Name: Shannon A Thompson
Where are you from: I’m from the road. In my 22 years of life, I’ve already moved 15 times, so I don’t truly have a hometown. But I was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life ect
I’m very passionate about writing, reading, and drinking too much coffee. Since my debut novel in 2007, I’ve had poetry published, and I’ve signed with AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc. They’ve released a short story of mine as well as my latest novel, Minutes Before Sunset, which was awarded Goodreads Book of the Month. Seconds Before Sunrise is expected to release this March.
Writing is what I do, and I love it more and more everyday.
Currently, I am finishing up my senior year at the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in English, while working as a Social Media Marketing Manager (or Social Marketing Wizard—that’s right, I’m a wizard, too.) I have a great father and brother—as well as my cat, Bogart—named after my favorite actor, Humphrey Bogart.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
In December, I graduate from the University of Kansas, and I’m really excited for Seconds Before Sunrise to release on March 22, 2014.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
When I was very young, I suffered from extreme night terrors and nightmares. My mother, being a writer herself, taught me how to turn my confusion into stories in order to cope. That’s when I began writing.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I considered myself a writer the day I began taking it seriously—as a potential career rather than a hobby. This actually happened when I was 11 years old. My mother, who inspired me, suddenly passed away, and I knew I had to spend my life chasing my dream right away.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
When my mother passed away, I immediately began my first novel. It didn’t work out, but my second novel, November Snow, did. It was published in 2007 under the support of author, T.L. McCown. Since I was 16, it was truly an eye-opening experience, and I learned a variety of lessons from it.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Both of my currently published novels are written from two perspectives in the first person—by one boy and one girl. I enjoy showing the side of the boy since they seem to be disregarded in young-adult fiction, especially in romance.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
“Minutes Before Sunset” is the first in a trilogy surrounded by a war between the Light and the Dark—except the Light is evil, and the Dark is good. Each book has a separate focus. Since “Minutes Before Sunset” is about being a part of the Dark, the title comes from the moment a human changes into a shade—a creature of the Dark.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The trilogy is ultimately focused on identity. Since most characters have more than one identity, I really want readers to be able to find themselves in everyone—while also realizing an identity is not as simple as whom you are during one instance in your life.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
“Minutes Before Sunset” is a paranormal romance, so it’s not completely set in the real world. However, it is based on a series of dreams that, at one point in my life, I truly believed were happening. I actually shared one of these dreams on my website: http://shannonathompson.com/2013/11/15/my-dream-goodreads-extras/
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
“Seconds Before Sunrise” (Book 2 of The Timely Death Trilogy) will showcase many of the dreams I experienced, but “Minutes Before Sunset” (Book 1 of The Timely Death Trilogy) only has one scene that was based on my personal experiences, and it has to do with bats. Check it out: http://kygrabowski.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/guest-minutes-before-sunset-favorite-scene-→-shannon-a-thompson/
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
“The Stranger” by Albert Camus is my go-to novel. I have read it too many times to keep count, but I think it influenced me because I read it at a time in my life where it truly challenged me to think about how different perspectives are and how dramatically societal expectations can be challenged.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
T.L. McCown was my very first mentor. She was already an author when she took me under her wing, and she truly guided the way to publication while also allowing me to realize that someone believed in my passion for writing.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
The new poetry collection by Billy Collins: “Aimless Love.” He’s one of my favorite poets.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
So many! I love spending my time in the “Debut Novels” section at Barnes & Noble.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I am currently preparing “Seconds Before Sunrise” for the release in March as well as editing the last novel in the trilogy to release later.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
T.L. McCown, of course, and I have a list of teachers that encouraged me, including Mrs. Metcalf, Professor Kaminski, and Dr. Valk. I’ve also met a few authors that truly inspired me, like Elizabeth C Bunce, Jessica Shirvington, Greg Kincaid, and more.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Definitely. Writing is my current career.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I try to focus on bettering the future rather than wondering about the past.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I read almost every child’s book my local bookstore had to offer. Between my love for reading and my mother’s love for writing, it only seems natural that she guided me there and I stayed.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
In the second book of The Timely Death Trilogy, Jessica suffers from nightmares, but Eric can’t help her. With the final battle approaching, destiny restrains his powers. And the Light is closing in on both of them. (Add on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18805475-seconds-before-sunrise)
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Actually, it might seem ironic, but I find it more difficult to write as the female protagonist than the male. I still haven’t quite figured this nuance of mine out, but I don’t stress out about it because I love writing as both.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
As many avid readers would say, I can’t decide on one author as my favorite, but my favorites generally have a fluidity to their stories as well as to their characters’ voices that strikes me. I will love a story with a strong voice where nothing happens more than a story with a weak voice and lots of events.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I love traveling, so I would love to travel for my books, but I haven’t done much traveling yet.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
“Minutes Before Sunset” was designed by Autumn Fog Photography. “Seconds Before Sunrise” was designed by Viola Estrella, and it will be revealed on December 1.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I wrote the trilogy when I was 14-16 years old, and I wrote it out of order. The second book was actually written first, and I only wrote the first book because I realized the second book didn’t make sense without a story beforehand. The lack of schedule made it difficult.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned a lot while writing “Minutes Before Sunset.” In terms of writing, I learned how to make a more precise plan as well as cut down on my word count. For instance, “Minutes Before Sunset” was originally 136,000 words. Now, it’s about 80,000. But the most interesting thing I learned happened when I looked back on the novel seven years later. I can now see parts of myself I could not see when I was 14.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
My mantra is “write with passion; succeed with self-discipline.” Everyone will tell you to follow your dreams, but I want to add that you can succeed at them, too.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
If you decide to check out my novels, I hope you enjoy them! And I also have a page on my website dedicated to publishing, writing, and editing tips. Check it out, and feel free to message me at any time. http://shannonathompson.com/tips/
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I love reading, drinking coffee, traveling, photography, and journaling. I am almost always doing one of these things. (Oh, and, of course, spending time with my family and cat.)
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I like talk shows, especially with controversial content. I also like political shows, but I have to limit myself or my blood pressure might rise. Other than that, I’m not a fan of television—mainly because I have a bad habit of my mind going numb for the entire day if I sit in front of it. However, I love older movies—especially with Humphrey Bogart.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
I love all kinds of food. A deep red (almost merlot) is my favorite color. And Elvis Presley is my favorite singer. He’s actually my current ringtone.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I have no idea. I think that is one of the most terrifying parts about being so passionate about something. Writing is my focus. I cannot see myself doing something else. I want to clarify I am currently a Social Media Marketing Manager, and I love it. What I mean by not knowing what I’d be is when I consider a future without writing in it.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
I do! I update everyone on my novels and life. But I also have an entire section dedicated to writing, editing, and publishing tips as well. I’m here to help, so please join me at ShannonAThompson.com: http://shannonathompson.com.