Books before food (and any sort of comfortable life).
Hello my wonderfully beautiful readers! Today’s post is extra special because I had the great opportunity to interview the author of one of my favorite series, The Timely Death Trilogy. If you haven’t guessed already from the title of this post, the author in question is the lovely Shannon A. Thompson. Her new book Take Me Tomorrow is about drug addiction centered in a dystopian world, the main character Sophia having to choose between a world she knows and a world she has to fight to create. Thompson is by far one of the nicest people I’ve ever had the pleasure in talking to, so getting to do an interview with her was pretty amazing. I was really interested to see what her new book was all about and get to know her a little better, so here’s the interview for everyone else to get a glimpse into the life of Shannon A. Thompson, and stay tuned because on Saturday you’ll be able to read my thoughts on Take Me Tomorrow.
Q. First of all, I want to thank you for taking the time to do an interview with me. I know a writer’s life is busy, so I greatly appreciate it. Your new book, Take Me Tomorrow, features a young girl struggling through a dystopian world. How is this book, besides the setting, different from The Timely Death Trilogy?
For one, Take Me Tomorrow – unlike the trilogy – is told from one perspective instead of two, and it’s also set in the future. While the trilogy focuses on the paranormal and the theme of identity, Take Me Tomorrow revolves around different aspects of drugs within society: how they are created, why they are created, how they become illegal, what societal effects take place, addiction, etc. Take Me Tomorrow is very different from The Timely Death Trilogy, but I hope that readers will enjoy both for various reasons.
Q. In The Timely Death Trilogy the narration alternates between Eric and Jessica, but in Take Me Tomorrow the point of view is solely by Sophia. Is it easier to write in a girl’s point of view versus a guy’s? Do you prefer writing in multiple POV or single?
It’s very difficult to answer your question. In the trilogy, I found Eric much easier to write as, and – in fact – I generally find the male leads easier to write as than the female leads. But Take Me Tomorrow was the exact opposite. Originally, Noah did have chapters from his perspective, but he ended up being too much, and his voice never made any sense. (Which will be explained in the novel.) So Noah’s chapters were cut out completely. In the end, I don’t think it comes down to female or male – it comes down to the character. I do prefer writing from multiple perspectives, though.
Q. There are a lot of things that have to go into a book: characters, setting, plot, relationships, dialogue, et cetera. What, in your opinion, makes a good story?
A good story can be good for many reasons. I like to say that a good story makes me feel and think about it numerous times after I finish reading it, but I’ve also found simple stories that never make me think about it again to be good, too. Good is relative. If I pick up a book, wanting a simple, cheesy romance, and I get it – then, it’s good – but if I want a complicated, life-like, tragedy – that cheesy romance may not be “good” anymore.
Q. How does your reading life influence your writing life?
This is a funny topic for me! I’ve actually found myself depressed after reading an amazing story, because I have had moments of great doubt that I could ever write something that touching. But it’s mostly a positive experience. My love for reading is what fueled my love for writing.
Q. You published your first novel, November Snow, when you were just sixteen. Did you always want to be a writer or was there something else you intended to be before you discovered your passion for writing?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer. . .although I seem to recall my kindergarten teacher explaining to me that I could not, in fact, be Shania Twain when I grew up.
Q. Many authors tend to have odd quirks that help them when they’re writing. Is there anything that you consider weird that you do to help you write?
I have all sort of weird quirks for writing! For dialogue, I enjoy practicing “method acting writing” (Not sure why I put quotes around that.) Basically, I jump around my room and pretend to be my characters while I scream at myself. It’s rather embarrassing to be caught.
Q. Do you put any of your own experiences into your stories? If so, which experiences do you think have influenced your writing the most?
Sure! The Timely Death Trilogy includes different types of car wrecks because I wanted to draw from my anxiety caused from six different car wrecks I’ve been in. (Yes. Six. And, no, I was not at all fault in any of them.) In Take Me Tomorrow I tackle a lot of troubles with drugs in society, because I’m very passionate in understanding drug use. This is because my mother was an addict and she died from her addiction, so Take Me Tomorrow is a shadow of that reality I went through as a child.
Q. Some authors write characters that are their opposites, and some write ones that are oddly similar to them. Are any of your characters formed from the qualities that you posses?
Many of my characters have similarities and differences when compared to me. For instance, Eric drives a manual (so do I), but Jessica can paint, and I cannot. In Take Me Tomorrow, my protagonist has a disdain for cats, but I love my cat, Bogart. (If you follow me blog, I rather obsess over my cat.) So I often find myself writing characters that aren’t anything like me. But that’s how they should be. They are all unique in their own way.
Q. How important are your characters’ names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
I obsess over the names of my characters. The names almost always have meanings, even if the meanings are not shared in the book, and I am very picky about names. I can’t have a dozen characters that start with the letter “D” or have every character’s name be two syllables. I want meaning, but I also want clarity between characters. (I could probably go on forever about this.)
Q. Being in the writing and publishing industry can come with many hardships. What do you see as your biggest success and/or failure when it comes to being a writer?
Success and failure is a personal emotion for every writer. My definition of success could be another’s writer’s “failure” – To me, success is sharing my words with readers while helping young writers believe in themselves enough to chase their own dreams. I would also love to travel with my writing. But that’s more of a personal goal.
Q. Thank you so much again for taking the time for an interview. Last but not least, is there anything you can say about your upcoming projects?
Take Me Tomorrow is my latest. :D But AEC Stellar Publishing is releasing Death Before Daylight (book 3 of The Timely Death Trilogy) in early 2015. I’m also planning on re-releasing November Snow in the future. But there are more books to come!
Shannon A. Thompson is a 23-year-old author, avid reader, and a habitual chatterbox. She was 16 when she was first published, and a lot has happened since then. Thompson’s work has appeared in numerous poetry collections and anthologies, including a Norwegian magazine, and her first installment of The Timely Death Trilogy, Minutes Before Sunset, became Goodreads Book of the Month. The sequel, Seconds Before Sunrise, has released, and AEC Stellar Publishing released her latest novel, Take Me Tomorrow, on July 17, 2014. She graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in English with an emphasis on creative writing. 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.