‘Dragon House’ author speaks about book, experience

By MaryKate McCann
November 30, 2011

John Shors, author of the first-year summer reading book “Dragon House,” delivered a keynote presentation in Grace Hall during Cabrini Day on Nov. 15. “Dragon House” is a tale of two Americans who heal their painful pasts while caring for street children in Vietnam.

Visiting 10 different countries is life-changing for anyone. Street kids being the front and center in these countries has inspired one person in particular to express his feelings about vulnerable children who are seeking chance and opportunity.

John Shors, author of “Dragon House,” said his views changed before he wrote his book during a Cabrini Day presentation on Tuesday, Nov. 15 in Grace Hall.

“Spending a lot of time in Asia, it was brought to my attention that there are children who just want to become happy members of society,” Shors said.

“I first thought this book was incredibly sad,” Maddi Milano, freshman psychology major, said. “But I found it inspiring towards the end.”

Looking to promote his novels came as a challenge for Shors. He decided to do his first reading of his novel “Beneath the Marble Sky” at an art festival in  Houston, Texas. Kathy, Shors’ friend, said that they have “never had an author at Art Fest.”

As the Houston Rockets were signing autographs, Shors was setting up his table next to the podium in front of 40 chairs and as he looked around, there was no one near him.

“I am not going to read if no one is here,” Shors said.

To settle some of his nerves, Shors decided to chug beer as it was getting closer to his scheduled reading for 10 a.m.

Ten seconds into the book, Shors got the giggles and it projected through the microphone. He tried to pull it together as people were curious to see who this “lunatic” was. People actually started to sit down and soon there was an overflow of listeners.

“Shors allowed the audience to feel relatable by telling a funny story about how, during his first presentation ever, he almost presented to one person,” Danielle Kane, freshman undecided, said. “He soon attracted thousands.”

Shors has spent much of his lifetime abroad where he was inspired to write his novels.

“Dragon House allowed me to realize while living my life a day at a time there are people around the world suffering trying to find something to eat,” Kane said. “What could I do to help these poor people suffering in other countries today?”

Shors told a story about a child who was trying to sell him postcards. Shors didn’t want any postcards but was willing to give him his spare change in his pocket. “I want to work for them,” the child responded.

Shors, thinking he would never see the child again,  asked him to find him a newspaper.

The street child came back with a copy of USA Today, so happy and proud of himself.

“Dragon House is all about children like that,” Shors said. “It tells a story about two Americans who opened a center to house and educate Vietnamese street children as a way to heal their past.”

Shors has won multiple awards and has had his books translated into 25 languages.

“He did a very good job keeping the audience interested at his presentation,” Milano said. “He wasn’t boring.”

“I want the readers to understand how the characters in ‘Dragon House’ were inspired by people I actually met in real life,” Shors said.


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MaryKate McCann

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