The Story is About + Shannon Hale

Author Interview: Shannon Hale

Today I have an interview with author Shannon Hale. She's written such fabulous titles as: Goose Girl, Emma Burning, Princess Academy, Austenland... and many more! Not only is Shannon an author extraordinaire, she is also hilarious, as you will find out in this interview!

Shannon's new graphic novel Calamity Jack, the sequel to Rapunzel’s Revenge will be hitting shelves this January!


Do you have any big holiday plans?

Nope. We rarely make big plans of any sort. The only traveling we do anymore is book-related (tours and conferences). The rest of the time we stay home and read and sometimes play video games. I shouldn’t say this stuff. I should create an aura of mystery and excitement about my life...oh, this holiday season? After our safari, we like to recreate the journey of Marco Polo in a floating steamer trunk.

Which novel has been your favorite to write? Do you even have a favorite?

I don’t have a favorite. I feel guilty thinking about it! Won’t the other novels feel slighted? But three stand out as being the most pleasant to write, because the main characters didn’t give me too much trouble: Book of a Thousoand Days, Rapunzel’s Revenge, and The Actor and the Housewife.

Do you consider yourself a YA author or an "adult" author.. or neither?

I do consider myself a YA author. Though I’ve written two “adult” books (I know, we have to use quotation marks or people think “adult” means like “adult video store” and “adult content) I don’t feel a part of the “adult” literary community. If there is one. I have friends in the YA world. YA is most of what I read. I like it here. I’d like to stay.

Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing?

If I don’t have some candy around, I start to get pretty antsy, though I’ve been so good the last couple of weeks after I weighed myself and realized I’d gained 10 pounds since starting my latest first draft.

Describe your writing in three words.

Give me candy.

Do you have a specific time or place that you write?

Whenever the children are safe and occupied.

What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?

How differently they’re read. I think I’ve learned so much about the reading process from parsing through feedback from writers. When we read, we tell ourselves the story in our heads, and each of us sees and hears and experiences a different story.

What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest?

The hardest part is just doing the darn thing. And the first draft. Fear the blank page! The easiest is coming up with ideas for new books.

What’s the most rewarding aspect?

Finding just the right word. Making just the right sentence.

Is there a genre that you’d like to write? Is there a genre you’ll probably stay away from and why?

I want to write them all! I do. I’m working on two books right now, both in genres I’ve never written before, and I love it. I want to do that forever. Though, yeah, I doubt I’ll ever write erotica. Not my bag, baby.

How do you pick the character’s names?

Some I just make up as I’m writing, naming characters on the fly. Others I steal from old lists of names. When I create a setting from scratch, I like to base it on an actual place and time, and I’ll cull information about that place for names.

Who has inspired you as an author?

Every time I read a really well-written novel, I’m inspired to keep writing, to write better. So many great writers! This is a wonderful era for books.

What's next for you?

Daisy Danger Brown, a contemporary superhero kickbutt scifi (probably) series, and another project that’s still super secret.

If you could travel back in time for one year, what time and place would you choose?

Someplace very different than our time. I think it’d be fascinating to live in a different time, different culture, but hopefully not one where they’d want to kill me or possibly eat the flesh off my bones or accuse me of being a witch and drown me in a parlor chair.

And if you could only take 3 things with you, what would they be?

Oh, I’m pretty practical. I’d want to be dressed appropriately and have enough food and water, and photos of my kids. No, strike that, I’d want a fully armored robot suit, a talking lion who was my best friend, and a handheld Star Trek Replicator.

Are you really not married to Nathan Hale? (Natasha of Maw Books Blog, suggested this question to me, because apparently there is a funny story surrounding the confusion of who Shannon is really married to!)

I’m really married to Dean Hale, who co-wrote Rapunzel’s Revenge with me. The official line is that Nathan Hale the illustrator is no relation, but for the record I want to state that though I’m not married to Nathan, no one should assume that means I’m not woman enough for two husbands. Not that I want to marry Nathan. For one thing, he’s already married, and his wife is buff and could break me with her pinkie.

I also hear you have a long scroll of rejection letters, do you have any photographic evidence of this?

Just found this online, but I don’t know who took it.

I think those are Libba Bray’s legs on the right, so this is probably when we were on tour together. Good times.

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Author Interview: Shannon Hale + Shannon Hale