LAUREL MOUNTAIN BOROUGH NEWSLETTER
GEORGE D. SHUMAN: Author of “18 SECONDS” & “LAST BREATH”
George D. Shuman, author of the murder mystery “18 Seconds,” had his second book in the mystery series released August 7, 2007. Check your bookstores for “Last Breath.” In honor of his work, the Beanery Writers Online Literary Magazine is reposting a two-part article on Shuman.
Shuman, a twenty-year veteran of the Washington D. C. Metropolitan Police Force, said he would have been a writer no matter what his career was.
“18 Seconds” is his first published book. “Lost Girls,” the third book, became available in August 2008.
As a high school and college student Shuman was not the stellar performer. For whatever reason, he found classes, even literature, tedious. His first jobs following school were in the steel mills in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. He was laid off when the industry began to decline. Then he could only find work on the State Road Crew in Somerset County.
Like most youth, he needed to “get out of” his hometown. So he packed and drove to the nearest large city, Washington, D. C.
He worked for the police force there for twenty years before he retired as a lieutenant. For ten years after that he was an executive in the luxury resort industry in both Long Island, New York, and Nantucket, Massachusetts.
After 9/11 he returned to the area and started a security consulting business. He was awarded a certification in Industrial Security held by only 4500 members world wide. However, instead of marketing his business he kept finding himself dusting off old novels he’d written and sending them out to agents and publishers.
“I sat in the office and wrote and forgot all about consulting,” he said, noting writing is hard work but he likes the solitude of the work.
SHUMAN’S WRITING PROCESS
Shuman doesn’t think there is a right or wrong way to write. What works for him is constant “combing” and reediting, after which he has a writing that is in pretty good editorial shape.
When he finds something needing research he immediately goes on the Internet.
He noted that Stephen King said it best: Talent is as common as table salt. It’s hard work that gets the book written and published.
“There’s nothing truer. You have to get to the keyboard. I can’t imagine what writer’s block is…”
He said he finds it easy to determine how his characters behave and respond, noting everyone knows people whom they can sense what they would do or say or how they would react to things, while other people would react differently. He dares write in a woman’s voice, he said, because many issues cross the man-woman line.
When he writes he lets the characters lead him.
He considers it very important that a novel reads like it could happen.
“I once read this book with terrific dialogue, great setting and great characters. Three quarters of the way through I found the bad guy was a werewolf. I tossed the book aside immediately.
“I need plausible explanations for things. Even writing a psychic, I had to make her believable, and that was the crowning achievement of Sherry Moore. That, in the end, is what the publisher bought. I hope when you close the book you’ve found it was moving.”
He prefers to start with “place” when conceiving an idea for writing.
To read Part 2, the Book and The Finished Book, click on GEORGE D. SHUMAN: Author of Thriller Books Part 2