Friday, June 11, 2010

Start Your Day With Serial: A Blog Tour Featuring Shannon Delany!

Welcome to Shannon Delany's Start Your Day with Serial Tour! Shannon's debut novel (and first in her YA paranormal series) 13 to Life started as a winning cell phone novel written in serial segments. During the tour you can read bits of the book in order. Miss a day? Hop to Shannon's blog and check the link to the blog tour calendar in her sidebar.

There will also be a contest that will close at the end of the tour. Winners get a bunch of stuff. (Keep on reading!)

For those that aren’t familiar with your novel, could you tell them what it’s about?
Simply: Teenage love, loss and--oh, yeah--werewolves. ;-) It's definitely a humorous (in many ways) YA paranormal, but it deals with some heavy issues of personal loss and sacrifice and raises questions for readers about the real meaning of friendship and loyalty (ad Romeo and Juliet). But yes, there are werewolves. ;-) For folks following the Serial Tour, they're catching (at least) a good glimpse of the book's voice and beginning. They'll get through part of Chapter 4 by month's end if they continue along. <--Do. It. ;-)

The publication of 13 to Life came about in a very unique way; could you tell my readers about how it all started?
It all began as a bit of a fluke. There's a website called that was running a writing competition for things written in the cell phone novel format (a sparse prose format that has taken Asia by storm and now makes up a huge percentage of the bestselling books--very hot with teen readers). I decided to give it a try and wrote 2 stories (both became finalists) in serial segments. Partway through the competition I started shifting my focus to 13 to Life because the characters were growing on me and I was less sure where the other story was really going. I won the competition, won some prize money, won an agent and was soon contacted by both a movie producer and a publishing house. My agent talked to a couple publishers, set aside the producer and we finally went with St. Martin's Press. They impressed me with their interest and communication skills.

What type of research did you have to do while writing 13 to Life?
I researched Cold War experiments (and rumors of research), as well as wolf behavior, often overlooked werewolf lore and the way Russians percieve themselves (as well as the way others tend to percieve them). Most of the research becomes fodder for building the world of Junction and Farthington and is only glimpsed from the corners of readers' eyes.

The werewolves in your novel are Russian and that in itself is very distinctive! Why did you decide to add this detail?
I have a serious love of Russian culture and Eastern European history. We are fortunate in this country to have many immigrants from many places worldwide, the Russians being a more recent (and often overlooked) addition that seems to have grown most significantly since the Iron Curtain's fall. I think they deserve more attention and, if getting readers curious about that culture and its history happens through my novels (and werewolfy goodness), I'll be quite happy.

It says in your bio that you went from being a teacher to becoming a farmer: have any experiences from either profession made their way into your book?
Yes. Both. I loved teaching and got to see angles of the profession people on the outside don't often glimpse. I have HUGE respect for teachers (even in light of the test score scandals that have just started popping up--the whole story there still isn't coming out) and have known great teachers, librarians, counselors and (as in any profession) a few less than great ones. I used bits of my experiences in the classroom and with my peers and greatly amplified certain aspects of personalities into far different characters. As far as farming--13 to Life is, in some ways, what I'd call "rural fantasy." Our narrator, Jess, lives on the outskirts of a small town on a farm. I'm very much in the same setting and feel it's also frequently overlooked (and misunderstood). People make unfortunate generalizations about farm communities. I'm allowing it to blend in with the setting so people who never leave the cities still get a taste of what to me is true Americana.

What was the most challenging/easiest aspect when it came to writing your novel?
Most challenging: Finishing the book and letting go. There's a point where you can't do anything else to it without risking overwriting the voice of the book and ruining the integrity of your characters. but the control freak in me hates turning anything over and losing complete control over a project.

Easiest: Writing the basic story. The characters started to emerge pretty early on and showed their true colors. All I needed to do was write what they showed Jessie.

13 to Life is the first in a series: how many books will there be altogether?
That's a question we never really know the answer to when we start a series. At this point I'm contract for three, but I have material for several more. It'll depend on the public's response and what project I feel I need to pursue, career-wise, next. There's always a fear of being pigeonholed as an author of only one type of book.

Is it too soon to ask if your novel will be translated into any other languages? Or if it’s being made into a movie? ;)
We have sold rights to Brazil and Hungary so far, so I know it'll appear in Hungarian and Portuguese. (That's wonderful! Congrats!) We've heard some interest expressed from other countries, but we sort of have to wait and see if deals can be made. Hmm. Movie. Well, we have had some definite interest from 3 different production companies but nothing's absolute. I think we'll see more interest in February of 2011 when the second book hits shelves and producers can really see how things are coming together. Frankly (because I think about this stuff) I don't think it needs to be multiple movies (at least for the first two books). A talented screenwriter and director could make it into one really action-packed movie that has enough romantic tension and excitement to bring a mixed crowd into theaters.

I know you went to BEA for the first time this year (I didn’t see you but I saw some people with some 13 to Life buttons!). How was it? :3
Sorry I missed you at BEA! (Yay to everyone wearing 13 to Life swag! <3) BEA. Was. Awesome. It was like running a marathon (and I went home with the blisters to prove it). We (the Class of 2k10) did video and podcast interviews, signings, giveaways, went out for meals (many of us had never met before), I hit the city with my brother (a 6' 3' guy who my editor referred to as my body guard ;-). Did a ghost tour (AWESOME) and met my editor, marketing gal and saw inside the Flatiron building (my publisher's headquarters). I took home 2 finished copies of the book (which my editor surprised me with), met my cover designer and the head of the art department. AWE-SOME. I didn't even make it into the BEA exhibit hall until Thursday.

What would be the ideal environment for you when it comes to writing?
I can (and do) write almost anywhere. Ideally? There's this smallish motel (The Mount Vernon Motel--24 rooms) in Cape May, NJ, not far from the beach where we used to go when my mother was still alive. It's nothing fancy or flashy (I don't need that sort of stuff) but something about it's just perfect, especially during the off-season. I could totally write there (and have often imagined doing so).

Would you ever consider writing adult novels in the future? Or working together with another author perhaps?
Yes. I have ideas for adult novels, straight fiction novels and children's books. And yes, I'd consider working with another author on a project, but our personalities would have to really click.

Are you working on any other projects currently?
Yes. I'm always working on something. ;-)

If you could live in any fictional book world, which would it be and why?
I'm cheating! I'd live in 13 to Life because I know what makes everyone and everything tick and yet, living there--in Junction--it would all be so amazing anyhow.
I hope everyone's enjoyed the interview with Shannon. She works so hard and is overall amazing :) There's one more thing left and it's a treat, I promise!

Shannon's hosting several contests during the Start Your Day with Serial Tour. The big contest will award one lucky winner with a royal amber pendant, pietersite jeweled bookmark, stuffed wolf, 13 to Life mousepad, pen, tote, signed poster, personalized copy of 13 to Life and both of the 13 to Life pins. All you need to do is comment at 13 of the blogs hosting Shannon during her 30 day tour. Everyone who does so will be entered into a random drawing. Winner may be international.

As part of her tour, Shannon's also giving out sneak peeks throughout the month from her book:
For information on the previous section, visit Just Your Typical Book Blog!

13 to Life: Chapter 3, part K (used with the author’s permission)

He hadn't paused in his eating, but had nearly finished his meatloaf and was preparing to move on to a double helping of Salisbury steak. He glanced over my head. "Jess." He fixed his glinting eyes on me. "You are a thinker. You probably get good grades and may even be on the debate team and school newspaper staff, but you aren't that guy's type. He's a jock.” He chewed and swallowed. He glanced over my head again. “A popular jock from what I can tell. And they don't date your type without a reason." He looked at me, his eyes gleaming boldly. “So what do you think a guy like that wants?”


  1. How I love this interview! I've always wanted to read a cell phone format story, and it's nice to see 13 to Life began as that! O_O

    I can't wait for the release of this book! That excerpt already has me drooling! I can't be drooling! XD

  2. I really love Russian culture to, I wished I could speak Russian <3

  3. Awesome interview! I love the excerpt of 13 to Life. It definitely sounds like it would make a great movie.

  4. Great interview! I had never even heard of a cell phone style story until this. That is so cool! =]

  5. I've had so much fun following her tour. It's so cool how her book got started :)

  6. Great questions and answers! It definitely sounds like I need to look more into Russian culture... ;)

  7. Another great interview! :-)

  8. Thank you so much for hosting me here! And thank all of you for popping in and commenting. I'm so glad you're still enjoying the Serial Tour!

    Gotta run off and get ready for my blog talk radio show this morning at 11 am EST--I hope some of you make it there, too!


  9. I like this excerpt the best so far. Only 10 days until I can read the whole thing! Can't wait. :) Great interview.

  10. awesome interview cant wait to read this!

    another awesome snippett!

  11. Great interview. Really looking forward to reading it. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Great interview! I sooooo want to read this book!

  13. Great interview! Only a few more days until the release. I'm really looking forward to it!

  14. Really nice interview. BEA sounds like it was an awesome time, and a 13 to Life movie would be amazing!

  15. Great interview! It's so nice all of the snippets she's sharing too! Thanks!

  16. Uhm. I'm not so fond of the assumption "a jock will never date a girl with brains without a secret agenda", but it sounds like Pietr here might be a bit jealous ;)

  17. Wow, I really enjoyed this interview. Some really good and different questions. I am becoming a bigger werewolf fan than I already am. Although my heart is with Vampires my love for werewolves in general has grown to such a degree that I didn't even see it coming til I was struck by all these great werewolf books.