Welcome Shannon! Can you tell us a bit about yourself? How about in five words or less.
Hey Avery! It’s so awesome to be here. Wow, that’s a tough question. I guess if I had to describe myself in five words, I would say: honest, determined, sensitive, spiritual, and family-oriented.
Now why don’t you tell us a bit about Other Side of Forever? In five words or less, of course J
Other Side of Forever is powerful, romantic, suspenseful, magical, and spine tingling.
So many interviews tend to have the same questions, let’s shake things up a bit, shall we?
I’m all about shaking things up a bit! What do you have in store?
Say you want some ice cream, right this second (it’s okay if you do) what flavour would it be?
I would have to say vanilla or cherry. Both of them are my fave. I know, it’s pretty lame, but I am truly an ordinary kind of girl.
You’re a craving a snack, which would be your choice? Something salty, something sweet, something sour or something completely different?
I love, love, love, beef jerky. Not the hard kind, it has to be soft and chewy. I actually go into the store and squeeze the jerky through the bags to see if it’s soft enough. I’ve always wondered what the people behind the security cameras must think about me.
Let’s say you’ve been captured aboard a pirate ship, and they will allow you to bring two books with you, what would they be and why?
This is a hard question, but I would have to say Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver and Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson. Both books have made a huge impact on me. Lauren and Laurie are absolutely wonderful authors. They created beautiful characters and realistic settings that I could relate to.
But wait, you can also take one more important item with you (for fun let’s say it can’t be any bigger than a loaf of bread) what would it be?
Hmm . . . that’s a tough one. Maybe, a fully charged cell phone so I could call for help. I wouldn’t do well in the middle of the ocean with a bunch of scraggly men. Unless . . . I discovered one of them was as hot as Ethan Bradley (the guy in Other Side of Forever). Then I would just toss that phone overboard.J
So, where do you get your inspiration for your novels from?
I get my inspiration from everywhere—books, movies, music—but I think a majority of it comes from life itself.
How did you name your characters? I’ve heard of a million little tips and tricks people use, so what’s yours?
The funny thing is that my main characters are named after kids that were in my daughter’s kindergarten class. Except for Kiera and Jeremy. They just sort of came to me one day while I was writing. For the immortals, I basically researched the constellations and the different gods and came up with their names.
Where do you see yourself as an Author in five years?
I’m currently working on another novel, and I plan to write a sequel to Other Side of Forever soon. There’s so much more to the story, and tons of little hints throughout the novel about Allie’s future. So, hopefully(if the world doesn’t end in 2012 J), these two novels will be available along with many more.
If you could pick movie stars to play the characters of Other Side of Forever in a movie, who would they be?
I seriously have no idea. It would probably be better to leave that up to the professionals. With my final approval, of course.
How did you get your start in writing was it always your dream? And what steps have you taken to becoming an Author?
I never thought in a million years that I would write a book, let alone get something published. I’ve always been a very avid reader, but four years ago my life took a turn for the worst. And I needed to find an outlet, a way for me to escape reality. Reading alone just wasn’t doing it for me. Then a friend of mine suggested for months that I read this book Twilight. I shook her off, because the truth was, I wasn’t really into the whole vampire thingy. The movie came out, so I decided to watch that instead of picking up the book. Needless to say, I found myself in the bookstore the very next day buying the entire saga. I must’ve read those books twenty times, and one day, a flame sparked inside me. I decided to write my own story. It gave me a chance to create my own world, my own characters, but more, it gave me a chance to get away.
After I finished Other Side of Forever (which actually wasn’t the original title), I searched for writing groups, wrote up a query, and sent it out to agents. Over half of those queries ended up as rejections, while the other percentage remains unanswered. I was completely heartbroken. So I ventured into more writing groups, and then into critic groups. Let me just say some people in the writing community are extremely harsh. Some tend to attack you personally along with slandering your manuscript. It took me a while to figure out that those are the people who will more than likely, never be published because their ego is too high and they spend a majority of their time criticizing others instead of writing.
In these writing and critic groups I made some friends, who offered to read my entire manuscript. When they were finished, they offered up some suggesting. I think I must have rewritten Other Side of Forever like a million times. I was actually tired of looking at it. But I pushed forward and sent out a few more queries. And they were all rejected. I was so fed up that I ended up pushing it aside and starting a new novel.
I finished the second novel and sent queries out to agents. I had many requests for partials and fulls, but in the end, they were eventually rejected. I was angry, but I knew I was getting closer. And I was more determined than ever to reach my goal.
I had just started rewriting my second novel when a friend of mine contacted me about this writing contest in January. I really wanted to get in on this, but Other Side of Forever was the only manuscript even close to being done. I pulled the manuscript back out and decided to go over it once more. I read over it and wondered how I could spice it up while I fixed the formatting. Somewhere along the line I found my voice and added that in too. By the time I was done, I missed the contest deadline. So I decided to send out two more queries, one to an agent and one to Crescent Moon Press.
An editor, Rochelle French, from CMP contacted me for the full manuscript within twenty-four hours. I sent it off to her and waited, expecting another rejection. A week later, I received two emails, one from Rochelle and one from the agent. Of course, I had to open Rochelle’s first. She told me she loved my voice and my novel, and that she wanted to add me to CMP’s list of YA authors. I totally freaked!
The agent, however, rejected my query. I don’t think I ever laughed so hard over a rejection letter. It was priceless.
Finally, do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring authors? Maybe a lesson that you’ve learned that you’d like to share.
Never give up. I know you hear this all the time from authors, but it really is the truth. I had so many rejections that after a while I just started laughing at them. You can’t let them bring you down. You have to keep pushing forward toward your dream.
Shannon’s Novel Other Side of Forever is out soon from Crescent Moon Press, here’s a look at her cover and a little taste of what’s in store.
Seventeen-year-old Allie Anderson's telekinetic powers are anything but useful--she can't bring her father back, can't stop her mother's downward spiral into alcohol, and can't keep her from falling in love with Ethan Bradley. Loving Ethan is easy, but it comes with a hefty price: Ethan is prohibited by his people from interacting with mortals--because he isn't mortal himself.
When Allie and Ethan's love is discovered, there's someone who will do anything to keep them apart. If Allie can't learn to control her powers and fight to save Ethan, this dark entity will make every attempt to stop her beating heart. And if that happens, not even the energy of an immortal can bring her back.
Thanks so much for stopping by Shannon, it was great to get to know you and your novel. Shannon will also be around if anyone has an questions or comments! So please don't be shy! Also, don't forget to check out Shannon's short story, After the Rain!
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