Hello readers! Today I have an interview for you, from the lovely Shannon Lee Alexander! She is the author of Life After Juliet, which releases today! So settle down, read a little about her, and then don’t forget to pick up your copy!
What initially inspired you to write Life After Juliet?
I am an accidental serial novelist. I’d never intended to write a companion to LOVE AND OTHER UNKNOWN VARIABLES. I was happy with the story’s end, at least until my editor asked, “What happens to Becca?” Boom! I had to know the answer for myself! So, I began writing Becca’s story, and after many drafts and agonizing critique sessions with my writing group, LIFE AFTER JULIET was completed.
What was most challenging about writing this book?
Tapping in to my own grief from losing a friend, but making sure Becca’s experience with her own grief was very different from mine. While Becca and I are similar, we are not the same person, so I needed to honor her journey and not allow my experiences to color hers.
What are you most excited for people to experience in Life After Juliet when it is released on July 5th?
Max Herrera. No, wait! Darby Jones. No! Victor Song…and Kelli and Miles and Greg…oh, and Thomas, too! I’m excited about sharing all these new characters that Becca meets. There are so many wonderful characters in this story. Each of them surprised me as I was writing LIFE AFTER JULIET. I can’t wait for you all to meet them!
What writers have inspired you?
Wilson Rawls, the author of WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS, was the first writer to give me a book hangover. I was in third grade, but I still remember that completely empty feeling I had at the end of that book. Harper Lee’s beautiful writing and amazing characters in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD have inspired me time and again. Her work plays a big role in LOVE AND OTHER UNKNOWN VARIABLES. There are many characters and themes in that book inspired by Ms. Lee. I’ve also always loved theater and reading plays. And Shakespeare is a staple of the theater. Although Romeo and Juliet is not my favorite Shakespearean play, it was fun to draw parallels to it in LIFE AFTER JULIET.
If you could meet any fictional character, who would it be?
Just one? No fair! Um…I had no idea how to answer this, so I asked my son. He said he’d meet Percy Jackson because Percy’s always surrounded by friends so he’d get to meet them, too. He said, “It’s all about where you meet them, Mom.” My son is a genius. So, I’d want to meet Harry Potter, in The Great Hall at the opening feast during the fourth year. Then, I’d get to meet just about everyone!
What was the last book you read?
I’m so glad you asked because I just finished a beautiful book and I’m dying to tell people about it. MAYBE A FOX by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee is a gorgeous middle grade book about a girl and a fox and the heartbreaking ways in which they are connected, the ways in which we’re all connected, even if we’re too wrapped up in our own lives to notice. I LOVED this book. It tugged at my heart in all the right ways, and tissues were definitely necessary at the end.
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Thanks so much Shannon! I think your son has definitely cracked the code on the fictional characters question. The problem is, I love both Percy and Harry so much, so how to choose between them???
If you want to learn more about Shannon and Life After Juliet, click here!