Today I have the great pleasure in welcoming Shannon A. Thompson, author of Take Me Tomorrow and Minutes Before Sunset (part of The Timely Death Trilogy). Shannon kindly agreed to an interview, and I thoroughly enjoyed our discussion. Later today I will be providing a review of Take Me Tomorrow, but for now, here’s Shannon to tell you a little more about it.
Interview with Shannon A. Thompson
I read in one of your articles that, growing up, most of your friends were guys. I can relate to that. Do you think that’s why you felt so comfortable writing about male experiences? Because you shared a number of close friendships at a pivotal age?
It’s difficult to say why I write more about males than females, but on top of being friends with more males, I was also (mainly) raised by males. My mother died when I was eleven, so I spent most of my teenage years with my father and my brother and my brother’s friends, so I gravitated toward befriending more males. So, yes, I think growing up around males has affected my writing in the sense that you will see more males around the females, and you will see males that are simply just friends with females (no romantic feelings), not just because I feel comfortable writing stories that way but also because I think it’s important to show those relationships in fiction since male-female friendships get a lot of judgment in society. On that topic, I wrote an article called Why Most of My Characters Are Male: http://shannonathompson.com/2014/10/08/why-most-of-my-characters-are-male/
Thanks for sharing the article. As I said, I can relate to your experiences, and I agree that it’s important to reflect positive male-female friendships. You certainly did that in Take Me Tomorrow – I enjoyed the dynamics of the group. The ending left me wanting more (in a good way!) How many novels will be in the series?
There are three novels in The Tomo Trilogy: Take Me Tomorrow, Take Me Yesterday, and Take Me Now. That being said, my original publisher for this series closed down, so these books are no longer under a contract. I do have a new publisher – so there is still hope for this series – but for now, I’m concentrating on re-releasing The Timely Death Trilogy with Clean Teen Publishing, and I will keep everyone updated about all of my novels via www.ShannonAThompson.com
I’m sure I can speak for my readers when I say, we’ll keep our fingers crossed that the new publisher offers a contract for The Tomo Trilogy. You mentioned in an article that the idea came to you after a discussion with your father. Did this include the characters or did they only begin to take shape when you decided on the plot?
The characters definitely came later. My father and I were discussing drugs and addiction and what it might look like in the future if we keep treating drugs and addiction how we treat it now. Drugs and addiction is very close to my heart. My mother died of a drug overdose, so I spent many years of my childhood trying to understand drugs – legal and illegal – and how they affect society. This post is probably the most important post I’ve written about Take Me Tomorrow: Why I Write About Immigration, Drugs, and Addiction: http://shannonathompson.com/2014/07/18/why-i-write-about-immigration-drugs-and-addiction/
I can image that the series is close to your heart. I enjoyed the article. You found a unique way to tackle the subject of immigration and drug addiction.
Let’s talk more about your process. Do you plan out a novel (or series), or do you take a more flexible approach?
I am definitely a planner, but I like to look at novel writing as a road trip. I have a beginning, ending, and a few spots in-between in mind, but I am always up for a detour. The characters are always in charge, and they often change my plans, but I do have a detailed plan before I begin. I even write a screenplay before I write the novel.
I love the idea of writing a screenplay, that’s certainly one way to get your characters communicating! One thing I found compelling about the novel, was undoubtedly the mystery. It was a definite hook. Did you struggle with the balance at any point, or did you know exactly when to drop vital information?
The mystery happened naturally. It’s confusing for me to say this, but since I knew more than Sophia, it wasn’t really a mystery to me. In fact, many times I was fighting myself because I wanted to include more information. In fact, originally, Noah told half of the story, but he was either on drugs – and didn’t make sense – or sober – and told too much – so his parts were ultimately cut out in order for the rest of the trilogy to make sense. The next two books, for instance, explain the massacre, how Phelps came into power, and who Sophia is – all of which were things that I think people expected in the first novel (and, trust me, I wanted to include it). But The Tomo Trilogy is written a little backwards. It’s set up so that the first novel is in the present, the second novel is in the past, and the third novel is in the future, and there’s a reason for the lack of information. I promise. I can actually admit that many of my novels work this way. Call it my style. But The Timely Death Trilogy had much of the same mystery in the sense that the creatures existence isn’t explained until the last book, but there was a reason for it, and that reason couldn’t be said earlier or it would’ve ruined the entire story.
Well, it was certainly an exciting journey, and you have me intrigued. You’ve talked about your planning, but what does your writing schedule look like? Tell us a little about your habits.
My writing habits recently changed because I went through a huge transition. I moved to Missouri, and I started editing and marketing book reviews for authors full-time via my Services (http://shannonathompson.com/services/). Currently, I write on my days off in a local coffee house. I’m working on an exciting project too! And it’s nice to have a giant cup of Americano coffee next to me while doing so.
That certainly is a big transition. I’m sure the authors you work with are grateful for your support. It must be an interesting balance between editing and writing. Speaking of which, how long does it take you to write the first draft?
That depends on what someone considers the first draft. I spend a couple of months (sometimes even years) just letting an idea unfold in my head, but I consider the first draft the prose part, and that takes me anywhere between 3 and 6 months, but – again – I have a ton of planning before that, not to mention a practical screenplay. Writing is different for everyone. I try not to worry about how long it will take. I only try to enjoy it and be honest to the characters and tale.
That’s the most important thing, I think – enjoying the process. It reflects in the story itself, which benefits our readers.
Thank you so much for agreeing to the interview, Shannon. It was lovely to learn more about the novel and the experiences which influenced the series.
Shannon recently revealed her cover for the second edition of Minutes Before Sunset, book one in The Timely Death Trilogy.
Two destinies. One death.
“Her kiss could kill us, and my consent signed our death certificates.”
Eric Welborn isn’t completely human, but he isn’t the only shade in the small Midwest town of Hayworth. With one year left before his eighteenth birthday, Eric is destined to win a long-raging war for his kind. But then she happens. In the middle of the night, Eric meets a nameless shade, and she’s powerful—too powerful—and his beliefs are altered. The Dark has lied to him, and he’s determined to figure out exactly what lies were told, even if the secrets protect his survival.
Jessica Taylor moves to Hayworth, and her only goal is to find more information on her deceased biological family. Her adoptive parents agree to help on one condition: perfect grades. And Jessica is distraught when she’s assigned as Eric’s class partner. He won’t help, let alone talk to her, but she’s determined to change him—even if it means revealing everything he’s strived to hide.
Thanks for stopping by.