As an author, I always wonder what makes other authors “tick”. I have come to know a number of other authors over this last year, but none as well as Shannon Pemrick, the author of the Experimental Heart series.
When Shannon brought up the idea of interviewing other authors, I jumped at the opportunity. So I will be posting interviews with a few of my author friends here over the next few months, starting with Shannon. Here is my interview with her:
So Shannon, tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from?
I’m from the northeast part of the United States where I live with my fiancée, three cats, and a dog who thinks she’s a cat…a very large cat.
What about your family?
My family is also in the area and I try to find whatever time I can to see them since family is very important to me.
Do you have any hobbies?
I’m an avid gamer (I play a lot of videogames) and I’m also an artist.
So then, what got you started writing?
Writing wasn’t something I thought I’d ever do. I was more into the visual arts and my reading and writing skills had always been subpar since I was a child. But one day I got an itch to write a fanfiction (fantasized story using characters from a favorite book, tv series, etc…) and while it wasn’t all that great, it sparked an interest and I continued. Later, when I was in high school I attempted to write my own book but it died rather quickly. I didn’t make another attempt until I was assigned a project in my senior year of high school that sparked the Experimental Heart trilogy.
So is that a specific genre, or do you cross genres?
My current genre is a cross genre of Sci-Fi and Fantasy but I have several book ideas waiting to be touched that are straight Fantasy, Romance, and Paranormal romance.
What type of writer are you, a planner or a “pantser”? Do you plan out your books meticulously or do you write by the seat of your pants?
I am definitely a planner. I write out outlines/timelines and plot out main events for my books and then place in minor events. I will deviate from the initial plan or add in more ideas as I go to improve my initial idea, but in order for me to make a complete book, I have to plan it out from start to finish first.
Where do you get your inspirations from?
Everywhere. They’re in my dreams, in my conversations, random thoughts in my head, and in the world around me.
So when you write, do you listen to music or watch TV, or do you need complete quiet?
I typically work best in silence but I will listen to music if I need some really nice inspiration. I can’t have a TV on while I’m writing or I’ll do more watching that writing.
Is there any specific message conveyed within your writing?
I believe all authors have some sort of message even if they don’t realize it. Most of my messages happen to be about self worth and accepting being unique.
Most authors like to read. What have you recently finished reading?
I’m a very slow reader so I haven’t finished anything recently but I finished a great book called Luckbane from author Tony Breeden and I’m currently reading a great fantasy book by F.P. Spirit called The Ruins on Stone Hill.
Wow! Thanks for the plug (grin). I’ve also read Luckbane. That is a great book as you said. I hope to interview Tony here in the next few months. Anyway, getting back to the interview, Fantasy and Sci-Fi books are based on imaginary worlds. Research can be an important part in building those worlds. How much do you need to do for your books?
It really depends on the subject but I like to make sure I’m as thorough as possible in my research because I want to make sure all aspects of my books are believable. My current trilogy needed quite a bit of research when it came to military and weapons. But because the world and natural laws for that trilogy is all made up, most of it came from my head and all I had to do was make it all feel believable even if it was only a tiny bit.
How about editing? Do you self-edit?
Yes, I do. I’m not a professional editor and I can’t rely on myself to catch all errors but going through the book before my editor does really helps catch the silly mistakes and save me a bit of embarrassment. It also gives me time to look over my work to catch any inconsistencies or spots I want to elaborate on.
Do you think a book suffers without being professionally edited?
Yes. There is only so much an author can catch before their brain corrects the mistakes automatically without the author realizing it. A professional editor not only brings in fresh eyes but also fresh opinions and…well…professional editing skills. They’ll know more about editing than anyone else.
What was your experience with getting your book published?
I tried for a year to be traditionally published. After getting rejection letter after rejection letter I became discouraged and thought I’d never be published. Then I found some information about self publishing and did as much research as I could before pursuing that route.
That sounds hard. Any regrets?
Do I regret going this route? No. This route may be hard, but I’m happier than I would have been with a big publisher breathing down my neck telling me what to do.
How about marketing? Is that difficult?
Marketing for me was and still is difficult. I’ve tried a few strategies but the one that seems to work the best for me so far has been word of mouth. That has been more powerful that I could have ever imagined.
I’m going to list a few aspects of writing; great world-building; solid plot; technically perfect. Can you sort these into your own order of importance, and then explain why you ordered them that way?
1. Great World-building
2. Great Characters
3. Solid Plot
4. Technically perfect.
I chose this way to line them up because even though you can have the greatest plot idea in the end, if your world is bland and your characters suck, the plot isn’t going to matter.
Well then, out of all your projects, which was your favorite to create?
I only have one published book, which is the first in a trilogy, but I am working on a few books and so far, while I love all my books and ideas, the world and story of my first trilogy is close to my heart and definitely my favorite.
Finally, what is your most currently published book, and what are you working on?
My latest book is Experimental Heart: Pieces which is book one in the Experimental Heart Trilogy. Experimental Heart: Secrets is the next book in the trilogy to come out this year and the first book (currently unnamed) is planned on coming out the following year. I’m also currently working on a fantasy that may become a series, a romance, and a few spin-offs for my current trilogy.
Thank you Shannon for the great interview! I wish you luck and look forward to the release of Experimental Heart: Secrets.