t believe how many people don’t. Though I am working diligently to change this. But Shawn likes it, and he reads my work and likes that, too. At least, that’s what he says. Definitely, he knows the books. Which is more than the people at the Publisher can say. I have been around so long that I don’t think there is anyone there now who has read all the Shannara books. Shawn has, though. That is immensely helpful when you are looking for someone to provide continuity checks during the editing of a new book. That’s what he does for me. He reads the book and sends me notes telling me where I have gone astray.
An example: “Dear Blockhead. Maybe you have forgotten you wrote a book called The Sword of Shannara? In that book, Allanon told Shea right in the beginning that he knew him as a boy. Which means that your attempt in your current sad publishing effort at recreating that moment doesn’t allow for you to suggest that Allanon never met him. Try to focus, huh? Jeez! Shawn (losing hope fast) Speakman.”
You get the idea. Really, though, he can be lovable. Maybe two or even three times a year.
Now he is finishing up the final edit work on his own novel, The Dark Thorn. Maybe some of you have already read it online. I just finished reading it again a couple of weeks ago after he had completed his latest edit. I sent him a quote for the cover, but I thought you might enjoy reading the quote I should have sent instead:
Quote: “This is one of the saddest attempts at fiction it has been my misfortune to read. Please, please, don’t buy this book. If you have a chance to do so, discourage others from buying it. Better yet, write Shawn a letter and tell him his future lies in other fields – like bean counting or Quidditch. Let’s all do him a favor and get him out of publishing.”
I think this sums up why our relationship works so well. We are very symbiotic. We might even be related.