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Shannon Hale
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Shannon Hale   Shannon Hale is the New York Times best-selling and award-winning author of Princess Academy, which received the Newbery Honor. She's also written the Bayern series, starting with The Goose Girl, which received the Josette Frank Award and made the American Library Association's Top Ten Books for Young Adults list. Her graphic novels include Rapunzel's Revenge and Calamity Jack. Her books for adults include Austenland (which made the BookSense pick list) and The Actor and the Housewife. Shannon spent a year and a half as an unpaid missionary in Paraguay.

Buy Shannon Hale's Books at the following locations: (downloadable audio books) (independent bookstores)
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This episode originally aired on 10/22/2009 with the following authors:
Note: The following interview has been transcribed from The Author Hour radio show. Please excuse any typos, spelling and gramatical errors.

Interview with Shannon Hale

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Bonus Question(s) that Didn't Air on the Live Radio Show

Matthew Peterson: Now, let me ask you a bonus question, here. What I do is I have a website that I will put the bonus questions and excess stuff onto that doesn’t make it onto the show, which I think is really interesting ‘cause then that motivates people to go to the website and then they can learn more about you.

Shannon Hale: Yeah.

Matthew Peterson: Ok, here’s the bonus question: what advice do you give young people who are starting to write fiction?

Shannon Hale: I would say, keep reading. Read what you love. Never stop reading and if you keep reading books that you love the stories keep coming. Sometimes when you’re starting, it’s hard to think up stories or you get stuck in the middle of a story. The more you read, the more it just exercises that story telling part of your brain, the easier that’s going to become. And I would also say, don’t worry about trying to get published right now. Don’t worry about what it takes to get published, or getting an agent or anything. Just enjoy this time of writing for fun and reading for fun and worry about all that other stuff later.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah. Good! Well, that’s good advice.

Extra Material That was Cut from the Radio Show Because of Time Constraints

Shannon Hale: But my adult books tend to be contemporary settings. And it’s so much easier to write a contemporary setting, for me, than an invented land and a fantasy. The scope of the known world is so much smaller than a period fantasy. Even the words that you can choose, you’ve got thousands of words you can’t use because they don’t fit in that setting. It’s like a play for me, to write these books for adults. And they tend to be more humorous, they tend to be more comedies.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah.

Shannon Hale: And I also have a lot of romance in them.

* * * * * * * * * *

Matthew Peterson: Tell us real briefly about these books.

Shannon Hale: I’m really attracted to these fairy tales that feel unfinished to me. I’ve never been really motivated by some of the more common fairy tales because I feel like they’re finished stories. Book of a Thousand Days was based on an obscure tale called Maid Maleen. And the story starts that a noble lady is locked into a tower for 7 years for refusing to marry the man her father wanted her to. They brick up the windows and doors and she’s locked in there with her maid and that’s how the story begins. And eventually they get out and there’s an adventure that happens afterwards, but in the Grimm’s tale, the maid, after spending 7 years in this tower with her mistress, is totally dropped from the story. And it just bothered me so much. It just felt so unfair after all that she went through. So, Book of a Thousand Days is her story, the maid’s story.

Matthew Peterson: The maid’s story?

Shannon Hale: It’s loosely based on the fairy tale. I take some liberties, but it’s her tale of being locked up in this tower and what happened afterward. And it felt so good to redeem her. And the graphic novels, in case people haven’t heard of that term. Those are book length comic books and they are for young readers. Sometimes people hear the word graphic and they think it means excessive violence.

Matthew Peterson: Excessive violence, like Manga. There’s so many words for Manga, graphic novel and . . . they’re kind of a new thing. They’re hot right now.

Shannon Hale: Yes. And I think they are because there are certain kinds of readers that just have not been responding to traditional novels. They’re very visual learners. They really need that visual hook to just get through a book. And I meet so many parents since Rapunzel’s Revenge came out, so many parents have come to me and they knew about my previous books, that they had another child who wouldn’t read those books, wouldn’t read any books. But they gave them Rapunzel’s Revenge and their child read it. They’ll often tell me, “They read it in 3 hours!” “They read it in one day!” “They read it in one week!” or however long, an amazing amount of time for the child. And the wonderful thing is, after they read it, they don’t stop there. Their confidence in the reading ability grows and they go on to seek other books, more graphic novels, or other kinds of novels. It’s a really wonderful medium for certain kinds of readers.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah. I agree.

* * * * * * * * * *

Matthew Peterson: And that might be a series, you say?

Shannon Hale: Yeah, it probably will be at least two books, ‘cause I’m not even close to done and I already have 130,000 words.

Matthew Peterson: Oh boy. And it’s young adult?

Shannon Hale: Yep. And I could just keep writing it forever. I love it.

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