Sunday, August 18, 2013

Oklahoma Author Ryan Shelton

Welcome to the Barn Door Book Loft, Ryan! Congratulations on your first published novel. Is there a story behind The Mentor?

As a high school English teacher, I’ve had plenty of students confide in me about problems they have had, including bullying, peer pressure, and abuse.  I wanted these students to have a voice and to know that there is hope.  My main character deals with these issues and more, and it’s only with the help of a mentor that he can sort through them and find the strength to prevail.  I hope my story acts as a guidebook.

What started you on your writing journey?

I started my writing career quite by chance.  I wasn’t a very good student in high school because I didn’t put in much effort.  Nothing really interested me, except PE.  Then my Senior English teacher had us write Christmas stories for a contest in a paper in a nearby town.  Instantly I knew I found some purpose in life.  I wrote a deer hunting story and won 2nd place, beating out all the other students.  It was this initial event that led to me majoring in English in college.  God embeds some kind of talent in every person.  It just took me some time to find my talent and realize His purpose in my life.

Is there anything that distracts you from writing?

TV.  It’s a double-edged sword though.  There are certain movies that inspire me to write, so sometimes I will pop in a movie, then when inspiration hits, I get to work.  The only problem with this is that sometimes I have to drag myself away from the movie.

What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud?

Easy.  My children.  I have two boys, 8 and 7, and a newborn daughter.  The boys have a real zest for life and I find them enjoying the simple pleasures like being outdoors, seeing a bug crawling on the floor, fishing, and the like.  As for my daughter, I’ve never seen anyone so willing to smile.  Looking at her is like sneaking a peak at Heaven.

What is your favorite season of the year?

I love spring.  The promise of new life; fishing season; all the beautiful flowering trees, red buds, Bradford pears, cherry trees; warmer weather; and baseball season begins!!!

Me too! The only reason I tolerate winter is that it's followed by the start of baseball season. What do you like most about the area where you live and/or grew up?

I grew up in the windswept wheat fields of western Kansas.  We had four very distinct seasons, and my small town, Larned, is beautiful.  It’s built on the only hill in western Kansas and has the mighty Arkansas River and one of its tributaries running right by.  In the summers we were released during the day to experience life on our own, to learn nature’s lessons.  As kids we would catch catfish in the morning and run by the swimming pool in the afternoon on our way back home.  I can think of no better place to grow up than the small town Kansas of my youth.

Then tell us a favorite memory from your childhood.

I recall many great memories of playing baseball.  In our town baseball was the king of sports, and in our neighborhood, we would form two-kid teams and play in the grass lot behind a neighborhood church.  Sure, we played organized baseball, but it was the initial bonds of friendship between the neighborhood kids that give me some of my best memories like my first home run or making spectacular diving catches in the outfield. 

I had a feeling it would be about baseball. Where is your favorite place to travel/vacation in? 

My brother is my best friend, but we live in separate states now, so we don’t often see each other.  So each summer we travel to southern Colorado for a few days of fly fishing.  I used to say that the trout are an excuse for me to spend some time in the fresh mountain air, but now that I’m a little older, a little wiser, I know the trout and mountains are the excuse I need to spend time with my brother.

It sounds like you have a bustling household. Where do you escape for some quiet time to reflect, pray, read, etc?

As a father of three, I really don’t have a lot of quiet time to myself, but I find that fishing has spiritually healing qualities.  Most of the time when I go fishing, it’s to take my boys out for some fresh air, but sometimes I am able to get out on the water by myself, which is very important in my walk with Christ.  My late father once told me that he feels closest to God at sunrise, when he’s in a deer stand.  Just watching the sun rise, squirrels running through the leaves, or deer breaking the early morning silence.  Well, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.  Dad taught his boys to respect nature, so we do.  Knowing that some of Jesus’ disciples were fishermen lets me know that I am in great company.

Do you have a scripture verse that is special to you to share with us?
Phillipians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me,” is the recurring verse in The Mentor.  It is the verse that some friends and I wrote on the inside bill of our hats when I played college tennis.  It’s as uplifting a verse as can be found in the bible (which is a bold statement, I know, considering how uplifting the whole bible is) and reminds me that I need to place everything in God’s hands.
When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?

I have written five books in all, but only The Mentor is published.  Now if I were smart I would work on publishing the other four, but I have been having much more fun writing the sequel to this novel.  As of this interview, I am about fifty pages in, and Lord willing, my readers will see part two about this time next year!

There's a sequel coming? Hot dog! Thanks for sharing with us today.

Connect with Ryan Shelton at:

Ryan Shelton is giving away a copy of The Mentor. To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice—once on each Spotlight post for the author. Please note: The giveaway is for U.S. addresses only.


karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this story :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Cindi A said...

I'd love to win a copy of this book. Thanks for the opportunity to enter the contest.


bonton said...

Hi, Ryan!

Enjoyed your interview - thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of this book, I think the men in my family would like it - also - they're very into softball & baseball!


Patricia Bradley said...

Thanks for the opportunity to meet Ryan. Loved his comment about growing up and how they were release during the day to experience life on their own. That's the way I grew up and I hate that the children of today are free to do that. Would love to win the Mentor. pat at ptbradley dot com

rubynreba said...

I love Phillipians 4:13 too! So very true.

Cindi A said...

Were the winners ever drawn for this book? I couldn't find anything listed under the "Winners" category.

Sharon A. Lavy said...

Winners for this book will be announced next week. Keep checking back.

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