…………………………WITH SHANNON A. THOMPSON
So… Who is she?
“I’m a 23-year-old author, avid reader, and a habitual chatterbox. In 2007, I was 16 when I published my first YA dystopian novel, November Snow. In 2012, In 2013, I signed The Timely Death Trilogy with AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc. After releasing the first installment, my young-adult, paranormal romance became Goodreads Book of the Month. Since then, two of my short stories have appeared in various anthologies and my poem was featured in a Norwegian magazine. Writing is what I do, and I love it more and more everyday.
Outside of my publications, I graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in English with an emphasis on creative writing. After working for my publisher as a Social Media Marketing Manager, I became the C.O.O. While most define a C.O.O. as the Chief Operating Officer, my fellow AEC author, Ryan Attard, redefined it as the Cognitive Operations Overlord. I think I prefer his creative definition.”
…So Tell Us..
So I was asked by Shannon to do a book review on her book ‘Minutes Before Sunset’. It is a part of the Timely Death Trilogy and an awesome read. So I wanted obviously to get some insight into the book. So can you tell us where the idea for Minutes Before Sunset came from?
Most of my novels are inspired by dreams. As a kid, I suffered from night terrors – meaning, I couldn’t tell the difference between my dreams and reality. Even after I woke up, the visions would be there, and I didn’t grow out of them. The Timely Death Trilogy is based off of a series of dreams I had in my teenage years of a boy coming to visit me at night. I actually shared an excerpt from my diary on my website: http://shannonathompson.com/2013/11/15/my-dream-goodreads-extras/
Tell us about your two main characters Eric and Jessica. Where did they come from? Were they inspired by people in your life?
I never purposely base characters off of real people in my life, and The Timely Death Trilogy is actually a good example of that. I cannot think of anyone in my life that represents either one of them, yet they have distinct personalities that I’ve fallen in love with. Jessica is stubborn, but she’s also a very caring person, and she worries more than she admits. Eric has some of the same qualities, but he’s more torn up than anything else. I like bringing them together because I think that’s when they are finally calm.
Have you always lived in Kansas and did you draw inspiration from Kansas to create the town where MBS is set?
Actually, I’ve moved over fifteen times in my life. I’ve lived in Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Kansas, but – yes – I’m currently in Kansas, and I did set MBS in Kansas as well. I feel like most novels take place in bigger cities – like NYC and Chicago – and I wanted to give a voice to smaller towns. Just because they are small doesn’t mean magic cannot happen there.
Personally, I was never that great at English especially at school, which is why I find it hilarious that I write a review blog. I was always drawn to things like theater, music, hands on stuff. Can you tell us what were you like in school? Were you always good an English/reading/writing stories? or was it a passion that developed later?
I can admit this: When I was in high school, I was known for skipping school a lot, but I really wanted to work, and I still managed to get good grades and enjoy school activities such as tennis. This is going to sound like a contradiction, but I am very passionate about learning, so I found school incredibly frustrating since we couldn’t learn or focus on what we wanted to. College was better in some aspects. I’ve always been passionate about English, though, and those classes and courses were some of my favorites.
What was the first book you read that impacted you?
“Go, Dog. Go!” by P.D. Eastman is the very first book I remember obsessing over, but The Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne was the first series I couldn’t get enough of. It showed how magic could happen to anyone, but – more importantly – it showed how anyone could handle and discover magic, even young children.
Did it shape the way you write now?
I write paranormal and fantasy novels with romance aspects, so I definitely enjoy diving into an alternate reality. But I grew up around those genres. My mother especially loved science-fiction and romance, so she always had Star Trek or a cheesy novel in her hands. I remember how I stared at the covers even before I could read.
..Being an Author..
Do write full-time? or is a part-time job?
I write fulltime, but I also work for my publisher – AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc. I started off as an author, but when they saw how interested I was in the publication process, they decided to hire me as a social media marketer.
Most of us have no idea about what an author’s life looks like. Can you tell us what a typical day in a writers life looks like?
I can’t speak for all authors, but I can describe my life: I write, and I write a lot, and when I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing. I generally get up, drink coffee, work for AEC, write, and then go to bed to repeat the next day. I am almost always on my laptop.
When you write do you plan out the book/series before hand or are you a spontaneous writer?
My writing process is rather strange. I like to describe it as writing a screenplay before I turn it into a novel, so by the time I write a novel, I have almost everything planned out, including symbols and foreshadowing. But I like to think of writing like a road trip – you have a beginning, an end, and places in the middle you want to visit, but you might take spontaneous detours.
Was there a time when you didn’t think you’d be an author?
Actually, yes. After my very first publication, a publisher extorted my work, and I was forced to take November Snow off of the market. It was crushing. I never stopped writing, and I don’t think I ever will, but I did stop publishing for seven years.
What is the hardest thing about being a writer?
Reminding yourself of how important your love for writing is when you feel like your love won’t be enough to get you through the difficult days. For instance, at some point after publication, you fall in love with your readers so much that you have moments where you struggle to stay true to your work because you want to satisfy your readers, but you have to step back and remind yourself that being true to the story is why you have readers in the first place. This can be difficult when you know a certain part of the story won’t be enjoyable for your readers that you love, especially since you know they will not only scrutinize your novel for it, but you as well.
What is your ultimate goal as an author?
I want to inspire – whether that means inspiring writers to follow their dreams or to inspire readers to imagine news worlds, I only want to inspire
What would be some good advice you would give to new authors just starting out?
My personal mantra is “write with passion; succeed with self-discipline.” It takes a lot of love and determination to move forward. I’ve sacrificed a lot of Friday nights out with friends to write novels, but that’s because I love it. That doesn’t mean those sacrifices are for everyone, but it is a good representation of how much work also goes into the novel, even after you’ve written it.
Marketing a book is a tricky thing. Reviews and interviews help create interest in an authors books. Has this method been successful for you?
I believe so! Readers are the most important friends an author can have, and I encourage authors to make as many friends as possible
You have been quite successful so far in your career. Do you think your time studying creative writing helped you become successful? Or do you think you would have been successful regardless of studying a Degree?I’m very grateful for my opportunity to attend the University of Kansas, and I do believe the courses and the professors taught me a lot that allowed me to grow as a writer. That being said, I was published before I went to college, so I don’t think anyone has to go to school in order to become a writer. Read a lot. Write a lot. Share your work and consider all advice you receive. Repeat.
Do you have any bad habits?
Oh, too many. I’m a coffee addict, and I bite my nails. Gross, I know.
What was the happiest time in your life?
Anytime I am traveling, I am unbelievably happy.
Have you ever been in love?
Shucks. I’d say so. But I feel like love is a very intimate thing, so that’s all I will say about that.
What is your greatest struggle right now?
I have difficult days – where chasing the dream seems more like a risk than anything else – but I try to step away and relax before I lose my mind. Generally, that is my poetry-writing time.
If you could relive the last 10 years of your life what would you do differently?
I’m a rather superstitious person, so I don’t think I would change anything out of the fear that the result might be worse. I believe things happen for a reason, and it is our job to make the best of those things.
I was a hostess at a sport’s bar.
What is your ultimate goal as a human being?
I want to help and encourage and enlighten and affect the world around me in the most positive way possible.
BIG thank you to Shannon for answering all my questions and getting me to do this interview and book review.
I had so much reading your book and working with you.
For those of you who haven’t read my review ‘Minutes Before Sunset’ here is a link:
It was a great read, and I am looking forward to getting into Book 2.
Soooo if you like it, head on over to her website/amazon/facebook and grab one of her books and see what she it up to!
If you wish to follow Shannon’s blog or discover more of her books head over to: Www.shannonathompson.com
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