Happy Friday, guys!
We have a couple of AWESOME posts for you, beginning with our Q&A with Shannon Parker, author of The Girl Who Fell!
The interview is a part of the Meet the Newbs blog tour, an amazing tour that has been put together by Rachel at A Perfection Called books!
Start off with her introductory post, and then read on for Shannon's thoughts on writing, reading and more!
A Q&A with Shannon Parker
Author of The Girl Who Fell
March, Simon Pulse
First Day of School: March 1, 2016
Homeroom: Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse
Grade: YA Contemporary
Extracurricular Activities: Kayaking Club, Underwater Firefighting, Album Covers of the Sixties
Favorite Class: The last one of the day
Favorite Quote/Motto: “Practice indiscriminate kindness.”
Hi Jess! Thank you so much for having me here today!
Hey Shannon! Thank you for being here!
It’s been a pleasure getting to know you via Twitter, and I’m so glad that we can talk more in-depth about The Girl Who Fell and all about you! So let’s get started!
Q: First things first: Since we live in the age of instant communication, could you summarize your book in one hundred forty characters or less?
Q: In previous interviews, you’ve mentioned that The Girl Who Fell was inspired by a conversation about the power plays that may exist in relationships, and the inability of young women to speak up about issues like these.
Can you talk a little more on what made you want to analyze that discussion vis-à-vis Zephyr and Alec’s relationship? Did you set out with a concrete objective on which aspects you wanted to explore in that relationship, or did your analysis evolve while you were writing?
I also wanted to write a book that could add to the very important discussions on dating violence for people of any age—and the issue of blame. I have heard too often that the victim “let this happen”, or teens stating that an abused girl was “TSTL” (too stupid to live). By creating Zephyr as a strong, driven teenager, I hope that readers will see that girls like Zephyr are not stupid—that no one is “TSTL”, and that expressions like these only serve to perpetuate the culture of blaming the victim. Zephyr made poor choices because she was being manipulated, pressured, and threatened so insidiously that she could not see it happening until it was too late.
I hope books like The Girl Who Fell can offer teens a way in to this conversation that may not have been previously available. A story in which they will recognize themselves. Their friends. Their sisters. And know always that abuse is not their fault. That it can happen to anyone. That the signs are not as clear as we think. And that love should never hurt.
Q: I was intrigued (and gratified) when I began reading The Girl Who Fell, because I feel like other books that may explore toxic relationships, typically are geared toward older readers – e.g. the new adult genre.
While I think that your underlying themes absolutely need to be heard by young women (and you’ve done them a huge service by writing your book), I’m curious: is there a specific reason why you chose to set Girl Who Fell in high school, and not in an older setting?
Honestly, it never occurred to me to write The Girl Who Fell in an older setting, or with older characters. My debut explores the intoxication of first love and for so many of us that happens during our high school years.
Q: While the interpretations of each reader tend to vary, is there a specific message or underlying idea that you hope readers may take away from the novel?
Q: I had the privilege of attending a Simon and Schuster discussion about upcoming spring titles, where your book was (highly!) praised by an editor, and also described as “timely” and “relatable”.
What struck me the most was that my entire table – a table full of attendees from different backgrounds, cultures and a wide range ages – all nodded along, and agreed that they could absolutely relate to Zephyr and Alec.
What do you think it is about Zephyr that makes her appeal to such a wide spectrum of people?
Q: Let’s switch over for a minute, and talk writing! First, plotter or pantser?
Q: You’ve mentioned in previous interviews that your publishing journey is as diverse as your written work – you’ve had an agent who retired; you worked as a publishing intern, and are now on your way to becoming a debut author!
What’s one expectation or fantasy that you had about publishing, that has been slightly different in reality?
I never expected to feel physical joy at seeing my cover.
I never expected to fear my words being out in the world.
I never expected to find writer friends who would support me so unconditionally and fiercely.
I never expected that so many women would tell me how they’d suffered similarly to Zephyr.
I never expected to be interviewed by bloggers. J
The one thing I have learned through this debut process is to expect the unexpected.
Q: One thing I’ve noticed about writers over the years is the fact that debut authors are especially supportive of one another. What’s one of your favorite moments of debuting with other ’16 authors so far?
Q: Best piece of writing advice you’d give to a burgeoning writer?
Be hard on your characters.
(* someday I may even listen to my own advice)
Q: And finally, what’s next for you?
About the book:
High school senior Zephyr Doyle is swept off her feet—and into an intense relationship—by the new boy in school.
Zephyr is focused. Focused on leading her team to the field hockey state championship and leaving her small town for her dream school, Boston College.
But love has a way of changing things.
Enter the new boy in school: the hockey team’s starting goaltender, Alec. He’s cute, charming, and most important, Alec doesn’t judge Zephyr. He understands her fears and insecurities—he even shares them. Soon, their relationship becomes something bigger than Zephyr, something she can’t control, something she doesn’t want to control.
Zephyr swears it must be love. Because love is powerful, and overwhelming, and…terrifying?
But love shouldn’t make you abandon your dreams, or push your friends away. And love shouldn’t make you feel guilty—or worse, ashamed.
So when Zephyr finally begins to see Alec for who he really is, she knows it’s time to take back control of her life.
If she waits any longer, it may be too late.
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