Start Your Day with Serial Tour: 13 to Life

Intro: Welcome to Shannon Delany's Start Your Day with Serial Tour! Shannon's debut novel (and first in her YA paranormal series) 13 to Life started as a winning cell phone novel written in serial segments. During the tour you can read bits of the book in order. Miss a day? Hop to Shannon's blog and check the link to the blog tour calendar in her sidebar.

There will also be a contest that will close at the end of the tour. Winners get a bunch of stuff.

1. If you had to describe 13 to Life using the words "out-of-this-world," "dull," and... "sandwich," what would you say?
Oh boy. :p LOL! Here we go: 13 to Life is an out-of-this-world story about Jessie, who believes her small town is dull and insignificant, until a mysterious boy shows up and Jessie finds herself sandwiched between the interest of the new guy at Junction High and the boy she's crushed on for years and who is only now paying attention to her.

2. How do you identify with the main characters, Jess and Pietr? Or is there a secondary character you identify more closely with?
I identify closely with Jess, 13 to Life's narrator, because we both lost our mothers too soon and both struggle with doing what our mothers want us to do compared to what we might be tempted to do instead. But Pietr is also close to me because he's struggling with his own issues and during the course of this first book in the series he's trying to figure out what the dramatic changes in his life really mean. But I also adore Max and Amy--they are all so very in my mind.

3. Do you feel there is a certain aspect of writing you focus on that makes 13 to Life so unique?
Yes. Jess is written in what we consider "deep POV." This means we only ever get to see things through Jess's eyes and her opinions (and personal baggage) colors everything readers experience. The question readers may wind up asking is: How much of what's happening is Jess blowing things out of proportion and giving in to her personal teen drama and how much is absolutely accurate?

4. With all these books on werewolves these days, what's your unique take on werewolves?
Ha! The funny thing is, when I first started writing 13 to Life (November 24, 2008) there weren't many YA werewolf novels around! But publishing takes time. :-) I can't reveal the details of what makes my werewolves unique (other than Russian heritage, a significant history and the fact they are the culmination of quite a bit of Cold War and World War II-related research) because it only really becomes obvious in the last bit of the book and some readers have been very excited guessing about it before they hit the last 20-some pages. I don't want to take that excitement away by spilling the beans. ;-)

5. In your biography, you mentioned that you started writing during hard times in your life. How did the life's obstacles influence your writing and, if given the choice, would you change anything?
I believe strongly that we are the product of our history and our choices. Would I change anything in my personal history? Yes. Simply: I'd want my mother back so my son could really get to know her. Would that change me? Probably. Would it change 13 to Life? Perhaps Jess's situation would be different. But perhaps not. It's one of those things we can never do more than hypothesize about.

6. Having almost finished the entire writing and publishing process, is there any unexpected lesson(s) you've learned?
Yes. That most authors are tremendously friendly and willing to share their thoughts and time (Kitty Keswick, Judith Graves, Shari Maurer, Jenn R. Hubbard, Jeri Smith-Ready and Ann Aguirre pop to mind first as being great examples of this--Class of 2k10 members specifically). I ran into a few folks that were absolutely the opposite last year and it shook my faith a little bit. But there are so many wonderful people in this business (at all levels of it) my faith's absolutely restored now.

7. As you said, publishing is a long process and, presumably, hard! If you could invent anything to help you along the way, what it do and what would you name it?
I could use a SpeederUpper (I know, I know--everyone's going to want to make something with *that* name ;-). All of the people I've met along my path to publication have been tremendous, so there's nothing more I could ask from them, but the time it takes to go from concept to paperback seems like forever most days. With the magic of a good SpeederUpper I could imagine the story and have it go straight from my brain into a Word document (without employing my fumbling fingers). That, at least, would trim a little time out of the process. I guess the reason I'd want stuff to move faster is that when I have the idea initially there's almost no competition for a book like I'm envisioning. But by the time it gets to market everyone and their brother has also had time to come up with something in a similar genre. This is where e-publishing can truly have an advantage by skipping the paper print process altogether.

8. How would you describe yourself as a...
- Song (song name or description)?
This is a tough one. I do playlists for all of my main characters and some of my scenes, but don't think of myself musically at all (if you ever hear me sing, you'll know why ;-). I'll describe my attitude with Bon Jovi's "It's My Life."
- Fruit?
Darn it. I would have had this if you asked for a vegetable: onion (because of the layers--not the stench). ;-) Hmm. Ah ha! A medlar. They're a fruit that was the favorite of Charlemagne (and not too many did well arguing with *him*). They are related to the rose (which I love), have a strange look to them (I am *not* the most photogenic gal in the world ;-) and have a tremendous ability to last longer than most fruits and they get better with age (two things I'm really hoping for in this biz). The medlar tree (though small) has wood some say is nearly unbreakable (also a necessary trait in this biz ;-). (image source)
- Eating Utensil?
A fork. I can be prickly but very useful. ;-)

9. Are you working on other projects at the moment?
Yes. The ideas keep coming (thankfully). As soon as I wrap up the 13 to Life series (which is coming up pretty shortly since books release every six months-ish) I'm allowing myself to fall back into a few other projects that have taken the backseat while I attend conventions and do promotional stuff for 13 to Life. I have to make some tough decisions, though, as to which to tackle first. All of them (currently) are YA.

10. Is there anything else you'd like to say?
Just: Thank you so much for hosting me and I hope you and your followers read and love 13 to Life!

Thank you to Shannon (aka such a funny lady!) for stopping by! And now for the suspenseful excerpt...

13 to Life: Chapter 3, part O (used with the author’s permission)
He leaned across the table to meet me, his nose nearly touching mine. The strange and nearly minty crispness of pine made my nose tingle. He smelled like the northern woods in winter. Clean, sharp and full of mystery.

He stopped chewing, his eyes holding mine — and glittering dangerously. He swallowed. "Perhaps you should consider the motivation of people a little more honestly." He glanced again at something behind me.

Contest Info: Shannon's hosting several contests during the Start Your Day with Serial Tour. The big contest will award one lucky winner with a royal amber pendant, pietersite jeweled bookmark, stuffed wolf, 13 to Life mousepad, pen, tote, signed poster, personalized copy of 13 to Life and both of the 13 to Life pins. All you need to do is comment at 13 of the blogs hosting Shannon during her 30 day tour. Everyone who does so will be entered into a random drawing. Winner may be international.

And that's it! I just want to add that Shannon's also hosting some awesome giveaways on her blog to celebrate 13 to Life's upcoming release, so be sure to check those out (she just gave away an ARC of The Ghost and the Goth yesterday). Other than the book, what's my incentive for following this tour? This adorable stuffed wolf, of course! :D