Monday, September 12, 2011

Evolvement by Isaac Sweeney

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These nine stories are sometimes funny, sometimes sad, unusual when necessary, and always insightful. The collection displays a variety of topics and genres, from young adult paranormal, to women’s fiction, to more cerebral musings on death and loneliness. The individual stories all present intriguing characters who find sometimes-unexpected ways to grow. The collection as a whole has an inspirational theme of maturation and personal development.

Evolvement consists of stories from the previously released ebooks Hard Creek Bridge: a short story, Wouldn’t Last Forever, and Against Her Fading Hour, along with three new stories.

Isaac Sweeney has been a writer for as long as he can remember. He was born and raised in Virginia, where he still lives today. He has spent the better part of his life honing his craft and trying to share the gift of words with others.

A firm believer in writing as advocacy, Isaac has made a lot of friends and a few enemies with some of his works. His writing is unapologetic, but still subtle and insightful.


From "Hard Creek Bridge"

Slim Jackson glided through Abe Lincoln University’s fall orientations and ‘Freshmen Only’ parties with ease and still managed to enter his second semester friendless and shy. During his first college winter break, he did all of the things that made him miss his country home when he left for school. He woke up every morning to Mom’s fresh bacon and eggs. He helped Dad chop wood in the evenings. Some afternoons, he would sit on the back porch and stare into the people-less forest. Now, back at school, there was no wood or fresh food. But there was especially no Mom and Dad.

Slim, a short, thin, young man, stepped off the bus to a crowded, unforgiving atmosphere, where socks matched every day, and peers cared about name brands. His thin, orange backpack was nearly empty and he carried his clothes in a shiny, brown duffel bag. He wore his late grandfather’s adjustable, blue, wordless cap over his shoulder-length brown hair. He wore that cap every day since his grandfather died twelve years ago. Slim always saw it as a bright blue symbol on his head, one that signified allegiance to another place and time. The only time he took it off was when he showered.

The bus dropped Slim off in a different section of campus than it did the first semester. He was never forced to walk this way to the dorm before. It was early evening and getting dark. Students would soon be tucked in their rooms to avoid the air’s chill. The streets were already quieter than usual. Slim walked beside a pothole-filled road. There was no sidewalk, so he balanced on the thin section of asphalt past where the road lines ended. He didn’t mind the stroll. He liked to walk alone. At least, that’s what he told himself. The road twisted through campus like string through a knot. Still new to campus, Slim just followed the arrowed signs to his dorm, but the road only seemed to lead him farther and farther away.

Slim kept walking, switching his duffel bag – which became heavier as he went – from arm to arm, and becoming angry as the weird road took him to unknown distances from campus. He found himself in a wooded area, surrounded by the bark and leafless branches of the trees of late fall. There was a slight comfort in this new area. It vaguely, for a moment, reminded Slim of home. But Slim was tiring fast and this new comfort soon left him. The road was barely big enough for cars. Not a hint of campus was nearby. Light faded quickly.

Interview with Isaac Sweeney

What will readers like about your book?
The content ranges from YA paranormal to flash fiction to romance. There is an underlying theme of maturation to tie it all together, but the collection has something for everyone.

Why did you self publish?
Self publishing is the way to go these days. I haven't ruled out traditional publishing, but self publishing is easier and faster for authors. Not to mention all that stuff about more royalties and all.

What is your writing process?
I think a lot. Then I put down a first draft quickly. Then I revise, revise, revise.

How long does it take you to write your first draft?
The writing is quick and I can get a first draft out in a couple/few days. But I've usually been "writing" in my head for a while.

What inspired you to write this particular collection?
I started this in grad school and I have since revised it many times, adding a story here, taking away a story there, changing the stories themselves. The stories, no matter how absurd or "paranormal," are all inspired by something real -- a struggle of mine, observations of a friend, something someone told me. This is the beauty of writing for me -- capturing life in this way.

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