Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Something to Blog About by Shana Norris

Shana Norris is the author of SOMETHING TO BLOG ABOUT, which is about a fifteen-year-old girl, Libby, who starts a secret blog after she burns half her hair off thanks to a run-in with a Bunsen burner. She starts writing about her secrets and her friends' secrets, but then she gets into a bit of trouble when the blog is found out and posted all over her school. Please visit Shana at

Marlene Perez: Do you remember writing the first words? Are they still the same?

Shana Norris: I do remember writing them! I save all of my old drafts, so I still have the very first one I wrote.The first words have changed since then. They used to be "Really, who gets a pimple on the bottom of their earlobe?" This was the first sentence of the very first blog entry I wrote for Libby.

Marlene Perez: What is the hardest part of writing for you?

Shana Norris: I know a lot of writers struggle with the first draft, but the hardest part for me is what comes after: revision. I usually write a first draft really quickly and don't worry too much about timelines or delving too deeply into subplots or consistency in names or personalities. During the first draft, I just want toget the main story down. So that means I have to do A LOT of cleaning up during revisions. I'm usually pulling out my hair while trying to make sense of my messy first draft!

Marlene Perez: What are you working on now?

Shana Norris: Right now, I'm working on my second book, which is a modern day retelling of a story from Greek mythology, set in high school. I don't want to say a lot about it right now since it's not done, but I'm really excited about it!

Marlene Perez: Tell us something about you that no one knows.

Shana Norris: I can recite all 50 United States in alphabetical order in less than 20 seconds. I was a bit odd as a kid and used to come up with things like that to challenge myself!

Marlene Perez: What is your favorite line, passage, or chapter from this book?

Shana Norris: There's a fight scene in the book. I won't spoil it for people who haven't read it yet, but that was my favorite scene to write. It's meant to be funny, so I really enjoyed writing it.

Marlene Perez: Was there any part that you struggled with or avoided writing?

Shana Norris: Developing the character of Seth, the love interest, was the hardest part for me. At first, he was a little too detached and mysterious, so I had to really work at him to make him into someone that Libby would be attracted to.

Marlene Perez:What's on your nightstand right now?

Shana Norris: Right now, I'm about to start on I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME by Lisa Schroeder and THE ASSASSIN KING by Elizabeth Haydon.

Marlene Perez: What are your hobbies?

Shana Norris: I like to knit, sew, and scrapbook. I also dabble a little into photography from time to time.

Marlene Perez: Have you ever wanted to quit writing? Why?

Shana Norris: I have, several times. Before I wrote SOMETHING TO BLOG ABOUT, I wanted to be a fantasy writer. I wrote a huge fantasy trilogy and tried to get an agent for it. But all of my queries were rejected without any requests for partials or fulls, so I fell into a deep funk and considered giving up trying to be published all together. Even after I wrote SOMETHING TO BLOG ABOUT, I had moments of wanting to give up. I remember getting a rejection from an agent for STBA the same day that my dog died and that sent me into a three month period of not querying or writing at all. I think any creative field is a very hard career to get into because your work is so personal and rejections can feel like an attack on you as a person rather than just one person's opinion on this work in particular.

Marlene Perez: If you could be anything else besides a writer, what would it be?

Shana Norris: An archaeologist. I've always loved history and I would love to go around digging up ancient cities!

~~~Cafe Note~~ As a regular part of our interviews, featured authors will pop back in for one week after their interview is posted to answer any other questions blog readers may leave for them. So if you have any questions or comments for Shana, send them now! She'd love to hear from you!