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The Grace of Crows

Tracy Shawn, award-winning author from the Central Coast of California is our guest today. Her debut novel, "The Grace of Crows" was released in 2013, and she is currently finishing the first draft of her second novel. We have conducted an interview with her.

How did you craft the protagonist and antagonist of The Grace of Crows
The protagonist, Saylor, is a woman who is dealing with debilitating anxiety. At the beginning of the story, she’s tried everything she can think of to climb out of it, but nothing has helped. Saylor, though, continues to seek answers—and, ultimately, finds her own imperfect happiness.

I crafted this protagonist by fictionalizing my own struggles with anxiety. The antagonist in this novel is fear itself (and some people may also see Saylor’s cruel father and narcissist mother as the human antagonists). Again, I drew from my own experience with anxiety to create the fear antagonist.

What awards have you won so far?
The Grace of Crows (Cherokee McGhee, October 2013) has won the 2013 Jack Eadon Award for the Best Book in Contemporary Drama, Second Place for General Fiction for the 2013 Readers Choice Awards, and Runner-Up for 2013 General Fiction with the Great Northwest Book Festival.

I am also honored to have been nominated as finalist in author category with the 2015 Shorty Awards (The Shorty Awards honor individuals, brands and organizations producing meaningful content across the social web.)

What is the conflict set forth in The Grace of Crows?
The conflict that the protagonist faces is how she will be able to heal when others around her are unable to help—and the guilt she feels for how her anxiety has affected her troubled teenage children, Devon and Brooke.

Which events cause the most gripping moments of this psychological drama? 
One of the main turning points in The Grace of Crows is when Saylor reconnects with Billy, a cherished childhood friend. Due to his own struggle with mental illness, Billy has since become a homeless man living under a pier in Malibu. Although Billy is clearly delusional, he becomes the most empathetic person in Saylor’s life and provides her with answers no one else can.

Who and what inspired you to write this novel?
At the height of my own long-term battle with anxiety, I couldn't stop thinking about a long-lost friend from childhood. Then one day I found myself crying, thinking back about how vulnerable this boy had been beneath his surfer-tough bravado. I called a friend who still lived in our hometown; she told me that she had just seen him the previous week and to her astonishment that “quiet surfer boy had turned into a deranged homeless man.” She never saw nor heard about him again, and neither did anyone else I knew. But he stayed with me. For so long, my anxiety had caused me to feel like an outsider to my own life and happiness--and now I knew that my old friend was not only an outsider to his own sanity, but also to the whole of society. So when I set out to write this novel, there was no question that I had to include a fictitious characterization of him in Saylor's journey. For what are stories if they do not make real life more meaningful?

The Grace of Crows Reviewed by JaamZIN on 8:07:00 PM Rating: 5
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