Friday, 9 September 2016

Getting to Know the Authors: Featuring Shannon Lee Alexander!

    Shannon Lee Alexander is a wife and mother (of two kids and one yellow terrier named Harriet Potter). She is passionate about coffee, books, and cancer research. She is a former English teacher and a forever Hufflepuff. She is the author of the contemporary young adult companion novels, Love and Other Unknown Variables and Life after Juliet. She currently lives in Indianapolis with her family.

She has written:
Love and Other Unknown Variables 
and Life After Juliet!

Now on to the Interview!!
1) How old were you when you started writing, in your opinion?
    I’m not exactly sure, but I feel like I’ve been writing steadily since I was a tween. I kept many journals and used them mostly to process how I was feeling about the stuff that was going on in my life—arguments with my mom or sister, people being mean at school, boys I was crushing on, and dreams I was afraid to say out loud.

2) What do you want a reader to gain from reading your works?
     Hope. I want readers to feel like they know my characters and to gain a sense of hope—even when the story makes them cry. I’ve run out of hope before, and it is a terrifying, dark, twisted place to exist. But the best thing is that hope can always be rekindled.

3) What are your three top suggestions on becoming an author, or being a pleasure writer?
     1. Read. A lot. Read all kinds of books, too. Push yourself to read outside of your comfort zone.
     2. Write. Some people say to write every day, and while that is theoretically awesome, it may not be realistic. Plus, there are many times when a story isn’t ready for actual words on paper. Sometimes you need to let the idea bounce around in your brain a bit before you try to capture it. Which leads me to number three.
     3. Daydream. Allow your mind to wander. Be creative in as many ways as you can by drawing, painting, crafting, and playing music. Get outside. Take walks. Visit museums. Sit and watch the way shadows move across the lawn. Play with your dog. Talk to friends. Just get out there and live so that your ideas and creativity will continue to flow.

4) What is your favourite novel, why?
     Tough question. Very tough. I’ll say one of the most influential novels for me was To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, which is probably why you can see tributes to that story throughout my first novel Love and Other Unknown Variables.
      But I also love, love, love Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. It’s the novel I go back to now whenever I need to lift my spirits.

5) Who is your favourite author, why?
       I will buy any book Rainbow Rowell writes. And thus far, I’ve loved every single one of them. She is a master of character development and dialogue. I adore her stories!

6) What are your favorite pass times besides writing?
      My favorite is probably reading. I also love to spend time with my family and friends.

7) Who in your life do you credit your imagination to the most?
     My parents filled our home with children’s books when I was young. I’d say growing up with stories all around me was a huge bit of inspiration for my creativity. I’ve always loved words and the magic behind them—the way black and white letters on a page can move you to tears or make you laugh out loud—magical.

8) What are the top five things on your bucket list? 
1. See Hamilton on Broadway.
 2. Visit Ireland. 
3. Visit London and Scotland to geek out over all the Harry Potter places and inspirations. 
4. Visit New Zealand to geek out over the beautiful landscape and pretend I’m in Middle Earth. 
5. Watch my kids faces the first time they see the Grand Canyon.

9) What is your funniest childhood memory?
     I have so many!! They mostly involve my sister. We used to do this bit where we’d pretend to be runway models and walk all ridiculously, hips swaying, head up, face bunched like we were smelling something awful—you know, exactly how runway models tend to look. So, we’d do the walk, but instead of being amazingly self-possessed, we’d always pretend to fall—bit epic, slow motion falls.
    One time, my sister decided to do the “model walk” bit and fell in the most ridiculous way, but we were in a very public place, so lots of people saw her and most of them thought she’d honestly fallen (in slow motion—really, people? No one falls in slow motion!) and landed right on her face.
    Needless to say, I laughed so hard I was crying. I couldn’t breathe and had to sit down. And, if I’m being honest, I know I snorted while laughing, very, very loudly!
    I love my sister!

10) To the youth of today, if you could tell them one thing, what would it be?
    Find your passion and follow it. And when you fail along the way (because you will, and if we’re being honest, you should fail—if you’re not failing, then you’re not pushing the limits!) get up and try some more.

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