Meet Shannon Dittemore Part II
Shannon Dittemore’s first novel, Angel Eyes, debuts TODAY! Check out my interview with this terrific new author, and then comment for a chance to win a copy of this book!
KM: Angel Eyes is a fantastic novel! What made you want to write a novel about angels & demons—and a girl who can see into the supernatural side of life?
SD: As weird as this may sound, angels and demons have always been on the backdrop of my creative endeavors. When I was younger, our church had a performing arts team and we traveled a bit and competed. In everything we did, there were shades of the supernatural. I seemed to always land the role of Satan or Death. Strange how that happens, but those experiences never left me and I’ve always wondered just what it’d be like to see, to really see, the characters that are invisible to us. When I sat down to write, all of that just fell out onto the page.
KM: I love that Brielle struggles with believing what she is seeing and hearing throughout the novel – and she sees and hears even more than we do! What are you hoping your readers will take home from those lessons in this story?
SD: If my readers take home the truth that they’re not alone in this world, I’ll be incredibly pleased. Understanding that Brielle’s journey is most certainly fiction, it is a Biblical truth that we are surrounded by spiritual beings. But, more than that, they’re here for a reason. Playing with that idea and examining those truths led to this trilogy.
KM: You deal with fear and guilt in such vivid, unique ways in Angel Eyes. Why do you think so many people – even Christians – struggle with those issues? How have you learned to overcome them?
Fear is universal. Whether you’re a believer or not, you’re going to experience it on some level. We live in a crazy, mixed-up world that preys on our anxieties and insecurities. Some of it’s spiritual, some of it’s not. But, fear is something I dealt with for a season. It was real and debilitating and I understand being frozen by it. Being terrified to move because of it. I’d like to say there was a single moment when God’s Word broke through the muck of that in my life and I was free of it entirely, but the truth is, it’s been a journey. The first step for me was realizing that it was fear. That I was afraid. After that, it got easier, but like Brielle, I had to learn and I needed some help along the way. From friends. From family. But, most importantly, from my Heavenly Father.
KM: This story has a little bit of everything – action, drama, romance. What kind of research did you do before you began writing it?
SD: Any research I did happened along the way. I read some about child trafficking which plays a role in the story. While the crimes in Angel Eyes are entirely made up, I found an amazing organization, Chab Dai, that’s doing life-changing work both in the US and abroad. I enjoy following them on Facebook and reading about what they’re doing to fight this horrendous monster. I also read widely in the young adult genre and I’m a compulsive people watcher, which is an easy talent to cultivate. Working with teens certainly helped. And then, of course, there’s the Bible. The angels and demons in Angel Eyes come from my imagination, but the concepts and principles of their realm came to me via scripture which is the primary way my imagination was informed.
KM: This is your first novel (congrats!). Has the process of writing a novel and getting published been different than you expected?
SD: In many ways it’s been better than I expected. My publisher is fabulous and they’ve been so great to walk me through everything. In other ways, it’s been harder than I expected. There are so many things to be done that have nothing at all to do with writing your story. There’s marketing and publicity. There’s conferences and reviews. There’s just this whole book world that is insanely fabulous to be a part of, but can be overwhelming if you’re not prepared. And deadlines. Of course, deadlines. Before, I could write whenever I wanted, but as a contracted writer you have to get stuff done in a timely manner. So, I’m learning. Learning, learning, learning.
KM: If this novel were to be made into a movie (it would make a GREAT movie), who would you cast as Brielle, Jake, and Canaan? Would you make a cameo? If so, where and how?
SD: Oh yay! I’m so glad you asked this question. This is the fun stuff. For Brielle, I’d cast Elle Fanning. I know she’s a bit young now, but we’ve still got to convince a studio, right? And she was AMAZING in Super 8. For Jake I’d cast Thomas Dekker. Back when I was drafting and redrafting Angel Eyes, I was quite addicted to The Sarah Conner Chronicles. Judge away, but I still mourn its cancellation. Anyway, Thomas Dekker played the young John Conner and he’d make a fantastic Jake. He’s got those killer eyes. Canaan came to me a bit later when I saw advertisements for Hawaii 5-0. Now, whenever I see McGarrett, played by Alex O’Loughlin, all I see is Canaan. And, OF COURSE, I’d make a cameo. Maybe I’d be one of the old men from the Donut Factory. I’ve never worn old man make-up before. That could be awesome!
Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me, Shannon!
And, readers, I’m so excited about this book, I want to give you a chance to win a copy of it. So comment away, and I will choose a winner at random (and I do mean random). The winner will be announced later this week.