Discovering new writers is always a joy. The author we are introducing today was no exception. He has a wonderful way of describing the world with such accuracy, you might be mistaken in thinking you’ve been there before – even if he’s describing the world falling apart.

Let’s find out a bit more about…

Adam R. Shannon

Adam’s story focuses on a young man and his father, hunkering down in their home while the world falls apart around them. But they are not alone and things soon go awry, fitting son against father and spurring a new chapter in the boy’s life. The Shape of the World’s Skin is both lyrical and accurate. Very accurate.

What inspired you to write a story about a map?

I grew up in the foothills of the Blue Ridge, and was solo hiking a multi-day trips by around 12. One of my favorite things to do was bring two or three books into the woods, and not go home until I’d finished them. It was on one of those excursions that I wandered away from my camp and got disoriented. I remember the sense of bleak terror that nearly overwhelmed me when I realized I was lost, that only subsided when I was able to locate my camp.
That was my first awareness of the fact that humans have a constant sense of the space they inhabit, a mental map, and when this map is destroyed, we instantly feel helpless and adrift.

Do you have a special place where you go to recharge your creative muse?

Then and now, the woods. Backpacking is a little like writing – there’s tremendous freedom in it, but it also demands a certain fussy obsessiveness.

Can you tell us about a time when you wished you had a map?

I’m a career firefighter. I have an intense memory of the very first time I opened the door of a burning apartment and crawled into utter blackout conditions. We train on building a mental map by feel as we search a structure, so we won’t get trapped if conditions become untenable. But I had never been inside a real fire before, in smoke so thick I couldn’t see a gloved hand held directly in front of my face-piece, and I felt about as competent as a newborn. I would have loved a simple diagram of that apartment.

In your story, The Shape of the World’s Skin, the protagonist has an infatuation for how hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts go about getting lost in the words. What inspired that infatuation?

There are really some dedicated searchers who go out into the backcountry, long after a missing hiker has vanished and been presumed dead, to reconstruct the event and attempt to locate the remains. Tom Mahood’s accounts of searching for people lost in wild places served a formative role in the genesis of this story.

Adam R. Shannon is a career firefighter/paramedic, as well as a fiction writer, hiker, and cook. He and his wife care for a German Shepherd, an array of foster dogs, a free-range toad, and a colony of snails who live in an old apothecary jar.

Buy You Are Here now and help out desperate animals. While at our low introductory price of $2.99, all proceeds will be donated to the Humane Society.

Available here:

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon Canada
Barnes and Noble

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