Interview with Shannon Delany, author of 13 to Life

Welcome to Shannon Delany’s Start Your Day with Serial Tour! Shannon’s debut novel (and first in her YA paranormal series) 13 to Life started as a winning cell phone novel written in serial segments. During the tour you can read bits of the book in order. Miss a day? Hop to Shannon’s blog and check the link to the blog tour calendar in her sidebar.

There will also be a contest that will close at the end of the tour. Winners get a bunch of stuff.

First, welcome to Escape Through the Pages! Your debut novel, 13 to Life hit stores June 22; can you give us a brief summary?

Thank you, Cait! Glad to be here!

Okay, here goes: 13 to Life is a story of a teen girl (Jessie to most) who finds her friendships, loyalty and motives in question after the sudden loss of her mother. As she tries to get her life back under control she’s given the responsibility of taking the new guy at Junction High (Pietr Rusakova) around for his school orientation. They have some issues–it’s certainly not love at first sight for these two–but she starts to realize there’s more to him than she expected. They have some important and tragic things in common. There’s some romance and the development of a bit of a messy love quadrangle (triangles are so last year ;-)) and then big heaping helpings of danger. And some death. Yeah. And of course there are werewolves.

A quadrangle is a nice change! 13 to Life is an expanded version of your winning submission for Textnovel 2008 ( – why did you decide to enter the contest?

It was all on a whim. I was doing freelance article writing (and freelance art) when I stumbled onto info about the site and contest. I decided to toss out an idea (actually two–both were finalists).

How did you come up with your ideas for the novel? Was 13 to Life a story you’d already been thinking of writing?

Great question! No. Absolutely not. The serial version of 13 to Life only truly developed between November 22/23 and December 31 (the end of the contest). I had no intention of writing about werewolves. Not ever. My brother and I still joke about that fact.

Werewolves are sneaky, eh? So how much of that original textnovel submission made it into the final draft of 13 to Life? Did the characterizations change much/at all?

Most of it made the cut. I did run a body count on my blog at a point because there were some extranneous characters and I enjoyed seeing how many I could remove without messing up the story’s integrity. Other than dropping a few characters, the rest of the cast just deepened (and in some cases, darkened). Jessie became a little more troubled–and I tightened her POV so we only see and hear what she does, Pietr became bolder, Sarah became sweeter and more dangerous and Amy, Alexi, Max and a few other secondary characters stepped up and became more distinct. The seeds for all of it were definitely in the Textnovel version, but having the time and space of a NYC novel allowed those seeds to start to really grow (though some only begin to blossom in book 2).

What was your reaction to seeing your book in print, versus online?

It’s an awesome feeling, holding (and sniffing–don’t laugh!–more authors than you think sniff their books ;-)) an actual, physical copy of your book. The sensation that comes from the physical connection with turnable pages is so much better (for me) than something that’s online or on a cell (but I’m from a generation before a lot of the technology that’s taken for granted today).

I’m not gonna lie, I sniff books too. And having it be your OWN book? Even better! Getting a book published seems like quite an experience; what’s been the most interesting part so far? The craziest?

The most interesting part so far has been getting my copyedits back with my Style Sheets. I have Style! 😉 Tell that to those mean girls in middle school! LOL! I’m such a nerd I love to read how the copyeditor summarizes characters and places I’ve created. The craziest part of getting a book published? Knowing we’ve had some interest from movie producers and that we’ve sold foreign rights. I can’t wait to see 13 to Life with foreign covers and text! And if we land a movie deal? Expect a big, big party for readers.

(Click to see larger images)

I’ll be at that party! Ok, starting now, you’re stuck reading ONE book, and one book only; which book would it be?

Ugh. This is like nightmare material for someone with my pitiful attention span. Okay… I’d say either Barnhardt’s Dictionary of Etymology (I’m a word nerd and since each word has an origin story of sorts that’d keep me going for a while) OR Who’s Who Non-Classical Mythology (I love mixing and matching myths and legends).

And last but not least, any advice for beginning writers?

Yes. Read a lot and write even more. Reading helps “fill the well” of your imagination and writing will help you develop your voice and personal style.

Thank you so much, Shannon!

And now I have the next snippet of the tour to share with you all. For chapter 4, part I, see The Sweet Bookshelf. For all other parts, check out

13 to Life: Chapter 4, part J (used with the author’s permission)

Pietr continued to fidget. He may have had a gift for attracting girls, but he also had the ability to make someone nervous. His leg began to shake and then he began to softly drum the fingers of one hand on the desk as he wrote with the other.
“Pietr,” I warned softly.
He stopped and focused on taking notes. For six solid minutes.

Eight days ago Shannon Delany’s debut novel, 13 to Life, hit bookstores nationwide. It is available online and at fine booksellers everywhere. If you’d like to learn more about Shannon and her series, check out or or follow her at

Shannon’s hosting several contests during the Start Your Day with Serial Tour. The big contest will award one lucky winner with a royal amber pendant, pietersite jeweled bookmark, stuffed wolf, 13 to Life mousepad, pen, tote, signed poster, personalized copy of 13 to Life and both of the 13 to Life pins. All you need to do is comment at 13 of the blogs hosting Shannon during her 30 day tour. Everyone who does so will be entered into a random drawing. Winner may be international.


3 thoughts on “Interview with Shannon Delany, author of 13 to Life

  1. This was a great interview. Thanks for sharing the pictures and comments about the copyediting. 🙂

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