Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Book Giveaway and Author Interview: Surfacing by Shana Norris

Sixteen-year-old Mara Westray has just lost her mother, and now, being shipped off to live with the father she doesn’t know is not how she imagined grieving. She’s already counting down the days until she turns eighteen and can leave the tiny island of Swans Landing.

But from the moment she steps off the ferry, nothing is as ordinary as it looks. Whispers of a haunting song on the wind make her see impossible things, and she isn’t sure she can trust her judgment about what is real and what isn’t anymore. Maybe she can’t even trust her judgment about quiet Josh Canavan, whose way of speaking in riddles and half-truths only confuses her more, luring her deeper into the secrets hidden beneath the ocean’s surface.

As she tries to unravel the events that led to her mom fleeing the island sixteen years ago, Mara finds that the biggest secret of all is only the beginning.

About Shana (from her site)

I was born August 19, on my parents’ first wedding anniversary, in a small town in eastern North Carolina. I’m the oldest of four children. I’m a leo, which means I’m supposed to be bossy, interfering, and intolerant. But I’m also supposed to be broad-minded, warm-hearted, and creative, so maybe it all evens out.

I’ve always loved books. My parents would read my favorite books to me so often that I’d memorize them before I had learned how to read. Some of my favorite memories as a kid are of my mom taking my siblings and me to the public library. I’d always check out a big stack of books and then have them all read within a week. The first time I can remember writing a story that wasn’t for school, but simply because I wanted to write, was when I was eight years old. I wrote and illustrated a book called The Lonely Rectangle. It was a story about a rectangle that had been thrown in the trash and felt unloved until someone found it and took it home to use as a table. No, it was not a box or anything like that, it was just a plain rectangle. I have no clue why I decided to write about a geometric shape. It wasn’t like I was particularly fond of math or anything.

I spent my junior year of high school and part of my senior year living just outside of West Palm Beach, Florida, where my family moved to the summer I turned sixteen. I had a hard time making friends, but the good thing that came out of it was that I started to spend a lot of time online since I had no one to hang out with after school. That was when I discovered online journals written by teen girls and even started my own, which I wrote under a pen name. It was that experience with online journals in 1996-1997, the predecessor of today’s blogs, that helped inspire Something to Blog About.

I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a writer. Well, actually I wanted to be a ballerina, an archaeologist, a teacher, AND a writer, all at the same time. But after a while I figured out that I’d never taken a ballet lesson in my life, I didn’t particularly like to get dirty, and I hated being in a classroom all day, so that really only left writer as my future job. My family advised me to get a back up plan, which meant, “study something else in school that you can earn a living at while waiting for your books to sell.” So I studied graphic design, tested out of as many classes as I possibly could to avoid sitting in so many classrooms, and got my degree.

I’m still a web designer by day and write my books during my lunch hours and at night. I currently live in North Carolina with my husband and our menagerie of pets: two dogs–Chloe and Zoey–and five cats–Elmo, Bandit, Kit, BC, and Butter.

Thank you so much for being here!

--The Twitter version: tell us about your book in 140 characters or less. Surfacing is a paranormal YA that takes place on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. There are mermaids involved. And lots of secrets.

--How did you get the idea for the story? The idea originally came from my love of the Outer Banks during the off season. My husband and I visited the islands one year in March, before the tourists had arrived, and it was so quiet and empty. It made me think about all the secrets that could be there that only the year round residents know about. From that, the fictional island and the people started to grow in my head.

--Which character would you most/least like to have dinner with? I’d most like to have dinner with Miss Gale because she’s the best cook on the island and she’d insist on making something good rather than letting us go out to eat. But I’d hate to have dinner with Elizabeth Connors. I don’t think I could stand to be around her very long.

--What are some of your favorite books? Do you still have much time to read? I love Sarah Dessen’s books, especially The Truth About Forever. I’m also a big Meg Cabot fan and have read most of her books.

--Do you have any other works in progress? Any teasers or release dates? Right now, I’m working on a sequel novella to my second published book, Troy High. I hope to have it out in ebook format early next year, but I don’t have a definite release date yet. I’m also working on the sequel to Surfacing, but again, no definite release date right now!

--If a fairy godmother told you your life could be like a favorite book for 24 hours, which book would you pick and why? Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery. I always wanted to be Emily for a little while when I was a kid (I love the Anne of Green Gables books too, but Emily has always been my favorite). I’d probably miss modern conveniences, but 24 hours in Emily’s world would be fun to experience!

--Do you need anything to write (music, coffee, etc)? Are there any songs on your playlist- songs that inspired you or that were playing while you wrote? I need quiet to write. I can’t have the TV on or people trying to talk to me. I do make playlists for each of my books because songs help influence storylines and characters, but I can’t listen to them while I write. I listen to them during brainstorming sessions when I’m trying to figure out events or character motivations. I have all of the playlists for my books up on my website at www.shananorris.com

--If you could have any superpower what would you choose? The ability to clone myself. Is that a superpower? One of the guys in X-Men 3 could do it, so I’m going with yes. I need to be able to split off into clones any time I want so I can have one clone working, another clone reading all of the books on my huge to read list, and another clone just being completely lazy and doing nothing!

--Besides writing, what do you like to do in your free time? My husband and I just bought kayaks last spring, so we spend a lot of time kayaking during warm weather. We also love to visit historical sites and homes. I’m a big history geek.

--Is there anything else you want to add or say to your readers? Thanks so much for the interview! And thank you to all the readers out there for taking the time to check out my books!

Lightning round: this or that?

Vanilla or chocolate? Vanilla.

Edward or Jacob? Neutral!

Hockey or soccer? Soccer.

Ebook or paper? Both!

Salty or sweet? Sweet, but a fruity sweet.

Beach or mountains? Beach.

Phone call or email? Email.

Early bird or night owl? Night owl.

Dog or cat? Both!

Messy or neat? I try to be neat, but honestly, messy.

Ninjas or pirates? Pirates. Arr!

And now for the GIVEAWAY:
-Open internationally
-Ebook format

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