Last Updated on Monday, 11 June 2012 09:19 Posted by Clash Monday, 11 June 2012 12:08
Interview by Jill Williamson for NovelTeenBookReview
It’s always a thrill to pick up a new book that you end up loving. Surprise, surprise!
That’s what happened to me with Shannon Dittemore’s Angel Eyes. You can read my review here.
There have been a lot of teen fiction books involving angels in the past few years, but no book I’ve read has dealt with angels in a biblical manner like Angel Eyes. I was enthralled and, truly, changed by this book. It was that good!
I’m so excited to introduce Shannon Dittemore and her novel Angel Eyes.
Welcome, Shannon! When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
The first thing I can remember wanting to be was an astronaut. I blame that Space Camp movie. It was my childhood fascination. Eventually, I moved on to more theatrical endeavors. I’ve had the acting bug since I was young. Plays and such. I’m still in love with theatre and when my kids are older I hope to do more of that.
I loved Space Camp too! If you wanted to be something other than a writer, when did you decide to try writing books?
My first completed book was actually Angel Eyes. Before that, I’d started a story here and there, but I got serious when my daughter was a couple months old. I figured if I wanted writing to be my job, then I needed to actually write an entire book. So, I did.
Good logic, Shannon. Was it hard work, especially with a little one at home?
During those early days, the hardest part was finding time to write. With two young children at home, I became a naptime writer. And then when the story gained momentum, I’d work at night. But, I hate giving up family time and I’m an awful sleepy writer. I need the sunshine.
But, yes. It’s very hard work. The best part of the job is when the difficulties fade in light of the story you’re telling. Then, it’s fun. Then, it’s exciting.
I can relate to being a naptime writer. It’s much easier now that my kids are in school. What was your biggest obstacle as you learned to become a writer?
Rejection. Always rejection. I’m still learning. Writing through the rejection is hard because we want time to process, but sometimes we just don’t have it. In a way though, that’s good. Too much time on your hands isn’t a good thing. Taking constructive criticism and applying it is crucial to being a good writer, but dwelling on just why someone doesn’t get your work is futile. But, like I said, I’m still learning.
I’m still learning too. What do you consider one of your biggest life adventures?
Kids. Definitely kids. My kids, to be specific. They have so much energy. All-the-time energy. Wish I could harness it somehow. I like that you’re focusing on adventure. Nearly every day, I ask my kids just which adventure they’d like to go on. You know, the bookstore or the park, the library or the mall. We’re very adventurous.
I love looking at adventure through the eyes of a child because those simple things like going to the park are big adventures to them. Well, your book, Angel Eyes, is filled with adventure. Here is a little bit about the story.
Brielle’s a ballerina who went to the city to chase her dreams and found tragedy instead. She’s come home to shabby little Stratus, Oregon, to live with her grief and her guilt . . . and the incredible, numbing cold she can’t seem to shake.
Jake’s the new guy at school. The boy next door with burning hands and an unbelievable gift that targets him for corruption.
Something more than fate has brought them together. An evil bigger than both of them lurks in the shadows nearby, hiding in plain sight. Two angels stand guard, unsure what’s going to happen. And a beauty brighter than either Brielle or Jake has ever seen is calling them to join the battle in a realm where all human choices start.
A realm that only angels and demons-and Brielle-can perceive.
Shannon, there have been a lot of angel books out lately. How is yours different?
Confession: I haven’t read many of the newer angel books. I do read very widely, but while I’m writing angel fiction, it’s too hard to have other angel mythology in my head. I’m weird like that, I guess. I have read Halflings by Heather Burch, and that was tons of fun. I mean, hell hounds? That’s awesome.
From what I’ve gathered though—reading flap copies and such—the biggest difference between Angel Eyes and the others is the lack of reference to the Nephilim. I don’t go there. My characters are not the offspring of an angel/human pairing. I went an entirely different direction and I think that sets it apart a bit.
Oh, and there’s the shiny gift Brielle receives from a dreamy boy. That changes just about everything.
I loved that you didn’t chase the Nephilim trend. Your book stands on its own, and I thing that is marvelous–especially the shiny gift! So clever, Shannon, really.
In your book, you give readers a visual of what Brielle’s fear looks like through the eyes of an angel, which I thought was amazing. What advice might you give a reader who deals with fear in her life?
Fear is a tricky thing. You can know it has a hold on you and still, sometimes, that’s not enough to break free of it. When I think about the things fear can do in our lives—numb you, paralyze you, keep you from moving forward—I can’t help but think of death. Death does all of those things too. And death can only be broken by the Giver of Life. I suspect fear needs to be defeated by the very same victor. Take your fear to the champion of our souls. Take it to Him daily. And then leave it there. That part’s harder. Takes practice. But you know what they say about practice, right?
Yes I do! I’m going to be practicing it, Shannon. I really am. *grin* Any real-life adventures planned for the near future? If not, what is one dream that you’ve yet to live?
We just scheduled our summer trip to Disneyland. Does that count?
Yes. Disneyland always counts. I ❤ Disneyland! Went there this past March.
It’s kind of our happy place. I mean, I know it’s EVERYONE’S happy place, but we like to claim it. Pretend it belongs to us. As far as a dream I’d love to live… Now, don’t laugh, okay? But, my husband and I have decided that for our 50th anniversary we want to go to the moon. We figure by 2052 there should be sightseeing shuttles or something. So, we’re banking on it. If we can get a hotel room overlooking the Sea of Tranquility, major bonus!
LOL! I love it! Now that would be a big adventure. I wonder who gets real-estate rights on the moon. Hmm.
Shannon, what new fictional adventure are you working on now?
Right now, I’m editing Broken Wings, which is the second book in the Angel Eyes trilogy. It’s set to release in February of 2013. I’m also drafting book three which still doesn’t have a title. Drafting is fun because I get to fall in love with my characters all over again and that’s the swoony place I’m in now. I’m crazy excited about where the journey is heading and have my fingers crossed that readers will love it too.
I’m sure I will. And you can bet I’ll be pre-ordering my copy of Broken Wings as soon as I can. I’m so excited you’ve written a trilogy, and I can’t wait to read the whole thing. Thanks for chatting with me, Shannon!
Readers, check out this book! It’s such a fun read. I couldn’t put it down. And I know I’ve said that before, but seriously. It was SO very good.
You can read more about Shannon Dittemore on her website: http://shannondittemore.com/
And follow her on Facebook too: http://www.facebook.com/ShannonDittemore