06 September 2012

Five Questions for Shannon Greenland. Plus, how to land an agent with a margarita

Today's interview features Shannon Greenland. She is the author of THE SUMMER MY LIFE BEGAN (Penguin/Speak, May
 2012) and THE SPECIALISTS series (Penguin/Speak, 2007-2008). To learn more about
 Shannon's work, visit her website at shannongreenland.com.

Q: You started out writing for adults. What attracted you to YA, and how would 
you describe your experience in both genres now that you've published three 
adult mysteries and six YA titles?

A: Wow, you've done your homework! Yes, I started out writing adult novels but
my critique partner told me I had a young voice and that is what led me to 
writing YA. I have to tell you, about five pages in to my first YA, I knew I had
 found my genre.

Q: We all love a good "how I got my agent/publisher" story. Can you share yours?

A: Weelll… I was at a writer's conference having a margarita in the bar chatting 
it up with the person beside me. When we were done yip-yapping she extended her
 card and said she'd like to see my work. Literally two weeks later I signed with
her and two weeks after that she'd sold The Specialists to Penguin. The whole
 story is kind of crazy when I look back on it.

Q: I'm curious about your teen series, THE SPECIALISTS. Penguin published the
first four books, and you self-published the fifth on your own website. Can you 
tell us how this came about and what sort of response you received from 

A: My editor at Penguin actually suggested I offer the fifth book on my site as 
a free download for my readers to conclude The Specialists series. And I'm so 
glad I did because that offer garnered readers for the first four books that I 
didn't have before. I saw a bump in sales for the first four from the free

Shannon Greenland
Q: Your new novel, THE SUMMER MY LIFE BEGAN, is a stand-alone. How do you
 compare the experience of writing a series vs. writing stand-alone novels. And 
what are you working on now/next?

A: Writing a stand-alone is harder than people think. I had the luxury of 
stretching out The Specialists through five books. It's difficult to wrap up a
whole story in one book and I'm already in major creative mode of a follow up to 
The Summer My Life Began. It seems my readers adore Gwenny, the sister in the
book, and want her story now. I aim to please. J

Q: What is one thing you've learned about writing and publishing that you wish
you'd known when you started out?

A: I wish I had known more about marketing and publicity from the start. Know
that getting published is a huge deal, but maintaining the momentum is even
bigger. Get the marketing and publicity figured out and hopefully the deals and
sales will continue to come.

Thank you, Shannon, for sharing some of your experiences with us. I don't know about the rest of you, but I'll be ordering a Margarita at the next writer's conference I attend...


  1. Great interview. Thanks!

  2. My 13yo niece picked up this book during our summer trip to the Outer Banks. She LOVED it and insisted I read it. I loved it, too. Great characters. Great romance. And great food. Yum :) Thanks for the post, Sharon!