As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I’m taking part in the awesome Ontario Teen Book Fest Blog Tour and am so honored to be spotlighting the one and only, SHANNON MESSENGER.
Before we delve into the fun stuff (and yes, it is all fun stuff. There’s even a giveaway *gasp*), let me tell you a little more about the event…
The event is called Ontario Teen Book Fest and it is a FREE event and UNTICKETED – which means anyone and everyone is welcome!
When: Saturday March 21st, 9am-5pm
Where: Colony High School 3850 E. Riverside Dr., Ontario, CA 91761
Go ahead and click on Ontario Teen Book Fest for more info.
And, again, I’d like to remind everyone that this book event is absolutely FREE and UNTICKETED. So what do you have to lose? 😉 Check out the list of authors in attendence:
While the event itself is FREE and UNTICKETED, there will be books there for purchase and it would be super awesome to support the bookstore, Once Upon A Time, by buying some books from them. Once Upon A Time is a great bookstore and supporting them goes a long way. *There will also be T-shirts and posters available for purchase!
Be sure to check out the other blogs who will be continuing the blog tour:
Official Blog Tour Schedule
February 28th: Spotlight on Kasie West — Adventures of a Book Junkie
March 1st: Spotlight on Melissa Landers — What A Nerd Girl Says
March 2nd: Spotlight on Brad Gottfred — Recently Acquired Obsessions
March 3rd: Spotlight on Catherine Linka — Read Now Sleep Later
March 4th: Spotlight on Debra Driza — Read Now Sleep Later
March 5th: Spotlight on Katie Finn — Fearless Kurt Reads YA
March 6th: Spotlight on Claudia Gray — A Bookish Escape
March 7th: Spotlight on Shannon Messenger — People Like Books
March 8th: Spotlight on Lauren Miller — The Thousand Lives
March 9th: Spotlight Mary Elizabeth Summer — What A Nerd Girl Says
March 10th: Spotlight on Anna Carey — The Reader’s Antidote
March 12th: Spotlight on Elizabeth Ross — Kid Lit Frenzy
March 13th: Spotlight on Jessica Khoury — The Consummate Reader
March 14th: Spotlight on Maurene Goo — The Windy Pages
March 15th: Spotlight on Cecil Castellucci — Nite Lite Book Reviews
March 16th: Spotlight on Jessica Brody — The Romance Bookie
March 18th: Spotlight on Aaron Hartzler — Fangirl Feeels
March 19th: Spotlight on Michelle Levy — The Consummate Reader
Now let’s get into the author spotlight!
This spotlight is on author Shannon Messenger:
Shannon Messenger graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts where she learned–among other things–that she liked watching movies much better than making them. She also regularly eats cupcakes for breakfast, sleeps with a bright blue stuffed elephant named Ella, and occasionally gets caught talking to imaginary people. So it was only natural for her to write stories for children. She’s the bestselling author of the middle-grade series, KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES, and the SKY FALL series for young adults. She lives in Southern California with her husband and an embarrassing number of cats. Find her online at shannonmessenger.com.
About Let The Sky Fall:
Vane Weston should have died in the category-five tornado that killed his parents. Instead, he woke up in a pile of rubble with no memories of his past – except one: a beautiful, dark-haired girl standing in the winds. She swept through his dreams ever since, and he clings to the hope that she’s real.
Audra is real, but she isn’t human. She’s a sylph, an air elemental who can walk on the wind, translate its alluring songs, even twist it into a weapon. She’s also a guardian – Vane’s guardian – and has sworn an oath to protect him at all costs.
When a hasty mistake reveals their location to the enemy who murdered both their families, Audra has just days to help Vane unlock his memories. And as the storm winds gather, Audra and Vane start to realize that the greatest danger might not be the warriors coming to destroy them, but the forbidden romance growing between them.
PLB (People Like Books): Let me start by saying that I’m a big fan of your Let The Sky Fall series because of the complex characters you created with Audra and Vane. But I have to start with, where did those names come from? How long do you figure it takes you to come up with a name that fits your character just right?
SM (Shannon Messenger): Aw, thank you so much! And I actually found Vane and Audra’s names pretty quickly (which is rare for me, usually it takes days). I like the names to mean something that fits the character in some way, so since Vane and Audra are both air elementals I googled “names that mean wind” and found both in a single search. I was a little stunned.
PLB: Of course I have to ask this… Where did you get the inspiration for Let The Sky Fall?
SM: So many places. Music. Research. My childhood (the story is set where I grew up). Also by spending a lot of time thinking about wind. It’s such a fascinating force. It can be everything from the cool breeze on a hot day, to the tornado that destroys an entire town. I kept imagining what it would be like to control something so incredible.
PLB: The main character of Audra is a pretty intense character, and very seldom do we get to see a softer side to her. With Vane on the other hand, he tends to wear his emotions on his sleeve, which is a pretty big change in terms of YA tropes (I seriously need to applaud you for carrying out such an awesome role reversal). Do you find it’s easier to write the dynamic this way? What challenges did you face, if any?
SM: Honestly, my characters come to me with their personalities in place, so I knew from the moment I “met” Vane and Audra that they were opposites. That was actually what made me want to tell their story, to see if those two could ever get together. And the only real challenge I faced was Vane’s inability to take anything seriously. I have a HUGE file of deleted Vane-jokes. The boy refuses to cooperate.
PLB: Not to spoil anything, but the way things left off in Let The Storm Break, things were kind of up in the air (ha, no pun intended). What (and when) can readers expect to see happen next?
SM: I know … I fell a wee bit behind on my deadlines (who knew the two book a year schedule would be THIS hard?) so we’ve had to delay book 3 for a year. But it’s coming Spring 2016. For realz—I promise. I will not leave you waiting there forever!
PLB: Since this is for Ontario Teen Book fest… If Audra and Vane were put on the spot for this interview as well, what would they say is their idea of a “perfect” date?
SM: Ha! Well, I’m pretty sure Vane’s would involve In-N-Out—and lots of kissing. And Audra would probably be happy with anything, so long as it meant they were out of danger for a few minutes. They’re low maintenance that way.
PLB: If Let The Sky Fall was made into a movie, do you have a fancast for your main characters? Also, what scene from the book would you be most excited to see play out?
SM: I actually don’t have a fancast. (I know—how boring am I?) I did see a young Chris Pine in my head when I was writing Vane, but he’s obviously too old for the role now. And I’d love to see any of the scenes at Vane’s house, because I based that location on my best friend’s house growing up, so it’d be fun to see it re-created.
PLB: What does your writing ritual look like? Any snacks or music you just need to have before you start writing?
SM: Lately, because I’ve been so buried by deadlines, my writing ritual = FORCE BUTT INTO CHAIR AND WRITE AS MANY WORDS AS POSSIBLE. Doesn’t that sound so glamorous? As for snacks/drinks: sugar and caffeine are a must. And sometimes I write with music, sometimes I don’t. It depends on the scene.
PLB: Now, your first novel, Keeper of the Lost Cities, is a middle grade series. What do you find is the most challenging thing about switching between writing middle grade and writing young adult (apart from the obvious age difference)?
SM: Honestly, the ages don’t really affect me. I tell each story through the characters, so they naturally make the tone match their age. What IS hard is that KEEPER is written in third person, past tense, and LTSF is written in first person, dual POV, present tense. So whenever I switch projects I always spend a few hours writing with the wrong verbs and have to go back and re-conjugate. It’s seriously annoying.
PLB: Last question: If you had the chance to meet any fictional character, who would you meet and why?
SM: Hm. You didn’t say it had to be one of my characters—which is AWESOME (I’m pretty sure my characters would be very very mad at me for all the awful things I put them through.) So I’m going to go with Legolas, and really hope he actually does look like Orlando Bloom. 🙂
And now….The Giveaway!!! **The giveaway is NOT international.
There you have it, folks! I hope you all enjoyed the interview (I know I did!) and the blog tour continues! Hope to see some of you at Ontario Teen Book Fest! I know it’s going to be a great time 🙂