Spotlight on Author Shannon Avangeline {Interview, Review + Giveaway}

Coming from the south, some of her fondest memories are sitting on her Granny and Papa's front porch on summer nights listening to the adults share the stories of their childhoods. Her favorite were the spooky stories and local legends.

Shannon had her first story 'published' when she was in first grade in a book that was made for the school board members of Surry County, North Carolina. Her epic tale of Sally, the red balloon was an instant elementary hit!

Shannon lives with her husband, three boys, and two guinea pigs in Jonesville, N.C. When she is not writing, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, playing with her boys, reading, and shopping on Amazon. She lives a very normal, very un-glamorous, lifestyle that she loves. If you are in the area, you will probably find her volunteering at her children's school, in her minivan on the way to a band concert, or at the public library.

She is an avid supporter and member of the Friends of the Jonesville Public Library, whose mission is to build a new library and to provide more community programs in a struggling economic demographic. 

Even though she is not a fan of television in general, in her spare time (like that ever happens) she enjoys binge watching on Netflix. Her favorite shows include The Vampire Diaries, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Fringe, and Haven.

 

 

I was afforded the opportunity to interview Shannon so let's take a look at her candid answers.

 

What inspired you to be a writer?


I’m not sure it was truly ever one thing that inspired me to be a writer. It was more like a combination of different things that came together. I remember passing people in cars or in a store and wondering what their lives were like. I have always been fascinated by the thought of what happens in other people’s lives when I’m not looking. I remember growing up in a family of “storytellers”. Some of my best memories from my childhood come from summer nights on my Granny and Papa’s front porch. These were my mother’s parents. I stayed with them while my mom was working. Unlike the homes of today, they had no phone (until my mother forced the issue when I was around four years old), the behemoth console television they owned only had four channels (if the weather held), no air conditioning, and they drove a pea green Ford Granada that smelled like tobacco and spearmint chewing gum. 


To say they lived simply is an understatement; however, this is where I started learning my craft. I was a chatty child, so to keep me entertained they made up stories. While we tended the garden, made meals, or they tried to convince me to nap my Granny would concoct epic tales about me and my cousins getting lost on the top of Pilot Mountain and being rescued by Bigfoot. These stories fueled my imagination, but my favorites came on the weekend nights. My mom, me, Granny, Papa, my uncle, aunt, and various degrees of kin would have a huge meal and then retire to the front porch to talk. This usually started as, “You remember that time?” or “Did you hear about John’s boy?”, but always ended up with them telling spooky stories from their youth. This is what I lived for! The tales of the ghosts and ghoulish things that they had seen in their lives. I think this more than anything fueled my love of all things paranormal. 

 

What genre/s do you write?


First, it must be fiction! I mainly write YA; however, I do have a couple of NA books in the hopper. Paranormal is a personal favorite of mine, both to read and to write. I also love the contemporary college stories. No matter what the genre is, I have to be able to connect to the characters and care about their journey. The only genre I don’t think I could write would be historical romance, but I would never completely rule out any genre. Never say never!

 

What draws you to this/these genres?


The paranormal draw, again, goes back to my childhood. Things that are otherworldly have always intrigued me! Just the possibility of stepping away from the everyday world and opening that door to the “What if?”. The contemporary is the exact opposite! It is a chance to step away from the fanciful and dive head first in to gritty everyday problems.  I don’t want to be pigeonholed into being just one thing. There are too many stories to tell.  I am a huge fangirl myself when it comes to certain authors. In YA, I love Becca Fitzpatrick, Cassandra Clare, and Maggie Steifvater. Some of my favorite NA authors are Jamie McGuire and Colleen Hoover. If you read more mature books like NA and enjoy a wicked twist, I love Teresa Mummert.

 

Tell us a bit about your two main characters?


Paige is every displaced, sixteen year old who feels like the ugly duckling. Due to some bad decisions on her mother’s part, she is moving once again. She is the kind of person who feels the responsibility of the world on her shoulders; however, she would prefer to handle everything out of the limelight.  She’s a little awkward, but she is a good person who loves her friends and family fiercely. Overnight, she is forced to learn how to go from being ordinary to extraordinary! She also has some tough choices to make when it comes to love. She has to learn to trust herself and see “people” for whom, not what they are. 


Lucian (Luc) is more of a mystery. He hates what he is. He feels not only the responsibility for others, but a deep seeded guilt as well. Luc’s biggest obstacle is overcoming his own self-loathing enough to let someone inside past the walls he has built around his heart. He feels unworthy of love for himself, but he loves BIG! He is funny, sexy, and I fell in love with him before I had even written the first words of Incandescent. By around the fourth chapter, he became my forever book boyfriend!

 

How much research do you do?


I think that depends on the story. I always want there to be an authenticity to my stories, and I would never want to write about a place or a thing and have the readers unable to recognize and have a personal connection with what I’m talking about. For example if you wrote a story about my tiny hometown and described the skyscrapers, I would close the book and never pick it back up! No matter how good a story is, no matter the genre, there has to be enough fact to make the fiction believable. Once I started Incandescent, I soon realized there was an extraordinary amount of research to do. It turned out to be more than I could have ever imagined!

 

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?


NO! I’m a pantser, not a plotter. Usually, I start with an idea and it shapes itself as the characters tell their story. I stop and do research when something doesn’t feel right or I feel that I need more substance to support the story. In addition, I have a husband, three children, and I’m still terrified to let go of my day job. I never post a pre-order date until the book is finished. Under coming attractions on my website, there are approximate dates for releases, but even that has a disclaimer about the author’s mood and schedule.

 

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?


Publishing it! I have written other things in the past that have fallen to the wayside out of fear. It is a difficult thing to put your heart and soul out for the world to judge. I probably would have never had the courage if it had not been for my best friend, Melissa. She was the first one to read anything from Incandescent. I remember having a conversation with her where she paid me the greatest compliment ever. When I asked her if it sucked, and she is totally the type that will tell you yes if it does, she told me that after the first few chapters she had forgotten that I was the one who wrote it. Without knowing, she gave me the confidence to take a chance and publish.

 

If we Googled your name what would we see?

Not much, I’m afraid. Just the links for my website, book, and various social media accounts. Of course, I had to look!

 

If you had to describe yourself using three words they would be?

Loyal, Loving, Procrastinator (which is not fun on a deadline!!)

 

What’s the current color of your hair?

Medium auburn by choice, not nature.

 

Name one thing that drives you crazy.

People who are needlessly rude or cruel! That’s not cool.

 

Describe your favorite pair of pajamas.

The top is a red Mickey Mouse t shirt with white capris that have Mickey heads all over them.

 

What would you do if you won $20 million?

Donate a lot to charity. I have several charities that are near and dear to my heart, especially Autism research. Two of my three sons are on the Autism spectrum. I would build my tiny town a library and make it a memorial to my Granny. I would spend an obscene amount on books. Move my best friend next door to me instead of 8 hours away. Go on a trip around the world with my family and my best friend’s family, and end up on a tropical beach for a few years. Build my mama the house of her dreams and buy her a new car! I could go on and on… So, I’d probably be broke before long!

 

Do you have any quirky habits?


Ok, my husband laughs at me every time a new book comes out that I want to read from a series. The reason being, I cannot just read the new book. I have to go back and re-read the entire series up to that point before I can read the new release. No big deal, right? At one time, I was obsessed with Christine Feehan’s Dark series. There are over 20 books so far in that series and she is still writing. I had to give it up. I may go back one day and finish if she ever stops writing the series. It’s only one of my many quirks, but probably the weirdest!

 

I want to thank Shannon for taking the time to answer these questions which give us a closer look at not only her but also the inner workings of her writting. 

 

Here's her book Incandescent.

 

 

 

What if you had a destiny you knew nothing about? 

What if it was to kill the boy you love? 

Being sixteen is hard. Paige Thornton doesn’t even feel like she belongs in her own family! So she really shouldn’t be that upset that her flighty mom has uprooted her and her twin sisters again to drag them to live with their Grams in Seahaven, NC. However, Seahaven is full of surprises for Paige. A new school, a gorgeous new boy, and a magical heritage that she had no idea about. But somehow this boy, Luc, is too perfect. 

Lucian Burke knows that he shouldn’t let himself get too close to Paige. He’s only supposed to watch her and report back. Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned. As long as he keeps his distance, things will be fine. 

What will happen to this modern day Romeo and Juliet? 

Will they ever find their happiness, or will it all end in blood and ashes? 

 

 

 

Amazon

 

 

I came across this book while perusing through my newsfeed on a social media site and so I borrowed it via KU. Definitely one of the best things I've done so far this year. Paige is barely sixteen years old but she is mom to her twin sisters and even to her own mom Marlene. After her mother divorces step dad number two they go to live with her grandmother Sadie who's more than what she appears to be and it doesn't take long for Paige to learn some startling things about herself and the world that she lives in.

This well written plot is off to an amazing start full of witches, vampires, angels and first love. The characters are so well developed that they practically jump right out of the pages and immediately capture your full attention. I practically screamed when I reached the last page simply because the author left me wanting more!! I simply cannot wait for book two because I am dying to find out what's in store for Paige and Luc.

I give this book:

 

 

 

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