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Today I’m thrilled to be a part of Shannon Messenger’s Blog Tour for the release of LET THE SKY FALL, which releases on March 5th. I was very fortunate that Shannon let me read her ARC. Let me tell you, it was fantastic. And even though it’s 404 pages long and I had to go to work the days I read it, I finished it in two days. Okay, I confess I stayed up way too long one night because I couldn’t put it down.

Shannon creates a fantastic magical world around the power of wind that the sylphs control. I wondered if this would be enough of a magical power for a whole book, but I loved the different sylph group with their own special wind powers. And Audra and Vane are very different, but both great characters. I know you’re going to love this book.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

A broken past and a divided future can’t stop the electric connection of two teens in this “charged and romantic” (Becca Fitzpatrick), lush novel.

Seventeen-year-old Vane Weston has no idea how he survived the category five tornado that killed his parents. And he has no idea if the beautiful, dark-haired girl who’s swept through his dreams every night since the storm is real. But he hopes she is.

Seventeen-year-old Audra is a sylph, an air elemental. She walks on the wind, can translate its alluring songs, and can even coax it into a weapon with a simple string of commands. She’s also a guardian—Vane’s guardian—and has sworn an oath to protect Vane at all costs. Even if it means sacrificing her own life.

When a hasty mistake reveals their location to the enemy who murdered both of their families, Audra’s forced to help Vane remember who he is. He has a power to claim—the secret language of the West Wind, which only he can understand. But unlocking his heritage will also unlock the memory Audra needs him to forget. And their greatest danger is not the warriors coming to destroy them—but the forbidden romance that’s grown between them.

Hi Shannon. Thanks so much for coming back her again and letting us help you celebrate your book release.

1. Your first awesome book, KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES, was a middle grade book. (Everyone, you can read my interview with Shannon here.) LET THE SKY FALL is definitely a YA book. What are some of the differences craft-wise in writing a middle grade vs. a YA book?

Aw, thank you so much for having me, Natalie! It's funny, I never really think: "This is a YA book" or "This is a MG book" when I'm drafting either series, because the "voice" of the stories comes so much from the characters themselves. Vane and Audra are both 17, and Sophie is12/13, so I spend most of my time really trying to think about what it felt like to be those ages, and then channel that feeling into the story. If the characters feel like they're truly their age, then the story will just sort of naturally fall into its proper age category.

2. Great tip to remember how it felt like to be your character’s age. I loved that Audra and Vane are sylphs and that they work with the wind. Tell us why you chose the wind and what your world building process was like.

Sylphs were a mythical creature I'd wanted to play with for a long time, mainly because they have very little actual mythology surrounding them (at least that I could find) so that left me a blank slate to do whatever I wanted. And I've always loved wind. It's something you can't see, but you can hear it and feel it and it's so unpredictable. It can be the gentle breeze that cools you off on a hot day or the raging tornado that destroys an entire town in a matter of minutes. So I spent a lot of time reading up on different wind related phenomena and then trying to decide how I could spin that into a "mythology" for a race of Windwalkers.

3. Your love of the wind definitely comes through here. And it is a great idea to pick a mythological creature with little mythology and then do what you want. I like that! Much of the story revolves around scenes between Audra and Vane. That could make a book a little boring, but your story was riveting. Tell us the challenges you faced in keeping the scenes so focused on them rather than including other characters more frequently.

Aw. *blush* Thank you! You know, this was another thing that really went back to the characters. Vane had such a BIG personality and had so much growing up to do, and Audra was so beautifully broken and complicated that the story didn't really have room for many other characters. It's really about THEM overcoming their pasts and figuring out who they are and how to survive the coming threat together. Once that's cleared up, then I can bring in a wider cast, which is exactly what happens in book 2. :)

4. Ooh, can’t wait for that! Okay, before I get to the next question, I just want to say that I loved that Vane was adopted. As an adoptive mom, I just want to say a HUGE THANK YOU for handling Vane’s relationship with his adoptive parents so realistically when he found out about his hidden past. And I loved his mom the few times she was around.

So now on to my next question, whose point of view was more difficult to write in—Audra’s or Vane’s—and why? 

Wow, that is a huge compliment--and one of my favorite things in the book, so I'm so glad you enjoyed it. As for your question, they were pretty much equally hard--but in totally different ways. Audra's voice is very wispy and lyrical, so I had to spend a lot of time polishing her prose and finding the right balance between her dark angst and the rhythm of her words. And Vane was really hard to keep serious. I had to go back and trim out a lot of jokes that were funny, but so not the time for that kind of humor.

5. Since you’re juggling writing two separate trilogies, both with deadlines, what’s your writing schedule like and how are you juggling the social media demands with the heavy writing schedule? Any tips for the rest of us, especially on how to best use Twitter, where I know you spend more time at than blogging? A lot of us wonder what to do with it and how much time to spend there.

My writing schedule is INTENSE. I write rather long books and my deadlines are very close together, so I pretty much work every day I'm not traveling for promo, and I pull a lot of all nighters. Which is why I've had to go dark online lately--especially when it comes to blogging. I stay a bit more active on Twitter, but mainly because tweets are short. Usually I sneak on during my daily writing breaks, respond to any @'s waiting for me, toss out a few new tweets of my own, and then sneak away and get back to work. But when I'm on a tight deadline I'll even be scarce on Twitter, mainly because my editor follows me on there and the last thing I'd want is for her to be like, WHY ARE YOU TWEETING--YOU OWE ME A BOOK!!! :)

6. It sounds intense. Hope it lightens up one of these days. I liked when you blogged more. Are your marketing plans any different for LET THE SKY FALL since it’s a YA book vs. KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES, which is a middle grade story? Why?

Yes, very much so--largely because kids aren't online much. Having something like a blog countdown widget or a goodreads giveaway would be wasted efforts on a middle grade, since your readers aren't "there." Whereas YA readers are.

7. That’s true to a point. I think really it’s adults on blogs and maybe even Goodreads. But I agree no middle grade kids are there. Share your advice on the essential things you’d recommend an author do in marketing their book.

Try to remember that launching a book is a marathon, not a sprint. Yes, you need to do a lot of promo leading up to the release of the book--but that's only the beginning. Every so often the book takes off from week one and goes huge huge huge, but most of the time it has to build. So do what you can to give your book as strong of a start as you can, but remember it's just a START, and save some of that energy for things after release.

8. That’s great advice to not put all your promotion to the release only. What are you working on now?

I just finished up the sequel to LTSF and now I have a few of those "in-between deadlines" (flap copy, first pass, etc) before I dive in to writing KEEPER 3. There's really no break when you do two series a year. Good thing I love my job! :)

True it’s a lot of work, but awesome to have two series out there. Thanks Shannon for sharing all your advice. I’m so excited for you watching you release another book. Good luck with it all.

About Shannon:

Shannon Messenger graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts where she learned--among other things--that she liked watching movies much better than making them. She also regularly eats cupcakes for breakfast, sleeps with a bright blue stuffed elephant named Ella, and occasionally gets caught talking to imaginary people. So it was only natural for her to write stories for children. KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES is her first novel, with LET THE SKY FALL, a young adult novel, to follow in 2013. She lives in Southern California with her husband and an embarrassing number of cats. Find her online at shannonmessenger.com.

Visit Shannon:  Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads

Shannon’s doing a pre-order giveaway HERE.

You can find the whole blog tour hosted by Mundie Moms HERE. And I really recommend you follow Mundie Moms' blog. It's SO awesome!

So there’s two giveaways today. First as part of the blog tour you can win 1 of 5 copies of LET THE SKY FALL by filling out the Rafflecopter below:
US residents only.
(international fans can enter as long as they have a US address 
Simon & Schuster can send the book to.)
- You must be 13 yrs & older to enter.

Good Luck!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And I’m giving away a copy of LET THE SKY FALL too because Shannon’s my friend and she’s been so supportive to the writing community. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment by midnight on March 16th. I’ll announce the winner on March 18th. International entries are welcome as long as you live where The Book Depository ships for free.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry.

And don't forget to enter my other contests. The links are at the top of the blog.

Here’s what’s coming up:

On Monday, I have a guest post by Anna Staniszewski and a giveaway of her new book, MY FAIRY EPIC TALE FAIL, and her first book, MY VERY UNFAIRY TALE LIFE. She does a fantastic job of combining fantasy with humor.

Next Wednesday, I have a guest post with debut author Liesel Hill and a giveaway of her new adult dystopian, PERSISTENCE OF VISION.

The following Monday I’m interviewing debut author Steven dos Santos and giving away an ARC of THE CULLING. It’s an action packed dystopian and trust me, Steven has no problem being hard on his characters.

Wednesday that week I’m super excited to share THE RUNAWAY KING by Jennifer Nielsen with you. I’ve been dying to read this since I read THE FALSE PRINCE last year, which just made the New York Bestseller list and won the Cybils. THE FALSE PRINCE is one of my all-time favorite books. THE RUNAWAY KING is fantastic and I’ll be doing a giveaway.

The following Monday I'm interviewing debut author Mindee Arnett and giving away a copy of her urban fantasy THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR. I loved the magical world Mindee created that was also grounded in our world. And there's a mystery to be solved, something I always love.

And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.

Hope to see you on Wednesday!


S.A. Larsenッ said...

I can't wait to read this! Shannon is so talented and such a sweetheart. Knew it would all happen for her. Thanks for spotlighting her.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Sounds fun! I've added it to my to-read list. Nice interview.

Andrea Mack said...

I enjoyed the interview! Shannon, it's impressive that you can juggle so much writing at once - thanks for sharing a little about how you do it.

I'm looking forward to reading Let the Sky Fall.

Anonymous said...

I read a lot of paranormal and fantasy and haven't come across sylphs yet, so I'm pretty excited for this book. Sounds like it could be really interesting!

Romance Book Haven said...

Hi Natalie, Hi Shannon,

Shannon congrats on your release I hope you get lots of success and sales. Natalie is a very supportive friend, I love that in person.

I won't ender the giveaway as I'm Rafflecopter allergic, but all the best with the whole project.


Michael Di Gesu said...

HI, Natalie, Hi, Shannon,

WOW .... I am FREAKED right now! Shannon I wrote my first novel about a half-psylph/half human eleven year old who could CONTROL the wind. I must read your book! I find i fascinating that you took it one step further and created a society. My mc grows up in the human world.

It is also the first in the series. I am currently doing the final rewrites on it. I wrote this back in 2009 so it has gone through MANY changes. LOL.

GOOD LUCK.... all the best!

Carina Olsen said...

Oh, I HATE YOU! :D lol, just kidding. <3 But omg. I am so jealous that you have read and loved this book, and is a part of this amazing blog tour :) I'm so so jealous. Been dying to read this book for so many months. Ever since I first heard about it, which was ages ago. Anyway. I'm so glad you loved it :) And omg. Thank you so much for this amazing interview post <3 I love all the questions and answers :) and thank you for the perfect giveaway :) You are amazing.
Love, Carina

mshatch said...

What a great interview! I'd love to read this unique story and I'm very envious of Shannon! She lives where I wish I lived (southern CA) AND loves her job - though I'm not so sure about trying to write two books at once. That sounds like a lot to handle!

Texas Book Lover said...

This book is so different than anything else out there! Super excited to read it!

Thanks so much!

Christina Lee said...

I always thought this book had a really unique concept and I like that it's dual POV--very cool! Congrats to Shannon.

Shiela Calderón Blankemeier said...

Thanks for the contest, Natalie! Great interview. Best of luck to Shannon for continued success. Can't wait to read LTSF!

Vivien said...

Shannon is such a sweetheart!! I'm really excited to read this one. Heard such good things :)
GFC: Vivien

deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

Barbara Watson said...

Thanks so much for the interview! And the chance to win LTSF!

LisaILJ said...

I really enjoyed the interview. I think the Simon and Schuster reps were asked about 1.2 million times if they had any ARCs of this at ALA-Midwinter. There are some people pretty eager to read this, including me.

Kayeleen Hamblin said...

I've been following Shannon's blog since I started blogging back in 2009. What a great girl. Looking forward to reading this book.

Jemi Fraser said...

I loved Shannon's MG book and can't wait to read this one too - she sure knows how to weave a tale! :)

Unknown said...

Great interview! Love the concept for Shannon's new ya book...how unique! Can't wait to read it! And props to her for all her hard work and all nighters writing and building her platform. Inspiring!

Carolina M. Valdez Schneider said...

I can only imagine how hard it must be to work on two series! But of all people, Shannon could pull it off--and without a hiccup. I'm looking forward to reading LTSF. I love the concept!

Patchi said...

This sounds so original that I can't wait to read it!

Llehn said...

Really want to read this!


CG @ Paper Fury said...

Love the sounds of this book! And an awesome (and inspiring) interview too.
I'm a follower! notebooksisters(at)gmail(dot)com

Sara @ Forever 17 Books said...

I so cannot wait to read this! And I love her inspiration with wind and the different types and such. I can't imagine being on such a tight schedule but she seems to be doing a great job! Thanks for sharing. :)

Stina said...

I've done the same with Twitter when I discover one of my friends is tweeting and I'm waiting for her latest book for me to beta read. :)

It seems like forever since the announcement of the book sale went public. Congrats, Shannon, on your upcoming release.

Nikki S said...

I definitely can not wait to read this! Its so different from everything that's out right now! I can't wait to read it!

jpetroroy said...

I'm really excited for this one.

danika dinsmore said...

BOTH Shannon's books are on my To Read! I don't know how she does it ... she says she "goes dark" on her blog, but it always seems like she's present. Perhaps it's magic, or just her spirit. Maybe that's a key aspect of social media - to appear to be around even when you can't be.

Val said...

This one really looks good and I love the cover.


Unknown said...

This is great! I'm so excited for Shannon! I met her during WriteOnCon 3 yrs ago, and she deserves all the success that's come her way. Congrats, Shannon! :-)

Shannon Messenger said...

Wow, thank you so much Natalie for such an awesome interview--and for all the amazing support. You seriously rock! <3

Angela Brown said...

I really loved the interview. Your back and forth banter was so conversational, Shannon and Natalie. And I love your responses, Shannon. Thanks so much for sharing about your books and I look forward to Let the Sky Fall becoming available :-)

cleemckenzie said...

Yay! I entered. Good luck to me and good luck to Shannon with her book.

Jessy said...

I'm so glad Shannon's book is finally coming out. I've been following her blog for a long time and she is such a blast. She deserves much success. Congrats on the release!

tweet: https://twitter.com/JessyB015/status/307162513496236032

Cherie Reich said...

Great interview! Congrats to Shannon!! I can't wait to get a chance to read Let The Sky Fall!

Sarah Elizabeth said...

Wind powers are certainly new to me! Sounds good!

Nicole Zoltack said...

I SO want to read this book! Congrats, Shannon!

Beth said...

Two trilogies at once? I simply can't imagine! This book sounds awesome.

MeganC said...

I can't even keep one story straight. Two trilogies is amazing!

bn100 said...

Very nice interview

Mundie Moms said...

Thank you for being on the tour!

Neysa Kristanti said...

His book had piqued my interest the first time I saw it on Goodreads, and seeing you saying it was fantastic, it only made me more curious!
I've never read a book about sylph before, so I'm really looking forward to reading LET THE SKY FALL.

Thanks for being on the tour and for sharing :D Nice interview !


Joanne R. Fritz said...

Wonderful interview, Natalie and Shannon. Shannon, you must have superpowers yourself to pull off a writing schedule like that!

Jessie Humphries said...

I am jealous of Shannon in so many ways! Amazing book covers, great online presence, and she lives in Southern California! It's good to know more things to be jealous of from this article ;).

Gwen Gardner said...

Shannon, I loved your take on writing YA vs MG. I want to write an MG but wasn't sure how to begin. Thanks for the tip!

Hi Natalie! *waves*

KT Shelby said...

Thanks for the awesome giveaway can't wait to read her books

Jocelyn Rish said...

This was a really great interview, Natalie, with the questions I'm most curious about. Thanks to you and to Shannon for giving such thoughtful answers. Can't wait to read the book!

Alyssa said...

YAYYY IT'S SHANNON!!! I seriously cannot wait to read Let the Sky Fall, and Exile for that matter :D

Shannon, I may never figure out why your deadlines are as insane as they are, seeing that BOTH book 2's had to be done before the Book 1's were released, but I love you for it! :D

Thank you so much for both chances to win a copy of this book! I cannot wait to read it :)

GFC - Alyssa Susanna
Twitter - https://twitter.com/Alyssa_Susanna/status/307610439133581312

Lea Krnjeta said...

Wow, cant wait for this book :) I tweeted https://twitter.com/Lena_Reve/status/307617861495574529

The More the Merrier said...

Thanks for the chance. This book sounds amazing plus I love that cover!

Michael G-G said...

I always enjoy your interviews, Natalie. And I look forward to reading this novel by one of my author-heroines!

Rachna Chhabria said...

The book sounds good. Love your reviews and author interviews.

Neysa Kristanti said...

Whoops, I mean "This" not "his" 0.0 (Sorry Shannon, typed it on my blackberry :D)

Anonymous said...
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Julie Musil said...

I'm blown away that Shannon is writing two series! Wow. LET THE SKY FALL sounds like an amazing story.

SA said...

wow, great interview. the book sounds amazing. (phireife@gmail.com)

Old Kitty said...

All the best to lovely and super talented and amazing Shannon!! I was very very lucky to win a critique off her when I first started blogging and to this day am totally grateful for her most insightful words of wisdom - and she did so with such humour too! Yay! Take care

Jess said...

Thanks so much for the interview~ really great questions, Natalie! It was great to hear more about Shannon's process and intense schedule~ she's a work horse!!

Theresa Milstein said...

Wow, Shannon sounds busy!

Gabriela said...

Great Interview! :D This book sounds amazing :)

Akoss said...

Shannon is such a hard worker. I'm looking forward to reading this book.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I am so excited for Shannon, though I can't imagine how she keeps up with everything these days! :)

Thanks for the giveaway, Natalie!

Unknown said...

Thank you! I can't wait to read this!

kathrynjankowski said...

"Try to remember that launching a book is a marathon, not a sprint." Terrific advice!
Thanks for another great giveaway.

Jaime Lester said...

I like that she chose Sylphs and pretty much had a blank slate to do with what she pleased. And even better, it worked beautifully! Great interview!

Mary said...

Can't wait to read this one! I've heard some good things about it.

Unknown said...

Congrats to Shannon on the AWESOME-sounding book (with an equally awesome cover)!
I'm entering the international contest since the Book Depository does ship to my country.
I also tweeted :-)

Christy said...

I can't wait to read this book! Thank you so much for the giveaway!

Art Jones said...

I'm ready to read Shannon's story. I discovered this YA genre after beta reading Heloise Jones, Flight. I like the youth enduring and moving beyond the life dealt them.