January 6, 2015

The Flow of Fiction: an interview with Shannon Stoker, author of "The Alliance"

Shannon Stoker is the author of The Registry and The Collection, the first two books in the Registry trilogy. She is a licensed attorney who works for Northern Illinois University, assisting students and staff with research integrity. She lives in DeKalb, Illinois, with her husband and small dog. (source: http://www.harpercollins.com/9780062271761/the-alliance)

Her latest novel is The Alliance and I had the chance to ask her a few questions. Enjoy.

Gef: Where did you get the inspiration for The Alliance (and all of The Registry trilogy for that matter)?

Shannon: The overall idea of The Alliance was just bringing together all the characters I enjoyed from the previous books.  I was really happy to get to write for my favorites again.  The Registry series overall was spawned by a friend who called Facebook evil, so I decided to create a really evil Facebook. 

Gef: What were the biggest contrasts for you between writing the first of the series, The Registry, the middle book, The Collection, and The Alliance, the final book?

Shannon: The Registry was the first novel I finished, I was working on it every second I could spare and really trying hard to hit my goals.  I had a lot of trouble with The Collection.  It was hard to write a story that was still stand alone, tied in The Registry and set up The Alliance.  The first draft needed some major revisions.  The Alliance I just had fun with.  It is a little longer than the other two so for awhile I was scared I was writing too much, but I'm happy with the way it turned out. 

Gef: What kind of research did you do for this series? What little tricks have you picked up with approaching the research phase of writing?

Shannon: My background is in research, so I am constantly looking up everything whether it's book related or not.  I research as I go, where I don't mind pausing to look something up as I am writing.  I was doing this a lot regarding the character's locations.  I think it's normal for research to take you weird places so I don't ever stop following the trail. 

Gef: What do you consider to be the strength or saving grace of sci-fi?

Shannon: Vivid imagery.  I love how sci-fi can transport a reader to another world, or a different version of ours.I read to escape and that's pretty easy to do with sci-fi. 

Gef: What's the worst piece of writing advice you ever received? Or what piece of writing advice do you wish would just go away?

Shannon: "You can't plot a book, just let it flow."  While that works for some writers I need a sense of direction. I plot out my books from beginning to end.  There's no "right way" to write.  It's whatever works best for the individual.  

Gef: What kind of guilty pleasures do you have when it comes to books or movies or whatnot?

Shannon: I love campy horror.  Recently I went on a bit of a werewolf book binge, reading whatever i could get my hands on.  

Gef: 2014 has come and gone, which means everyone and their mama have written year-end lists. So what book, movie, game, show, song, or dirty limerick has found its way to the tippy-top of your favorites this year?

Shannon: I am a big fan of board games.  We bought the expansion pack for Lords of Waterdeep and I think I spent a lot of time playing that this year.  

Gef: What projects are you cooking up that folks can expect in the near future, and how can folks keep up with your shenanigans?

Shannon: I am working on a new project that's more contemporary. My favorite character in The Registry series is Grant (the bad-guy) so this book has a lot of villains. I update my facebook the most!  facebook.com/authorshannonstoker

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