Friday, December 1, 2017

Straight from the Library: Shadows, Shells, and Spain by John Meyer

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. John Meyer will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What is the favorite book you remember as a child?

J.R.R. Tolkein's The Hobbit. Now, of course, it was an enchanting story starring strange little hobbits and wise old wizards and evil dragons and everything magical and mystical a kid could ever imagine. But as a child I could also appreciate an epic journey with a clear goal and a satisfying ending. And the book contained maps; I could follow along! (Never mind the deadly clash between good and evil, I just liked the travel!)

Tell us about your current book in 10 words.

Husband searches for his missing wife along the Spanish Camino.

What are you reading right now?

Don DeLillo's Underwood. I loved the prologue and continue to power through because it's a revered classic—but I have to admit the plot structure (telling the story backwards) is a bit of a head-scratcher. And if I take a few days off in between reading sessions, I have to re-read the last few pages to get back to the story. I may need to cheat and look up the plot summary somewhere...

E-reader or print?

Oh, it has to be in print. Maybe I'm old-school (I still own a very agreeable BlackBerry...) but I love the feel of a book in my hands. I like walking around the city with it; I like curling up on the couch with it; I like reading it in comfy chairs in sidewalk cafes. All that can be done with an e-reader, of course, but there's something about an old fashioned book. And I don't mind that everyone knows what I'm reading. It's sparked many conversations. "Oh, you're reading that? I've read that. What do you think so far?" You can't get that experience from an e-reader... Favorite place to read.

Believe it or not: on a subway. At home, I can get distracted or even doze off on my couch. Similar distractions can occur at a park or a beach or even a coffee shop. But on the subway, there is absolutely nothing interesting to observe. Commuters are miserable. And silent. And nobody makes eye contact. So while everyone looks sullen, or looks down at their tiny phone screens, I'm transported to other worlds embracing bright, shiny characters embarking on tremendous, fabulous adventures. I have to kill 90 minutes a day on my commute to and from work anyway, so I might as well read my enchanting book.

How do you keep your books organized?

I have one large bookshelf. The top section is Fiction organized alphabetically by the author's last names from Margaret Atwood to Toby Young. The bottom section is classified into History (arranged by historical dates), Pop Culture, Travel, and Writer Reference books (all assembled alphabetically by their titles). (Suddenly, writing all this down, I think maybe I should loosen up a little with the rules of my large bookshelf...)

What would make you not finish a book?

Every book gets 100 pages. You have 100 pages to interest me with your plot and make me care about at least one of your main characters. It doesn't matter what the genre is. Don DeLillo's Underworld gets a pass because it just has too many great reviews. But everybody else... 100 pages...

Keep books or give them away?

I always pay full retail price for new books so the author gets paid. However, my large bookshelf is now full. So to earn that precious shelf life you have to knock off one of the existing books. I rarely re-read entire novels but I will peruse over select chapters. But I don't need a million books cluttering the house. So when I do decide to get rid of a book (new or old), I walk it down the street and leave it inside the little old lady's "leave-a-book/take-a-book" hutch. (Suddenly, writing all this down, I think maybe I should loosen up a little with the rules of my large bookshelf...)


John Meyer's "Shadows, Shells, and Spain" is a thrilling new adventure where a husband desperately searches for his missing wife along the ancient Camino trail across northern Spain. It’s also a bold, new take on a modern-day pilgrimage that feeds the mind and soul of every character while testing the limits of their bodies... and their comfort zones.


The only nugget of information I ever received, however, was from her mother during a particularly frustrating phone conversation in early October.

“I’m going to ask you again: where did she go?”

“I haven’t the foggiest.”

“You must know something. She tells you everything.”

“Ha! That’s what you think.”

“Well, maybe she doesn’t automatically tell you everything. But somehow you nag it out of her.”

“I do not nag.”

“Where is she? Her work doesn’t know. Our friends don’t know. Even if you don’t know everything, Pam must have given you a clue at some point; you talked to her every day.”

“As did you—”

“Not since we separated in the summer and she moved into the guest room.”

“Honestly, Jamie; I don’t know a thing.”

“Was it Bora Bora? She always wanted to go to Bora Bora.”

“I don’t know. Stop yelling.”

“Santorini? Was it Santorini?”

“Why take a Spanish class if you’re planning on going to Santorini—”

“Ah haaaa! ‘A Spanish class.’ So it’s Mallorca, then—of course! Wait…when did Pam take a Spanish class?”

“You’ll have to ask her! When you get to Mallorca!”

Her mother hung up. I fought with her for days over the phone and outside the door of her house (she wouldn’t let me in) about Pam’s whereabouts. She had conceded the island of Mallorca but wouldn’t reveal anything more. Pam was on the move and didn’t want to be disturbed.


John Meyer writes fictional travel memoirs—unique adventure stories that combine fun facts of history with present-day drama and humor—always revolving around a fictitious love story and always based on his own thrilling journeys. His previous publication, Bullets, Butterflies, and Italy, was selected as a November Best Book by Chatelaine magazine. Meyer is also the studio writer for Entertainment Tonight Canada and has been ever since the popular daily show launched back in 2005.

Buy the books at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I was really enjoying following this tour, thank you for all the great blog posts and excerpts!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Aw, thanks, Nikolina! The book's even better!

  2. I've really enjoyed following the tour for Shadows, Shells, and Spain! I'm definitely looking forward to checking it out. Thanks for sharing all of the great posts along the way :)

    1. You're welcome, Victoria. It's going to be strange NOT seeing your name... HA!

  3. congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

    1. You're welcome, Lisa. Just like Victoria, it's going to be strange not seeing your name either...