What if you could choose your heaven now? Go on a celestial shopping trip of sorts? Thirty-five-year-old Vivienne does just that, as she lies dying in the ICU; a fatal walk into the path of a truck. In her final week of life, Vivienne treks through the Heavens of a priest, a best friend, a homeless child, and a lover who never was. Vivienne’s guardian angel, Noah, who may just be her soul mate, escorts her through selections of Heavens and through the confusion Vivienne experiences as she flounders between a doubt of life and the certainty of death. Although her visits to varied afterlives provide peace and beauty, choosing proves not so easy: Vivienne’s love for her young son and her earthly father pull her from her colorful journey—and from her divine love of Noah.
The nature of love, the variety and magic of life, unending hope, and the importance of saying goodbye are central to this uplifting tale.
INTERVIEW QUESTIONS FOR A SOCCER MOM’S BOOK BLOG
(The Extraordinary Journey of Vivienne Marshall)
What is your next project?
Oh boy. I wish I could answer this with a simple title. My problem is that I have several things on the stove right now. I just sent my agent a draft of a psychological thriller called AUNTY (which I had devilish fun writing). So hopefully she likes that. I have her edits to work on for a horror titled GOAT, and I need to work on those. And right now, today, I’m back to working on a sequel to my first book, a thriller. I just submitted a short story to a compilation novel to which I was asked to contribute, so edits will be coming in on that. I have three other manuscripts bubbling away in the background. And I think I want to try to publish a book of poems. Eeeeeeeesh. I know. Problem is, I’m totally distracted by writing. I feel like a firehose with no one manning the spray. I wish I could have some control, focus on one project, but when I write, my brain will only let me write whatever it’s thinking on that day. So. Yeah, I know. Long answer to a simple question.
What genre do you write and why?
I write in many genres because, well, I don’t don’t why. I read in all genres, maybe that’s why. I write whatever I’m inspired to write on any given day. Could be poetry. Could be some demented horror scene of murder. Could be a nature scene I want to put characters in. I’m not writing for the money (but believe me, if this could be my full-time career, I’d do it in a second), so I have the freedom to write whatever I want to write. Whether the business side of publishing agrees or goes along with this, well, that’s another story.
What is the last great book you’ve read?
The Incarnations by Susan Barker. This book is outstanding. It still sticks with me.
If you’re a mom writer, how do you balance your time?
Not sure I am balancing my time. It’s very possible I’m a disaster. But I do write, and I do try to be a good mother, so I must be doing something. First off, I only have one child, and he’s very independent. Also, my husband is very involved, coaching his basketball teams. When they are off together at basketball practices (which is 3-4 nights a week), I write. I get up early to write. I write on the train to and from work. I don’t work on Fridays, while my son is in school, so I write then. And, I travel a lot for work, so, chances are, if I’m not writing on the plane or late at night in the hotel room, I’m editing. Basically, I scrape and scrap every free second I can to write or edit. What this means is I am NOT doing things I should otherwise be doing in my free time, such as decorating or cleaning my house, or planning out the weekly meals, so we don’t have to order in or eat out so much.
If you could go back in time, where would you go?
I have a very specific day I would go back to. I was in college. I was home for Thanksgiving. I was meant to meet up with High School friends at our High School’s Turkey Bowl game. I stopped to get gas and when I went to tell the cashier the amount for the pump, I misplaced my wallet. I swear I dug through my whole car looking for my wallet, but I could not find it. Actually, I was frantic for it, because without the wallet, I couldn’t get into the game: The stadium charged fifty cents to enter. Fifty cents.
It was a bummer telling myself I had to go all the way home and miss the game, not see friends from High School. I really did want to go to that game. I’d been looking forward to it for awhile. I missed people.
Now. A few things that I find very strange about this memory that I can’t seem to shake. Out of all my memories, all the places I’ve traveled and lived and people I’ve met. All the various, ludicrous events in my life, big and small, foreign and domestic. And yet, this, this one day and this misplacing wallet event is the one that nags at me.
Why did I drive all the way home, about thirty minutes from the game and give in? My friends were at the game, and I’m sure one of them would have covered the door charge. Right? I mean, fifty cents! It was practically free!
Further, when I got home, when I opened the door to get out to head inside, my wallet fell out to the driveway. It had been with me the whole time. By then, with all the time looking for the wallet and driving home, I’d missed most of the game. I didn’t drive back.
I think there’s a reason I didn’t go to that game. And while I like to think of myself as a rational person and I lean more towards the sciences, and believe me, I don’t believe in crazy mystical powers, I do believe there are unexplained things that happen in everyone’s life. And I believe, for I feel it in my bones and in my soul, that had I gone to that game, the course of my life would have been very different. I guess now, knowing what life I have lived, and knowing how profound this memory is of this one single day, and how weird it was that I misplaced the wallet that was under my nose, I’d like to go back to this one day and go to the game to figure out what it was that was waiting for me there, or what was going to happen to me there, and then I’d know for sure. I don’t want to change my life right now one bit. I love my life and am very happy. But I am so deeply curious as to why I can’t shake this memory and my odd actions that day.
If you were stuck on a deserted island, which 3 books would you want with you?
Just three??!! Ugh!
Okay, I’ll try…
Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Incarnations, by Susan Barker
The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje
Shannon Kirk is the awarding-winning author of the international bestselling Method 15/33 (psychological thriller--bestseller in Colombia and Spain, will be lead title in Italy, 2017) and Heavens (Literary Fiction). Method 15/33 has received multiple accolades: 2015 Foreword Review Book of the Year (Suspense); Winner of 2015 National Indie Excellence Award, Best Suspense; 2015 USA Best Book Finalist; School Library Journal's Best Adult Books for Teens (2015); and Finalist in 2013 William Faulkner William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition (when a Novella). Method 15/33 is optioned for a major motion film and has sold to nineteen foreign rights.
When not writing, she is a practicing lawyer, residing on Massachusett's Cape Ann with her husband and son and two cat writing accomplices, Marvin Marquez (in honor of Gabriel Garcia Marquez) and Stewie Poe (Edgar Allen Poe).
Shannon enjoys writing in several genres: literary fiction, psychological thriller, young adult, and poetry. She has been honored three times by the William Faulkner William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition.