First of all, be sure and swing back by tomorrow because I have a BIG and FUN and NIFTY giveaway opportunity. A number of Christian fiction authors, led by Lisa Tawn Bergren, have banded together to create a scavenger hunt, and you don't want to miss it. More details tomorrow, May 31st!
There's a new YA author on the scene, and I'm proud to introduce Shannon Dittemore.
Her debut novel, Angel Eyes, just released, and she's giving a copy away here. (Details at end of post, so stay tuned.)
Shannon, tell us about your inspiration for the book. Where did the idea come from? If you have visited the celestial world, we're gonna need to know that…
S: Once I’d made the decision to actually complete a novel—and for me it was that simple: I decided—I was immediately drawn to the idea of the angelic. The stories I’ve had the pleasure to tell, as a teen doing church dramas or an aspiring actress on stage, have always had a supernatural element. Angel Eyes is a very natural outworking of that.
So no comment on visiting the celestial world. We can respect your need for privacy there. What's the book about?
S: It’s about a girl who has all the potential in the world, but tragedy has wrapped her in fear and grief. It’s frozen her really. Enter Jake. A boy who offers her friendship and a gift that changes everything: the ability to see the invisible.
I think that would be cool to see the invisible. Definitely an awesome trait for a teen to have. Give us the Twitter summary of the book.
S: A gift from the boy next door allows Brielle to see things she’d rather forget: angels with fiery swords and demons who use fear as a weapon. (Phew! I have 2 characters to spare!)
What is Brielle like?
S: When we first meet her, she’s cold and scared. She feels responsible for the loss of her friend and believes she deserves the fear and guilt that have her trapped. As the story progresses, she thaws, and we see the Brielle beneath the ice. A girl with talent and charisma. A girl who can fight.
A girl with talent and charisma. The coincidence here, is that every single one of my blog friends and I can totally relate to this. We also all like novels with romance around here. Tell us about Jake.
S: Jake’s had it rough. He was abandoned and damaged at a young age, but in all that, he’s remarkably resilient. It’s fun learning just why that is. At heart, he’s a fixer. He has an innate desire to swoop in and mend what’s broken. And Brielle is very, very broken.
What's a favorite scene in the book?
“Talk to me, Jake,” I plead. “Are we going to be okay?”
Jake stops, his body close. “Sometimes it’s not about us,” he says, pushing the hair away from my face. “Sometimes we aren’t the main characters in the story. Sometimes we get to be the hero.”
The words aren’t reassuring, but his peace with it unnerves me.
“Sometimes the hero doesn’t make it,” I say.
“But sometimes he does.”
Very nice! So let's say Hollywood comes calling, and they want to make Angel Eyes a movie. Because J.J. Abrams adores you, he wants you to cast Jake and Brielle. Who do you pick?
S: Easy! Elle Fanning as Brielle and Thomas Dekker (not Ted… totally different guy) as Jake.
J.J. approves. How about the theme of the book? Did it just develop on its own, or was this particular one important to you for your reader?
S: Both, I guess. I’m such a character person that my themes generally develop as an outworking of my character’s struggles and strengths. I did, however, know that seeing the invisible would be a prominent theme before I started drafting. If readers walk away with the idea that they’re not alone out there, even when they most feel it, I will be a happy camper.
What are you working on now?
S: I’m in the line edit phase for the second book in the trilogy, Broken Wings, and I’m drafting the still untitled book three. I really like both of these phases, so life is good is right now.
I like the “I'm done with the book and now I'm taking a beach vacation” phase.
Okay, on to the Bonus Round. Since you're new here, I'm going to go easy on you. These are usually MENSA-level, Ivy League Scholarship Kid, I Set The Curve On The SAT hard questions. But I know you're brain is on overload from the book release, so I'm gonna dial it back to a level I call, “Alex Trebek Would Recruit You.” I hope you can hang with this.
Favorite ice cream: I vacillate. Cookies and Cream or Tin Roof Sundae
Favorite TV show: Seinfeld. Or Friends. Or Seinfeld.
Favorite movie you've seen in last 2 years: The Avengers might have been the most fun, but for sentimental reasons, I’d have to say Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 2.
Favorite movie(s) of all time: Sense and Sensibility
You're on death row for keeping the whole world up all night for your novels. What's your last meal? Chocolate chip pancakes
Famous person you'd like to be for a day: I’ve been thinking about this question for far too long! I can’t come up with a thing. Someone with a castle. Cause castles are awesome.
Career you'd like to try for a day: Movie director
Favorite vegetable: Sweet Potato!
Most hated vegetable that should be wiped off the planet: I’ll fight anyone who tries to take my veggies!
Dream vacation for this summer: Maui
Favorite thing in your office or work area: The bulletin boards my husband made for me. I call them my Stormy Brain boards.
Last song you listened to on your ipod: I pretty much listen to Shane and Shane at all times.
Peeta or Gale? Geeta… not a typo
Nachos or salad? Nachos, baby.
Finally, tell us w readers can find you.
I’m everywhere, I think. I even have an Angel Eyes board on Pinterest.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Shannon. Shane and Shane is in my car CD player right now, and I, too, love nachos and sweet potatoes. (Though I could easily give you the name of a detestable veggie.)
Okay, guys, Shannon is giving away a copy of Angel Eyes. To get in the running, just answer this question in the comments section:
What's a career YOU'D like you try for a day?
You have until Tues, June 5th at 12pm cst to enter. Can't wait to hear your answers!
(Mine is Ice Cream Tester House Decorator Furniture Restorer Restaurant Reviewer Assistant to Tyler Perry.)