Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Welcome The Rattled Bones Author, Shannon M. Parker!

Every so often a bookworm has a total fan girl/boy moment! This, Crazy Readers, is one of them! I had the privilege, the absolute pleasure of speaking with Shannon M. Parker about her upcoming book The Rattled Bones. This was a true fan-girl moment for me! Allow me to introduce author, Shannon M. Parker.

A Little Bit About Shannon:
S.M. Parker
Shannon is an avid traveller who loves filling her passports with stamps(who doesn't!) She is a lover of laughter and chocolate chip cookies. She lives a blissful life of rescuing dogs, chickens and old houses and on top of all of that, she is a writer of epic proportions. While she is not new to the publishing world her upcoming book The Rattled Bones(out August 22nd) will surely be the talk of the book world.

Without further a dรบ, Shannon M. Parker.

Firstly, Thank you so much for stopping by The Crazy Bookworm! Before we begin, I’d like to point out that while working on your interview I was munching away on 2 Chocolate Chip Cookies while listening to Amy Schumer on a comedy Podcast, so I feel like this interview was an act of fate!

Ha, yes! Fated indeed!

Let’s chat about your upcoming book, hitting shelves August 22nd, The Rattled Bones. In The Rattled Bones, you created a strong female lead named Rilla. In 2017 I find it so important to have characters like her in the hands of young girls. She was a beautiful character and a great role model. How did Rilla’s character come to you and how did she become the epic lobsterwoman that she is on the coast of Maine?

I’m so glad you saw (and loved) Rilla’s strength, and the beauty that comes from her strength! As a girl I was led to believe that beauty and strength were mutually exclusive. Growing up, I helped my mother run our small farm and you need to be tireless and determined if you work the soil and raise livestock. I didn’t see the beauty in that hard work or how it shaped (and strengthened) my character until I was several years older and living on my own.

In many ways, Rilla farms the sea. She needs to respect and work in unison with Mother Nature to harvest lobsters from the deep. This work is hard and demanding and has broken many men’s backs. Rilla uses her intelligence, physical strength and determined heart to carve out a piece of an industry in which many feel females don’t belong.

You set the book in Maine and you definitely accomplished the task of placing the reader there. The thick coast accent, the slang and the salty sea air made me feel like I was right on the island! But, I have to admit that I had no idea about Malaga Island and its story. Once Sam’s character was introduced and the story of Malaga Island began to unfold, I eagerly started googling! What I learned was equally fascinating as it was heartbreaking. I can understand why some of the community would want to keep that darkness buried deep down and leave it behind. What inspired you to bring the story of Malaga Island to the surface?

I’m so glad to hear that you Googled the island and its history! I hope readers continue to do this because I believe every story deserves to be told. Malaga’s particular history of cultural erasure—while not singular—is not only an important one to tell, but a necessary one.

Speaking of Sam, I absolutely LOVED him. I said it in my review and I’ll say it again! He is not your traditional YA male character oozing with mystery and brooding qualities. Instead he oozed with normalcy and that’s what I loved most; He was also charming, witty and passionate. There were many times that he made me laugh out loud or left me in awe with his determination regarding Malaga Island. Was Sam's character always part of ‘The Rattled Bones’ plan?

Honestly? Yes. I’m physically incapable of writing a book without a boy who makes me laugh and think—all while helping my protagonists to smooth the edges of our jaded world. Believe me, I’ve tried! I’m so glad you loved Sam’s qualities!! He’s swoon-worthy for the heart and intellect, for sure!

Rilla does have a love interest in the book, but it’s not your typical relationship that you see in most YA novels. I actually adored that quality of the book. Of course, I like a great love story, but it seems Rilla’s true love was her family, searching for the truth and doing what was right for her, no matter who disapproved. Was that always a part of her character? Did you intend to make her love interest almost a secondary part of her story?

Definitely. This is the story of a two girls reaching across time, through the veil of death. I wanted the novel’s narrative focus to remain with Rilla and the ghost. The romance story line/s were always secondary to the mystery Rilla has to solve, and the story the ghost has to tell.

What is one thing you hope your readers take away from The Rattled Bones?

Mostly I hope it’s an entertaining read. It’s always my goal as a storyteller. But for this book in particular, I tried to steep readers in the reality that women (young or old or ghostly) are strong and resilient story makers. We have a unique and powerful lens through which we view the world and that should always be validated.

If you could use only 1 sentence to describe The Rattled Bones, what would you say?

A feminist ghost story.

You live my dream life! You rescue animals, old houses and you write books! What is a ‘Day in the Life of Shannon M. Parker” like?

There’s more laundry than I’d like.

You’re quite the traveler, collecting 37 stamps in your passports...I’m a little jealous….Name one place in the entire world you wish to visit and why?

Australia has my whole heart. The Australian people have this generosity of spirit that is unlike anything I’ve ever encountered. The shores are abundant and so is the kindness. Somehow this makes up for the Box Jelly, The Common Death Adder, the Blue-Ringed Octopus and every other deadly thing on that beautiful island!!

I’ve always had this dream of living in the country on a hobby farm OR living in Costa Rica(or somewhere ridiculously hot and oceany)while selling Ice cream. I know, two completely different things but I’d be happy with either! If you weren’t a writer, what would be your dream?

I’d own a handful of small bungalows on the northeast coast of Australia, spending my days on a lazy porch, surrounded by the stories travelers brought to my little spot on the shore.

Are you currently working on any new writing projects? And if so, can you share anything about it or are you going to make us eagerly wait in agony?

Like Rilla, I’m a bit superstitious so I don’t typically talk about what I’m working on next. I will say it’s a novel.

In the meantime, I do have a short story in the YA anthology, WELCOME HOME (releasing September 5th) called “Tunneling Through.” The anthology is on love and adoption, two inseparable topics that are very near and dear to my heart.

Rapid Fire:

Early bird or night owl?
Early bird.

Your latest Netflix binge?
Offspring. An Australian show (zero surprise).

One thing on your ‘bucket list’:
Creating a bucket list.

One guilty pleasure:

Name one favourite book(because we all have more than one favourite!):
The Secret Life of Bees

Favourite junk food?
The one within reach.

One superpower you’d like to have?
Flight. I’d love to see the world the way an eagle sees the world.

Celebrity crush:
Colin Firth.

What song is your jam?
“You’re The One That I Want” ~ Grease soundtrack.

3 things you’d take if stranded on an island:
Duct tape.
My pillow.

Last thing you laughed at?
Answering the “what song is your jam” question and picturing your reaction if you ever saw me rock out to “You’re The One That I Want”.

Last thing you just ate?

Shannon, it has been an absolute pleasure connecting with you! And thank you for taking the time to chat with me!

Thank you for reading Rilla’s story and for helping The Rattled Bones reach more readers! I’m eternally grateful!

The Rattled Bones

Maine-bred, independent Rilla Brae is no stranger to the deep. She knows the rhythms of hard work and harder seas. But when she experiences the sudden death of her father, the veil between the living and the dead blurs and she begins to be haunted by a girl on a nearby, uninhabited island. The girl floats a song over the waves, and it is as beautiful as it is terrifying. Familiar and distant.
Then Rilla meets Sam, a University of Southern Maine archeology student tasked with excavating the very island where the ghostly girl appeared. Sam sifts the earth looking for the cultural remains of an island people who were forcibly evicted by the state nearly a hundred years ago. Sam tells Rilla the island has a history no locals talk about—if they know about it at all—due to the shame the events brought to the working waterfront community. All Rilla knows for sure is that the island has always been there—an eerie presence anchored in the stormy sea. Now Sam’s work and the girl’s song lure Rilla to the island’s shores.As Rilla helps Sam to unearth the island’s many secrets, Rilla’s visions grow—until the two discover a tragedy kept silent for years. And it’s a tragedy that has everything to do with Rilla’s past.
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