Monday, December 7, 2009

Interview With Special guest author: SHANNON DELANY!

Greeting paranormal aficionados, I'm thrilled to introduce special guest author, Shannon Delany! Her YA Paranormal Romance, 13 to Life: A Werewolf's Tale is to be released June 22, 2010 by St. Martin's Press. Shannon, give us a brief rundown on your story.
Shannon: Told from Jessica Gillmansen's perspective, 13 TO LIFE is a YA paranormal romance exploring transformation--in more ways than one. ;-)

Something strange is stalking the small town of Junction…
When junior Jess Gillmansen gets called out of class by Guidance, she can only presume it’s for one of two reasons. Either they’ve finally figured out who wrote the scathing anti-jock editorial in the school newspaper or they’re hosting yet another intervention for her about her mom.

Although far from expecting it, she’s relieved to discover Guidance just wants her to show a new student around—but he comes with issues of his own including a police escort.
The newest member of Junction High, Pietr Rusakova has secrets to hide--secrets that will bring big trouble to the small town of Junction—secrets including dramatic changes he’s undergoing that will surely end his life early.
Here's a link to an excerpt from the novel:
Brooklyn: For those of us who don't know, what exactly is a "Text Novel?" (Maybe brief description of the contest) What made you decide to do it?

Shannon: A text novel is essentially the American cousin of the Japanese phenomenon known as cell phone novels. Cell phone novels took off in Asia, being a way people could read or write an entire novel (or parts of a novel) on a cell phone. In places with good public transportation it allows passengers to work on developing their creative vision (or enjoy someone else's) while riding to and from work. In my case, the cell phone technology was more of a perk to allowing readers better access to read in their spare moments. I posted brief sections twice a day, making sure readers could read something within 10-15 minutes each time and remember the gist of it.
The idea of serializing novels has been around a long time, places like just allow our technology to take it to an even more easily consumable level. In 5 weeks my novel reached a basic conclusion and I'd gained a bunch of curious fans . I didn't expect to win. I was just messing around with technology and a story that began as a title, a thought about werewolves, and no strict plot direction. I let the characters lead me.

Brooklyn: Authors get their characters from different sources. Some spring up from the plot, some find theirs from dreams. Mine used to be imaginary friends. Where did your characters come from?

Shannon: Years back my family hosted two teenage boys from what was then the USSR. There was nothing romantic between us, but they absolutely caught my curiosity with the way they reacted to American culture. They were fascinating. After they left we tried to keep in touch, but didn't succeed. I went on to study foreign languages and history and realized how overlooked our immigrant cultures are (and always have been). That churned around in my brain for years and then collided with the fact that vampires were getting so much attention and where was the werewolf love?
Then the phrase: 13 to Life got stuck in my grey matter and the three things helped make my boy, Pietr (pronounced "Peter"). And that history I studied? It became very useful doing some research--so there. See? What we learn in school *can* be useful. :p my girl, Jess, is closely tied to me (poor kid) and we see things through her eyes.

Brooklyn: The waiting game from idea to seeing the book on the shelf is the agony of every writer. How have you dealt with it? Any recommendations for those of us that are tearing our hair out?

Shannon: Ugh. There were moments right after I'd signed on with St. Martin's Press that I thought the process was taking forever. Now, six months out, I'm going: OMG look what I still have to do! Publishing (like everything else in life) is a matter of perspective. Depending on where you're sitting on the timeline depends on if things are moving too quickly or too slowly. I think the key is to keep moving forward, planning and writing, during those times when the manuscript is out of your hands. There's ALWAYS something to keep you busy (and I'm not just saying that because I also run a small farm).

Brooklyn: Why werewolves? What do you like best about werewolves and what is a special quality about yours?

Shannon: Werewolves. Transformation. Evolution. The battle between our supposedly humane humanity and the beast within... There's so much to play with symbolically. I can't really tell you what my proprietary werewolf blend is (it's a key to Pietr's character and a big part of the overall theme). I can tell you my werewolves have a history based partly in bizarre fact (and that I've learned more recently about science than I intended at my age--again--stuff from school that I build on in weird ways.

Brooklyn: I asked a few aspiring authors what they'd want to know. All ask: What does it feel like to have the dream of getting your book on the shelf realized?

Shannon: Great question! The feeling's absolutely unreal. I still don't think it'll hit until I see 13 TO LIFE sitting on shelves in book stores. When I found out last week that the book was up on Amazon and Books-A-Million for pre-order I called one of my critique partners and all but yelled, "It's real!" I've gone through the contracting stage, revisions, copyedits, blurb gathering and interviews and I was tweaking out 1st pass pages when I heard about the pre-orders but it still blew my mind. Almost every step of the way I've felt like I'm on the top of a rollercoaster just as the track falls away. The feeling is somewhere between giddiness and trepidation. Giddiness because it's a thrill--trepidation because the public has no reason to be supportive of your effort if your book doesn't hit them the right way at the right time. Imagine going through 36 hours of labor (no epidural, cuz publishing's not easy ;-) and throwing your baby straight into the most vicious squabbling cliques of middle school. That's what it feels like.

Brooklyn: This one I've always wanted to know: When in the publishing process does the cover design and acknowledgement page come in? How did it play out for you?

Shannon: I submitted my Acknowledgments pages (yup--plural--Mama raised me to be thankful) when I returned my copyedits to St. Martin's Press, so in my case it felt pretty late in the process. For cover design: My agent got a cover clause put into my contract so I could give some input. My color suggestions were absolutely ignored (which wound up okay considering how gorgeous my cover is--people have confessed LUST over the cover!). As soon as I saw what the designer (Ervin Serrano) did, I was THRILLED. Then I noticed two eensy teensy things I felt we had to have corrected. That beautiful, sexy man-eye? It had a shadow of a branch coming out of it that made it look a little old-school Egyptian god (and sort of effeminate). And the girl? Flat-chested. My female main character is too old to be as flat as she was (considering the average) so we asked if we could get the guy's eye fixed and give her boobs. And it happened. No complaining, no arguing--they just did it. I have to say, I have no complaints about the way St. Martin's Press handles things. They are excited for their authors' success, they’re willing to communicate and compromise--I couldn't have found a better publisher for my debut.

Brooklyn: What are your plans for future projects?

Shannon: I have a spreadsheet that includes around 35 other ideas for additional novels... So ideas certainly aren't in short supply! I have to finish the first three books in the 13 TO LIFE series then I get to suggest additional things. SMP gets a first peek at whatever the next project is I'm shopping. Here's my to-do list: December/mid-January: Finish revisions on book 2 in the series and send it out; Flesh out the ugly (ugh-ly!) first draft of book 3 and send it (by end of February to SMP); fix up the NaNo project which is also YA paranormal but VERY different from 13 TO LIFE and consider submitting it... then it's speaking engagements, blog tours, interviews, book signings and talks as we get closer to the release date of June 22 for my first novel!
13 TO LIFE is currently available for pre-order (and those of you in the biz know pre-orders are VERY important to authors).

Here's a link to it on

Here's Chapters/Indigo for you Canadians:
Here's Books-A-Million:
Shannon will be popping in and out today to answer questions and respond to follow-up comments, but if you don’t catch her today, here are her links: (Shannon's author's site--so link it to her name, please) (her current blog)

Thanks so much for your time today, Shannon. I can’t wait to read this book!

For a further tease, here's the trailer for 13 To Life!


  1. Hi :)
    Thank you very much for the excellent interview. I enjoyed learning more about Shannon and her writing. I am looking forward to the release of 13 TO LIFE. And the trailer was great. Thank you for including it.
    Happy Holidays,

  2. Great interview! I really can't wait to read this book, and to know that its going to be a series! AWESOME!!

  3. Hi RK! I'm so glad you stopped by to support Brooklyn (and me)! I hope that giving more insight into my writing process (and the publishing process) helps aspiring authors. Happy holidays to you, too! :-)

    Hi Casey! Thanks so much for commenting! :D I'm so happy you're excited to get your hands on this book (and VERY happy you're thrilled it's the start of a series). When I got to sign my multibook contract I was gobsmacked. Even working on books two and three, it's hard some days to believe my luck!

    I'll pop in a few more times to chat with commenters and answer questions, so feel free to "speak" up!