FAQs

**Please note: I also have KEEPER specific FAQs answered on the main KEEPER page. To find them, click HERE**


I love the art/doodles I always see you posting on your instagram feed--do you sell them?
Awww, thank you so much!!! And yes, I DO sell them. The easiest (and most affordable) way to buy them is to order prints from my Society6 page, which you can find by clicking HERE. (Another bonus? Society6 also lets you put the designs on all kinds of fun things like pillows, tote bags, phone cases, etc.) I don't put every drawing on there, just the most popular/most requested (scanning them and formatting them takes quite a lot of time). So if there's something you saw and wanted that's not on there, let me know and I'll see about adding it.

As for the originals, I'll admit, I don't have the most organized method. I get a lot of requests for an Etsy store--and maybe I will someday. Right now, between deadlines and event travel it's *one* too many things to juggle. So if you see an original you want to buy, email me at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com and I'll let you know if it's still available and how much, etc. I always sell them first come, first served. And to give you a ball park idea on pricing, they range from $50-$200 depending on the size, how long they took me, etc, with most of them ending up around $75-$100. (Pricing is different for the drawn-on books I sometimes post pics of) Shipping in the US is $7, and I will ship internationally, but I'll need to work out a shipping estimate based on your country.


Will you please please PLEASE come visit my town/school?
Awww, I'm so happy you want to meet me--I promise, I want to meet you, too! And I do travel a *lot*, and visit a *lot* of schools. But sadly I can't travel all the time (I do have to stay home and, yanno, write sometimes). And I don't get to choose where my publisher will tour me.  So all I can really say is: HOPEFULLY! I'm also sometimes able to attend local book festivals, so if you have one in your area you should contact the organizers and request they invite me. Many kids have done that and had it work out great. I also do arrange MANY school visits, and they're one of my favorite things. So if that's something you'd like to set up, have your teacher or librarian contact me (but keep in mind, I do charge a fee for school visits). You can also find out more information about school visits on my teachers and librarians page, by clicking HERE.


Do you read fanfiction for your series?
I don't. Ever. I'm SUPER honored that people are inspired enough by my books to write their own stories. But IMHO, the author should be in charge of the books and the fans should be in charge of the fanfiction, and the two things should stay separate for lots of different reasons. For example, if I read a piece of fanfiction, and the writer did something I was planning to do in the later books, that writer might think I stole the idea from them--even though I didn't. And that's just one example of how it could get messy if I was reading fanfiction, so I stay far away from it, and if readers email it to me, sadly my assistant deletes those before they ever reach me. Being a responsible adult is especially boring sometimes.


Are you on Wattpad (and if not--will you join)?
I'm not on Wattpad, and at the moment, I sadly have no plans to join. It seems to be that people only really use Wattpad for two things. 1) to read other people's fanfiction, in which case, see the answer above. Or 2) to post writing of their own, in which case I unfortunately have too many contracted deadlines to meet before I'll have time to write anything else. If that ever changes, of course I'll let you guys know. But at the moment, no wattpad. Sorry!


Do you Follow-back on Twitter?
Not as a general rule. I wish I could--really, I do. But the more people I follow, the less likely it is I'll be able to see anyone's tweets, because I'll be too flooded. So I tend to only follow people I know--and by know, I mean communicate with on a really regular basis. I do, however, try to respond to my @replies. So please, feel free to @reply me any time.


Do you Follow-back on Instagrm?
Just like with Twitter, I only follow people I know--especially when it comes to kids. I love, love, LOVE connecting with my readers. But the smartest/safest way to do that is for you to follow me--not the other way around. And as it says right in my instagram profile, I don't use the DM feature on instagram, so if you send me anything direct I'll never see it. I do try to reply to comments on there, but Instagram's not as user-friendly when it comes to comments, so sometimes I miss them. If I miss yours, you can always post it again. And it helps if you tag me.


Can I send you a friend request on Facebook?
Yes, please do. This is where I make up for my not-following-back-on-Twitter rule. I accept pretty much any friend request that doesn't send up a glaring "creeper" flag. (And if you ARE a creeper... please don't send me a request--or visit my blog!) (*shudder*) So yes, send away. I'll accept as soon as I can. But if you private message me on Facebook you won't get a reply from me (occasionally my assistant replies, but not to everything.) The only messages I reply to are emails. (See my contact page for my email address).


Can you send me a free book for my library/blog contest/because-I-really-really-want-one?
Alas, I wish I could afford to do this. But the fact of the matter is, I get a very limited amount of author copies of my books, and I donate them to my local schools and libraries. So I don't have anything to offer.


How can I request an ARC (advanced reader copy) of your books to post a review?
I used to have handy-dandy ARC request forms for you guys to use. But now that we're several books into both of my series, my publisher actually won't be doing ARCs--which is awesome, since that means we won't have to worry about spoilers leaking. But, sadly, it also means we're to the: you'll have to wait for the book to be released stage. And like the answer above, I have no free review copies to give away. Alas. Alack.


Can you send me some of your swag for me to have, or for a blog giveaway?
Again, this is one of those things I wish I could afford to do. But I have a limited amount of swag, (and an even more limited budget for mailing/postage expenses) so I generally save my swag to give out as a "bonus" to anyone who comes to my signings, or for the swag giveaways I do through my website/social media--which I do fairly regularly. The only exception to this is for teachers, librarians, or book clubs who are featuring my book to their readers. If that's you, email me at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com and we'll see what we can figure out.


I'm a writer, too! Will you read some of my pages?
I wish I could--because I'm sure they're wonderful. Unfortunately there just aren't enough hours in the day for me to be able to do that (and a host of complicated legal reasons). So no, I can't.  I'm so sorry. And if you send them to me I'll have to delete the email immediately, and you will not get a reply. Again, for legal reasons. Alas. Alack.


Can I interview you on my blog?
Wow, I can't believe you think I'm cool enough to interview--and I really wish I could say yes. But between deadlines, travel, and all the other crazy things that I never realized would be part of my job when I became an author, I rarely have time. If it's a short interview (no more than five questions) and you catch me at a good time I *might* be able to squeeze it in. So you're welcome to email me and ask. But I'll warn you, I VERY rarely say yes, and I don't have time to reply to all the interview requests, so if you don't hear from me, it's sadly a "no." Sorry. I really need to figure out how to buy a couple of extra months every year.


Will you please answer a few questions--it's for a homework assignment?!
Much like the blog interview question above, this is something I just don't have time for. Especially since most homework is on a deadline, and my average email reply time is 8-10 months, I guarantee I won't get back to you in time. So I've had to institute an "I don't help with homework" policy. If you're writing a report, you should be able to find plenty of information by googling "Shannon Messenger Interviews." And if you're doing some sort of KEEPER or LET THE SKY FALL related storyboard or display, you might find some useful pictures on my Pinterest inspiration boards. You can find those HERE.


It's my (or my friend/daughter/son/cousin/niece/nephew/person-I-just-like's) birthday/graduation/any-old-day-but-they're-a-super-huge-fan. Can you send a special card / email/video/Skype/etc to make it extra awesome for them?
There are a number of reasons why I have to say no to this, but one of the biggest is the same as the other questions above. I get a LOT of these kind of requests (like, a lot, a lot)--and that is a huge honor. But it would also require a tremendous amount of time if I said yes. And since I simply don't have time to spare, the only way to be fair to everyone is to say "no" to everyone. Like I said, I really need to buy a few extra months each year. Ohhh, OR A TARDIS!!!!


When is your birthday?
I am stunned by how many of you ask this question. I never realized you'd want to know, but I guess sometimes you need it for school reports or something?  But there's a reason I've never shared this, and why I don't plan on changing that. Identity theft is a real thing, and birthdays are kind of important personal information. So for safety reasons, I choose not to post that information anywhere online, nor will I share it if you ask me in person. Sorry. You just can't trust the Internetz. If your teacher asks, just tell them "Shannon Messenger is paranoid."


What are your books about?
YAY--I finally get to answer this question! (Um...if you're new here you probably don't know that I chose not to talk about my books online until they sold, which  meant I had to keep them secret for YEARS). But now I've added a whole pages about them. To learn more about the KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES series, click HERE. To learn more about the SKY FALL series, click HERE.


Where do you get your ideas?
Well, I have this magic tree in my yard that sprouts money and unicorns and really really cool stories. No--I wish. That would be AMAZING. But honestly, I don't have a very interesting answer to this question. The fact of the matter is, ideas are EVERYWHERE. I find them in tiny bits and pieces everywhere I go, whether it's something I see or hear or notice. It could be something I love in a book or movie that makes me think, "ohhh, what if they did THIS?" Or it could be something I didn't like, that makes me think, "noooo, they should've done THAT." The trick is to keep track of the ideas when you find them so you don't forget them a few minutes later (trust me, it happens). So I always keep a notebook with me to jot them down as soon as inspiration strikes.


Why do you write for kids?
Short Answer: I'm pretty much a big kid. Ask my friends and husband if you don't believe me.

Longer Answer: When I was trying to figure out what I wanted to write, I thought about my favorite books, and I realized that I have a much different relationship with books as an adult than I did as a kid. I love to read. And there are books I love. But I don't LOVE them the way I did as a kid. I don't sneak out of bed and read by my nightlight because I have to know what's going to happen next (and no, I don't have a nightlight anymore). I don't read them over and over and over. And I realized that if I was going to take the time and effort to write a book and pour my heart onto the page, I wanted it to be read by someone who felt like that about it. So I decided to write for kids.


Do you ever think you'll write for grown-ups?
I have to admit... I'm not a fan of this question, mainly because it usually carries the implication that someday I will grow up and write real books and um... kids books are REAL books. That being said, I don't currently have any plans to write for adults. There just aren't any stories I currently feel like telling. But... if that ever changed I wouldn't hesitate to give it a try. So I guess we'll just have to wait and see where life takes me.



How long have you been writing?
Pretty much as long as I can remember. I have short stories and picture books and beginnings of novels going back to when I was a little kid. But I didn't think of myself as a writer. I loved to draw, so I always thought of myself as an artist. When I got to college I realized I didn't like the careers in art, so I took a screenwriting class on a whim to fill my schedule. It was that Professor who really encouraged me to pursue writing, and was the reason I ended up in film school. I studied screenwriting and film production at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, but was drawn away from writing because I turned out to be pretty good at producing. I did about a year in Hollywood after graduation before I realized that Hollywood just wasn't for me. A few months later I got married and moved with my husband to suburbia. For the next couple of years I focused mainly on my day job and being a newlywed. But something was missing, and the stories in my head were piling up. So I decided to try writing them down again, and I've been writing full time ever since.


What is your favorite Middle Grade book or series?
Ooo-that's a tough one. I really can't pick just one so I'll give you my top three. ELLA ENCHANTED, by Gail Carson Levine. The Sister's Grimm series by Michael Buckley. And the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan.  I also have to give praise to J.K. Rowling. Her books are not only in a class of their own, but the children's writing industry wouldn't be what it is without her.



What is your favorite YA book or series?
Ahhh--another hard one. I really, really hate picking favorites! But since you're forcing me to, I'll give you a few. PIVOT POINT and THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US by Kasie West. ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS, by Stephanie Perkins. THE HUNGER GAMES, by Suzanne Collins. Anything by Ally Carter. I could keep going and going and going...but I'll stop there.


What is MMGM?
MMGM stands for "Marvelous Middle Grade Monday"--I'm a big fan of alliteration, if you can't tell. I'd noticed that middle grade books didn't seem to get a lot of love in the blogosphere, so I created the meme to shine a bit of a spotlight on them, in the hopes that others would do the same. I LOVE when other bloggers join in. 



How do I participate in MMGM?
It's SUPER easy. Step one: blog about middle grade (review a favorite book, interview an author, host a giveaway, whatever strikes your fancy). Step two: email me at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com with a link to your blog and what you're featuring. If you want to make Monday's list, just make sure you email your link by Sunday evening.



Will you feature my book on MMGM?
It... depends. Here's the thing: I only talk about books I LOVE. I like to stand behind my recommendations (and I definitely want it to be a book I've read). So... if your book is something I've read and loved yes, I will feature it. But... you don't have to ask me to do that because if I've read it and loved it I'll be planning to feature it anyway. And if you would like any of the other bloggers who participate in MMGM to feature you well... you'll have to ask them. What they do is completely independent of me. I don't screen their reviews or select what they feature. All I do is link to their posts if they contact me. So you will have to contact them.


Why does the "W" stand for in your Twitter handle?
If you've been following my blog for a while you probably know this answer already (it used to be in my header!) It's Whitney. And the reason I use it in my Twitter handle because Shannon Messenger didn't fit, and... it's kind of inappropriate looking to use only my other other initials (S and M). (I'm sure you can see why...)


Do you really sleep with a bright blue stuffed elephant named Ella?
Sadly, yes. I've had her since I was four and I can't. sleep. without her. Believe me--I've tried. I don't know what to do with my arms. So she goes with me everywhere. If you ever see me at a writers conference (or, in the future, at a book signing) you can count on the fact that she's up in my hotel room--probably in the safe so that the maids don't accidentally gather her up in the sheets (which happened one time. That was a very dark day)



How did you get your agent?
I was very lucky.

Looking for a better answer? Well, I can try. I mean honestly, the only one who can really answer this question is Laura. All I know is that I did everything I could to get ready to query. I waited to query until I had a project that I felt was the one. I revised my story--a LOT. I researched the publishing industry. I researched agents. I did a query workshop. I did a synopsis workshop. I worked with CPs. I went to a writer's conference. I asked everyone I knew who had an agent for advice. I read blogs. I followed agents on Twitter. I stressed. I obsessed. And in the end I must've done something right because I had an offer of representation from my number one wish list agent within 2 weeks of querying.  (For a few more details on my querying process, you can read my "How I Got My Agent" post on the Guide to Literary Agents blog.) 

As for the reason why she offered? I honestly can't say. I hope it's because she loved my story.

How did you find your Critique Partners?
Once again, I got very lucky. I found the Sara(h)s online. I met Sarah through her blog, and I met Sara through twitter. In the beginning we just got to know each other, read each other's posts, emailed, tweeted, that kind of thing. But eventually I worked up the courage to propose swapping pages and danced for joy when they said yes. We've been CPs ever since and believe me, I realize how hard it is to find good CPs. I had a very hard time. For those of you looking for CPs I'd recommend searching the blogosphere, finding people you seem to connect with, and maybe offering to swap first chapters. That way you get a feel for each other's writing and critique style without making too big of a commitment, and can go from there.



Did you really work in Hollywood?
Yep--but I assure you, I wasn't someone important. (And it wasn't nearly as glamorous as you're probably thinking.) I did meet a lot of celebrities and go on a lot of sets and do quite a few cool things. But it was also a LOT of answering phones, filing, running errands, reading boring scripts, and working very long hours. Plus, movie/TV sets are about the most unglamorous places imaginable.


Why did you leave Hollywood?
There were a lot of reasons (believe me, I did not take the decision lightly). But the crux of it came down to something my Professor--an Academy Award winning Cinematographer--said on my first day of classes at USC. He told us he'd missed all of his anniversaries and most of his family's birthdays and pretty much all the significant events in his family's lives. But he'd never missed a call time. And then he told us that if we couldn't commit to our careers the same way we should walk away now. At the time I thought he was using hyperbole to scare some responsibility into a bunch of college kids. But the more I worked in Hollywood the more I realized he was right. Hollywood has to be your LIFE to really be a success in it. I wanted more than that. So I walked away. And I have never regretted it for a minute.



Are you going to change your blog URL now that you're no longer a "Wannabe" writer?
I'm not planning on it. For one thing, I don't want to break all the links. But really...there's such a TREMENDOUS amount of talent in the children's publishing world, I have a feeling I'll always feel a bit like a Wannabe. Plus, I think it's important to remember my roots--to remember that there was a long, hard road to get to any success I've found. I want to celebrate the entire journey, not just the end part where I got where I wanted to be. And, there is ALWAYS room to grow and improve on what I've built.