Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Shannon A. Thompson author of Minutes Before Sunset, November Snow, some incredible short stories and poems. Her first short story, Sean’s Bullet, was published in an anthology in October of 2013. Currently, she’s finishing her senior year at the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in English, while working as a Social Media Marketing Manager. Shannon spends her free time writing, but she loves spending time with her father and brother. She also has one black cat named after her favorite actor, Humphrey Bogart.
Hi Shannon, thank you for agreeing to this interview.
Tell me a little about yourself and your background? What were you like at school? Were you good at English? What are your ambitions for your writing career? Which writers inspire you? Or something that you feel you need to share?
My name is Shannon A. Thompson, and I’m from the road. I grew up moving around a lot. Currently, I’ve moved over 15 times in my short 22 years of life, and I love it. I had various stages in my school years. I was really passionate about it until my mom died when I was 11. Although I kept good grades, I had quite an anger problem until I realized I wanted to spend my life writing. I was 16 when my first novel was published. Since then I’ve had poetry, a short story, and another novel published. My next novel, Seconds Before Sunrise, releases this March. I’m currently signed with AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc. My ultimate ambition is to help other artists, especially the youth, achieve their dreams by opening up an affordable art school where artists can meet professionals in their field.
What was your life like before becoming an author?
The few years right before I became an author weren’t easy, but I don’t think a lot of childhoods are. I don’t resent them. In fact, I think they really shaped me. But, like I said, my mother passed away from a drug overdose when I was 11. Since we wrote together, writing was very difficult at first. Now, it completes me. My life mainly consisted of going to school and working as a hostess at a local sports bar.
When did you decide to become a writer?
I actually shared a little story I wrote when I was seven on my website. In the back, I wrote that I wanted to be “a book author.” But I don’t think I took this dream seriously until I was 11. I was faced with mortality, and I knew life wasn’t guaranteed, and I wanted to spend my life doing what I love.
Which comes first? The character’s story or the idea for the novel?
I think that varies. Generally, for me, the feeling comes first. Then, the characters appear in scenes, which is where the story shapes. Somewhere in there I realize the idea had been guiding me all along.
Why do you write? What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
I write because I love it, but, if I had to be honest about the psychology of it, I think it keeps me connected with my late mother, and I’m completing our dream, since she always talked about how she wished she’s written stories. For aspiring writers, I share my mantra: “write with passion; succeed with self-discipline.” But there are many ways to approach writing.
So, what have you written?
- Awards: Minutes Before Sunset won Goodreads Book of the Month for General
- Fiction in July, 2013: ShannonAThompson.com was Freshly Pressed in October, 2013.
- Short Story: Sean’s Bullet (October, 2013: AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc.) military fiction.
- Poems: I was featured in Poems: a collection of poems from twelve Kansas poets (December, 2012)
- Where people can buy or see them?
- Give me an insight into your main character from your last novel /first novel/. What does he/she do that is so special?
Minutes Before Sunset is a young-adult, paranormal romance. That being said, the main themes include light versus dark (expect the light is evil and the dark is good), coming-of-age, fate and choice, and identity. Since the novel is told by both the girl and the boy, the reader gets to experience both of their individual struggles of balancing their human lives with their paranormal realities.
- What sparked the idea for your book/s?
November Snow and Minutes Before Sunset were both inspired by dreams. I suffered from nightmares and night terrors as a child, and my mother taught me to turn them into stories in order to understand them. In Minutes Before Sunset’s case, I had a series of dreams of a boy visiting me at night to talk about a problem I was having. Once I solved the issue, the dreams stopped, and I knew I had to create a story to make sense of it all.
- Are there any character traits in your book that are based on someone you know? /*Even if the whole character isn’t based on them?/
The closest one of my characters has gotten to being someone in my real life is in November Snow. Calhoun is very much like my father.
- Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
I read all of the time! Currently, I love Cassandra Clare, David Sedaris, Lauren Oliver, Garth Stein, Meg Cabot, and Billy Collins (poet.)
- Where is your favorite place to read and write?
I generally read in bed, but I currently spend most of my writing time in a local hookah house. I love the atmosphere.
- How do you market your book/s?
Marketing, to me, comes down to connecting with other authors and readers, so I spend a lot of time on social media sites, chatting away about writing and reading.
- Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
Research a lot and don’t hesitate to ask another writer for help. Most writers are willing to help others. Get out of your comfort zone, try new websites, and find out what works best for you. For instance, blogging has been great for me, but I know a lot of writers who struggle with it. That’s okay. There are many ways to connect.
- What do you do to get book reviews?
Lucky for us authors, there are a lot of readers who love a free e-book.
I mainly find them through blogs, Twitter, and Goodreads.
- What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
I truly believe in my mantra: “Write with passion; succeed with self-discipline.” It won’t be easy, but it becomes much easier when you remind yourself how much you love writing. Always turn negative energy into something positive.
- Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
On my blog, I have an entire page set up for writing, editing, and publishing tips. I’m here to help!
- How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Shannon-Thompson/e/B00AXANG76/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1383674634&sr=1-1
Purchase links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, Diesel, Sony, and Apple.
It was a great privilege for me to get to interview Shannon A. Thompson, who has inspired me in many different ways. Thank you Shannon!!! Good Luck with everything!