Saturday, June 20, 2009

Hello to Shannon Hale...

The first time I heard the name “Shannon Hale” was from my daughter. She was in elementary school, and in an awkward reading stage where her advanced ability made her ready for books far above her age and experience. So when she announced she’d discovered a wonderful new author, Shannon Hale, who wrote books she wanted to read, we jumped into the car to go buy her books.

We talked to the bookseller who assured me that her books were exciting and enthralling, and also appropriate for younger readers. We scooped them up, and to this day, they sit on my daughter's keeper shelf!

Some years later, my literary agent, Nadia Cornier, told me she was handling Shannon’s adult novel, Austenland. Again, I zoomed to the bookstore. I found it and took it on a weekend outing. In fact, whenever I think of that weekend now, what I remember is Austenland, and how I didn’t want to put it down...

So I am delighted to chat today with New York Times bestselling and Newbery Honor author Shannon Hale, whose books clearly delight readers of all ages!

Tina: Hello, Shannon. I hear you’ve been writing stories since elementary school (like I have, and many other of us Buzz Girl authors). Any embarrassing early works you care to own up to?

Shannon: What do you mean embarrassing? Clearly I was a master writer from the beginning!

Tina: Really--what was I thinking?!? Well, skip ahead a few years, and you sold your first book, The Goose Girl . Where were you and what were you doing when you first got the news?

Shannon: I was at home doing yoga. The company I worked for had laid everyone off the month before and I was unemployed. My agent called and let me know she had a message from an editor at Bloomsbury saying that she wanted to make an offer. I truly could not eat or sleep for two days. Except the editor didn't get back to us again for TWO WEEKS, so for two weeks I was on a razor's edge, waiting to hear if it was real or not!

Tina: Yeah, those waits can feel like FOREVER. Hey...recently you got involved in a fantastic charitable event called Project Book Babe, in which you and several other Big Name Young Adult Authors banded together to help raise funds for Arizona bookseller and friend, Faith Hochhlater, in her battle against breast cancer. Having met Faith on two occasions and been a recipient of her enthusiasm and generosity, I applaud you and the others for your efforts in helping her.

Can you tell us a behind-the-scenes story about the event?

Shannon: So...I was the emcee. I'd introduced all ten of the authors and then we were setting up the tables, microphones, getting ready for the panel. Then Jon Lewis noticed that no one was sitting in one of the places and he said, "DId you forget someone?" I looked at my sheet--no, I was sure I'd gotten everyone. Then he pointed to the name tag--Stephenie Meyer. Yeah, I'd truly forgotten her. I could not stop laughing. She was backstage and couldn't hear what was going on, and when she found out later what had happened, she thought it was hysterical.

That event was so fun. I was like a kid in a candy store. Everyone was so game! I said, "Hey, do some of you want to do a lip sync and dance to an Aretha Franklin song for me?" And several people said, "Sure!" Then I said, "Hey Dean Lorey, will you put on Stephenie's prom dress and model it for the audience?" and he said, "Sure!" Pure heaven.

In the above picture taken after the event, Faith is in the center (blonde), and I imagine you can all find Shannon (in orange) and Stephenie (behind Faith), as well as Janette Rallison (to Stephanie's left), who has been profiled here at the Buzz Girls blog, as well.

Tina: I have to ask about your blogsite name, which is squeetus. Is there a story behind the name Squeetus?

Shannon: My husband rarely calls our family members by our names. We all have multiple nicknames. The formal version of one of my nicknames (squeeter pig) is apparently Squeetus. Truly, I am as mystified as you.

Tina: LOL. He sounds like a lot of fun! And why don’t you tell us about the graphic novel, Rapunzel’s Revenge, that the two of you co-wrote?

Shannon: It's a rip-roarin', rootin' tootin' adventure! I love collaborating with my husband. I love involving him in my books, making this more of a family thing than a me-thing. And I regularly get fan mail that makes me cry, from parents who tell me, "My child never read a book in her/his life until Rapunzel's Revenge." Once they read this book, they get more confidence and go on to read other books. It's unbelievably gratifying.

Tina: Sounds terrific, in fact, we’re going to give a copy of Rapunzel's Revenge --or-- Austenland (winner's choice) to one lucky commenter! To enter, we’re asking our readers to leave a comment below telling us one of their nicknames--and feel free to embarrass yourself!

Thank you, Shannon, it’s be a real joy having you here!


Tina Ferraro
The ABC's of Kissing Boys - Nominee, YALSA Best Teen Book
How to Hook a Hottie - 2009 Rita Finalist
Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress


Me said...

Great, Tina! (And Shannon, of course!) Glad to hear that even world famous authors have had those moments of torturous waiting. =)

TinaFerraro said...

I forgot to add my own ridiculous nicknames. From my father, thank you very much, I was Teen Queen and Christina the Washing Machina. =)

Llehn said...

I've never had a nickname until recently. My crit partner calls me Les-O-Rama :-)

Prisca said...

Thanks for sharing!

I had not heard about Rapunzel's Revenge yet and now I want a copy!

I must admit that "Squeetus" is by far the most interesting nickname I've heard.

Some of my nicknames include:

1. Chilindrina
2. Pwiskie
3. Friskie (erm...some people just can't pronounce my name and this is what it...reminds them of *sigh*)
4. Prichi
5. Prichilin

Those are my top five. In case you are wondering, my name really is Prisca (nope, not short for 'Priscilla' or anything else)

Again, thanks for sharing!

Janie Emaus said...

Great interview, Tina & Shannon.
Nicknames are a funny thing. I gave my sister a middle initial when she went to camp and it's stuck with her ever since.

Babycat said...

One of my many nick names was katie-bird. My grandfather used to call me it when I was a little girl. Then later on in highschool a guy, out of the blue, started calling me it again. He claimed it was because my singing voice was as beautiful as the morning song sung by birds. I didn't know weither it was a compliment or put down. He kept calling me it though and soon enough the rest of the men in choir was calling me it. I really hate being called that now, but it's kind of funny thinking back on it...

Anum said...

Great interview! I once gave Austenland as a gift to one of my cousins, who was a Jane-Austen-adorer. I did not get to read the book so unbelievably, here's a chance! :D

One of my nicknames was 'A Gnome' because my friend who had an accent, could't pronounce my name correctly and just called me that. It's actually pronounced Aw-numb. Haha :)

Amanda Villagómez said...

I read The Princess Academy this year and really enjoyed it. I did not realize that she had a book out for adults. I can't wait to look it up.

Mena said...

I have never had a nickname truly stick! It's sad actually, but most people think that Mena suffices. "Gorgeous" is the closest thing to a nickname I've had (but who could honestly complain too much about that?!)

I love Shannon Hale and I've not heard of either book! I'm such a slacker!!

stephhale said...

Great interview, Christina the Washing Machina!
Shannon, I've had several people ask if we are related. I always say I wish. I had a girl email me one time to tell me that she was at the library and your book was checked out so she settled for mine. It was pretty hilarious. ;)
As for nicknames, my hubby calls me Taffy and BBQ. I have no recollection of the origins of either.

TinaFerraro said...

I am loving all these nicknames (although wondering if Steph is ever going to let me live down Washing Machina). =)

And Steph, too funny about the reader who chose you as second best to Shannon. But I am assuming she liked your book because she wrote to tell you!

Sydney said...

Thanks Mrs. Ferraro! Such a fun interview. I always eye Austenland when I'm at the bookstore, but I haven't actually read it yet.

You know, I have so many nicknames and I sadly answer to them all. My uncle calls me Syd the Squid cuz he can make up songs with it. I have a couple friends call me Freckles. Then there's always shorty. My two college roomies call me Thumper since I've reminded them to be nice with what they're saying.

My favorite has to be Nemo from our Florida music trip. I was so excited to go on the Nemo ride at Epcot, I kept saying "Nemo! Nemo! Please can we go on Nemo??" Everyone apparently thought it was hilarious. When we finally got in line, I screamed "NEMO!!" and from there . . . well, they all scream Nemo when they see me a lot of the time.

Priya said...

My sister calls me "Piki." It's kind of funny and also kind of annoying.

Kay Cassidy said...

What a great interview! When I cheered in college, my partner (a guy) used to teasingly call me Chicken Legs. Which was, of course, very flattering and not in any way stressful for someone wearing a short skirt in front of a stadium/arena full of people. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I've never really had a nickname.

The Golfing Librarian said...

As far as nicknames go, I was "Charlie Tuna" (from the TV commercials), Chasman, Chucko Bucko, and later shortened to just Bucko.
Steph, I found you while
"Googling" Shannon--and I'm glad I did!

nisha said...

Great interview!
My best friend's father calls me the nish-onator. I don't know why but it's either that or nish-police. Lol.

Anywho. Thanks for posting!

Unknown said...

Oh, I'd love Rapunzel's Revenge! nickname in junior high school was Rapunzel. I had long blond hair that came down past my bum, and was terrified to cut it. Hair can be a very comforting thing to hide behind! I kept that long hair until college, when I saw a Locks of Love drive--chopped off ten inches. When it grew back, I did it all over again. I still keep my hair long, but not Rapunzel length!

Paradox said...

I don't really have a nickname anywhere but online. Obviously, my online nickname is Paradox. I used to go by a few other names, including Indigo, but that was before I started blogging. I refuse to reveal my annoying childhood nickname which still embarrasses me.

I loved Rapunzel's Revenge, and would love my own copy!

paradoxrevealed (at) aim (dot) com

Meredith said...

I have a ton of nicknames. I think that a couple of my favorites are:

Purple Princess, from my parents when I was really little, loved purple and am their only girl.

Hivey Ivy and Benadryl Queen are related. My parents called me Hivey Ivy, because I used to get sick (I am allergic to strep throat) and would get hives from head to toe. Benadryl Queen came from the nurse while I was in junior high. I would get hives and have to go see her for some Benadryl to make it go away. I went to see her so often, that she would often say that "the Benadryl Queen is here!"

My best friend and I call each other Herman. No idea why. Just one day in junior high, she called me Herman and I called her back. I guess it stuck.

~Meredith F.
rosesaremyfavorite at hotmail dot com

MarjoleinBookBlog said...

wow, I love the author interviews on the blog! my nicknames: Lein, Mia,sweety, giggly girl, (yeah really embarrassing, but as a kid I was always giggling in a shy way)

Christina said...

When I was three I was Kissy. (Let's just say I was never a shy kid.) Then in high school my friends started calling me Dorthy after a certain hair style I had during spirit week.

The Golfing Librarian said...

I just got my hands on an ARC of Shannon's new book "The Actor and the Housewife". Just throw it on top of the to-be-read pile!

L said...

I love my nickname! Its anag. its the first letter of my name and the first 3 of my last.