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Focus on patience. He was her neighbor, so they needed to get along. Forcing a calm note to her voice, she said, “I’m Jemma Harris. It may appear chaotic to you, Mr. . . . ?”
“But I can assure you everything is under control.”
With a little too much eagerness, he asked, “Will you be gone soon?”
As soon as I can make this pay, she thought, wondering how someone so attractive on the outside could be the opposite on the inside.
–excerpt from FALLING FOR ALASKA
Let’s get to know Shannon L. Brown, author of FALLING FOR ALASKA (an Alaska Dream romance):
What inspired you to start writing?
I read everything I could get my hands on when I was a kid, right down to the breakfast cereal box. After changing my major three times in college, I found myself in journalism classes and felt right at home. Those classes gave me the foundation to start writing.
How much research, if any, do you do when writing a book?
I’m very careful about facts, probably a leftover from being a journalist, so I check every detail. I search online and make phone calls and emails if I need more information. This has been a bit of a problem with the next book because much of the area where the book starts doesn’t have phones.
Where do you get your ideas?
Ideas sometimes come from things I’ve seen or something someone said. They also just come to me as I’m working on the plot. As I write the next book in the series, I wonder What if? and answers appear, often fun twists to the story. I love this part of writing.
Do you write fiction, nonfiction, or both?
Both. At this point, though, my books are all fiction.
Do you use an outline, or do you prefer to write by the seat of your pants?
I’m in between a plotter and a pantster. I’ve learned that the more I plot in advance, the less I edit in the end. I still love the ride though when I’m writing and the story takes me somewhere wonderful, somewhere that hadn’t occurred to me until that second. In Falling for Alaska, I was working on the end and all of the “pieces” suddenly came into place. You’ll know what I mean when you get there.
Do you work on more than one project at once?
I try to write one book at a time. As I plot one today, I’m editing another, and thinking about still one more. I also write articles when needed.
What’s your favorite writing exercise?
I lie in bed at night and think, what if? I often fall asleep working on my current project.
Where do you write?
I usually write in my office at home. It’s a pretty room that I painted a light lavender. I’ll occasionally get in a mood when I’m tired of these four walls and take my laptop to a coffee shop or library to write.
What does your writing schedule look like?
When I’m writing a book, I set a word count for the week that I want to reach with the goal usually 5,000 or more words. I’m self-motivated so I push myself to meet the goal, and try to stay peaceful, calm and happy at the same time so my husband will want to live in the same house with me.
Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?
I’m indie published. I would like to be a hybrid in the future.
How important are book covers to you, as both an author and a reader?
Book covers are huge! We all choose books by their covers so I spend a lot of time searching for the right designer and making sure the details are right.
How do you market your books?
I promote through sites like BookBub, do social media, have a website.
How important is social media to you, and what sites do you use?
Social media is important for reaching adult readers. It’s a little different for reaching the readers for my middle grade series (ages 8-12). I do struggle with being in-your-face all the time vs being passive and just hanging out on Facebook, etc.
How do you measure your success as a writer?
I love it when a reader says they’ve enjoyed one of my books. I won’t lie, though, the number of books I sell is important. I also need financial success.
What are your hobbies (other than writing)?
I enjoy hiking and getting into nature. I also enjoy shopping—searching for a great deal on a high quality piece of clothing.
What was the inspiration for your latest book?
I was enjoying the HGTV series Flea Market Flip with Lara Spencer so I recorded a bunch of them. As I watched episode after episode, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be fun to have a character who flipped furniture?” and Jemma Harris from Falling for Alaska came to life.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently doing final edits on The Treasure Key, writing the next book in the Alaska Dream Romance Series, and thinking about the third book in the series.
Do you have a dream project…something you’re planning to write someday?
My dream project is always the next book I’m preparing to write. I love bringing stories to life.
Have you written other books that have been published?
The Feather Chase is a fun mystery and the first book in the Crime-Solving Cousins Mystery series for ages 8-12. The Treasure Key, the second book in the series, will be out in March 2016. This series a modern take on a Nancy Drew-type mystery.
I learned to write novels on a book that needed to stay unpublished. I continued to learn as I wrote a couple more. I do have one more recent book that I may publish. It’s a fun, romantic mystery.
Where can readers find your books?
My books can be bought in print from Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and should be able to be ordered from any bookstore in the U.S., Canada, Australia, or Great Britain. Falling for Alaska is temporarily only a Kindle in ebook. The Crime-Solving Cousins Mystery series is on Kindle, Nook, ibook and Kobo.
Is there a special story about one of your books that you’d like to share?
Yes. I thought my mystery series was for girls. I wanted it to have strong female role models so two girls, Sophie and Jessica, are the main characters, there’s a female sheriff and one of the girl’s mother owns her own business. Jessica loves shopping, girly clothes, and makeup. With all of this, I admit to being nervous the first time a group of kids read the book and boys were included. It turned out that the mystery won them over and the boy I brought in about halfway through sealed the deal. They enjoyed it. Whew!
Shannon L. Brown was born and raised in Alaska, and has enjoyed taking readers to the special places there. For years, she was a journalist, eventually writing hundreds of articles, but Shannon now devotes most of her writing time to novels. She lives in Tennessee with her professor husband and calico cat, who enjoys “helping” her write by sitting on her lap. (The cat, not the husband.)
Where to find Shannon:
Where to find Shannon’s books: