Recent project: _Feels Like the First Time_, by Shawn Inmon

Inmon’s first foray into print (if that link doesn’t work: http://www.amazon.com/Feels-Like-First-Time-Story/dp/1479258946/ ) is deeply personal, telling about how he lost and later rediscovered a true love. I was his proofreader, for which he has lauded me way out of proportion to my contribution, Shawn being a fundamentally generous and thoughtful guy.

I came to the project in a very interesting way. As some of my dear readers know, I cut my comic writing teeth at Epinions (a product review site) just after the millennium. One fellow I met there, I sort of stayed in touch with him and spouse, in part motivated by a mutual small-town-Washington-1970s upbringing. A few years back, I happened to touch base with the lady I did not then know was his widow. She caught me up. I tried to provide what inadequate support I could to her, and in the process, met some of their high school friends. One was the author of this story, Shawn Inmon.

So, when Shawn had a book he wanted proofread, I was glad to sign on. I liked him and his attitude toward life, and was pretty sure I could help him achieve his goal. He wanted to publish a book to a higher standard than the avalanche of self-published dubiousness that is the rage today. How could that not resonate with me? I quickly found Shawn a very coachable and soulful fellow, with a lot of guts to put this very personal story out before the world. I probably did a little more than your standard em dash and comma police work, but I’m glad I did. He was dead serious about publishing the story and I was glad that the final set of eyes would be mine, because proofreading is something I can do. We had a rollicking good time, bantering and discussing passages as I sent the chapters in.

I believe that Shawn’s book will succeed because its fundamental honesty will resonate with the readership. For one thing, I’m not a big true-love story enthusiast, and I found myself wanting to know what happened next. This is remarkable. For another, yesterday I handed my wife the printed, red-spattered, sticky-noted manuscript with which I worked. (I really needed to get it off the office floor, where I had stacked up the pages as I finished dosing them.) Today I asked her how she liked it. “I can’t put it down! This is great! I want to find out what happens!” (And, be it noted, that was the unproofread version, which may have improved before printing thanks to Shawn’s tolerance and endurance of my dry, occasionally caustic notes.)

The reason Shawn’s book jazzed my wife is easy for me to see. Honesty. If you read love stories, you want honesty, candor, the real deal. You want the author to damn well come across, be s/he overjoyed, embarrassed, bored, frustrated, furious, whatever. For what do you read love stories, if not for authentic emotion? As I proofed the ms, my most common sentiment was: “This will ring honest. Readers can spot a phony or a candy-ass, and they would and do barbecue those kind. They will feel the reality here, and it will grab them as it grabbed me.”

Link posted earlier is to the print version, but Shawn’s with the times, also providing a Kindle version (search Amazon on ‘shawn inmon’). If you resonate with honest love stories by a man unafraid to share what he truly felt, you’re going to like Shawn Inmon’s writing as much as I liked working with him.

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