I had the chance to interview American author, Shannon A Thompson last year, where she talked about her exciting and original young adult series. During the interview, we talked about writing in two perspectives and fitting in writing whilst still at college. Since then, Shannon has gone on to being an Amazon bestselling author, graduating and joining the ranks among AEC Stellar publishing. All of that in the space of one year! I’m sure I speak for my readers when I say, CONGRATULATIONS!
Her sequel to last year’s Minutes Before Sunset is just days away, and you may remember that I took part in Shannon’s cover reveal running up to this release. I thought it was probably about time that we sat down and had another chat about what’s in store for lovers of paranormal novels.
At sixteen years old, Shannon A. Thompson became the published author of “November Snow.” At twenty-one, she was featured in “Poems: a collection of works by twelve young Kansas poets.” On May 1st, her paranormal romance, “Minutes Before Sunset” was released by AEC Stellar Publishing. In July, it was awarded Goodreads Book of the Month. It’s the first novel in The Timely Death Trilogy. Her first short story, “Sean’s Bullet,” released in an anthology in October, 2013, and her upcoming novel, “Seconds Before Sunrise,” is expected to release March 27, 2014.
She’s lived in five states and moved over fifteen times, which she uses as inspiration for writing. Shannon dedicates all of her published works to lost loved ones, and she encourages everyone to find their passion.
Shannon recently graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in English with an emphasis on creative writing. She also works as a Social Media Marketing Manager for AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc.
- With your sequel to Minutes Before Sunset just days away, fill us in on what’s in store in Seconds Before Sunrise.
Since the first novel revolved around the Dark, Seconds Before Sunrise reveals the human side to a paranormal world. But don’t worry – there’s still plenty of action and romance. Also, Eric’s 18th birthday might be in this book…
- What do you think sequels need to do within a book series; do you think it is OK to have follow ons, or do sequels need to be their own novel too?
I think it’s okay either way. For instance, Nancy Drew is a perfect “stand alone” series, but The Mortal Instruments are not stand alones. My trilogy is definitely not designed as three standalone novels, and I love it that way. I think many strengths can take place in either instance, but keeping them separate – for my trilogy – allowed me to explore three different psychologies (the Dark, humans, and the Light) as well as deepen a storyline as it travels through all of them.
- In Minutes Before Sunset, you introduced us to creatures of the Dark and the Light. Will there be more emphasis on their origins and mythology in the sequel?
Oh, yes! And the third novel will definitely answer the questions many reviewers have had, especially about the Light and their recollection of past events. My favorite part of the second novel is how we get to see more of the side characters and their backgrounds, especially Jonathon, Luthicer, and Camille.
- It seems that the The Timely Death Trilogy is an urban fantasy series that accepts paranormal elements hidden within a realistic setting. Do you think there are unknown powers out there in our reality that we still don’t know exist?
What a great question! This might seem extreme for many, but I truly believe there are too many questions to positively say there is nothing out there. I believe in a paranormal world that isn’t even “paranormal.” It’s reality. In fact, I’m currently studying famous people who claimed in their personal journals to have familiars – and no, they were not always seen as these evil, “witch” spirits in the occult. They were spirit guides and showed up in many cultures around the world. Those instances fascinate me. In my novels, I strive to blend paranormal worlds with our realities around us.
- YA literature often have coming of age heroes/heroines in them, and with important, easy-to-relate-to themes for its (often) teenage audience. What do you think your readers could take from Seconds Before Sunrise, apart from a great story that is?
I like to believe that my characters break stereotypes. For instance, Crystal dresses like a punk, but clothes shouldn’t define you. She strives to be a great journalist one day, she loves glitter, and she enjoys school events like prom. I also try to deal with real life issues in a respectable but honest manner. In Seconds Before Sunrise, I wrote about the repercussions of reckless driving and underage drinking. I don’t want to glorify those dangers, but I also don’t want to smother readers with a “life lesson” that any decision is a bad one. The lesson is up for them to decide.
- You write from two perspectives in your series, from both Eric’s and Jessica’s point of view. I’m intrigued to read how you structure your work. Do you write all of Eric’s story first, or swap between the two? Do you have a personal favourite? And, is it difficult for you to get inside the head of a male character, being female I mean?
- I’ve noticed that you like to write about themes beyond our control: destiny and fate, for instance, and how they intertwine with human desires such as love and choice. Are you a spiritual person, and what is it about the above that drives your stories forward?
I mainly write from two perspectives in my paranormal romance because I don’t think males get a voice in that genre. They are often type-casted as these mysterious, cold-hearted guys that show rare moments of true love. I want to show what he’s thinking and feeling, too. Ironically, I find writing from a male perspective to be much easier than my female leads. I let the characters speak when they want to, which is why Eric tells more of the story in Minutes Before Sunset while Jessica tells more in Seconds Before Sunrise. I consider myself a very spiritual and open-minded individual, which is what I think ultimately allows me to let the characters consume every bit of me. They take over. They push it forward. I’m just the messenger, so to speak.
- The wider writing community are a friendly bunch – I’ve certainly made many friends along my journey. What have you learnt following the release of your three full-length novels, in your own journey and what advice would you give to a newbie writer who are looking to take that big leap into writing?
I love how supportive the writing community has become! When I first published November Snow in 2007, the self-published world was really looked down upon – it was so much more negative if not completely negative. My current novels are with a small publisher, but I encourage all kinds of publishing. To an aspiring writer, I would tell them to truly embrace their love for their craft. Once you have made the decision that your passion will push you forward, no amount of negativity will shake you. But you must believe in yourself. There’s no reason to doubt your dream. It’s your life, and you’re on this world to live it, so live it how you want to.
- I often find dialogue a tricky form of writing to master. In YA novels such as yours, how do you write dialogue and do you think it differs from adult novels?
Dialogue is the first thing I write. I have a very unusual writing process, which I didn’t even realize until I shared it on my blog. I basically write a screenplay first, and then I add the prose later, building into the novel. Dialogue can definitely change from genre to genre, but it should always depend on who is speaking. That being said, I have censored many of my characters. For instance, many teenagers curse – and they curse a lot – but I don’t want my novel to be filled with curse words. In my opinion, I personally don’t have anything against cursing, but I know cursing can make readers very uncomfortable, so I edit that out in this sense: “Write for yourself; edit for your reader.” In a funnier instance, I had a character who ALWAYS said, “you know what I mean?” after everything. Safe to say we had an argument about that.
- What was the last thing that surprised you?
In life: a leaf rolled out in front of my car. It was such a small instance, but the moment – beneath the full moon – left me feeling like I had driven through a midnight poem. In writing: my characters always surprise me. Mainly when they do very reckless things when I am screaming, “You’re better than that!” but – alas – people will make mistakes.
- Tell us a secret.
At one point, I did give up on publishing. I completely dreaded my work. I thought I was done. But I kept writing for myself. And one day I gave into the publishing bug again, and I had a contract three months later. I look back on it like this: I took a detour off my life path – but as long as you get back on, it’s okay. It can even be energizing.
- Let’s say that you discover what fate has in store for you. Would you gladly allow events to fall into place, or would you rebel and fight fate’s decisions.
I suppose that depends on what my fate would be. I think it would be natural to fight any kind of fate that you knew about, even a nice fate, because we want to be in charge of our lives. With my triple A personality, I am beyond a fighter. I’m a person who finds excitement in a challenge.
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