Of all the people I’ve met through blogs and Twitter, I think Shannon Messenger just might be one of my absolute favorites. Between her “Shannon Shame” features on her blog, which give all the hilarious details of her daily misadventures, and the adverb-kicking armadillo – excuse me, ninjadillo – she passes around to the rest of us as needed, I think it’s safe to say that Shannon will never let us down as far as entertainment goes!
A Cali girl through and through, Shannon is horrified to admit that she now lives in the ‘burbs after having called Palm Springs and LA home in the past. And due to the sad fact that she hasn’t yet mastered the whole “independently wealthy” thing, Shannon is a part-time customer service rep at her parents’ insurance company. And yes, she knows how glamorous that sounds.
Between the dayjob, housework, blogging, critiquing, writing, and occasionally seeing that man she calls her husband, Shannon doesn’t have a lot of time for extras – except reading, which she always tries to make time for.
But the really exciting news is this: Shannon was recently signed on with Laura Rennert of Andrea Brown Literary! Hooray, Shannon! *throws confetti*
Of course, being agented also means Shannon is knee-deep in Laura’s revisions, but she’s loving it and can’t wait to see the final, polished, shiny results of all her hard work.
Shannon writes Middle Grade fantasy, and the manuscript she’s currently editing is just that, with her own “special twist.” Sounds intriguing! Let’s get to know Shannon a bit more, shall we?
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Anne: So, Shannon. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Shannon: Definitely London. It’s the only place I’ve ever been that I didn’t want to leave—which is weird because I’m not a big fan of the cold or the rain. For some reason I never mind it when I’m there. But I would probably be one of those people who picks up a fake British accent when I’m living there, (think Madonna) so maybe it’s better that it’s WAY too expensive for my limited budget (especially given the fact that the dollar is worth only slightly more than Monopoly money over there).
A: Girl, you are not kidding. But it is great there, isn’t it? Next question: If some very mean person told you that you could only have one book for the rest of your life, which one would you pick?
S: Ooo—that’s HARD! I hate picking favorites. *bites nails * *hems and haws* Um…I guess I would want Persuasion by Jane Austen. I know Mr. Darcy is the dreamiest of all the Austen heroes, but I personally think the writing is better in Persuasion, and if I only get one then I want the best writing possible. Plus…Captain Wentworth is still pretty smoking hot—and not nearly as surly—so it’s hardly a compromise.
A: A prudent choice, methinks.
A: *Ahem* sorry. That was my Austen-speak coming out. Anyway. Where were we? Oh, yes. What would you say is your biggest quirk?
S: Okay, this is hard because I’m very quirky. (No, really. REALLY!) But the one that seems to get the strongest reaction from people is my nervous habit: I pull out my eyelashes when I’m stressed. (Okay, how many of you just cringed?) If it helps, it doesn’t hurt, and I have TONS of eyelashes to spare (I actually get asked if I’m wearing fake eyelashes a lot). But…I know it’s weird. Which I why I gave it to the MC of my MS. Maybe if she becomes popular it will legitimize my bizarre habit. (Yes, I might be a tad delusional.)
A: Don’t worry, I pull out my eyebrows when I’m nervous. And I have plenty of those, too. I have sort of a Bride of Frankenstein thing going on if I don’t tweeze every day. What else can you tell us about yourself that is unique or unusual?
S: I was on a really bad Game Show when I was 18 and lost—horribly. No, I can’t tell you which one because one of the other contestants has posted a clip on YouTube and I don’t want anyone finding it. But, my blog followers forced me to agree to post the clip on my blog whenever my book sells, so stay tuned for that someday… (*sighs*)
A: Oh my gosh… who can I bribe to publish Shannon’s book RIGHT NOW?
A: Kidding, Shannon, just kidding. [coughsortofcough] So, tell us: What is one thing you would never consider doing?
S: Definitely Scuba diving. I am INSANELY claustrophobic—and the reason I panic in small spaces is because I feel like I’m running out of air. So the idea of having a ton of heavy, restricting equipment weighing me down under the ocean and a limited amount of oxygen, well… *shudders* My husband used to try to talk me into it (he LOVES to Scuba dive) but then I had a panic attack on the Nemo Submarines at Disneyland (which he forced me to go on) and he realized I’m a lost cause.
A: Yikes. Let’s talk about something less frightening. What author do you admire most?
S: Gah—another question that makes me pick favorites! Well…I guess I’d have to say Rick Riordan—only because I write Middle Grade, and his books are some of my favorites. I love his imagination, his use of humor, the fact that he gives his characters flaws and weaknesses to struggle with, and boy does he know how to write a good hook. If I could write half as well as him I’d be thrilled.
A: And your characters. Which one do you think you identify with the most?
S: Probably my main character, though it’s hard to say. We do have some things in common (eyelash tugging included) but she’s actually pretty different from me. She’s A LOT braver than I am…and a lot tougher. But I’ve been living in her head for over a year now, so I ‘get her.’ Probably too well. (I’m one of those writers whose characters are WAY too real to them.)
A: So you mean, you’re just like the rest of us? Don’t worry, we’re all crazy. What do you think is your biggest challenge as a writer?
S: Well…aside from wordiness—which is way too depressing to think about—I’d have to say indecision. I’m a fairly indecisive person, and writing is all about making choices, so you can imagine my struggle. And my story takes place in a world I’ve created within our world, so I’ve literally had to make THOUSANDS of decisions. It helped that I researched the book for almost 2 years before I started writing, so I’d made a lot of the decisions ahead of time. But I was still completely overwhelmed when I finally tried to write the scenes. It’s a good thing I have very patient CPs who are willing to wade through endless emails and let me send the multiple versions of the same scene so they can help me decide. And now I have a very hands on agent who’s not afraid to tell me which were good decisions and which didn’t work, so here’s hoping this will be a little less of a challenge for me now.
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See? She’s awesome, right? I KNOW! So here’s how you can connect with Shannon and keep up with all her Shannon Shenanigans:
If you would like to participate in the Pre-Famous Author Series, let me know by leaving me a comment or tweeting me @AnneRiley. I would love to have you!