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The Writing Process with Shanon Harwood

Q and A with the Author

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Shanon Lynd Harwood is the author of Currency, a bold new work that asks how we can change our outlook on consumption of power and money. Read more about Shanon’s writing journey below.

What inspired you to write Currency?

As no doubt you know, I am a Shaman, so what really inspired Currency is the basic Shamanic Principle of actively creating what’s possible in the world as opposed to passively accepting what’s probable. As a result, Currency became the story of a young woman from small town Ohio, Deidre Hanson as she and everyone she knows each cope in their own way when money, power and position become abolished. This storyline provided me the opportunity to apply this principle without ever mentioning Shamanism or the Archetypes that inspired me (except, of course, in the Readers Guide).

What was your writing process? Go into detail.

The outline presented itself as “The Journey of The Fool” -- all 22 Archetypes and their associated major arcana, numerological and astrological representations. There is a natural story-arc here for those readers who are familiar with this journey. Chaos (aka The Tower Card - #16 -Uranus) presented herself at the perfect time for the pre-climax, while Hades (The Judgement Card - #20 - Pluto) held the climax itself. Finally, by using the energies of those Archetypes from #17 to #22, the falling action and denouement were relatively easy to accomplish with the storyline at hand.

Do you think that your writing process was effective in terms of time or would you have done it differently now looking back?

I gave myself one year from the day I first conceptualized the storyline to complete writing the first draft of the novel. In many ways it was a gruelling schedule, but to be honest, I also saw it as a challenge. Luckily, my husband / business partner Marv was incredibly supportive and kept our business and our personal lives afloat for that entire year, so, no I wouldn’t do it differently as it forced me to focus, prioritize and accomplish.

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How did you develop your main characters?

I created my main characters to depict a typical cross-section of the lower and middle class North American population. These would be the very kind of people who could form the backbone of a movement like Currency and make it fly.

How did you come up with a beginning, middle, and end? Did it flow naturally or did you start with an outline?

Yes, I did indeed use an outline and it was my outline that kept me on track and able to carry the storyline through it’s sixteen year time-frame.

Beginning: I used the storyline to introduce the observation that money, power and position, in varying combinations, are responsible for the majority of our world problems.

Middle: In the meat of the story, I was able to use tension and conflict to showcase how every person on the planet is creating their own reality as they go along and that perception is everything. This gave me the opportunity to point out that there is no right or wrong and it allowed my characters to react to this new reordering of their lives with authentic, human emotions of every description.

End: By having followed the life of my main character Deidre and identifying with her successes, disappointments and ultimate tragedies, the reader joins Deidre as she faces questions about what she values and whether or not what she lost was worth it.

What's next for you?

My husband and I are both looking forward to actively promoting Currency while continue to teach at our school The Kimmapii School of Shamanism (kimmapii.com.) We are excited about the possibility of taking the book ‘on the road’ to small towns wherever and doing mini-presentations just for fun. We see it as an opportunity to express both The Shamanic Principle of Ayni - right relationship, and actively creating what’s possible as opposed to passively accepting what’s probable in the world.

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