Interview with Shane Cloonan, author of Journey To The Cross

Welcome to The Writer's Life! Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process. 

Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning? Where did you come up with the idea to write your book? 

I was in the 6th grade and 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”. 

How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers? 

For such a short book, I was really surprised at the editing involved with the text, and also with the artwork. My advice would be: to make sure the book flows. When you go from a time in history to another the transition should hold the attention of the reader, and not be chopped up. 

Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish? 

My 2nd grade Art teacher (Richard Browning) who did all the drawings for my book, recommended him. He had a friend that used him and thought highly of him. State Street Publishing is a small publishing company in our area. 

Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published? 

Yes, the length of time it takes for even a short children’s book, is amazing. I can’t imagine the time it would take for a novel. 

What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published? 

I am currently working on a book about the effects/consequences of bullying, but from a kid’s perspective. 

What’s your favorite place to hang out online? I am an avid Blackhawks fan. 

Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book? 

That we all have a journey of happiness and sadness that we have to endure, including Christ, who endured so much to save us. I tried to capture this in a simple way that kids could relate to by using the donkey’s emotions. 

Thank you again for this interview! Do you have any final words? 

I encourage everyone to write, even if it’s just putting your thoughts in a journal.

Inside the Book:

Title: Journey to the Cross
Author: Shane Cloonan
Publisher: State Street Publishing
Publication Date: September 11, 2015
Pages: 35
Genre: Children's Christian Fiction

Book Description: 

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.

For More Information:
Journey to the Cross is available at AmazonBarnes & Noble

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

For More Information:

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