Today is the release of Shannon Dittemore's debut novel, Angel Eyes. Check out my interview with the author and leave her a comment below :)
Can you tell me a little about yourself and how you got into writing?
Sure! I could say I've always written--and that's true--but I've had times when my creativity was primarily unleashed elsewhere. When I was a teenager, our church had a performing arts team and we traveled around, performing and competing a bit. We danced and did skits. We did mime and puppetry. That's right, I said it: puppets. Later, I ventured into community theatre, but, in all of it we were telling stories. I owe a lot to our director, Sherry, and to those years. They helped shape who I am as a storyteller. When it came to noveling, Angel Eyes was really my first whole-hearted endeavor. At the time, I was doing bookkeeping for a consulting company, which is a laugh because math and I do not get along. One day I realized that if I wanted to do something else--if I wanted storytelling to be my job--then I needed to get back to telling stories. So I did. I sat down and wrote what I knew.
Can you tell us a little about your debut novel Angel Eyes?
Angel Eyes is about a girl who had plans and potential and she lost it all the minute her best friend was killed. She feels scared and guilty and very much alone. And she thinks she deserves to feel those things. But, with the help of the boy next door and a very strange gift, she begins to see fear for what it is. She realizes she's not alone in her despair, but that's not entirely comforting. Good and evil. Angels and demons. And a world that isn't what it seems. That's Angel Eyes in a nutshell.
Where did you get the idea for Angel Eyes?
My husband and I serve as youth pastors at our church and when I was drafting the story, I was surrounded by tons and tons of kids with more potential than they knew what to do with. Still, so many of them seemed unfocused. A bit lost, even. And the more I thought about why, the clearer Brielle's journey became. As for the angelic stuff, angels and demons have always been on the backdrop of my storytelling experience. I've played Satan in more dramas and puppet productions than I can even remember. Once, early on, we used the wrong kind of face makeup and my neck was demon-red for days. It's much funner now than it was then, I assure you. Anyway, when it came time to sit down and tell a story, it's the one I had in me.
I love the cover of Angel Eyes. Who designed it and did you have much say in the designing process?
I love the cover too! And I can say that because I had absolutely nothing to do with it. Dual Identity is the design team hired by my publisher. They've done a ton of fantastic stuff and I'm elated they're on board. Thomas Nelson, my publisher, was great to include me and ask for feedback, but mostly I just gushed and told them how fabulous it all was. We did make one substantial change. Originally the model on the cover was a redhead, but Brielle's blond. So, they brought in another model and re-shot the cover. I'm so grateful because she's perfect.
How does it feel to be releasing your first novel?
It's like... 60% awesome and 40% terrifying. Some days those numbers are flopped. I'm so blessed to be in this position and so overwhelmed to be working with the team at Thomas Nelson Fiction. On the days when my nerves take over, I try to remember that.
Why should we read Angel Eyes in one sentence?
Because, like Brielle, you're not alone, and everybody needs to know that.
Buy Angel Eyes: