Carpinello's Writing Pages welcomes Middle Grade author Shannon L. Brown, a lover of mysteries.
First, a bit about Shannon:
Award-winning journalist Shannon Brown released her first book, the middle grade mystery The Feather Chase, in 2014. After writing more than 600 articles about almost every imaginable subject including opera, Daniel Boone, and her specialty of jewelry, Shannon switched her focus to marketing her book and writing the next book in the Crime-Solving Cousins Mystery series. Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, she now calls Nashville, Tennessee, home.
Why did you pick to write books for MG?
I was writing for adults, sweet romance novels that have not been published, when writing for middle grade chose me. Mysteries have been a favorite genre since I discovered them as a kid and read every one I could put my hands on. When I got the idea that turned into The Feather Chase, I knew immediately that it was for kids and something that I would have enjoyed when I was that age. I always looked forward to the next book in the series that I read, so I know readers will be happy to read the next book in the Crime-Solving Cousins Mystery series later this year.
What types of books do you like to read?
I like to read middle grade books (I really do enjoy them), cozy mysteries, and sweet romances, mostly historical. I also enjoy reading about history, things like hundred-year-old newspapers and land deeds that most people would consider yawn-worthy.
When you are not writing, what do you like to do?
When I’m not writing, you may find me alone baking something yummy (that my husband will gobble up as soon as it’s out of the oven), reading (usually in bed – it’s the perfect place to read), or hiking on a wooded path. I also enjoy doing volunteer work or watching a movie with my professor husband. My calico cat Evie manages to be part of most things at home—she’s on my lap as I answer these questions.
Tell us about The Feather Chase and how the story came to be.
I was driving along a busy interstate in the Dallas/Fort Worth area when an image of a briefcase full of feathers popped into my mind. The Feather Chase was born that day. In the book, small town Sophie and city girl Jessica haven’t seen each other in years but are spending the summer together. It isn’t going well. The twelve-year-old cousins find a briefcase full of feathers in the woods and have to solve the mystery. They’re quickly in the middle of a mystery and have to learn to work together to bring the bad guys to justice.
Here's a peek at The Feather Chase:
They start chasing a mystery—then it chases them!
Twelve-year-old cousins Sophie and Jessica don’t have much in common. Sophie loves hiking and her small town. Jessica would rather be shopping in a city. The only mystery is how they’ll be able to spend the summer together.
Then they find a briefcase in the forest with a surprise inside. When they hear footsteps behind them and bad guys run after them, they have no choice but to work together to solve the mystery of The Feather Chase.
Have you written other books? If so, tell us a bit about them.
As I mentioned earlier, I've written hundreds of articles on a multitude of topics, but this is my first published book.
What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?
I’m writing the next book in the Crime-Solving Cousins Mystery series which begins when Sophie and Jessica find a gift wrapped package on Sophie’s front porch with a clue inside that sends them on a hunt for missing treasure.
What advice do you have for other authors?
Learn your craft. Read in your genre.
Anything else you want readers to know?
My website has a lot of fun things for kids:
An online puzzle of the book cover
Customizable printable bookplates that kids can type their name into
I've also created a lapbook, something homeschoolers will be familiar with. This downloadable lapbook kit (.pdf) has three parts, all tying back to the The Feather Chase:
Part One: the reader learns more about what they just read, such as details about London and tunnels.
Part Two: Using The Feather Chase, the reader learns about the parts of a novel and mystery.
Part Three: The reader writes his or her own mystery, incorporating what they learned in Part Two.
Where can readers find you and your books?
The Feather Chase is available in print online at Barnes & Noble or Amazon, or can be ordered from any bookseller. The ebook is currently on Amazon.