eBook Review Gal’s latest author interview is with 23-year-old dystopian author, Shannon A. Thompson. Shannon is a self-described avid reader, and a habitual chatterbox. She signed The Timely Death Trilogy with AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc in 2013. After releasing the first installment in the trilogy, Minutes Before Sunset, it became a Goodreads Book of the Month. Her latest novel, Take Me Tomorrow, was released July, 2014. Shannon is well on her way to establishing herself as a career novelist and we’re happy she’s taken the time to chat with us!
In your own words, please tell us about your book:
“The Timely Death Trilogy” is a young adult, paranormal romance that is told from two perspectives, Jessica and Eric, as they struggle to deal with their paranormal and human identities while also fighting their tragic fate.
Do you have a favorite character?
Having favorites is way too difficult to pick! But Pierce from “The Timely Death Trilogy” always brought on my laughter. I think because he’s the protagonist’s best friend, he became my best friend.
Have you always known you wanted to be a writer?
I have been writing as long as I came remember, and I wanted to be a writer just as long, but I didn’t start taking it seriously until my mother’s sudden death. I was eleven, but I knew I wanted to spend my life pursuing what I love, so I chased the dream immediately.
Do you remember the first thing you wrote?
The first story I truly remember writing was a St. Patrick’s Day themed story in second grade, but I have a small booklet, titled Bear and Max, that Crabapple Crossing Book Publishing printed when I was six years old.
Six years old?! Impressive! So, where do your story ideas come from?
My inspiration generally derives from my dreams and nightmares. As a child, I suffered from night terrors, and it was difficult to differentiate between reality and fiction. That’s when my mom taught me to turn them into stories in order to enjoy them. In fact, I shared an actual excerpt from my diary where I wrote about the dreams that inspired The Timely Death Trilogy.
Sounds like you have an interesting system for coming up with book ideas! Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Writer’s block normally happens when I’m forcing something. When I first started out, I struggled with this, but not so much anymore, because I’ve learned to take a step back and be honest with myself about what I am forcing.
What do you think makes a good story?
Depends on the novel. For instance, I’ve loved novels that were entirely character driven, but I’ve also loved novels that were plot driven. As long as something is driving something important, you have a good story.
Let’s switch gears and talk about promoting yourself. Do you think most authors understand the importance of marketing their own work?
I think most understand it, but many aren’t willing (or can’t) put the extra energy into marketing themselves, but I understand that. The publishing industry has shifted dramatically in the past five years alone, so authors had to adjust, too, and we’re constantly adjusting. But it should be a fun adventure.
Do you have any favorite methods for self-promotion?
I have a website where I spend most of my time, and most of my followers reside here. We just hit 17,000! But I am also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Wattpad, etc. Really, any website readers are on, I’m probably on it, and I enjoy it. When I advise authors, I tell them to pick the social media they enjoy, because readers will be able to tell if you don’t enjoy being there just like they can tell if you don’t enjoy writing your novel. It’s important to be true to yourself, even on the vast Internet.
Sounds like you have a great marketing system in place. When do you find time to write?
I mainly write at night, but I currently spend most of my writing time at a local hookah house. That being said, I’m sort of on a writing break. Book launches demand a lot of energy, so I like to take a little breather in between launches and working on my next project.
What kinds of things do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love reading, of course, but I’m also a traveler, and I wish I could travel more. I just returned from Branson, Missouri, which was really cool! I was fascinated by their Titanic Museum (it’s shaped like the ship!) and their Hollywood Wax Museum, but I loved seeing the hills. Since I live in Kansas, I really don’t see hills very much, so the terrain was beautiful to me.
Who would you say has been a major influence in your life?
My father is a huge influence on me. His support has been one of the best drivers of everything, and one conversation we had inspired my latest novel, Take Me Tomorrow. Author, T.L. McCown, is also someone I love to thank. She was the first published person in my life to believe in my work, and she supported my first publication when I was really young.
Do you ever use friends, family members or acquaintances as character models?
I used to deny this all of the time – even to myself – but when I look back on my novels, I can see little pieces of people I knew. So I’ve never intentionally based a character off of a real person in my life, but they definitely come out of the shadows.
How do you deal with criticism?
I accept it. There isn’t one book on this planet that everyone will love. Just because you receive criticism doesn’t mean it’s horrible, even if it’s horrible to that individual. Honestly, I’m just glad someone took the time to read my work. That being said, I spend a lot of time with my beta readers, getting into great detail about what they dislike and enjoy in order to understand what I could change and also what I can expect from future readers, so I’m pretty prepared when my novels are finally published.
What types of books do you like to read?
I love everything, but memoirs, young-adult, and poetry are my top three genres.
What would readers be surprised to know about you?
I quit publishing for five years. I honestly gave up all hope, and it took me a long time to gain confidence in myself and in my writing life again. If it weren’t for the encouraging readers on Wattpad, I don’t know if I would’ve found the courage to return. Readers are powerful. They are the best friends of authors, so I’m eternally grateful for every person who has taken even one minute to check out my work or email me.
If you could spend the day with a famous author (past or present) who would it be?
Oh! That’s difficult. Probably Ernest Hemmingway. I think my favorite moment in the movie, Midnight in Paris, was when Ernest Hemmingway was introduced.
How would you spend the day together?
I would just want to listen to anything he had to say.
How can readers connect with you?
My website is the number one place I spend my time, but I’m always available at email@example.com. I’m also on Facebook because – let’s be honest – who isn’t? And I’m on Twitter @ShanAshleeT23 as well as Goodreads, Instagram, Wattpad, and more. (All of the links are on my contact page on my website)
Are you working on anything new now?
Writers are always working on something new 😀 AEC Stellar Publishing is expecting to release Death Before Daylight, book 3 of The Timely Death Trilogy, in late 2014 or early 2015, but I’m personally striving to re-release November Snow, too. But I have more where that comes from.
What advice would you give aspiring authors?
My personal mantra is write with passion; succeed with self-discipline because it reminds me of how much I love what I do, and it keeps me going through the most difficult days.
Shannon’s novels are available on Amazon and other online book sellers.