What scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?
There’s a scene in The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley where Drew is in the emergency room when a little boy who drowned in the bathtub is brought in. After the doctor pronounces the little boy dead, Drew convinces the nurses to allow him to practice CPR on him. That scene was particularly difficult to write because I drew on a real event that happened when I was training to be an EMT. We showed up at the house of a young boy who had drowned in his pool. The boy was on the front lawn, and it was obvious that too much time had passed to save him. But the paramedics I was riding with tried anyway because they wanted the parents to know they’d done everything they could. They asked me to start CPR. It was the first time I’d ever performed CPR on a real person and the first time I’d ever seen a dead body. That was almost 8 years ago, but the experience still haunts me.
While I am proud of that scene, the scene I’m most proud of involves a very special dinner and a disco ball. I don’t want to spoil it, but it’s probably my favorite scene in the entire book.
What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Write fearlessly. Dig for the thing that frightens you the most, that causes you the most pain, and put it on the page. If you’re not afraid for others to read what you’ve written, you haven’t dug deeply enough.
What are you working on now?
Right at this moment, I’m editing an anthology about a school shooting called VIOLENT ENDS. It’s out at the end of 2015 and features the most amazing group of writers (Hannah Moskowitz, Beth Revis, Neal Shusterman, Courtney Summers...just to name a few). I’ve also recently sold two more books to Simon Pulse. One is called WE ARE THE ANTS, and is a story about lost love, bullying, families, alien abductions, and the end of the world. The second book is, as of yet, unwritten, but I’ve got a few ideas I’m tinkering with, one of which may involve a pirate radio station or time travel…or not. Writing is a very roundabout process for me. I hardly ever know where I’m going to end up when I start a new manuscript.
ABOUT THE BOOK
The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley
by Shaun David Hutchinson
Andrew Brawley was supposed to die that night. His parents did, and so did his sister, but he survived.
Now he lives in the hospital. He serves food in the cafeteria, he hangs out with the nurses, and he sleeps in a forgotten supply closet. Drew blends in to near invisibility, hiding from his past, his guilt, and those who are trying to find him.
Then one night Rusty is wheeled into the ER, burned on half his body by hateful classmates. His agony calls out to Drew like a beacon, pulling them both together through all their pain and grief. In Rusty, Drew sees hope, happiness, and a future for both of them. A future outside the hospital, and away from their pasts.
But Drew knows that life is never that simple. Death roams the hospital, searching for Drew, and now Rusty. Drew lost his family, but he refuses to lose Rusty, too, so he’s determined to make things right. He’s determined to bargain, and to settle his debts once and for all.
But Death is not easily placated, and Drew’s life will have to get worse before there is any chance for things to get better.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shaun David Hutchinson lives with his partner and two dogs in South Florida and spends way too much time watching Doctor Who. You can find him on his website.