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Anna M Shonk

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The Almond Man in the news
By Anna M Shonk   
Not "rated" by the Author.
Last edited: Saturday, April 18, 2009
Posted: Sunday, August 31, 2008

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Articles and reviews for The Almond Man








Lindsay City Arts            July 2008          Page 3

Article by Carolyn Barbe, Cultural Arts Coordinator


"City girl Anna Shonk turns rural mystery writer"




Valley Voice                 July 10, 2008     


Carolyn Barbe


"Anna Shonk writes mystery about Delano Almond Harvest"




The Kern County Independent          July 24, 2008


Front Page:    "Mystery in the Grove, The Almond Man"

                         "The Independent interviews local author Anna Shonk

                          By Janelle Eastridge and book review by Cindy Clark"



By Janelle Eastridge:


                        As a child growing up in San Francisco Anna Shonk's active imagination was both her saving grace-and the thing that "usually got her into trouble."


            But with the recent release of her debut novel, "The Almond Man," her active imagination has finally paid off.


            The novel is a murder mystery set in the almond orchards of Delano that the author began writing in 1994 while living next to her father-in-law Robert's own Delano almond orchard.  She and her husband had the chance to live with his family while look for a place to live in Exeter where her husband had been work for 20 years.



            Shonk doesn't have a background in creative writing, though and she never really thought that writing would be the path she'd take.  In fact, "quite frankly, English probably pulled down my grade point average my grades were so bad," Shonk admitted.


            (And as a newly published author, Shonk still doesn't consider herself an author, just someone who happened to write - and publish - a story.)


            What she does have, however, is an unrelenting belief in the idea that "everyone has a back-story, a story to tell - it just depends on how you want to tell it."



            And this most certainly was the case with "The Almond Man." The novel stemmed from conversations Shonk had with her father-in-law and his longtime farmhand Ramon about the amount of trash people abandoned on Robert's property.



(For more on this story please contact The Kern County Independent Newspaper)



The Kern County Independent              July 24, 2008


Book Review: "Mystery novel 'The Almond Man' connects with readers through its                                                     lovable characters."

By Cindy Clark:


            A. M. Shonk's debut novel, "the Almond Man" is mystery set in the almond fields of Delano, Calif. This setting provides a unique twist on the classic theme.  Some of the best parts of the book are those detailing the setting and life of an almond grower.


            Her farmer protagonist is one of the more finely drawn characters. He is based on a real person, and this gives the reader a fuller sense of his personality.  His interactions and perceptions color the novel and keep it grounded.


            The author combines such diverse elements as the aforementioned almond field, a small town, a maximum security prison and a hospital.  This serves to keep the story moving forward, and to give a more complete picture to frame the events.











            The book is as much about the mystery as it is about men forming friendships and even familial bonds.  The book touches on loneliness, isolation, and connections formed under extreme circumstances. 


            In writing any book, especially a novel, and most especially a mystery novel, creating sympathetic characters is crucial.  When an author is able to make her readers care about the individuals peopling her book, when she is able to create sympathy between the readers and those characters, the fates that befall those characters resonate with the readers.  We feel the sense of urgency, the despair, the loneliness and the joy. And that connection is what makes the pages dissolve makes us become involved.


            Shonk has created several characters that inspire that sympathy.  One in particular, a seemingly unsympathetic character through his fight to survive, becomes almost heroic.


This book offers up one of my favorite and most memorable lines from a mystery novel.  I won't tell you what it is, but will give a clue: You only die once.



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