LAUREL MOUNTAIN BOROUGH NEWSLETTER
GEORGE D. SHUMAN: Author of Thriller Books Part 2
George D. Shuman, author of the murder mystery “18 Seconds,” had his second book in the mystery series released August 7, 2007, and his third, “Lost Girls,” in August, 2008. Check your bookstores or local library to read these books. 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. He talked with members of the Beanery Writers Group at their first anniversary meeting March 9, 2007, about his books and his writing process.
Today’s post is on Shuman’s book, “18 Seconds.” Click on GEORGE D. SHUMAN: Author of “18 SECONDS” & “LAST BREATH” Part 1 to read Part 1 of this article, written about his Background and his Writing Process.
He chose the boardwalk in Wildwood, New Jersey, as the “place” for “18 Seconds.”
“I was thinking about the boardwalk. I’ll never forget walking the boardwalk,” he said. “Where you’re beyond the noise, you can hear the hollow clip clop of your steps and see the white surf and it’s an ‘anything can happen’ type of place.”
Next he began to drop the characters into the scene. His villain, Earl Sykes, is a psychopath whose criminal career was interrupted by twenty-five years in jail. Thus he existed under the wire of law enforcement suspects.
“Although Sykes is indeed a horrible villain, I do not write gratuitous gore. Weall have minds. There is no need to spell out every act,” Shuman said.
Sykes is a loathsome character. He represents men in maximum security prisons everywhere, Shuman explained. There are hundreds out there like him, who, if they were to get out of jail, would return to crime.
“Sociopaths aren’t looking to have mid-life careers and to better themselves in society.”
The heroine of Shuman’s murder mystery is Sherry Moore, a blind psychic with an ability to “see” a victim’s final 18 seconds of life. She uses this ability to help police departments solve a series of murders committed by Sykes.
The great amount of time studying memory and researching how to create a character with psychic abilities led him to short-term memory, which lasts about 18 seconds.
“I thought, what if someone can see this RAM memory of human beings and not archives of something else? I tried it and played with it.”
Shuman himself never worked with psychics during his twenty years as a Washington, D. C., Metropolitan Police Force member, and isn’t a proponent of paranormals in police work.
“But the idea of psychics is exciting.”
Moore wasn’t meant to be the main character, according to Shuman.
“I liked the idea of the old weathered cop—he was my guy. And the idea of an underdog hero appeals to me.”
THE FINISHED BOOK
After writing a book Shuman said he sometimes looks back thinking he wouldn’t have guessed the way it turned out.
It took hard work, perseverance and many rejections before Simon & Shuster published “18 Seconds,” according to Shuman.
Although his book opening at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D. C., was followed by months of radio and television shows, Shuman prefers the solitude involved in the activity of writing.
“I think writers, typically, aren’t entertainers, nor do they want to be,” he said, noting he would rather “lay on the beach and write forever.”
Translation rights for his murder mystery were sold to seventeen countries, including Korea, Indonesia and Argentina.
On March 27,2007, “18 Seconds” was published as a Mass Market Pocketbook with Stephen King’s endorsement on the cover.
Shuman’s second book, “Last Breath,”and third, “Lost Girls,” are available at bookstores and libraries.