Interview with Buzz Shahan, Author of The American Mind

What inspired you to start writing?

Buzz Shahan American Mind the Answer
Buzz Shahan American Mind the Answer

The first realization upon reading a book is that someone wrote it. The second realization is what is it that enabled that person to write that book? Was it a need to express himself? Was it skill? Was it a story that had to be told? Was writing a hopeful financial venture? Looking back over time, what motivated chronicling the Bible’s events? What motivated writing Moby Dick? What motivated Bronte’s Jayne Eyre? How about Charles Dickens? The big question is: Given sufficient literary skill, where does the motive to write fit in determining a writer’s success?

How long have you been writing?

I began writing in fourth grade after asking myself the above questions, but never commercially until my first book, The American Mind: The Answer.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Never considered writing commercially until receiving praise and interest when writing magazine articles as part of my job description.

What advice would you give to a new writer, someone just starting out?

Have something to say relating to human interactions and life outcomes. In terms of fantasy, think first of C.S. Lewis and secondly of J.K. Rowling. Lewis used types (animals) to transmit his message, Rowling uses people with special powers. Very different methods of separating good and evil, and equally effective.

How do you handle writer’s block?

Never happened. If you’ve got something to say, it will come out. Deep conviction refuses to be blocked out.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

Nothing ever has or ever will replace hard work. Hard work includes deep and sincere study and introspection. Few people today know what hard work is. Many aspiring authors have become authors because it looks easy. Because operating a keyboard looks easy, giving a story its best chance for survival is not. Second to hard work is talent. As any athlete can attest, rigorous and perfect practice produces the best result. Again, few want to pay the price, assuming instead that native talent will get them over the finish line.  

What comes first, the plot or characters?

Plot and characters are inseparable. Sufficiently creating a character allows the reader to relate to the plot. Relating to the characters for good or evil deepens the readers interest, making the plot a personal experience.  

How do you develop your plot and characters?

Most movies fail today because their writers lack rich enough life experiences. Because today’s authors have lived hollow, pointless lives, they resort to hollow fiction, imbuing their characters with ‘special powers.’ Think of Hemmingway joining the Italian medical core during WWI. Think of Steinbeck living on the Monterey coast. For the simple fact that human beings are what we are, each of us has had or will have touching events in our life to which others can relate. Write from those perspectives, and readers will enjoy what you have to say.

How do you come up with the titles to your books?

Plots suggest titles.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Fourth grade.

Describe your writing space.

Peaceful, quiet, and well-lit office.

American Mind the Answer Buzz Shahan
American Mind the Answer Buzz Shahan

What time of the day do you usually write?


What is the most difficult part about writing for you?  

Writing is enjoyable, not difficult. How can a labor of love be difficult. Hard work is not difficult when it is rewarding.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

My writing is truth based. Even fictional parts align with true emotion and actual experience.

Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?

Have had excellent feedback for the fact that readers have not considered life from the perspectives I offer.

How do you do research for your books? 

Diligently and factually.

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