News: School project help
  Looking for help with a school project or report? Shannon is unable to answer emails and letters, but hopefully this Q&A will be helpful to you.
Other informative areas on this site:
Shannon's bio
Writing tips
Books -- with lots of information about each of Shannon's novels

How many books have you written?

I have seven published. The eighth and ninth will come out in 2009 (a book for adults and the fourth Bayern novel). calamity jack, the sequel to rapunzel's revenge comes out in 2010. I also have another book book and dozens of short stories that will never be published because they're not good enough.

What's your favorite book that you've written?

It would be like choosing a favorite child! I'm fond of them all in different ways. I'd say that the goose girl remains the most popular of my books among fans who have read them all.

What's your favorite book that you've read?

Too many to choose! But The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley was my favorite book in fifth and sixth grades.

What other writers have inspired you?

I read a lot of writers in all kinds of genres, and everything I read is very inspiring. I am very fortunate to have writer friends, who inspire me personally, but I don't want to name names for fear of leaving people out.

How do you get ideas for your stories?

Ideas just happen, and they are sparked by everything I see, think, hear, smell, read, and imagine. For more details about a specific book, check out my Books section/

What are your hobbies?

I'm a mom, so most of my time is doing mommy stuff. I like to be with friends, dance for fun, be outside, go for walks, do yoga, read, listen to music, and play video games with my husband.

Do you have a pet?

We have a pet plastic pig. It is nameless.

How many kids do you have?

Two kids--Max and Maggie, and they're both extraordinarily cute and smart and perfect. Max is five and Maggie is two.

Where did you go to school?

Wasatch Elementary, Bryant Junior High, West High, University of Utah, University of Montana. All my schooling, except my graduate work in Montana, was in Salt Lake City, Utah.

What kind of experience and education does it take to be a writer?

Being a writer isn't like being a doctor--you don't need a degree or accreditation to write professionally. And there's no one path that will take you toward that goal. I'd recommend studying whatever interests you the most. You'll use it all in your books. I did take Creative Writing and English classes in high school and college. I also found it useful to get an MFA in Creative Writing because it gave me time to focus on my writing and take it seriously. But the most important training for a writer is to read lots of books and write every day.

Do you base your characters on real people?

No. Subconsciously I'm sure bits of myself and people I know get into my characters. Sometimes I'll watch people I don't know, and from their mannerisms and expressions invent characters for them, which I'll use in a book. I did consciously use some of my little brother in Razo, and Miri feels closest to my younger self than any of my characters.

Is there really a miri flower and linder?

No, both are imaginary things I created for princess academy. That's part of the beauty of writing fantasy!

What was your inspiration for each of your books?

That is a difficult answer for me to sum up. You might find it beneficial to read what I've written about whichever book you're focusing on. Start in my Books section.

How has your life influenced your writing?

There's no way to remove my own experience from the stories I write. Everything I've seen and experienced is part of who I am, and I am the person writing.

What is the theme of your book?

That's a good question--but I don't think I'm the right person to answer it. What do you think it is?

What is your style of writing?

Another very good question--and I'm not very helpful with these kinds of questions. I write the books, but I can't be an objective critic to my own work. What do you think it is?

What's your favorite color?

I love every color, but I lean toward green.

What's your favorite food?

Crab, Indian food, fruit, good chocolates.

What's your favorite thing about being a writer?

When the words are flowing and I discover the perfect sentence, and getting to meet the wonderful, vibrant, passionate readers.

Why did you want to become a writer?

I loved to read and make up stories all my life. At age 10, I first discovered that a person could write stories for a living, that that's all I've ever wanted to do since. It took me 19 years of writing to publish anything, and it was a long, hard time, but it was worth it.