Shannon Hale's most recent book, Austenland, has been made into a film starring Keri Russell, JJ Feild and Jane Seymour, and will hopefully be screened in the UK sometime in the next few months. We'll be reviewing Austenland here soon, but in the meantime here are a few questions that Shannon recently answered for us.
Can you tell us a little about your average writing day?
I have four young children, so my writing time revolves around their schedules. I'm a full-time mom with a part time sitter who gives me 3 hours/weekdays to write.
When you are writing, do you use any celebrities or people you know as inspiration?
Nope. I'm sure aspects of people I know seep into aspects of my characters, but I never model characters on real people. They feel more real in my head than almost anyone I know anyway.
What is your favourite Women’s Fiction book of all time and why?
I'm terrible at picking favorites of anything. I just can't play that way.
What is your writing process? Do you plan first or dive in? How many drafts do you do?
Every time I have an idea spark for a book I write it down (daily usually) then I see if it's a magnet idea–if other ideas are attracted to it till it becomes more of a story. I may take notes and write random scenes for a book for 1 year-many years before organizing my rough notes and using them to write a first draft. And then I rewrite. A lot.
What was your journey to being a published author?
I declared I wanted to write books when I was 10. It took me 19 years, a Masters in Creative Writing, dozens of stories and a couple of books before I finally found a home for my young adult novel The Goose Girl. I started writing Austenland between drafts of Goose Girl.
What do you think is the biggest myth about being a novelist?
That we're rich, glamorous, and beloved! Writing is a hard scrabble life. But I love it. Nothing like playing with words for a living.
What advice can you give to our readers who want to write a novel of their own?
Don't worry about getting published for as long as possible. Read everything, not just in your chosen genre. And write daily, even for 15 minutes; don't wait for a mythical period of Free Time. Love your craft, hone your craft, take it seriously.
What are you working on at the moment?
I just finished a YA sci-fi adventure novel and am working on a fantasy middle grade. I have plans to write a third Austenland novel as soon as I finish two more books. Or three. So many stories I'm longing to write!