Interview: Shaun Allan, Author of Sin


Thank you to Shaun Allan for joining me today to share some insights into his life and his writing!

About Shaun Allan

Where were you born?

Grimsby UK. Not as ‘grim’ as the name might suggest. I had an article published once on the origins of Grimsby and it’s all hidden royal heirs and murder!

What did you want to be when you grew up?

An astronaut or an archaeologist. I didn’t really manage to get much further up the alphabet! I didn’t manage either…

Well you made it to author! Other than that, what jobs have you had?

I don’t know that ‘author’ has been a job for me. I wish! More of a hobby and dream. I’ve always had a ‘day’ job. Lab technician, teacher, NDT technician and now (sort of) senior systems administrator.

About Shaun’s writing

How did you come to write Sin?

Good question! It’s taken 10 years to finish and started from a short story. Most stories come to me from a title or a character name. I just thought of Sin as a name and it went from there (I rarely plan out my stories first, so had no idea where it was going to go!).

What’s the opening paragraph?

Name’s Sin.

I always wanted to do that, but never got the chance. You know, sort of enigmatic. A bit like ‘Bond, James Bond’… except it’s nothing like that, really, is it? I don’t know. Hey, I know what I mean.

Anyway – Sin. That’s my name, don’t wear it out, as I used to say once upon a very long time ago. I wonder if kids still say that now. The old ones are the best, eh? Actually, the old ones are not necessarily the best. The fact is, the old ‘uns are quite possibly the worst. But such is life. That’s another of my old favourites. I’ve got a whole pile of them. I can just keep chucking them out. Probably will too, knowing me, as you obviously do not. Yeah, I know you think you do, but you don’t. Trust me on that particular little one right there.

That’s how I started the book. ‘Name’s Sin.’ I didn’t realise, 105,000 words later I’d have a novel!

I asked Shaun if he would rather win a Nobel Prize for Literature but only sell 20,000 copies or sell a million copies but never win an award…

I think the first, but I’d love to sell a million copies. Not for the money, but to know all those people are reading, and hopefully enjoying, my book. When my English teacher read To Kill A Mockingbird to the class, I realised I wanted to get people like that!

Now for a bit of fun…

What’s the most exciting book you read last year?

I think it’d be The Nightwatchman Express by Alison DeLuca. It’s steampunk and I’d never read any before, but I did find it thrilling. I’ve read the sequel too (The Devil’s Kitchen) and that was possibly more exciting.

Describe your perfect weekend

Spending time with my family. I have an amazing family – my partner, 8 year old and 1 year old. OK, so I’m surrounded by girls, but hey!

Describe a more realistic weekend

Spending time with my family. I have an amazing family – my partner, 8 year old and 1 year old. OK, so I’m surrounded by girls, but hey!

You’re having a dinner party – which writer and which musician would you invite and why?

Hmmmm… The writer would be either Stephen King or Dean Koontz. Sin has even been compared to them (wow!). King because I have been a fan for SO many years. I read his ‘On Writing’ memoir and realised that was more or less how I wrote. As for Koontz, Sin (to me) have a distinct Odd Thomas feel. Musician….. Well… Freddie Mercury is dead, unfortunately. He’d be a blast! I’m currently a big fan of Snow Patrol, so possibly their lead singer Gary Lightbody. They have fab lyrics and some epic songs (just look at Chasing Cars – described once by Simon Cowell as ‘caviar’).

You get to spend the afternoon with my six cats – heaven or hell? Explain!

I have three cats. I did have a fourth, called Magic. Unfortunately he died, but I really wouldn’t mind the six cats!

I’m so sorry to hear about Magic – it’s so hard losing a friend!

Share one blog you love to read

That’s a hard one. I tend to have to dip in and out of blogs rather than have time to follow them regularly. I do try to keep visiting them but I have VERY little time outside work and family. Hence Sin taking ten years to write!

Fill in the blanks – how did Shaun finish these openers?

He took her trembling body in his manly arms…

…He kissed her deeply, so deeply that she could feel his heat in her very pulse. They were both breathless but, still, he released turned and walked out of the door, leaving the ropes that bound her arms secured tightly.

Her heart was still skittering about in her chest as she heard the soft click of the key in the lock.

He tipped his hat and turned away. After a few steps he stopped…

…and looked back. The old woman was watching him closely.

“Is there something else?” he asked.

“No.” She shook her head and he was sure he could feel the crackle of the parched skin on her neck. “I have what I need. You know what you have to do.”

He nodded. He knew.

Was it all worth it? Did he have a choice?

No. He didn’t. Choice had taken leave of his world and left him with only action.

He slipped the knife she’d given him into his pocket, ignoring the unnatural warmth that seeped into his hand like oil onto a gull’s back.

In the darkness, he heard the sound of…

…Soft laughter.


By my ear…


Word association – how did Shaun respond to these word prompts?

Writer… Author

Bestseller… Sin (well, we can hope!). Ok, first word, ‘book’.

Ambition… Bestseller

Cheese… Louise

And finally…

Now you get to ask me a question…

How did you come up with cheese?

Is there every a time when ‘cheese’ isn’t an appropriate thought?!

About Sin (2011)
SinWhat would you do? Could you kill a killer? Does the death of one appease the deaths of a hundred? What about that hundred against a thousand?

What if you had no choice?

Meet Sin. No, not that sort of sin, but Sin, crazy as a loon (you ask Sister Moon), and proud of it. Sin locks himself away in a mental home and, every so often, gets violent. That’s only so they’ll give him those nice drugs, though. The ones that help him forget.

It’s a pity they don’t work.

Sin, you see, has a serious problem. Well, it’s not so much his problem, as ours – yours, mine and everyone else’s. People die around him. He doesn’t like it and he can’t help it. But someone else knows, and he has to stop them… and himself…

Flip and catch…

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About Shaun Allan

A writer of many prize winning short stories and poems, Shaun Allan has written for more years than he would perhaps care to remember. Having once run an online poetry and prose magazine, he has appeared on Sky television to debate, against a major literary agent, the pros and cons of internet publishing as opposed to the more traditional method. Many of his personal experiences and memories are woven into Sin’s point of view and sense of humour although he can’t, at this point, teleport.

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Dave Brown

I was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England and have always been a bookworm and enjoyed creative writing at school. In 1999 I created the Elencheran Chronicles and have been writing ever since. My first novel, Fezariu's Epiphany, was published in May 2011. When not writing I'm a lover of films, games, books and blogging. I live in Barnsley, with my wife, Donna, and our six cats - Kain, Razz, Buggles, Charlie, Bilbo and Frodo.
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