Feb 14, 2011

Interview with Shannon Delany

Today I am pleased to welcome Shannon Delany to a GREAT read! As many of you already know, by about a million times now, I adored 13 to Life and was so excited when Shannon agreed to do an interview with me regarding her books and writing. So...on to it!

JESSICA: Where did you get the idea for 13 to Life?

SHANNON: The idea for 13 to Life came to me a bit randomly. I was participating in an online writing contest for textnovels and already had a pirate story (--I LOVE pirates!) in the works there but the phrase "13 to Life" stuck in my head and I was noticing so much vampire lovin' I was wondering where the wolf love was. Those two things sort of bumped together in my brain and I decided to try a werewolf story that was much more than a werewolf story. So 13 to Life emerged as a tale of teenage love, loss and--oh, yeah--werewolves. ;)

JESSICA: 13 to Life was a text novel, what exactly does that mean?

SHANNON: Text novels (or cell phone novels) were (and still are) quite hot in Asia. They were essentially novels written and read by young, single women on their way to and from work using public transportation (you know, those times you really want to be anywhere else in the world). 13 to Life won the first ever cell phone novel contest in the western world in 2008. Parts of it were texts and some parts were sent from my home computer but it was designed to be read on remote devices like cells and was written in small chunks for easy consumption. For me, a text novel is about the consumability and style of a novel as well as the tools used to make and read it.

JESSICA: Jessie--great name by the way!--is a very strong character and puts up with quite a bit, where does she get her strength?

SHANNON: Jessie gets her strength in part from her mother. Yes, her mother's dead, but her influence remains. I think in many ways our family remains a strong influence on us (in both good and bad ways) even after they're technically gone. Beyond that, Jessie's learning to find her own inner strength--but that takes time. Luckily she has strong people around her (her dad, Pietr and Amy to name a few) to help bridge the distance between her relying on strength she gets from others and the strength she finds within herself.

JESSICA: Where will Secrets and Shadows take Jessie and Pietr? Will they be leaving Junction?

SHANNON: Secrets and Shadows takes place in Junction (to me, Junction's a little like a tertiary character I can't yet leave behind) but there's the Junction Jessie knows and the Junction that's sort of simmering below the surface. I believe we too seldom investigate our own backyard (so to speak) and we never really realize all the interesting stuff there. Jess is learning (the hard way) that Junction has way more going on than she ever expected.

Secrets and Shadows has more action, more romance and more trouble--and Jess and Pietr find themselves in e thick of all that.

JESSICA: Did you do any research for the werewolf or Russian aspects of the novel?

SHANNON: Yes, I researched both. I love digging into old resources most people overlook and then reworking key parts of what I find. And I found some cool stuff: the Rusakova sabers? Legit to old werewolf mythology. Good werewolves? Legit if you check Eastern European history and legal records. Yes. You read that right--history and legal records. And I've had a huge love of the Russian culture and Russian history and language for years now. And yes, I took liberties with it, too.

JESSICA: How many books do you have in store for the series?

SHANNON: At this point I'm contracted for a total of five books in the 13 to Life series and I think that'll wrap up the main storyline nicely. Is there potentially room in the world I've constructed for more than that? Yes. But I also have some very different stories I want to pursue, too.

JESSICA: What are some of your favorite books/authors?

SHANNON: Mercedes Lackey, Anne McCaffrey, Orson Scott Card... I've recently gotten into William Gibson's stuff, too. But I read a wide variety of books (and especially lots of research-related materials).

JESSICA: What book are you currently reading or read last?

SHANNON: I'm reading a novel I was asked to read for a potential blurb and so far--VERY cool. But I'll probably share more about that later.

JESSICA: Thanks so much for doing this Shannon.

SHANNON: No problem! Bye everyone!

You can read up on Jessie, Pietr and all their friends through:
Beasts and BFFs (prequel to 13 to Life) *Free download from Amazon!


  1. I always wondered what text novels were! Anyways... Great interview! I cannot wait to get my hands on "Secrets and Shadows"!

  2. Thanks for the interview!!
    I'd never really heard much about the cell phone novels, but its interesting!
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog


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