|Author Ron Shannon.|
Earlier this week I learned that author Ron Shannon had passed away. Due to my terrible habit of not keeping up with friends (or social media) when my life gets stressfully busy, I missed the original announcements among Seton Hill and Writing Popular Fiction alumni.
Ron passed away on September 27th. A special mass was held for him in Seton Hill's beautiful chapel on October 12th.
It was through a photo from the October mass that I learned of his passing, and the news hit me hard. I hadn't cried so heavily since my father and grandfather passed away. I didn't know Ron exceptionally well, but his kindness meant a lot to me. As clichéd as it sounds, his presence in my life was like a shooting star: brilliant, and all too brief.
While Ron and I were at SHU, we both attended some modules together at residencies, but because we wrote in very different genres, we didn't have a chance to get to know each other very well. It was after we both graduated from Seton Hill that we really started talking to each other, emailing back and forth.
It was through one of the open calls I posted in the SHU WPF Facebook group asking for participants in my "Proust Your Protagonist" interview series that Ron and I started emailing. He was one of the first volunteers for the Proust interviews, and while we wrote back and forth over the best way to do his character feature, naturally we started talking about writing, then a little bit about our everyday lives, then plans for the future. It was mostly Ron offering encouragement and support as I yammered on through Gmail to him. It was an unbalanced friendship, to say the least, because Ron was unconditionally giving, while I responded sporadically based on how much free time I had; sometimes, if the emails piled up considerably, I wouldn't respond at all.
I'm ashamed to say that our last email conversation happened in April. I want to share with you some of what he wrote to me in it, so you can understand what type of person Ron was--how effortlessly kind and supportive he was. In this email I had mentioned some of the troubles I was having with earning a living as a teacher, and that I was looking into teaching English abroad to escape the poverty that I'm currently in. His response:
"I know you'll do great and I think it will give you time to recover from some of things that cascade down on you at times. You must, however, stay in touch, whether on Facebook, emails, or whatever. I will miss your art and talent if you don't. That, by the way, will make you successful. You will take your talent with you, you won't be able to hide it, and it will bring you respect. I know you have butterflies, but that's normal. It means you'll be good at what you plan to do and it will make you happy. Hang in there until then."
Ron Shannon. One of the kindest men I've ever had the pleasure of knowing, and yes, a very talented writer. He has two books out now, and more scheduled to be released posthumously. I will post when his new work comes out, but in the meantime, please celebrate the contributions he's already made:
- Gabriel's Wing - Novel. It’s April 1969 and many of the flower children who left home to escape the old morality face disillusionment, extreme poverty, and death. They give up on their dreams and do whatever it takes to survive even if it means submitting to unconscionable evil. Stanton Clayburn, a young private investigator, has been hired to find a nineteen year-old lost flower child. He is determined to bring the boy home safely, but the journey takes him back to the world that nearly destroyed him. Tillie Thornwhistle, the daughter of a white father and a black mother, knows the meaning of hardship and living as an outcast. Adversity makes her strong and gives her the determination to let nothing get in the way of her success. Then a series of misguided ventures changes everything. The trail to redemption includes a psychopath, an unexpected trip, and the mysterious Stanton Clayburn. Stanton and Tillie meet under extraordinary circumstances. Fate and necessity pull them together. What follows is an adventure that could easily cost them their lives.
- Proust Your Protagonist with Author Ron Shannon - Interview. Ron answers the Proust Questionnaire in character as Tillie Thornwhistle.
- The Hedgerows of June - Novel. It’s late June 1944. The allies have invaded Normandy and Chris Weymouth, an allied spy, has been living in a French village at the edge of the Bocage playing piano in a local cabaret at night while passing bad intelligence to the Germans. He has been expecting orders to leave at any time but is taken aback when they are delivered by a young Catholic nun named Sister Mary. Sister Mary however, is much more than her habit and wimple, she has her own secrets too. She informs Chris that he’s been ordered to help her transport four young children across the dangerous French farmland known as the hedgerows to St. Lo. Espionage, passion, intrigue, and danger surround them on all sides as they head directly into one of the bloodiest battles of World War II, the battle of the hedgerows!
- Proust Your Protagonist with Ron Shannon - Interview. Ron answers the Proust Questionnaire in character as Christopher Weymouth. One of my all-time most popular posts on this website.
- "In My 'Write Mind' at In Your Write Mind" - Article. Written for Pennsylvania Bridges.
- Blackberries - Short Fiction. Written for Clever Magazine.
- "Remembering Ron Shannon" - Article. Reprint of Ron's February article, "Anticipating the 2015 In Your Write Mind Conference" with a farewell message.
- Ron E. Shannon - Author Website. Will be maintained and updated with Ron's new publications. Ron kindly made a spot for me on his website under "My Favorite Links."
- Ron's Amazon Page - Amazon.com Where you can find Ron's books.
- Ron Shannon - In Memoriam Goodreads.com Author Heidi Ruby Miller's post for Ron.
- Ron's Goodreads Page - Goodreads.com Where you can find Ron's books, reviews, reading list, and more. Ron's advice to writers in his Q & A: The most important thing to remember is don't give up. Keep writing and keep trying. Don't let anyone discourage you.