Shannon Messenger graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts where she learned--among other things--that she liked watching movies much better than making them. She's studied art, screenwriting, and television production, but realized her real passion was writing for kids and teens. She's the author of the middle grade series, KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES, and the SKY FALL series for young adults, both published by Simon & Schuster. She lives in Southern California with her husband and an embarrassing number of cats. Find her online at shannonmessenger.com.
For what age audience do you write?
I write middle grade and young adult fantasy.
Tell us about your latest book.
The next book I have coming out is called EXILE, it's the sequel to KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES and it releases on October 1st.
What do you hope readers will get from reading that book?
Ha--this seems like such a lame answer but... I really really really really really hope they like it. Honestly, that's what it comes down to with sequels: hoping your fans are happy with where the story goes.
Henry: No mention of unicorns with sparkly poop! Really?
What aspect of writing do you find most challenging?
Drafting! I'm a total perfectionist, so the messy first drafting stage makes me incredibly twitchy. I have to constantly fight with myself not to go back and revise.
Henry: First drafts are hardest for me too, but for a different reason - I'm a big plotter.
What has been a memorable experience that you never would have had if you had not been a writer?
I've had a few parents email me to tell me that KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES was the book that turned their child into a reader--and yes, I totally cried when I read that. There's pretty much no better compliment, and I am so incredibly honored and humbled that I get to play a small role in turning kids into readers.
Henry: I had a parent tell me their kid now eats mushrooms after reading NIMPENTOAD. One small victory.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
It's never too early to start treating writing like it's your job. Set writing goals and stick to them. Research the industry. Polish your craft. Because once you sell a book, it all starts moving very quickly, and if you aren't used to working on deadlines it's going to be a rude awakening.
Henry: And to paraphrase Neo in The Matrix. "Get cats. Lots and lots of cats."
Click to read the complete interview at Henry Herz's blog on fantasy and science fiction books for kids.