My time with Shannon Kirk

Well, I don't know how to express all the emotion that I feel with this post. The interview that I show you at this time, is the best (no doubt) that I EVER DO EVER. An interesting, deep, inspiring and accurate talk. Here's my time with Shannon Kirk, the mind behind "Method 15/33"... (Pictures courtesy by Shannon)

-) What’s the justice?

What a fantastic question. Isn’t justice personal? I know we have laws and social norms we’re supposed to subscribe to that try to normalize one definition of justice. But is that definition truly universal, objective? 

Let’s take the girl in "Method 15/33", she’s not satisfied with the probable “justice” that her kidnapper would likely get, probably life in prison, for trying to steal her baby and for killing other girls. And I happen to agree with her definition of justice, something that in her situation would go beyond what the law would provide. 

A mother’s definition of justice as it pertains to violence incited against her child is sometimes much different from what the law prescribes. I’m okay with that. Perhaps the real question is, do I support vigilante justice, outside of the law. Well, to be clear, I do not advocate anyone breaking any laws. What I’m saying is that the definition of justice is personal. And I’m pretty sure that personally speaking, I might understand why someone would consider breaking some laws to impose vigilante justice on anyone who tried to harm their child. But that’s just me.

-) Do we live in a just world? Why?

No, we do not. As I’m sure anyone who opens their internet browser these days knows, the world is in turmoil. We have bombings, trucks driving into tourists in France, massive amounts of machine gun deaths in dance clubs, movie theaters, offices, college campuses, elementary schools. We have racial injustice in epic and sad proportions. Genocide. We have major financial fraud and significant government spying exposed by reputable journalists and verified as true, and yet seem to either be met by apathy or be buried under the landslide of vapid news on celebrities fighting with other celebrities or the American election train wreck, which itself focuses on zero substance. We get speechwriters regurgitating empty platitudes. We get no real tangible solutions on anything. Just anger. Fear. Divisiveness. 

So no, I do not think the world is anywhere near just. And the world becomes further unjust in that I was just able to rattle off, within two minutes by the way, a list of major problems, all of which obscure the actual beauty of our world. All of the negatives I just listed sully and hide the incredible gifts we have on this planet. The trumpet vines on my porch that I’m looking at right now, and all the way down to the blue hummingbird who visits there. The cold drink in my copper mug, exciting and refreshing. And I could travel to a beautiful land, such as Columbia, and I could meet wonderful people who don’t speak my language, but are kind enough to want to teach me their culture. I could meet many other people in this world who are giving and who love art, make art, and devote themselves to happiness and love. These gifts, these are the ones that dominate the majority of this world, and yet, the negative items are what take the airspace, the print space, and often, since we’re bombarded with it, our conscience. Why? It’s simple. The divisiveness and negativity of the few garners more money for the powerfully corrupt. Meanwhile, the vast majority of us, the common man and woman, just want to live in peace.

So what do we do to make our own lives seem more just? I’m not sure. I don’t know. I just know I’m trying to focus my own time and life on whatever is positive, what I love, what I’m thankful for, and my own passions.

-) Be a writer… When you took the decision?

I wrote my first book, "The Sentimental Sweetooth", in the fifth grade. I got second place in a writing contest for it. Yay! But then I got all practical with my life for many years, telling myself I had to go to law school so I could earn a dependable and consistent salary, and so I set writing aside. I used to sneak in writing as a young lawyer. When on a business trip, I’d stay up until 3:00 am writing poems, or chapters of books, and then, and this is sad, I’d rip it all up in the morning and go take a deposition. 

In 2008, I was an active trial attorney in Chicago, but I got a call from a large law firm in Boston. They offered me a job I couldn’t refuse, and so, I returned to my native New England to lead a small practice group within my current firm. The deal was, I could have Fridays off. In making this major move in my life, we transferred to live on the coast of Massachusetts. It was in moving here, being ensconced in this beautiful environment, where I can smell the sea at my house, that something changed in me. I returned to writing, at the age of 35. Since then, I’ve drafted five manuscripts, at varying levels of draftness (some need alot, alot of editing to go), several poems, and short stories. I think I was just ready and the physical environment was just right. I can’t imagine stopping now. I’m addicted.

-) What’s the effect of the writing exercise in your life?

Writing is the most satisfying activity for me. Emotionally, professionally, everything, writing is everything for me. If I don’t write, I get stressed out. If I do write, I’m happy. Simple as that.

-) Have you ever won a judgment?

Yes I have. A few times. The best was a construction case in which we argued my client had been taken advantage of by shoddy work that nearly ruined his home. My client was emotional, and so was I, when we finally got vindication by the court.

-) Many people say that us just use 10% of the potential of our brain. What do you think about that?

It’s incredible. Just this week, the New York Times highlighted recent research by neuroscientists at the Washington University School of Medicine that reveals ONE HUNDRED new regions of the brain. Scientists were able to discover those regions by mapping the brain with newer technology. Imagine that. This whole notion that we’re not using all of our brain, and/or that we only know a fraction about it, sure does breed a multitude of possibilities for fiction writers, right? 

In terms of psychological thrillers, if you have just a kernel of real science about the brain, you can come up with some crazy speculative theories and go from there….who’s to say you’re 100% wrong? We just found 100 new regions of the brain! J It’s liberating and exciting. Like knowing there are still lost cities to be discovered.

-) How you met the girl with the blue eyes? She is crazy, crude, smart and lethal, but I wanna be her husband.

You are hilarious. No, I have not met the literal girl with the blue eyes, whoever the model for the cover is. I want to meet her too! As for the character with the blue eyes, who is crazy, crude, smart and lethal (love that description), she lives in my head, so I guess I’ve met her. J I know what you mean about wanting to be her husband. I want to be best friends with someone like her. A fearless, ruthless weapon on my side. I want to be like her. I want to be able to harness and control my emotions. I want to have no fear. Perhaps she is the person I crave to be, and so, since that’s impossible, I had to create her in fiction.

-) Your first book travelled to my country and entered of a bestseller list… Your book won the National Indie Excellence. Your book is on way to become a literary phenomenon (for me, it is already). Did you see that coming?

I am so thrilled with what is happening with "El método 15/33" in Colombia. And no, not in a million years did I expect this. 

To be honest, I first wrote "Method" as a novella to enter in a writing contest so I could get some street cred in writing. I needed some writing cred to make my efforts to obtain an agent more attractive, as I was trying to hook an agent for a completely different book, which is not a thriller at all, it’s adult fiction with traces of magical realism. Oddly, that book, "The Extraordinary Journey of Vivienne Marshall", the one I actually landed an agent on, sold to a US publisher after "Method" sold—and again, I had never really intended to shop "Method" in the first place. Everything that has happened since, the movie deal, all the foreign sales, everything, it’s all just some crazy, wonderful fluke—the mad genius of the universe playing tricks on me.

-) Perfect place for read and write...

One of two places. One is the purple, fluffy armchair in my library. Unless one of the cats owns it at the time. Here’s the lazy, fat Marvin Marquez (named after Gabriel Garcia Marquez), ruler of the house. We’re just his servants.

The other place I love to write and read is on my porch on a sunny day. Here’s my purple toes with a cold drink, writing….

-) What’s your next step?

My next book is titled "The Extraordinary Journey of Vivienne Marshall", to be released in the United States in September. It is not a thriller, but I hope readers find it thrilling nonetheless. It’s the story of a woman who is dying and in her last week of life, visits the different heavens she might select as her own. Of course the story is really an exploration of her life and how her life lessons and the various love she has felt impact her decisions about death. Basically, it’s all about the various forms of love, family love, eternal love, passionate love, maternal love. Love, love, love.

-) What’s the role of the literature in our lives?

Literature is everything in my life. It gives me a great sense of individual freedom. I converted the living room into a library, which looks more like a bookstore, since I only keep my TBR pile in there. So basically, my TBR pile is a whole room. Did you know that according to a University of Sussex study, reading can reduce stress by up to 68%. Cool, right? And writing is my entire life. I write on the train to work, coming home, early in the morning, late at night, every single second of the day I can steal, I am writing. Writing is my blood. I have no choice. 

As for others’ lives and literature, well, it’s not for me to say. But I know that even if a person does not choose to read, having free access and thus the simple option of getting literature and the freedom of speech are the best ways for us to ensure freedom. So perhaps that is the ultimate role of literature in our lives: freedom, individually and collectively.

I hope you've enjoyed this interview as much as I enjoyed making it. And to close, here are the first chapter of "El método 15/33". Thanks to Ediciones B :) 


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