Shannon Thompson is an inspiration to all writers, but most definitely among the under twenty five age group. It is my great pleasure to have her with us today on Author Interview Friday. Shannon, why don’t we start with you telling our readers a little about yourself.
Shannon: At sixteen years old, I became the published author of November Snow. At twenty-one, I was featured in Poems: a collection of works by twelve young Kansas poets. On May 1st, my paranormal romance, Minutes Before Sunset was released by AEC Stellar Publishing. It’s the first novel in A Timely Death series.
I’ve lived in five states and moved over fifteen times, which I use as inspiration for writing. I have dedicated all of my published works to lost loved ones, and I encourage everyone to find their passion, whatever it may be.
I am currently finishing my bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Kansas. You can visit my website at http://www.ShannonAThompson.com
Joanne: Thank you Shannon. Your story is passionate, heart-breaking and inspiring. Can you share with the readers how you started writing?
Shannon: I’ve been writing as long as I can remember, but my mother taught me to write in order to cope with nightmares and night terrors. After this, I began writing stories in order to understand them since I struggled to differentiate between reality and fiction. Because of this, I mainly wrote for me, but then I began writing stories for friends. However, I didn’t take it very seriously—it was merely for fun. About this time is when my life changed. My mother passed away on March 13, 2003 suddenly and without notice. I was eleven years old, and her death forced a sense of mortality onto me despite my young age. I decided to take my writing very seriously, because I realized death could happen whenever and I wanted to live life to the fullest by pursuing my dream. My mother was also a writer, so—in a way—I’m pursing our dream, and I am very proud of keeping the dream.
Joanne: You are so young to be such an accomplished writer. How long did it take you to publish your first manuscript?
Shannon: My first published manuscript was young-adult science fiction novel, November Snow. I began writing November Snow shortly after my mother died. I finished writing it on December 4, 2006, and it was published by Golden Eagle Publishing under author, T.L. McCown in July of 2007. Fun fact: it was originally titled “It’s Only a Matter of Time.”
Joanne: Many of us cross over genres and it is difficult to pinpoint one to fit our books. For the book we are promoting today, what shelf would we find it on if it were in a bricks and mortar bookstore. Also, do you also write in other genre?
Shannon: Minutes Before Sunset would be on the young-adult paranormal romance shelf. It’s the first in A Timely Death trilogy. I love writing in almost every genre. My poetry has been published, and the two novels I have published are young-adult science fiction and young-adult paranormal romance. I also have three personal (nonfiction) essays available on my website.
Joanne: Tell us about your experience with traditional publishing.
Shannon: AEC Stellar Publishing is my publisher for Minutes Before Sunset. In a unique situation, they found me and asked me if I had a publisher, because I was originally self-publishing the novel for fun. (I already had November Snow out, but I wanted a more recent novel for my followers to enjoy.) When they asked, I told them how I was self-publishing, and they asked me to apply, so I did, and we had a deal within the week.
Joanne: Can you tell us a little about your style or narrative of writing?
Shannon: I switch it up for different stories, but in terms of my two young-adult novels: both are told by two perspectives. November Snow is told by Daniel and Serena while Minutes Before Sunset is told by Eric and Jessica. I enjoy writing from one male and one female, because I think two people can bring different aspects of the story out in positive and negative ways that brings believability to a character. Minutes Before Sunset is a young-adult paranormal romance revolving around a dark fate contrasted with the choice of hope. One of the things I love (and have learned) from studying poetry is what my professor and poet, Megan Kaminski, would say: “You may have a plan, but let it be what it wants.” Basically, even if I have a plan, I am always willing to change it, and I almost always do. In terms of my published novels, there isn’t a structure to whom tells the story (meaning I do switch perspective, but it isn’t back and forth. Sometimes Eric tells three chapters in a row before Jessica tells one.)
I like to think about finding your “voice” as finding your character’s voice rather than my own. To me, characters are in charge. If I try to force them into something, I automatically get writer’s block, and that’s because I’m not being true to them. So my voice is their voice. This is one of the reasons I want to complete a memoir, because I want to practice my life’s voice and see what I can learn from that. I’m also a huge advocate of journaling for this reason, and I have written in a journal every day since July of 2008.
Joanne: What was the hardest part for you in the writing process; the outline, synopsis, query or building the story itself?
Shannon: Every individual novel has been different for me. November Snow was the hardest, because it was my first. It took years to write and publish, and I’ve even rewritten it in a more adult fashion with the plan of getting it published again in the future. In terms of Minutes Before Sunset, I think planning the trilogy was the hardest part. I had to make sure the foreshadowing—along with everything else—linked up in three novels rather than one, and that took a lot of planning and checking to achieve that goal in order to be accepted for publication. Fun fact: all three were written before it was accepted for publication. This happens a lot, because publishers want to know you will finish the series if one book comes out.
Joanne: What do you do to promote yourself and your novels?
Shannon: I spend every day connecting with readers. This is vital. I often have friends say I never work, but it’s nearly the opposite. I’m constantly on the computer. I’m always on my phone. And I’m prepared to reply to an email or phone call in seconds. Because of this, I have to carry everything with me physically and mentally. I almost cannot take a break, but I do love it—don’t get me wrong. I love nothing more than reading, writing, dreaming, and sharing it with the world while helping others do the same. But I don’t want to get off the topic. In terms of marketing, I update my blog—ShannonAThompson.com—every other day, and I read other blogs every day. I have three Facebook pages—one for November Snow, Minutes Before Sunset, and me—Shannon A. Thompson. These help a lot, because I can track my followers and sales, but I can also connect in an honest and supportive manner.
Thank you Shannon. You are truly an inspiration to other young writers and a testament to what dedication and hard work can achieve.
Readers, here is your sneak peek into Minutes Before Sunset. You get to jump in on Chapter Two. If you HAVE to read Chapter one and can’t bear to stop reading, you can buy Shannon’s novel by going to http://www.amazon.com/Minutes-Before-Sunset-Shannon-Thompson /dp/098931281X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1374075813&sr=8-1&keywords=minutes+before+sunset
Chapter Two: Eric:
I was raised with three simple rules:
. Fight defensively and offensively.
. Under no circumstances is it safe to reveal your identity. (Unless it’s Urte, Pierce, Camille, or anyone else the elders deemed an exception.)
The last rule is my favorite, because of the dishonesty. Win didn’t mean win. It meant murder. It meant I had to kill the second descendant, the power of the Light, and I had no choice. I would get blood on my hands.
I brushed my hand along the shivering trees as my gaze darted around the darkening forest. I rarely had time to leave our underground shelter and use my powers, and I didn’t feel like wasting my night chasing Camille around in the dark.
I threw my senses out around me. The forest reeked of evergreen and pine. I could feel every prickly leaf and see every shadow. From stump to stump, I searched the darkness for Camille’s body heat. No one could avoid my radar.
Bingo. I grinned as I locked onto a girl by the river. I sprinted through the thicket, pushing past scraping branches and leafless oak trees. As I neared the forest’s opening, my body sunk into the shadows, and my skin tingled as it morphed into the chilly air. It was the greatest feeling—other than flying, of course—and I relished in the moment. The blackness of night flowed with me as I floated along the trees, the leaves, or snow. I was enveloped in silk.
I only solidified when I reached the forest’s edge. Just as I thought, a girl stood on the river’s guardrail, but she wasn’t Camille.
She didn’t have Camille’s white hair or mischievous dark eyes. In fact, this girl didn’t even look Camille’s age. She was my age, and she had the dark hair, pale eyes, and the pale skin complexion that our sect had.
She was undoubtedly a shade, but I didn’t know her.
My fingers gripped my jacket as I moved backwards, trying to conceal myself in the darkness, but the girl spun around and stared at me. She was perfectly still when her purple eyes met mine. She didn’t budge. Instead, she pointed at me, and the dark magnetically trailed her fingertips.
“Who—” She stepped off of the railing, and her eyes widened. “Who are you?”
I put my hands in front of me and stepped out of the forest. This must be one of Camille’s illusion jokes.
“Who are you?” she asked, backing up against the river’s guardrail.
I didn’t respond. Instead, I flew through the shadows and reappeared in front of her. My body heat escaped me, and she froze, completely petrified by my closeness. I laid my hand on her cheek, expecting her to disappear like any of Camille’s illusions, but she didn’t. She was real, and we were centimeters apart, teetering over the edge of the river.
She didn’t move. I had the ability to hypnotize any shade, but I hadn’t used any power. She was shaking—shivering—beneath my touch, and her heartbeat thundered her energy through my veins.
How odd. She was powerful, yet fear suffocated every bit of her being.
A shout split the air, and I sensed a body rushing through the forest. Camille was coming for me. “Where are you?”
Reflexively, I released the girl and turned to the forest, waiting for Camille to appear. Over here, I said, sending her a telepathic message. Immediately, she appeared in a beam of light.
Her dark eyes were ablaze as she picked sticks and dried leaves from her glittering hair. “What the hell, Shoman? At least tell me where you are going if you want to be alone.”
“I was with—” I closed my mouth as I waved my hand towards the nameless girl, but the ground where she once stood was empty. Nothing. No marks or anything signifying her leave. She was gone.
Impossible. No shade had ever been able to stay off my radar, yet I hadn’t felt her leave. It was as if she had never been there.
“With who?” Camille asked, trudging up to me.
“Shh,” I held up my hand and threw my senses out.
Camille tensed, and her black eyes darted around. “What are you looking for?”
“Be quiet,” I said, spinning in tight circles. My senses were useless. Nothing was there. Not even a bat or a plane. I was being blocked.
I grabbed my guard’s boney shoulders. “Camille, who else was out here tonight?”
“No one. Everyone is at the Naming,” she said, rolling her eyes. “If you haven’t forgotten, you’re supposed to be there.”
“I don’t care,” I said, ignoring the ceremony of the last harvest. It was hard to forget. A thick layer of frost coated the dying grass, and I knew that the first layer had fallen yesterday morning. As the first descendant, I always went, but my father hadn’t in years, and I was beginning to forget the point.
Camille touched my arm. “Is something wrong, Shoman?” she asked, widening her eyes. “Was someone here?”
“No,” I lied, patting her palm. “Let’s go,” I said. I dissolved into a shadow.