Here’s what Spotlight is about; it’s an interview that promotes you! It will feature questions that are formatted to your needs. Questions will be focused on your work, upcoming work and some personal [but not intrusive] questions for your fans to get to know you more!
Today features Shannon A. Thompson.
Shannon A. Thompson is the first of many people that will follow suit with their own Spot Lights in July. She is also holding a raffle to choose three of her own followers for this event. Now without further rambling – Shannon A. Thompson!
About your writing;
When did you start writing? I’ve been writing my entire life, but I didn’t take it seriously, even though my mother encouraged me to. It wasn’t until her sudden death on March 13, 2003 that I realized I wanted to spend my life writing, so, at eleven years old, I began writing my first novel, and it was published in 2007.
What inspires you to write? Other than specific events in my life, such as my mother’s death in 2003 and my roommate’s death in 2012, I find inspiration from everything around me. I’m always excited by art—paintings, photography, statues, etc. But I’m also inspired by people simply passing by. I find strangers fascinating, perhaps because I have a love for psychology, and I’m always imaging who people can be or what they can be in a story. I developed this habit when I was very young and moving around the country. Imagination entertained my life.
How has writing change you as a person? Writing has changed me more than I probably even know, but if I want to be realistic, I know it’s been both positive and negative. Positive: I have a passion, which I can live every day. I’m proud of myself, and I can use my talents to help others. Inspiring others brings me the utmost happiness. Negative: I often tell people I have characters instead of friends. I’ve made a lot of sacrifices in my life to get to where I am today. I hardly go out on the weekends. I write, and passion, although exhilarating, can consume your life in the sense that my fantasies became my reality. So I often get a sense of disconnect from the real world. That being said, I don’t regret anything. I love being able to write every day, and I love sharing my stories with others.
Adding some fun;
If you spend the rest of your life in a novel or novel series, what novel would it be and why? I wish I could pick a novel people would be familiar with, but I have to be honest. I’d rather be in a novel I’ve written, which makes sense if you think about it. My imagination is always there, and I do live in it when I’m writing. But it hasn’t been published yet. However, it is in the process.
Share a couple of your favorite things and or things you like? I love my family. They are the most important people in my life. I also love my cat, Bogart, named after Humphrey Bogart (who is another love of mine! Ha.) I love old movies, traveling, coffee, and a great conversation with a stranger. If I can have them all at once, I’ve had the perfect day.
What couldn’t you live without? Coffee. Literally. I struggle in the mornings, and I’ve been drinking coffee as my morning pick me up since I was twelve. Maybe this is why I’m so short. But I love it. Coffee is my elixir of life.
In the literacy world who do you think is a misunderstood character and why? I think there is an abundance of misunderstood characters, but it’s hard to say, because it’s really up to the author to admit what they were going for (which seems to hardly happen nowadays.) If I had to pick one character, I’d like to talk about “The Stranger” by Albert Camus. It’s not only my favorite literary novel. It’s more than that. It challenged my perspective about interpreting human emotions, and I think that’s where the misunderstanding happens in this novel. A lot of people find the protagonist, Meursault, to be cold, but it’s about existentialism, which involves feeling nothing—nothing good, nothing bad, simply run on logic. And I think people forget that about him when they read it.
Have you read anything that made you think differently about writing? Other than “The Stranger” I’ve had plenty of novels affect my life, especially about writing. Just as an example, “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” taught me you can go back and forth between two different stories while depicting a mentality with pictures and drawings in an adult-fiction book, and it can be powerful.
Is there a character that annoys you in the literacy world? Or even one of your own? Yes! But sometimes this is great, because we don’t love everyone in the real world; why should we love every character? I have plenty of my own characters that I wouldn’t get along with in my life, but the novel isn’t about me. It’s about them, and it’s about their story—not how I feel about it. Because of this, I often get in fights with my characters. While writing, I’ll try to make them do something, and then I’ll get writer’s block. I have to take a step back and ask, “What’s your problem?” and they’ll always answer, normally bickering about how’d they never do that. Then they correct me, and we move along, but it does mess up my plan sometimes (always for the better, but I’m a stubborn woman. Ha.)
What do you look for in a publishing company as they will end up representing your work? Who will have control. This is my biggest problem. A lot of publishers want to change everything, and I want to make sure my art will retain my art rather than an editor’s art. So I’m always looking for control within a contract, defining how my voice will not be changed without my permission.
How do you stay confident in yourself especially by putting yourself out there in the internet world? I remind myself that I am doing what I love to do. I also concentrate on the fact that I always have room to grow. So if I’m critiqued, wonderful! I take it seriously, I reevaluate everything, and then I move in to the future with my newly learned skills.
How do you handle rejection? What advice can you offer to moving past it? Handling rejection is different for everyone, but my biggest part of rejection is defining what kind of rejection it is. For instance, there’s a difference between a “hate” and a “critique.” Everyone will get someone who doesn’t like their work, but if it’s simply “I didn’t like it” you just got a “hate.” There’s nothing constructive about it. So I only pay attention to constructive criticism and/or rejections.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers? The mantra I use is “Write with passion; succeed with self-discipline.” On top of that, my mother always told me to write for yourself, but edit for your reader. These are two basic principles to start off on that worked for me.
Featuring your work and or upcoming work;
Tell us about your book [s] “Minutes Before Sunset” is a young-adult, paranormal romance about two teens finding their love in the middle of a fated war between the Dark and the Light, but the archetypes are flipped. Dark is good; Light is bad. And it’s the first book in A Timely Death trilogy.
Who is your favorite character and why? [If you can share without spoiling your work] My favorite character in “Minutes Before Sunset” is Pierce (or Jonathon in his human form.) He’s a shade—a part of the Dark—and he’s Eric’s best friend. He’s very strong as a shade, but he’s blind in one eye as a human, so he has a large range of personality between his two identities. He’s seen in the first book, but he’s really exposed in book two and three, so I’m looking forward to showing more of Pierce!
What character do you hope readers understand? In “Minutes Before Sunset” I can admit that I was a little worried about Eric, the protagonist. He’s rather dark, because he’s destined to kill another in order for his sect to live, but he’s fighting it, because he doesn’t believe in killing another without knowing them. He’s also had a lot of tragedies happen around him, and he’s a young man, so he’s very confused. But he grows exponentially throughout the novel, and readers who’ve reviewed it haven’t complained about his depression in the beginning. In fact, they understand he’s young and commend him for his growth, which is great, because I’m always worried about readers forgetting the characters are young adults, meaning they are still trying to figure out life (just like most adults) and they won’t be perfect.
Do you have a favorite part of your own book (s) ? I do! I always have those one or two scenes that mean more to me than the others. My favorite scene from the trilogy is actually in the second novel, but in regards to “Minutes Before Sunset” I loved writing 207-208. Fun fact: the title for book two is tucked away on this page, because it hints to what will happen! So check that out.
Choosing a character or even yourself, can you give us a sample playlist of music that would follow said person? I’ve actually done this for “Minutes Before Sunset.” It can be found on my Extras page on ShannonAThompson.com under “Novels” and then “Minutes Before Sunset.” But if I picked songs for my life, it’d include a majority of Elvis, Nat King Cole, and little bands I’ve heard during randomly sweet moments in my life.
Have you had trouble writing about any of your characters? Other than when I try to force them to do something they wouldn’t, no. By the time I start writing a novel, I have the entire plot and all of the dialogue written down, so I have a huge sense of who my character is and who they will become.
What would you like readers to get from your book (s) ? My ultimate goal when writing a novel is to help young adults understand decision-making and moral values. I also encourage teens to think out of the stereotype box. For instance, “Minutes Before Sunset” includes a character named Crystal Hutchins. She may dress like a “punk,” but she’s an aspiring journalist, and she loves events, so she’s very excited about prom. This character was created carefully, because I wanted to show there is more to a person than just their dress or their actions. She may contradict herself, but that’s simply an action created by her trying to figure out who she wants to be.
In your book (s) what had been the hardest challenge you’ve faced so far? I haven’t had a huge difficulty with “Minutes Before Sunset,” but I had a lot of controversy with my first novel, “November Snow.” It was very violent, especially in the climax, and it involved young children. I think a lot of readers were surprised that a sixteen-year-old could publish something so violent, but that was the ultimate point of the novel. It was about discrimination and violence against the innocent, even though it is a science-fiction young-adult novel.
How is this world a better place because of your books? Because I am very young, I hope my books inspire young writers to follow their dreams whenever they want, because they can! And I hope the messages I convey get through to young adults and help them understand identity and choosing what morals they’ll value in life.
If you could meet any of your own characters, who would (they / it) be? I would love to meet a character in the book I mentioned previously, which isn’t published yet. So I’ll stick to my published works. I’d love to meet Kati in “November Snow.” And I’d love to hang out with Pierce or Camille in “Minutes Before Sunset.”
If you had to write a scene for a character of your choice that would put them in an awkward situation how would it go? I love putting characters in awkward situations, because I love awkward situations. They bring out a lot of personality nuances, which can tell a lot about a person. As an example, “Minutes Before Sunset” has a few awkward situations. I would give an example, but I don’t want to spoil the plot. But I will say there are quite a few between the protagonists that can be both humorous and telling.
What do you to for marketing? I’m always connected, and I love it, which is the best part. I’m on Facebook (three pages), Twitter, WordPress, Goodreads, Shelfari, and more. I also have an email, and I encourage anyone to send me a message with questions, comments, or anything.
Promote your books in a sentence or less 🙂
“Minutes Before Sunset” happens through the minds of two young adults as they struggle to survive their paranormal realities and find balance in their human lives.
What are you working on now?
“Seconds Before Sunrise” (book 2 of A Timely Death trilogy) will be released this Fall, while “Death Before a New Day” (book 3 of A Timely Death trilogy) will be released in Spring of 2014.
Shannon A. Thompson’s links;