Book Talk with Chynna Laird

Chynna Laird authorChynna Laird is a psychology/criminology major, freelance writer and author living in Edmonton, Alberta with her husband, Ryan, three daughters [Jaimie (fourteen), Jordhan (twelve), and Sophie (eight)] and baby boy, Xander (ten). Her passion is helping children and families living with Sensory Processing Disorder, mental and emotional disorders and other special needs.

You’ll find her work in many online and in-print parenting, inspirational, Christian and writing publications in Canada, United States, Australia, and Britain.

In addition, she’s authored an award-winning children’s book (I’m Not Weird, I Have SPD), two memoirs (the multi award-winning, Not Just Spirited: A Mom’s Sensational Journey With SPD and White Elephants), a Young Adult novella (Blackbird Flies), an adult Suspense/Thriller (Out Of Sync), a Young Adult Suspense/Paranormal (Dark Water) and a contemporary New Adult novel (Just Shut Up and Drive,).

She is presently working on a sequel to Not Just Spirited as well as the next book in the Dark Water series. Stay tuned as Chynna has several Works-In-Progress on the go.

What inspired you to write this book?

I guess I was missing my grandfather one day and thought, ‘What if we’d gone on a road trip together?’. Obviously, it wouldn’t have been as adventurous as it was in the book, but it still would have been fun.

I wrote Just Shut Up and Drive for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), a challenge for authors and authors-to-be to get a novel written in a month. It was all done in less than a month. Like most of my fiction, the story was all finished in my head it just needed to be written down. J

What can we expect from you in the future?

Great question. I am working on two separate novels simultaneously, one of which is a sequel to my YA novel Dark Water. I have a children’s picture book coming out late spring called Don’t Rush Me that is based on my daughter’s experiences being the sibling of an older sister with special needs (SPD). I also have a sequel coming out early next year for Not Just Spirited. And I have a few other projects in the works in the YA and NA genres.

Do you have any side stories about the characters?

What’s interesting is that I seem to write in the POV of a young male than that of a female. Weird, huh? Wil has a lot of my own personality traits, most specifically his sarcasm. Gramps’ character is how my grandfather would have been if he had been more of an extrovert. Those traits are what inspired all the hilarious banter between the two men.

There are no real ‘side stories’ about Wil. Readers will learn about his history as they are taken along his journey. However, Gramps’ house is an exact description of my grandparents’ real house in Winnipeg; Bassey’s Pharmacy, where Wil worked, was a real place and where I got my first job in my teens; and every stop they make along their journey are real small towns in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

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Shut up and driveTitle: Just Shut Up and Drive by Chynna Laird
Genre: Coming of Age, Contemporary


One teen, one cranky old man, and the open road. What could go wrong?

Eighteen-year-old Wil Carter can think of more than a fistful of things he’d rather do than go on a road trip with his ninety-five-year-old grandfather. But when Gramps Wilf barks an order, you listen or get an earful of grief.

Wil lost his parents in a horrible car accident when he was five. Gramps has been the only parent he has ever known. Now that he’s ready to go off to college, the old man says he has things Wil needs to learn to be the man he’s supposed to be. But the trip turns out to be more than he bargains for.

Along their week-long road trip across the Canadian Prairies, Wil not only learns tidbits about his own life but realizes the grandfather he thought he knew has mysteries of his own. With each stop they make, a new layer of emotional truth is revealed…for each of them.

Will Gramps teach Wil what he needs to know before the journey ends? And is Wil strong enough to hear it?

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Click here to read an Excerpt of Shut Up And Drive.

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