Excerpted from The Accidental Terrorist: Confessions of a Reluctant Missionary by William Shunn, available now!

Two years earlier, my father and I were driving back roads somewhere east of Victorville in the California desert when he sprang a terrifying question on me. “Son,” he asked, “do you want to serve a mission?”

I didn’t know what to say. I must have fielded that question hundreds of times growing up, from relatives, family friends, or congregants at church, and the expected “Yes” was always my reflexive answer. But the look on my father’s face told me this time was different.

He wanted a truthful answer. I didn’t know how to give him one.

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Please drop by Reddit tonight, when I'll be hosting an AMA ("Ask Me Anything") in the r/mormon subreddit. I'll field questions about my new memoir, The Accidental Terrorist, and anything else you care to ask.

Note that the posted time, 7:00 to 9:00 pm, is for the Mountain time zone, to accommodate that region's strong interest in the subject matter. But you can, of course, participate from anywhere! Please join in! One random participant will receive a free copy of The Accidental Terrorist just for showing up.


My second Accidental Terrorist giveaway continues to run at Goodreads! If you're a Goodreads member with a mailing address in the U.S. or Canada, you can enter for the chance to win one of ten advance reading copies. The giveaway runs another five days.

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Excerpted from The Accidental Terrorist: Confessions of a Reluctant Missionary by William Shunn, available now!

At the tap on my shoulder I jerked my head. “Elder Shunn, you’re up,” whispered Elder Rosenberg.

Time for my intake interview.

I stood and picked my way through the cluster of folding chairs in the darkened front room. The apes—a.p.’s, or assistants to the president—had drawn the heavy drapes and were nattering on about mission procedures, with transparency sheets and an overhead projector as aids. Elder Fearing and Elder Hardy had cheerfully announced that each of us would have 70 proselytizing hours a week to look forward to, at least eighteen of them knocking on doors. Ten solid Book of Mormon placements would be the minimum weekly goal, along with six first discussions. The monthly goal would be two convert baptisms.

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Excerpted from The Accidental Terrorist: Confessions of a Reluctant Missionary by William Shunn, available now!

23 February 1987

The detective unlocks my tiny room and drags a plastic chair in from the hallway.

“Mister Shunn,” she says, “I’d like to ask you some questions now, if you have a few minutes.”

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Chicago, I am in you, and I'm feeling great after an unprecedented 14 hours of sleep last night.

I'm very excited for tonight's episode of the Tuesday Funk reading series, where I'll be appearing together with Elaine Hegwood Bowen, Nick Disabato, Sarah Hollenbeck, and my good friend Kyle Thiessen. The event takes place upstairs at Hopleaf at 7:30 pm, and it's free!

I used to host Tuesday Funk, so I'm always eager for a chance to come back. I'll be reading, of course, from The Accidental Terrorist, and I'll also have copies there for sale. Doors open at 7:00 pm—come early so you can get a seat.


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This essay is excerpted from The Accidental Terrorist: Confessions of a Reluctant Missionary, available everywhere November 10, 2015.

WARNING: This essay contains graphic descriptions of primitive surgery that some readers may find disturbing.


In January 1994, when I was 26 years old, I sat down in my bare, cold room to write my first novel.

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Tuesday Funk for November 3, 2015
Greetings, Accidental Army! I haven't written a new poem in a while, but that subject line is almost a poem in its own right. But we have only 12 days left until the official release of The Accidental Terrorist and a lot to talk about before then, so let's get to it.

Review

First, I'd like to bring a terrific new review to your attention. Elena Colás reviewed The Accidental Terrorist last week for Chicago Literati, and while I hope you'll head over there and read the whole thing, I wanted to call out one paragraph in particular that I was very glad to see:

I felt his portrayal of his younger self was somehow more compassionate than I've read in other coming of age memoirs. When I finished this book, I was reminded of Joan Didion's advice that we are "well-advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be." Shunn resists the temptation to paint himself as either naive or savvy, opting instead for the kind of even-handed description that had me wondering pretty far into the book whether the author was still a practicing Mormon. [full review by Elena Colás]
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Where to buy THE ACCIDENTAL TERRORIST

            

The King's English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, UT
Good morning, Accidental Army! With only 13 days left until The Accidental Terrorist's official release date, I figure it's time to give you your marching orders—er, marching suggestions, really—about how and where to purchase a copy of your very own.

Yes, the print versions of the memoir will be widely available through online retailers, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and more. You preferers-of-pixels can pre-order the ebook now for Kindle, iBooks, Kobo, and more.

But if you'd like to support the book and support a local business in your own area, I would urge you to follow this link to Indiebound.org and place an order with your nearest independent bookstore:

http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781941928561

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Twitter Book Giveaway Day 10

            

It's the final day of my Twitter book giveaway!

For your chance to win one of 10 advance reading copies of The Accidental Terrorist, check out the giveaway rules, then head over to @shunn on Twitter to respond to the discussion question of the day.

US residents only. Good luck, and enjoy the discussion!


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Twitter Book Giveaway Day 9

            

It's Day 9 of my Twitter book giveaway!

For your chance to win one of 10 advance reading copies of The Accidental Terrorist, check out the giveaway rules, then head over to @shunn on Twitter to respond to the discussion question of the day.

US residents only. Good luck, and enjoy the discussion!


Full entry
The Accidental Terrorist 30th Anniversary Sale

Signed editions
that even a
missionary
could afford.

Order yours now!

About the Book

What happens when an ambivalent young Mormon missionary is pushed to the limit in a challenge to prove his faith? Hint: the outcome is explosive. The Accidental Terrorist is the long-awaited memoir from Hugo and Nebula Award–nominated author William Shunn, based on his popular podcast. Available now from Sinister Regard!