Monday, June 7, 2010
Fabulous New Fiction: 2k10 Debut Author Shannon Delany
I'm thrilled to introduce debut and 2k10 author Shannon Delany and her novel 13 TO LIFE.
Congratulations on the publication of your novel, 13 TO LIFE. I know it had an unusual beginning! Can you tell us a bit about the story and what inspired it?
Thanks, Janet! Yes, 13 TO LIFE started as a textnovel--a cell phone novel over at Textnovel.com. I was a finalist with it and another story, but 13 TO LIFE won the first-ever cell phone novel contest in the western world, landing me some cash and an agent (he was part of my winnings).
The story itself grew very organically. Thinking back about it now I realize I'd seen LOTS of vampire novels, but almost no werewolf ones (and I've always loved wolves and the clarity with which werewolves symbolism change in many ways). I was messing around on Textnovel and the phrase "13 to Life" was stuck in my head. That and werewolves slammed together and my characters announced themselves.
Can you describe your path to the publication of 13 TO LIFE?
Sure. I stumbled onto an announcement about the site and promptly forgot about it. I saw it about a month later and read about cell phone novels (they are HUGE in Asia). Figuring I'd give it a try I posted a super-brief chapter or two every day until the contest's end. I built a blog (which has remianed my blog) and posted polls about what characters looked like and what could happen next and then wrote to the results the public gave (which really made me stretch a couple times). When I won my agent put out a press release. We got contacted by the man who is now my editor and a movie producer first. Meanwhile my agent (Stan Soper) was busy dealing with queries. We got another big publisher who took an interest, but St. Martin's Press definitely had me hooked. Great people--invested and interested and easy to talk to. I <3 St. Martin's Press and always recommend them to other authors.
How long have you been writing for children/teens? Have you written other books or is this your first effort?
The first story I ever got published was when I was in 8th grade and it was definitely for teens, but I gave up on writing for a while after a string of rejections in 9th grade (I had no clue what I was doing and I probably felt those rejections much more deeply back then than I should have). I still wrote, but it was just for myself (which I firmly believe all writers should do: write for yourself first). When my son was just a baby I was in an area with a writer's group. I wrote a short story every week because of that group. It was also then that I started submitting to magazines and got published a couple times. My confidence built. But I was still playing and freelancing when I hit Textnovel.com. 13 to Life is the first novel I truly completed.
Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
Yes. Read a lot, write even more, and be patient with your journey to success. It may seem like I had overnight success, but I've been writing creatively for a looong time. I just hadn't gotten really serious about it. The audience at Textnovel.com gave me the kick in the rump I needed.
Do you have any new writing ventures underway?
Yes. I'm currently in heavy research for what I expect will be another trilogy. I'm melding gobs of history and legend together for this one. I'm also building what we'll incorrectly call a steampunk (but if I tell you what it really should be called it'd give too much away at the moment) and another paranormal series that started as an ugly rough draft from NaNoWriMo 2009. Those are my main projects right now (other than making sure book 3 of 13 TO LIFE is really closed up as far as I want). We'll see what goes where and when, but, for now, I'm writing the story the characters want me to tell.
Can you tell us something about your personal life – inspirations, plans for the future, goals, etc.?
I live on a 26+ acre farmstead raising heritage livestock. I'm married and have a six year-old boy --they are very much my inspirations. My husband is one of my first readers and a great partner in brainstorming. My son has ideas for his own stories (and stories he wants me to write). I have lots of goals for my future in writing, but right now I'm just trying to keep my head above water with everything I'm doing for 13 TO LIFE's release. Book 2 in the 13 TO LIFE series is scheduled for January 2011 with book 3 hitting shelves in summer 2011.
Do you have a website where readers can learn more about 13 TO LIFE?
Absolutely! You can delve into the world of Junction (the main town in 13 TO LIFE) by going to http://13toLifeSeries.com . There you can see what Jessie's reading or what she recommends, check out the book's playlists, prowl around Jessie's farm and check out Junction High School. The site will keep growing and deepening as the series grows, so check back from time to time! If you want to know about me, hop over to http://ShannonDelany.com or join me at my blog: http://13toLife.us/blog or my Facebook Fanpage ( http://tinyurl.com/FBFP13toLife ) or join me on Twitter (I'm @Shannon_Delany).