Interview With Shannen Wright
Interview With Shannen Wright
It’s always a pleasure to get to know an author a bit better, both for other writers and for readers alike (and aren’t all authors also avid readers? I think so.)
I was happy to get the chance to ask a few questions of Shannen Wright, whose debut novel Bad Reception is launching this month from Snow Leopard.
Your main character, Kana Lindvist, introduces herself by telling the reader about a story her mother used to tell, of a monster that runs away from the world just to get some peace and quiet. What was your favorite story in your childhood? Which stories sparked your passion for storytelling?
Oh god. That’s a difficult one. My mum taught me to read when I was young. I mean, really young. I have a vague memory of flashcards and so on and reading the paper at a young age when I shouldn’t have. Something about reading about stem cells and asking my mother why people were cutting up children. Yeah, basically, I got confused.
Hah. Anyway, because I’ve read so much, from so young an age, I guess I can’t really remember the first stories that made me want to write. Just that I’ve always really been in love with the concept of storytelling. There’s a quote by Jonathan Gotschall, “We are, as a species, addicted to story. Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories” and it really speaks to me.
How long did the basic idea for Bad Reception spend coming together before you committed yourself to putting it into book form? What was that process like?
Bad Reception was a convergence of a lot of important things that I wanted to say to a lot of people in my life, including people who are no longer in it. One of the characters, Chloe, besides the accent, is somewhat based, at least character-wise, on a good friend of mine, who died a few years ago. I guess this way she lives on for me. The other characters too, have importances with special people who were once in my life. After losing them, I sat down and thought, I need to write. I just need to get all these thoughts out into tangible words and see where it leads me. So I did. For eight months I wrote everything that came to me.
A lot of the things I wrote aren’t in the final book, but for eight months I wrote and I wrote and I wrote, and when I felt like everything was said, I saw that I had wrote over 100,000 words and I realised, I should do something with this. So, I went on facebook and I found some writer groups, fellow writers, and I sought myself out like minded people whom I could look for advice on publishing.
About a year after I began writing, I was looking for publishers and, even looking back now, I still can’t believe I wrote an entire book. Two, now. As the second one is finished.
Were there any major plot points you wanted to put into Bad Reception but decided against, and will we perhaps see them in a later book?
There were time travelling plots that I had considered for the first book, but I left them out because time traveling is very niche and there’s a very peculiar art to it. Some of the time traveling pieces are too personal, too important for me to share at this moment in time in my life. That, and I couldn’t find the right way to share them. The right words for the moments. In one of the chapters, you would have went back to Vincent and Gabriella’s pirating days, but that is better saved for another book.
If Bad Reception were to become a motion picture, which actors and actresses would you most like to see in the roles of your characters, and why?
Okay laughs This is actually something I’ve thought about a lot between friends, because, hey, why not, it’s fun! I always joke that if Vincent came to the big screen, Welsh or not, the only person big enough to do him justice would be Chris Hemsworth. A personal favourite. Kana, herself, would definitely have to Zooey Deschanel. I have such an adoration for her and her fringe. I don’t know, I think Zooey could pull it off! There are others, but those are my personal favourites.
Publishing your first novel is an accomplishment for anyone; do you envision this becoming a new career? If so, what’s your ultimate career goal?
I’d love to be one of those writers with an office with fifteen cats and a boyfriend who has to remind me to leave the house every now and again. Currently, I’m working two jobs — three, really, since I’m writing too, — so I have a tendency to sleep my free days away, and stay up till 4am on the working ones. The ultimate goal is really to share stories. I love writing, and I just want to be able to spend the rest of my life doing it. If I can write stories that the people who read them can say that they loved reading it just as much as I loved writing it, then I’m doing something right!
If you were invited to write a crossover with characters from Bad Reception and characters from another novel or series of novels, which world would you be the most excited to see your characters cross paths with?
That’s something I’ve never thought of laughs Wow, I really have to think about that. It would be interesting to see how my characters take to the X-men world. Or, could you imagine Luca or Vincent meeting Deadpool? Oh, God! Or Gabriella and Deadpool. I would love to see how that went.
If you could have any super power in the real world, what would it be and why?
The ability to understand and learn every language. I love how languages intertwine and work and evolve. I’m currently trying to become fluent in French, and I spent about seven years learning Japanese — yes, I used to be a weeaboo, and I’m only half ashamed to say it. I love Japanese culture, more so the food these days though… — I tried German and Swedish too.
Aside from storytelling, what are some of your other creative talents?
Well, I like to think I can sing, but the mostly just equates to being able to sing Let it Go, the Frozen song, in English, Japanese and Swedish. Heh. I can draw too, but not in a professional sense, just enough that people tell me that they wish they could draw. Mostly my other talents lie in Sarcasm and Dad jokes.
How do you feel about having a fanbase?
That’s something I don’t think I’ll ever get used to. It’s insanely flattering and humbling. I keep feeling like I don’t deserve it, but I look at my follower count and I’m just like “Moooore!” There’s something beautiful about waking up, seeing that number and thinking, all these people are waiting to read my books, and see what I’m going to do next and it’s very life affirming. A year ago, I was just settling down to write, and now I have people who are excited to know what’s going on in my life. I’m just like “I’m not special enough, I don’t deserve this attention” and yet, at the same time, I hope what I’ve written will help people who are going through their own troubles. Y’know, like a means of escape? That’s pretty much what Kana wants too, isn’t it? She’s trying to escape.
How can fans get in touch or follow you on social media?
“How can I count the ways?” Heh. Okay, well, you can find me on twitter at “GrapeMunchkin”, but I’m really bad at twitter, I’m still trying to get the hang of it so if you want quicker updates, you can find me on facebook at www.facebook.com/scwrightofficial, and there’s my blog/website www.shanpirate.com
You can pick up Bad Reception from Here in hardcover or paperback.