Thursday, June 02, 2005

Our Lucky Winners and an Enchanted Novel

Time to announce our lucky winners for the "why high school sucked" contest... Congratulations to Deb in Australia, Kelley in Ohio, and Joe in Texas for your wonderful entries. All three winners will receive a signed copy of The Bitch Posse for their reading pleasure. The runners-up are all eligible for signed bookplates, handy Bitch Posse fridge magnets, and Bitch Posse bookmarks. And in fact, if you want any of these items, send me an email and I'll ship them out until they're gone.

Now onto my lovely guest, Shanna Swendson of The Girlfriend's Cyber Circuit.

Shanna's just published what looks to be a really fun novel titled ENCHANTED, INC. From the press release:
Shanna Swendson's debut mainstream novel, ENCHANTED, INC (Ballantine Trade Paperback Original, $12.95, May 31, 2005) is a magical story featuring Katie Chandler, a 20something, small-town Texas girl, who finds that being average in New York City is anything but. Katie loves the energy of Manhattan, and if she finds some of the people odd, well, that's New York, right? Where else would you see a person on the subway wearing fairy wings? In fact, if Katie wasn't completely sure those wings must be a costume, she'd think they were real, the way they flutter in the breeze. Certainly the gargoyle that perches above the door of the church she passes on the way to and from work isn't real. Its eyes seem to follow her, and she could have sworn it winked at her once, but now that she thinks about it, it was really hot that day, and she hadn't eaten lunch....

Katie is still adjusting to life in the big city while working a for a nightmare boss, when she gets a fantastic offer to work for a mysterious company, MSI, Inc. Through her new job and the magical folk she meets, Katie comes to find out she isn't quite as average as she thought; and the fairy tale life she has longed for begins to come true in surprising ways.

What Katie doesn't realize is how rare and important being ordinary can be. In fact, it is her ordinary characteristics that make her the perfect secret weapon for MSI, Inc. Suddenly the very qualities she thought made her average are what make her special! Now she has magicians and fairies meddling in her attempted romances, a secret life she needs to keep hidden from her non-magical friends, not to mention that dangerous pull she feels for Owen, an attractive but shy wizard who might be the most powerful magic man since Merlin.

ENCHANTED, INC is a magical delight that will be a fun summer read for anyone who's wished upon a star or hoped for a sprinkle of fairy dust.
And check out this adorable cover:

Welcome to the blog, Shanna! Shanna makes a great interview subject, and she even got her answers back to me super-fast after I got them to her super-slowly! Maybe all that pixie dust slows down time for the magical Shanna.

And onto the interview:

MO'C: Shanna, you have such an interesting premise for ENCHANTED, INC. How did you get this idea?
SS: It mostly grew out of one of those "wouldn't it be great if ..." daydreams. I'd grown to hate my job and thought one morning about how great it would be if I opened my e-mail and found an offer for a dream job. In the daydream, that became a magical job, and then I thought that would make a good book. I love the kind of humor that comes from a clashing of two kinds of worlds, so I thought a book that clashed a chick-lit world with a magical world would be fun. The rest of the book very slowly came together from that concept, in bits and pieces.

MO'C: What is your greatest inspiration when writing?
SS: I think about the books I've read and enjoyed, and how much pleasure they've brought me. I write mostly to amuse myself, but I feel like if I can amuse myself, it will amuse somebody else. I dream about being the author who keeps someone up all night, swearing they'll just read one more chapter before turning out the light. When I get stuck, I imagine that reader.

MO'C: Who is your favorite magical character, from film, TV, or literature?
SS:My absolute favorite is one of my own, Owen Palmer, from ENCHANTED, INC. He started as a secondary character who was going to serve as background scenery, but he really came to life for me. He's this incredibly powerful wizard who is more of a boy next door -- this really nice, unassuming (but very cute) guy who happens to be the most powerful wizard of his generation.

If I can't pick my own character, I'd say it's Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, from the TV series Angel. I'm not sure if you'd technically classify him as magical, but he could translate ancient magical texts and work a spell or two when needed. He was such a deliciously complex character, and it was fun to watch him develop over the years from bumbling comic relief to tragic hero. Plus he had pretty blue eyes and a sexy accent.

MO'C: What are you working on now? Do you have plans for a sequel to Enchanted Inc?
SS: I've already written a sequel. It's scheduled to be published about this time next year (now, if I could only come up with a title for it!). I'm mostly working on promoting this book right now, but I'm working on a proposal for a young adult fantasy book. I'm also trying to brainstorm a main plot for book 3 in my Enchanted series, assuming the first book sells well enough that Ballantine is willing to look at a third book.

MO'C: What advice would you have for aspiring authors?
SS: The key to success in publishing is having the right story at the right time. That means you have to write your story, the one that's burning its way out of you, the one that no one but you can write the way it needs to be written -- regardless of what you think the market is looking for. Then you have to believe in that story and keep trying. If it doesn't sell, you have to find another story inside you and start all over again. I went through an eight-year drought between books when I was wallpapering New York with books and proposals, and it was only when I nearly gave up and let myself write a book just for fun that I broke through. (My note: Shanna nailed it! This is exactly what happened to me with THE BITCH POSSE.)

Thanks so much, Shanna! Visit Shanna's site and buy ENCHANTED, INC at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or my personal fave, your local indie bookseller through Booksense.