Can you tell us what your book is about.
The birth of Christ through his crucifixion told through the eyes of an unlikely friend “the
donkey”. The donkey that witnessed both the birth and crucifixion, while incorporating th
legend of how the donkey came to have the mark of the cross permanently embedded on his back.
Why did you write your book?
Three years ago when I was in 6th grade, our assignment was to tell the story of the birth of Christ through another perspective. I chose to write the story through the eyes of a donkey, because that was what carried Mary to Bethlehem. After the paper was turned in, my parents encouraged me to take the story all the way to crucifixion because everyone loved it. At the time we had 2 Sicilian donkeys, also known as the Jesus donkeys. They had a distinctive cross on their backs that went from shoulder to shoulder and all the way down their spine. The legend of the donkey is that after Calgary the shadow of the cross shone on the donkey’s back and forever left its mark. A lot of people I know didn’t realize there is a cross on the donkeys back, so while telling my story of birth through crucifixion I incorporated the legend of the “Jesus donkey”.
Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?
The donkey is the narrator, who tells the Journey of Christ, including the essential characters throughout the book. He tells the story with love, and with so many other emotions, all of which he feels during the journey with his friend.
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
My narrator was a donkey, but I can say he was based on the real donkeys that we had in our barn, and of course the rest of my characters are real.
Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel or do you discover it as you write?
The plot itself was pre-established, and I added the details of the donkey as I was writing. For each scene I tried to imagine how he would feel watching the joyful birth to the sadness of his friend in pain.
Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?
Yes, because it shows the donkey as a lowly barn animal, in a dusty barn becoming a key character in Christ’s Journey. Similar to Jesus’ humble beginnings in a manger to the journey of God’s plan.
Have you suffered from writer’s block and what do you do to get back on track?
Yes, sometimes it’s something as simple and just putting it away for awhile, because I’ve been looking at it too long.
What do you like the most about being an author?
I proved to myself that I can do it. I know I can do more, and it turned a dream of mine into a reality.
What is the most pivotal point of a writer’s life?
The day they realize that they can create their own world as they see it through words, and create their own dreams.
What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors?
I would say to stick with it, because everything is not a slam dunk on the first try. Sometimes the imagination needs time to develop.
Inside the Book:
Title: Journey to the Cross
Author: Shane Cloonan
Publisher: State Street Publishing
Publication Date: September 11, 2015
Genre: Children's Christian Fiction
This is the story of the Jesus donkey, a fictional tale that takes readers on a journey from our Lord's birth to his ultimate crucifixion. Though written and illustrated for young readers, this book is perfect for people of all ages who want a fresh, youthful perspective on the life of Jesus. The book's message is imbued in the strength and simplicity of hearts that are linked to other hearts by Jesus. Journey to the Cross follows the light of hope that first appeared on that special night in Bethlehem.
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Meet the Author
Shane Cloonan is a resident of Elgin, Illinois and a high school freshman. This book, his first, started out as a grade school writing project. Shane is an avid outdoorsman. He also is an accomplished woodcarver. Shane took third place in his age group and category two years ago at the Ward World Championships Wildfowl Carving Competition in Maryland, then followed that up with a first-place finish in the International Woodcarvers Congress competition in Iowa.
You can visit Shane’s website at www.shanecloonan.com
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