Author One-on-One: Heather Brewer and Shannon Messenger
NYT Bestseller Heather Brewer interviews Shannon Messenger about Let The Sky Fall
Heather Brewer: I’m such a fan of strong, kick-butt girls—both in life and in fiction. Audra is so strong, so different than the “rescue me” variety of heroines out there. Where does her strength come from? To be blunt, is she you, in awesome book form?
Shannon Messenger: Ha—I wish! I’d love to claim that I’m as brave and tough as Audra is, but anyone who’s ever seen me around a spider would totally call me out. :) I guess the one thing we do have in common is that we’re both really stubborn, and in Audra’s case I feel like that’s where a lot of her strength comes from. When she sets her mind to something, she will make it happen. She’s also the most broken character I’ve ever written, and yet those fears and insecurities are what push her to be stronger, fight harder, and always stand up for what she believes.
HB: Vane. Can we talk about Vane, please?? He’s precisely the kind of charming rebel that so many readers swoon over. *cough* Yours truly. *cough* Who was the inspiration, if anyone…and can we all date him?
SM: Awww, I’m so glad you love Vane! He’s one of my favorite characters to write—though, I’ll admit, he can also make me want to shout at the screen, “Will you stop hitting on Audra and focus?” (Side note: yes, my characters are probably too real to me…) And honestly, half the time when I reread his chapters I think, Where did that come from??? But that’s what I love best about him. He’s such a boy. And he feels real. He’s a guy who could easily be sitting next to you in your class, or in line in front of you at In-N-Out. Just, you know, with the power to control the wind. And better abs. ;)
HB: There are so many books out there that focus on the paranormal, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd. Let The Sky Fall totally does! What gave you the unique idea to write about sylphs?
SM:I stumbled across sylphs when I was doing research for my middle-grade series, Keeper of the Lost Cities. They caught my attention because they had very little existing lore, so I could pretty much make up whatever I wanted. And I’ve always been fascinated by the wind. I love how it can be a refreshing breeze on a hot day or a tornado destroying an entire town—and everything in between. Once I started thinking about what it would be like to have that kind of power, the characters sprang to life and refused to go away. I finally gave in one night at four a.m., dragged myself out of bed, and started writing their story. They’ve been bossing me around ever since.
HB: Audra really shoulders some huge responsibilities as Vane’s guardian, and together they face daunting challenges. Can you speak to this personally as it pertains to the writing and publishing process?
SM: Wait—is getting published daunting? Nobody told me!!! No, I hope you’re picking up my sarcasm, because getting published was *quite* the process. I spent nearly four years writing Keeper of the Lost Cities, and the final published version is actually draft twenty. (Yes, twenty!) That’s why Let The Sky Fall started out as my “sanity project.” Whenever I’d get to the point where I wanted to throw my laptop into the street and back over it with my car, I’d take a break from revision and play with Vane and Audra until I fell back in love with writing again. I think that’s the most important thing when you’re trying to get published: do it because you love it.
HB: Okay, let’s get down to it. Who would win in a slap fight: Kaya from Legacy of Tril or Audra from Let the Sky Fall?
SM: Hm, that’s a tricky one, because we both know that with these girls, the slap fight would very quickly turn into a sword fight—or, I should say, a katana vs. windslicer fight—and they both have some mad skills with a blade. I’m pretty sure the fight would end in a draw. But it would be awesome to watch!
HB: What’s next for my new favorite characters? Will there be more books about Audra and Vane (best name EVER, by the way)?
SM: Aw, thank you! And yes, there will be more books! I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone, so I won’t get into any specifics. But I will say: there will be kissing! (one must have priorities, after all…) We’re also going to see a lot more of the sylphs’ world, and meet some really cool new characters, and brave some pretty epic wind battles. Basically I’m doing everything I can to make sure the next books blow everyone away! (Come on, we all knew I wasn’t going to make it through this interview without at least ONE wind pun.)