Tag Archives: young authors

#MondayBlogs Writing With Barbie

13 Jun

Authors use various methods to write novels. Some of these strategies are popular, while others are simply bizarre, and two years ago I confessed one of my strangest approaches.

Barbies.

You see, I began writing what would be my first published novel when I was 11, and because I was 11, I loved to daydream with dolls. Instead of plotting with a pen and paper, I pulled out those Barbie dolls—the same dolls that told me I could be anything while I was growing up—and I assigned each one to a potential character. I played out scenes, I tested dialogue, I assessed locations, and I watched my book come to life…Well, a plastic life. And the results were pretty humorous.

Many of my characters’ physical descriptions were actually based on the dolls I used. You can see more of this in the original novel, but some of the characters changed in the remake. That’s right. I’m talking about my upcoming release, Bad Bloods.

Bad Bloods began as a game I played with my Barbie dolls when I was a kid.

Now, if you’ve read the original or even the back covers, then you might be concerned for 11-year-old Shannon, considering how violent the book is, but there’s no need to be concerned. (I think.) Today is meant for laughter. Today, I wanted to share that funny truth behind Bad Bloods, no matter how dark the story is. Even better, I still have these toys (and I definitely still use them to this day), so I’m sharing a few of them as well as small excerpts from Bad Bloods that prove this goofy aspect of my writing.

You’ve been warned.

A little background before we begin:

Bad Bloods in 35 words or less: 17-year-old Serena is the only bad blood to escape execution. Now symbolized for an election, she must prove her people are human despite hindering abilities before everyone is killed and a city is destroyed.  

Bad Bloods is told from dual, first perspectives: Daniel and Serena. Unfortunately, I lost the Serena doll (she might have lost a limb or two or maybe even a head), but I still have Daniel, who you will see soon. I’m going to share two pictures. Read below for info on the characters, including a one-sentence background and a real excerpt from the novel. I’m also including a little note, explaining how my 11-year-old brain worked. Got that? Okay. I think I’m even lost, but trust me—it’s organized. I hope you chuckle as much as I did while writing this post! Traveling to the past can be a funny adventure.

theboys

Robert: 20, leader of the Southern Flock (hates hugs)

“Everything is fine.” Robert’s light voice didn’t match his stiff movements. When he ran a hand through his hair, his brown bangs stuck up. “But everyone needs to be quiet.”

11-y-o Note: Believe it or not, he’s not the antagonist. Sort of? Okay. Let’s go with antihero.

Daniel: 18, leader of the Northern Flock (all around hunk)

Daniel walked through the crowd, but it wasn’t much of a walk. It was more like stumbling and I had never seen Daniel stumble. Not once. Not even when he was fighting. But he was wearing the blue-and-white plaid jacket and it fluttered amongst the crowd of black coats and gray sweaters. He was practically asking to be arrested.

11-y-o Note: So, if you didn’t notice, I even based some clothes off of these toys.

Calhoun: 57, Daniel’s mentor (kind of a hard ass)

Before I had the chance to knock, the door swung open and smacked against the brick wall. An enormous man filled the entrance. The muscles in his left arm were hard to ignore, but the sleeve that should’ve been tightly wrapped around his right arm was dangling at his side, limbless. Despite his injury, Calhoun wasn’t troubled one bit. A shotgun swung outside and pointed toward my chest.

11-y-o Note: So, my one-arm GI Joe helped create this character, but this character’s personality is very similar to my father. Though, my dad has both arms…and he’s not a vet. But I swear they are alike. You might also remember me mentioning Calhoun in Tackling YA in Diversity, where I explain how I went about writing a character with a disability.

girls

Michele: 17, mother figure of the Northern Flock (Her origin story is up on Wattpad: Read Michele)

But the most beautiful one was the woman. She was tall and willowy, with long white hair and gray eyes like mine. Unlike me, though, every part of her seemed soft, like a warm glow followed her around wherever she went.

11-y-o Note: I definitely kept her white hair, and the character is almost always wearing black in the book as well.

Ami: 14, member of the Southern Flock. (Hates being called “Ami.” Her name is Ameline Marion Lachance.) 

When I first laid eyes on the girl, she was dressed head to toe in pink. Her blonde hair was threaded back into intricate braids, and a bow sat at the end of the braids where the golden strands came together. When Ami cried, she swung her head back and forth, and the bow swayed like a pendulum, all neat and tidy like a present.

11-y-o Note: You can’t really see the doll’s hairstyle anymore, but it was there. I promise. I also used pink on this character a lot.

Tessa: 9, member of the Northern Flock (too small to crush on Adam, but apparently, all the girls like Adam…maybe I should’ve shared Adam…Adam’s origin story is also up on Wattpad: Read Adam)

I pointed to the girl with pigtail braids. “That’s Tessa.”

“So what?” Tessa said, looking over her shoulder at Adam, then to me, her earthy brown eyes matching her powers and her complexion.

11-y-o Note: Her hair, like Ami’s, used to be tied up, too.

The End.

On a serious note, I think writing can be explored in a million ways, and I love my shameless Barbie play. I’ve legitimately called my #1 beta reader complaining of being stuck and she has asked me if I pulled the Barbies out yet. Having a physical representation works for me. I definitely don’t use their descriptions in newer writings, but I wanted to keep what I could for the rewrite since this particular work was built upon them. Imagination shouldn’t be chained to rules. Find what works for you, explore how you want, and daydream until the end of time. Even if that means playing with dolls.

Original posted April 19, 2014

It actually has different dolls and characters, but some of those characters have changed, so I didn’t include them in this post.

~SAT

To everyone I met at BFest this week, thank you for coming out! 

I had a blast!

BFest2016

If you missed out, you can buy signed books from Barnes & Noble in Oak Park Mall in Overland Park, KS and in Zona Rosa in Kansas City, MO!

For you online readers, don’t forget that Minutes Before Sunset, book 1 in the Timely Death Trilogy, is FREE right now. (And book 2 and book 3 are available, so no waiting!)

Minutes Before Sunset: book 1:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads

Pre-Order Bad Bloods

November Rain, Part One, releases July 18, 2016

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

November Snow, Part Two, releases July 25, 2016

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

#BookRelease Seconds Before Sunrise Evolution Day!

25 Aug

Holy Dark! We are here! Book 2 of The Timely Death Trilogy, Seconds Before Sunrise, releases today. (And the last book releases in two weeks!) Before I tell you to check out the sequel here—Okay. Fine. Here’s Amazon and Barnes & Noble—I wanted to tell you a little about my journey up until this point.

You know. Because Pokemon.

You know. Because Pokemon.

Back in 2007, when I started my publishing journey, I left the market almost as quickly as I got into it. I was 16, off to college within the year, and a little overwhelmed with everything. That being said, I never stopped writing, so the first cover you see above was one I included on PDF files I sent to my readers that stayed with me, even though I told them I wasn’t returning. To me, I very much pursued publishing because of my mother’s death. I knew I wanted to be a writer, and that moment broke me. It made me get serious. But I ultimately left because it was too much, I wasn’t ready, and I didn’t find myself facing publication again until my college roommate’s death in 2012. I was 21—and so was she—and we had taken a poetry course together. Upon her sudden passing, I was featured in a poetry collection, and the day we read it at an event, I opened the print up to see the group had dedicated it to her memory. I still cannot breathe when I think of the moment, and I think of Kristine often. I think of so many people often, and the amount of loved ones in my life who have affected me—as a person and as a writer—is breathtaking. I dedicated the first novel of The Timely Death Trilogy to both my college roommates at the time, Megan and Kristine, and back then, only three years ago, I was simply going to release it by myself to show how much someone can change your life. I never expected to be contacted by a publisher back in 2012, and I never expected that same publisher would close two years later. I thought my journey was over. But then you all came in—my readers—and you all found me my new home, Clean Teen Publishing, and my journey has continued ever since. I am at home, and I am happy, and for once, that happiness is what steals my breath away.

Today, I am reminded of all of the lovely souls that have touched my life, influenced my work, and encouraged me to push forward, and today, I thank you from the bottom of my writer’s heart. (I say that a lot, and that’s because I mean it. Deeply.)

Without you, my journey might have ended. Because of you, it marches on into the Dark. The Dark lives on. I especially want to thank the blogs helping me today (the bold one won a swag pack from me for helping!): Legends of Windemere, Crazy Beautiful, Endless Reading, Just Amy, Chris Pavesic, Macy Loves Stories, Books for Thought, The Book Forums, Gnome on Pig Productions, Mel’s Shelves, and A Reader’s Review.

I hope you’re having as much fun as I’m having. Either way, I’m grateful.

Love to all,

~SAT

Now…for some book nerd information:

Seconds Before Sunrise, book 2

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads

Two nightmares. One memory.

“Chaos within destiny. It was the definition of our love.”
Eric has weeks before his final battle when he’s in an accident. Forced to face his human side, he knows he can’t survive if he fights alone. But he doesn’t want to surrender, even if he becomes the sacrifice for war.
Jessica’s memory isn’t the only thing she’s lost. Her desire to find her parents is gone and so is her confidence. But when fate leaves nightmares behind, she decides to find the boy she sees in them, even if it risks her sanity.

All three!

All three!

If you haven’t checked out the first novel, Minutes Before Sunset, don’t worry! I have you covered: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads. And, remember, you don’t have to wait a year for the last book! It releases in TWO weeks. Two weeks. (Double Holy Dark!) I cannot fathom it.

Happy reading!

Stay Dark,

~SAT

#SATurday: Eight-Year Anniversary of Publishing, a.k.a. WHAT?

18 Jul

Yesterday, July 17, marked my eight-year anniversary of my very first published novel, November Snow. Coincidentally, it was also my one-year anniversary of Take Me Tomorrow (my last published novel with my old publisher). Both novels are currently unavailable, and neither novels had a lot of time on the market…although I hope one day they can make a comeback. November Snow is actually my current goal, but I am saving an in-depth post about that journey for the near future. (Insert wink here.)

I’ve been thinking a lot (as does every person on this planet, I hope), and reflecting over these past eight years of publishing is both surreal and nerve-wracking. It’s easy to beat myself up over the few years I left the market (between 2007 and 2013), but I try not to count that time as “lost” time. I was still writing, after all. In fact, I wrote Take Me Tomorrow in that time period. I do have my moments though, and if I had to compare it to anything, I would compare it to a reading problem I’ve had. (I hope I’m not the only one in this, but I shall confess my little heart’s sad beats anyway.) Sometimes, not as rare as I’d like those time to be, I will be reading a fantastic novel and suddenly think, “Oh. Wow. I could never be this good.” It’s ridiculous and silly and even petty, but the insecure and (hopefully) fleeting seconds pass. I generally shake my head back and forth really fast, like I can whip the thoughts out of my ears. (I credit Willow Smith for inspiring this move.) This has also caused quite a few stares in public. Nevertheless, I found myself doing that dance recently—the don’t-think-that head shake—and I know it’s because I was concentrating more on the “lost” time than on what I’ve accomplished with the current time and what I am continuing to accomplish with the time I have left.

All we can do is concentrate on being our best selves every day. If we do that, no time is lost.

I don’t know if November Snow or Take Me Tomorrow or any of my other novels will ever sit next to The Timely Death Trilogy. I don’t know if they’ll be on shelves one day or if I’ll make to a book signing or if I’ll try a new genre or deepen a series. I don’t know those things at all.

But I do know one thing.

I love what I do, and I love it more every day, and I look forward to my ninth anniversary and all of the anniversaries to come.

Oh, and just for fun, here’s a time lapse photo of the release day eight years ago and today…just cuddling with November Snow on the couch. I even found the same sweater. (And, yes, that’s a pegasus. I love pegasus.)

20072015

And because I think it’s fun to explain this to everyone I meet…the reason my eyebrows are missing when I was 16 is because I shaved them completely off when I was nine. Why? Well, that’s another story. (I promise it’s not what you think.) But they took ten years to (mainly) grow back. Don’t touch the brows. Don’t do it. However, I definitely recommend the pegasus sweater.

~SAT

Goodies and announcements:

ex55Minutes Before Sunset releases in TEN days! It is up for pre-order at $2.99, but the price goes up on July 28. You can also WIN a paperback via this Goodreads Giveaway! (It ends tomorrow.)

Seconds Before Sunrise and Death Before Daylight are also up for pre-order.

I’ll be at Penned Con July 25 in St. Louis, Missouri, and more news is to come shortly!

July 30, Clean Teen Publishing, is hosting an online party where we play games and give out FANTASTIC prizes. (Jewelry might be coming your way from yours truly.) So, join CTP’S Midsummer Magic Party, by clicking the link, and I’ll see you on July 31, from 7-9 p.m, via Facebook.

11141217_10155833221330066_7498175570327804964_n

Death Before Daylight Cover Reveal

6 Nov

I first want to thank everyone who took my poll on November 1st! For those of you who asked for more YouTube videos, you watched a secret video on my YouTube channel – Coffee & Cats – and you got to see the cover one day early. Check it out below if you want. I plan on sharing more secret videos in the future as well!

Today is all about Death Before Daylight. Both the cover and the synopsis are finally available, and I hope you enjoy them! Get excited for the last installment of The Timely Death Trilogy. In future posts, you can expect excerpts, a cover explanation, the back cover, quotes, and more! But special thanks goes out to the cover artist – Viola Estella – today.

Seconds Before SunriseTwo eternities. One ending.

“Harmony would only come with destruction.”

The moment Eric and Jessica are reunited, they are torn apart. After the appearance of a new breed of shades and lights, the powers shift for the worse, and all three descendants find themselves face-to-face in the Light realm. When Darthon is in control, the last thing everyone expects to hear is the truth.

While Jessica learns the reason of her creation, Darthon’s identity is exposed to Eric – and only Eric – but Eric can no longer defend himself. With the eternities of the Light and the Dark resting on Jessica’s shoulders, she must chose who she will be – a light or a shade – and both have dire consequences.

In the end, someone must die, and the end is near.

We’re still on schedule for a late January release, and I’ll be sure to let everyone know when it’s available on Goodreads or Amazon for pre-order! Until then, keep up-to-date right here, and be sure to catch up on Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, and Seconds Before Sunrise, book 2, in the meantime.

~SAT

Click today!

Click today!

Q&A about “Take Me Tomorrow”

9 May

In case you missed my interview with Whispers in the Dark radio, here it the link. You can still listen to the entire show, and I even gave away some extra information about Take Me Tomorrow. The host also recorded four of my latest poems, and he is a wonderful reader, so I highly recommend his show.

Two fantastic blogs reviewed Minutes Before Sunset this week, so please take the time to check them out by clicking the links provided:

Confessions of a Book Geek said, “If you’re into your paranormal/fantasy stories but want something fresh and different from the vampire/werewolves/witches tales we all love (but are in desperate need for a break from), then I highly recommend Minutes Before Sunset and The Timely Death Trilogy.”

Books for Thought agreed when they said, “I was pretty much hooked as soon as I started it, which is a huge accomplishment.”

Check out everything these two readers had to say because their book blogs are highly entertaining.

The day has come! I am revealing more information about Take Me Tomorrow, and I am answering YOUR questions, comments, and more. Everyone is linked to, and I hope you enjoy the answers. But first –

Take Me Tomorrow is on Goodreads, so please add it to your bookshelf today by clicking this link or the photo below:

goodr

The Guesses:

I was going to share all of the guesses, but there were so many and many of them were very long! (Thank you so much!) That being said, the post was way too long with everyone’s awesome guesses (practical stories) so I am only going to link to their websites. As marketing continues, I’ll be sure to repeat my favorite guesses, but here are excerpts from my top three favorite guesses:

1. Auntie Doris: “…I reckon that he only has tickets for that very afternoon, so he goes to New York or Liverpool, but probably New York, with his brother, and they make a fortune, but he never forgets her, and so he sends for her and her father and pays their passage over, and when they get their they get married and a top physician cures the fathers back. And the brother marries an American girl, or a Scouse girl but probably an American girl. Am I right? Do I win?”

You weren’t right, but your guess was a story all on its own, and you did win! Feel free to email me at shannonathompson.com, and we can discuss a guest spot on my blog 😀

2. Things Mattter: A History Blog: “I’m guessing it’s a time travel love story in which this girl knows she’s going to fall in love with this guy but it hasn’t happened yet and she decides to change the future.”

I thought this guess was the closest – mainly because it deals with trying to change the future.

3. Inkwell & Paper: “The angel of death comes along and she begs for one more day, saying “Take me tomorrow.” She is given medicine that will last only 24 hours”

I really loved how she both took the title and the cover “Rx” into account. Plus, her plot sounds wicked.

But thanks goes out to everyone that participated: Legends of Windemere, Tuan Ho, Taking on A World of Words, sociallydecrepit, Timothy Bateson, Sun Mountain Reviews, Amber Skye Forbes, Jonas Lee’s Imaginarium, Ron Estrada, Susannah Ailene Martin, and Ray’s Works.

I also wanted to thank THE RAMBOVA FILES. For sharing the news.

The Discussion: Questions, Statements, and Answers

Below I’ve included all of the websites of those who have asked about Take Me Tomorrow. SAT refers to me, but you will see other initials without links. That is because they asked questions on my personal Facebook, and they do not wish to be linked to. Everything bolded are the main points. Enjoy!

First and foremost,

The Animation Commendation: “What is this about if I may ask?”

SAT: Take Me Tomorrow is a YA, dystopian novel surrounding the existence of a clairvoyant drug. I’ve included the synopsis from Goodreads below, but this is not the final synopsis:

Two years after the massacre, the State enforces stricter rules and harsher punishments on anyone rumored to support tomo – the clairvoyant drug that caused a regional uprising. 

But sixteen-year-old Sophia Gray has other problems. 

Between her father’s illegal forgery and her friend’s troubling history, the last thing Sophia needs is an unexpected encounter with a boy. 

He’s wild, determined, and one step ahead of her. But when his involvement with tomo threatens her friends and family, Sophia has to make a decision: fight for a future she cannot see or sacrifice her loved ones to the world of tomorrow.

Elizabeth Jamison’s PhD Journey: “Shannon, is this a new series? The cover is absolutely fantastic! And how did you finish another book so quickly? It seems like the others just came out. You are amazing.”

SAT: It is the first novel of a series. Originally it was five novels, but I cut it down to only 3. I’m currently hoping to make it two novels. I wrote Take Me Tomorrow when I was 19, so it’s been finished for a few years now. I wasn’t planning on releasing it until November, but after speaking with AEC, I decided it wasn’t doing any good sitting on my laptop, so I’m publishing it now. Also, the story begins in August, so I thought it would be neat for readers to be able to read it during the season that it takes place in.

A Midget with a Huge Imagination: “I hope you’d give me the opportunity to read your work, Shannon! The cover looks amazing and surely this will be another page-turning novel from you!”

SAT: Definitely! I am taking interviewers and reviewers now, so please feel free to message me at shannonathompson.com.

Desirable Purity: “I really want to know this. What is the thought behind this title: Take Me Tomorrow?”

SAT: Explaining in complete detail would ruin one the biggest “shockers” of the novel, but I will try without spoiling it. The clairvoyant drug is called “tomo” – short for “tomorrow” – At least, that’s what the protagonist thinks. There are two scenes in particular to look out for in order to understand the title completely. The ending of chapter fifteen and the ending of chapter nineteen.

LW: “Thought it was you on the cover at first. Lol”

SAT: That is not me on the cover, but I’m glad someone said it, because I’ve actually had a few people say it (including my publisher) and I wanted a chance to clarify that the model is not me – although, the protagonist, Sophia Gray, does have brown hair.

JF: “Where was this pic [the cover] taken? Kansas City area?”

SAT: I can’t say where this picture was taken exactly, but JF is onto something. Take Me Tomorrow is dystopian, but the setting is the Topeka Region, one of seven regions in the State. That being said, “Topeka” isn’t in Kansas. The book technically takes place in the Kansas City, Missouri area. So look out for that explanation in the novel because it is stated.

ABB: “Glad you kept the Rx! Looks Awesome!”

SAT: What? Someone already knew what Take Me Tomorrow was about AND they knew about the Rx? That’s right. A few years ago, I had this novel posted on Wattpad. I gained a couple hundreds fans (Oh, how I wish I could reconnect with them!) and I received some fan art. (It was my first time receiving fan art ever!) I’ve actually shared this fan art before on my post – Writing Tips: Different Perspectives – but it’s been a while since then, so here’s the photo: (Notice a slight change in the title from “Take Me To Tomorrow” to “Take Me Tomorrow.”) You also might have more curiosity after seeing this drawing.

One of the coolest part of writing is when one of your fans creates something for you. This is fan art from a novel of mine on my previous Wattpad account. Sophia and Noah, my male and female protagonists.

One of the coolest part of writing is when one of your fans creates something for you. This is fan art from a novel of mine on my previous Wattpad account. Sophia and Noah, my male and female protagonists.

I hope this answered your questions and sparked even more curiosity! As the author, I am definitely looking forward to this release. It’ll be my first novel released that is told from one perspective, and I cannot wait to share more as the release gets closer. Feel free to ask more questions below, and I will answer them!

Don’t forget to add Take Me Tomorrow on Goodreads or to “like” the novel on Facebook.

~SAT

April Ketchup

29 Apr

These are my favorite posts to write. I love numbers, so I love analyzing my stats and sharing them with everyone. If you’re a blogger, I hope my stats help you know how my website grows – what works and what doesn’t. This month, I want to clarify that I’ve been rather busy with getting my next manuscript – “TMT” – ready for next month’s announcements, so I didn’t have as much time as I normally do to read other blogs. I am a HUGE advocate of reading other blogs. It’s a great way to meet fellow writers, and it is vital to creating a fun environment for readers. (I will get into why I believe this later.) As usual, I have adjusted my Ketchup post to new insights. 😀 Enjoy.

Here is how my April Ketchup is organized:

My big moments, top three blog posts, the one blog post I wish received more views, the rest of the blog posts, top referrer other than search engines, top searched term, and gains in followers, likes, and shares. I also included every website who has helped me this month. I’ve added two new categories though: my guest blogger has their own spot, and I’ve linked to my YouTube videos since I just began a channel this month.

Big Moments:

lalunaMy poem – Regretful Memories – was published in LALUNA Magazine. When one of my favorite photographers asked for poets to submit to her new magazine, I never thought she would pick one of my pieces to be in the first edition. I did a reading of it on YouTube as well, but this was a big moment because I haven’t had any poetry published since 2012, and it feels really nice to be able to participate in the poetry again, especially during National Poetry Writing Month.

ShannonAThompson.com hit 15,000 followers. Ah! So exciting! I cannot believe how quickly this website is growing and how many wonderful people I’ve been able to meet because of it. My next two big moments include two of those great people I have been able to meet because of this blog:

David Congalton, writer of Authors Anonymous, contacted me after he read my review of his film. I already finished interviewing him, so you can expect to see his interview on here in May. In the meantime check out his film. It’s perfect for writers.

And Gordon Tredgold – author, speaker, and leader – quoted me on his website:

10155262_673875619326289_5424221285165146459_n …

Top Three Blog Posts:

1. Writing With Barbie: I never thought my confession would be so popular, but I am glad you like my Barbie dolls as much as you like me. Maybe I should keep my dolls out of storage and start playing with them again…

2. Why Writers Should Watch “Authors Anonymous” This is the post where I wrote about the movie, Authors Anonymous, that David Congalton and I will be speaking about this week. I definitely recommend seeing this movie, especially if you’re a writer.

3. Editing Tips: I shared some unconventional ways to go about editing, including how you can use a shoebox.

The Post I Wish Got More Views:

Behind the Scenes of The Timely Death Trilogy: I meant to share my 30-Day Countdown from March last month, but I finally found a slot this month. I included new games and excerpts, too. Plus, I love talking about my books with readers, and I love sending out fun games about it even more. (This post even includes new hints for TMT!)

Other Blog Posts, Organized by Topic:

My Poem, Regretful Memoriesmyhome

YouTube:

Writing:

Interview:

Website Wonders:

My top referrer other than search engines was my Facebook page.

My top referrer other than search engines was my Facebook page.

  • Website Wonders: I was late in February and March, so I posted their website wonders at the beginning of this month.

Guest Post:

What if I Can’t Write What I Know: Written by Susannah Ailene Martin, this post explains how writers can get over the hurdle of researching for a novel. My stats spiked when I shared her post, which is a perfect example of why we should connect with one another through blogs and other kinds of social media.

YouTube Videos from Coffee & Cats:

My goal when I started was to only post one video this month to test it out. Plus, I had to learn how to create the channel and videos. I was really proud of myself when I beat my goal by uploading two videos.

Reading of “Regretful Memories” and Author Confessions

At the end of the month, I also like to take a moment to thank all of the websites who supported me by posting reviews, interviews, and features. If you would like to review my novels or interview me, please send me an email at shannonathompson@aol.com. I always love speaking with new bloggers, writers, and readers! And I will share your post on all of my websites. I will be looking for new reviewers for TMT soon! I can’t wait!

Reviewers: Making My MarkEndless ReadingParis CarterCoffee, Books, and ArtThe ExaminerReturn Novel.

Interviewers: Read to Write Stories, The Lurking Voice, Doodles, doodles everywhere.

Features: How to Write a Love Story

I used this photo because it reminds me of “TMT” - my next novel that will soon be announced.  (Photo from gdefon.ru)

I used this photo because it reminds me of “TMT” – my next novel that will soon be announced.
(Photo from gdefon.ru)

Writing with Barbie

19 Apr

Prepare for laughter during today’s post. But – before we get onto the giggles – I want to share two important bits of news.

Paris Carter reviewed Seconds Before Sunrise, stating, “The novel also includes several internal struggles for Eric and Jess that sparks tension throughout the entire novel, and it’s the chaos of them struggling to work out their answers and fight themselves that bring Shannon’s novel to a second dimension.” Read the entire review here or check out his review of Minutes Before Sunset first.

I also participated in an interview with Doodles, doodles everywhere. We talked about what hurts me the most as a writer, and I expanded on the research that went behind The Timely Death Trilogy. Check it out.

It’s been a few days since I participated in my first podcast interview, but I wanted to write about something fun since my last post was rather dreary. That’s when my mind immediately returned to The Lurking Voice. (Just a small, Kansas City update though, they found the Highway Shooter, so things feel a lot better around here. Maybe that’s why I’m so eager to post something I can laugh at…I mean, laugh with you…as you laugh at me.)

Back to the topic.

If you listened to the full interview – which you can by clicking here – then you know that I confessed to many writing strategies that I haven’t mentioned before, although “strategies” will quickly turn into a debatable term during this post. My ultimate, reluctant confession happened when we discussed November Snow, my first published novel.

I was 11 when I started writing it and 16 when it was published. It’s safe to say that it isn’t my best work, but I am planning on re-writing it. As we were discussing this, Ryan Attard asked a great question. How does a preteen plan a novel out? That’s when I said it.

November Snow was based on a game that I played out with my Barbie dolls as a much younger kid. Now, if you’ve read November Snow, then you might be concerned, considering how violent the book is, but there’s no need to be concerned – (I think.) That’s what I told my high school teachers anyway when I was asked about the dark nature of it. But that’s another story for another day.

Today, I wanted to share a funny truth to November Snow. No matter how dark the story is, many of my characters were actually based on the dolls I used. I admitted to it on the podcast, and now I am re-confessing it on here. Even better, I dug through some boxes, and I found the old toys, so I’m sharing a few of them as well as small excerpts from the novel that proves this goofy aspect of my writing.

You’ve been warned.

A little background before we begin:

November Snow is a young-adult, dystopian novel, and it is told from dual, first perspectives: Daniel and Serena. Unfortunately, I lost the Serena doll (she might have lost a limb or two or maybe even a head.) But I still have Daniel, who you will see soon. I’m going to share three pictures, and each picture has numerous characters on it. Below each picture, I will have a one-sentence background, and below that, I’ll be sharing the real excerpt from the novel. I’ll also include page numbers as well as who was telling the story at the time (Daniel or Serena.) I am also including a little note, explaining how my 11-year-old brain worked. Got that? Okay. I even think I’m lost, but trust me – it’s organized. Hope you chuckle as much as I did writing this post! Traveling to the past can be a funny adventure.

First picture: from the left to the right: Robert, Daniel, and Calhoun. 

theboys

Robert: 19, leader of the Southern Flock (hates hugs)

“I turned around to see Robert’s dark brown eyes staring at me, and my heart lunged into my dry throat…He muttered something, his brown hair shagging in his face, and I laughed. “ (Serena, 156-7)

Note: Believe it or not, he’s not the antagonist. Sort of?

Daniel: 18, leader of the Northern Flock (all around hunk)

“The guy looked like Daniel. He had the brown, muffled hair and tanned skin. He even had the blue and white jacket down, but he wasn’t responding to his name.” (Serena, 181)

Note: So, if you didn’t notice, I even based some clothes off of these toys.

Calhoun: age unknown, Daniel’s mentor. (kind of a hard ass)

“From the bottom step he could have been mistaken for a modern-day giant. His face was strong, as were his muscles, and he looked like he could barely fit into the sweater he was wearing. He had been in a POW accident, in which he had lost one of his arms, but he refused to tell the story. Normally, he had a fake arm in, but tonight, a gray sleeve dangled at his side, blowing in the chilled November wind.” (Daniel, 25)

Note: if you listened to the podcast, then you know this character actually ended up being very similar to my real father. Except my dad has both arms. And he’s not a vet. But I swear they are alike.

Second Picture: from left to right: Daisy and Maggie

girls

 Daisy: 16, member of the Southern Flock (I hate her.) 

She doesn’t deserve a note or description. Seriously. Have you ever hated your own characters so much that you regret bringing them into existence? I think Daisy might be in my top three of characters I’ve created and despised. #authorproblems.

Maggie: 16, member of the Northern Flock. (crushes on Adam in private)

“The front door opened, and Maggie walked in. She was wearing a small, pink coat and white disco pants that had gone out of style a century ago, but she still pulled them off easily.” (Daniel, 240)

Note: is it just me or is Daniel incredibly aware of fashion trends?

Third picture: from left to the right: Amy, Justin, and Marisa

Now for the youngsters, the category of characters that caused one of my high school teachers to ask if I needed to talk to someone after she read my novel and discovered only a few of the characters survive. (Seriously. It’s on the back of the book…) From left to right, we have Amy, Justin, and Marisa.

kids

Amy: 14, member of the Southern Flock. (Hates being called “Amy.” Her name is Amiel Marie Young.) 

“Amy’s hair was tied back in a French braid.” (Serena, 144)

Note: So this was more of a hairstyle thing, and you can’t really see it in the doll anymore, but it was there. I promise.

Justin: 6, member of the Southern Flock (borderline obsessed with hockey)

“Justin, blond-haired and brown eyed, was whisked off his feet by the collar of his shirt.” (Daniel, 479)

Note: There’s actually a hockey scene in the book just for this hockey-themed doll. (I really have no shame as I share this, do I?)

Marisa: 7, member of the Northern Flock (too small to crush on Adam, but apparently, all the girls like Adam…maybe I should’ve shared Adam.)

“A small girl struggled her way into Adams’s lap and leaned her bony elbows onto the table. She had long, brown pigtails that rested on the wiggling table and innocent eyes.” (Daniel, 44)

Note: The hair is there. The hair is totally there.

So there you go. My young-adult novel that almost got me in trouble as a teen was originally created during playtime as a kid.

Try to figure that one out.

I sure haven’t.

~SAT

If you want to check out the collector’s first edition, click here.

If you want to check out the collector’s first edition, click here.

 

%d bloggers like this: