Summary: Something strange is stalking the small town of Junction…When junior Jess Gillmansen gets called out of class by Guidance, she can only presume it’s for one of two reasons. Either they’ve finally figured out who wrote the scathing anti-jock editorial in the school newspaper or they’re hosting yet another intervention for her about her mom. Although far from expecting it, she’s relieved to discover Guidance just wants her to show a new student around—but he comes with issues of his own including a police escort. The newest member of Junction High, Pietr Rusakova has secrets to hide--secrets that will bring big trouble to the small town of Junction—secrets including dramatic changes he’s undergoing that will surely end his life early.
Available in Bookstores on June 22, 2010!
1) How old were you when you started writing?
SD: I was about twelve when I really started writing creatively on my own. I wrote some fantasy stories (unicorns!) and some fan fiction (Elf Quest and !—oh, man, I feel old admitting that). Then I started developing my own worlds (yes, there were unicorns—but they were black! and yes, the Transformers visited *sigh*) and started breaking away from stuff I knew or had seen elsewhere.
2) What inspired you to write 13 to Life?
SD: I was doing some freelancing work and a notice came up about the contest. I was curious (and probably bored at the moment) so I paid attention (and then promptly forgot all about it). Eventually I remembered and decided to try something there. I was not willing to part with one of my ideas I’d spent real time developing. So I did it all very organically. Took a random phrase (13 to Life) and werewolves (had nothing to add to the vampire mythos at the time and have always loved wolves) and let the ideas roll around together in my head.
3) Are the characters in the books based on someone you know?
SD: My husband is convinced I am Jess. He is wrong. Jess is far cuter and has no need to wear glasses. The fact we both have/had similar hobbies and grew up in similar places and have similar attitudes and... Nooo. He is wrong.
4) What was the hardest part about writing 13 to Life?
SD: Putting it in front of Michael, my editor. I had lots of time to mess with it (it wasn’t technically due until last August) and could have procrastinated the heck out of it. It had been through CPs, betas, my agent and a different set of betas for the first 50 pages but knowing it was really out there—I just needed to know from a professional that it didn’t suck. When I saw how few suggestions he had for revisions—it blew my mind. I started to understand that it was a viable book.
5) If you had to describe your book in one word, what would it be and why?
SD: Unique. The concept behind my werewolves and the dynamic related to the growth of the story’s romance and the setting and the other characters involved... They’re all different from stuff I’ve seen and read by good measures. There will be aspects that feel somewhat familiar (because that’s how we lure you in—BWA-HA-HA!) but I keep hearing from readers and the staff at St. Martin’s Press that this is a fresh take on werewolves and I hope it’s appreciated as that.
6) How do you feel considering everything happened so fast after you won the grand prize cell phone novel contest?
SD: Stunned. After winning the contest things just slammed into me again and again. Oh, we have multiple people interested? SLAM! Oh, one’s a movie producer? SLAM! I’m getting interview requests? SLAM! We can do a series? SLAM! The books will release at six month intervals? SLAM? The Hungarians want to buy foreign rights? SLAM! More movie interest? SLAM! And every step of the way people have been so wonderful... It’s just stunning. :-)
7) Do you have any other projects you're currently working on?
SD: Oh, heck yeah. I have some other books in development right now and will be spending a bunch of time chatting with my agent about them and getting them ready to shop around. Mostly YA, mostly paranormal. Vicious twists, weird worlds, smart girls and dangerous boys. Mostly. ;-)
8) What book are you currently reading?
SD: I recently finished Stacey Jay’s YOU ARE SO UNDEAD TO ME, Jennifer R. Hubbard’s THE SECRET YEAR, Alexandra Diaz’s OF ALL THE STUPID THINGS and Kristina McBride’s THE TENSION OF OPPOSITES. I’m looking forward to diving into Jeri Smith-Ready’s SHADE, Kitty Keswick’s FREAKVILLE and Judith Graves UNDER MY SKIN. And SO many others... My reading list this year is mainly the releases listed over at http://www.Classof2k10.com with others sprinkled in.
9) Do you have anything to say to all your readers?
SD: THANK YOU! *hugs* READERS ROCK!
10) Tell us something about yourself that no one knows about.
SD: I got my first gray hair at seventeen. Back then I thought it was cool. Now, mumble-mumble years later? Not so cool. ;-) Oh! And I’m looking forward to book 2’s release even more than 13 to Life’s because my agent, editor, CPs and beta readers think it’s even better. :D
Going to the BEA? Would love to meet Shannon? Read below!
BEA is only a week away and (gasp!) we at the Class of 2k10 are scrambling to make sure we're ready to meet many of you and have a great time, too!
Here's the schedule as it currently stands. Please feel free to pass it around or post it on your blogs and let folks know to follow our Twitter accounts and blogs for any significant updates!
If you want to do the Ghost Tour, I need to know immediately and make sure it's still able to be scheduled as it appears on the schedule. We need at least ten to go (and it's $15 a person).
If you have questions, please email her directly. I'm finishing up copyedits on book 2 in the 13 to Life series--ARCs in June!!!--but I'll answer as promptly as possible!
Can't wait to meet you all!
Without further ado...