Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Author Shannon Richard: The Beginning

It’s my pleasure to welcome Forever Yours digital debut author Shannon Richard here today to talk about writing and her new novel, UNDONE (781455544684; $2.99; July 2, 2013). 

UNDONE is a small town, contemporary romance that will have your sides in stitches and your heart glowing as Paige and Brendan find a piece of happily ever after. In fact, author Jill Shalvis calls UNDONE "Funny, sassy, and sexy. Reading Shannon Richard is pure pleasure!" And author Lori Wilde says, “A fine debut novel, Richard's populates her appealing small town with quirky secondary characters, a feisty heroine and a hero to sigh for." 
UNDONE was released this week just in time for those fun road trips over the Fourth of July and it’s the perfect fit for a steamy beach read! Here’s a brief synopsis of UNDONE:

    Things Paige Morrison will never understand about Mirabelle, Florida:
    Why wearing red shoes makes a girl a harlot.
    Why a shop would ever sell something called "buck urine.”
    Why everywhere she goes, she runs into sexy-and infuriating-Brendan King.
    After losing her job, her apartment, and her boyfriend, Paige has no choice but to leave Philadelphia and move in with her retired parents. For an artsy outsider like Paige, finding her place in the tightly knit town isn't easy-until she meets Brendan, the hot mechanic who's interested in much more than Paige's car.
    In no time at all, Brendan helps Paige find a new job, new friends, and a happiness she wasn't sure she'd ever feel again. With Brendan by her side, Paige finally feels like she can call Mirabelle home. But when a new bombshell drops, will the couple survive, or will their love come undone?

Shannon has joined us to talk about ’The Beginning.’ She also has some fun facts and an excerpt from UNDONE that she’s sharing.

The Beginning:
Growing up I was always plotting and planning stories. I’d create these characters and go through scenes with them, figuring out the dialogue, what they were wearing, how they interacted with each other, and so many other things. I wrote some scenes down but I never really went anywhere with them. I never followed through. 

I didn’t start actively writing until my senior year of college. I had this idea for a story about a girl in college who catches the attention of a very attractive guy, a guy that she never in her wildest dreams thought would be interested in her. As a scene came to me I would write it down and then I pieced everything together as I went along. This still unfinished book is entitled I Run To You. The out of order method of writing turned out to be very unsuccessful for me. Every time I went to edit I’d start at the beginning again and then get burnt out about half way through. So after multiple rounds of trying to finish, I decided to put I Run To You on the back burner and start fresh.

Every November is the National Novel Writing month, or NaNoWriMo. It’s where people have to write 50,000 words in a month (roughly 1,667 words a day). I decided I was going to do the marathon and it was more than a little daunting. I’d never written on a daily basis or had a deadline. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to do it, but I was definitely going to try. I knew that I needed to prepare. I needed to plot out as much as I could and have the basic concept for the story rolling around in my head, and when November 1st rolled around I dove right on in.

The Meet Cute: I always knew how UNDONE was going to start. AUndone_sm couple of years ago, I was visiting my cousins who lived in Alabama. It was September and ridiculously hot outside, one of those days where you can see the heat rising off the asphalt. We’d just left breakfast and were driving home. A family friend who we’d just eaten with was in the car in front of us and we were all stopped at a red light. He put his flashers on and when the light turned green he pulled to the side of the road. A car had broken down in front of him and he went to help the driver. 

We pulled over to help as well, and all the while these people in the cars around us were honking their horns impatiently. The driver was this poor little high school girl who was going to her job and she was just sitting there crying because she had no idea what to do. But this family friend (who I might’ve thought was pretty cute and had a small crush on at the time) did this selfless act of helping her with no questions asked. Granted, in UNDONE its Brendan’s job. But beyond that initial time, he goes above and beyond to help Paige out. He does what he can to help this down on her luck girl with no thought as to what’s in it for him.

I’d also like to point out that since I wrote this scene I’ve had more car trouble than I can remember ever having before. Flat tires, a blow out on the interstate (let me tell you how not fun that was), a cracked rim, dead batteries, messed up automatic locks, a broken key clicker thingy, a screwed up alignment, leaking coolant, a damaged fan belt, and the list goes on. The real kicker to all of this is that with all of these visits to the mechanic I have yet to meet my Brendan King. I don’t find this to be remotely fair. But until I do find Mr. Right, I’ll continue to write my love stories where the girl does get the guy. And I might have a few where the damsel saves the guy in distress.

Shannon, thanks for visiting today. The family friend sounds like a great person to base Brendan on. Have you ever told the friend he was the inspiration?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shannon grew up in the Panhandle of Florida as the baby sister of two overly protective, but loving brothers. She was raised by a more than somewhat eccentric mother, a self-proclaimed vocabularist who showed her how to get lost in a book, and a father who passed on his love for coffee and really loud music. 

She graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor's in English Literature, and still lives in Tallahassee where she battles everyday life with writing, reading, and a rant every once in a while. Okay, so the rants might happen on a regular basis. She's still waiting for her Southern, scruffy, Mr. Darcy and in the meantime writes love stories to indulge her overactive imagination. Oh, and she's a pretty big fan of the whimsy.

Here’s some fun facts about UNDONE:
    * I wrote UNDONE during the National Novel Writing Month of 2011. It was my first marathon and I finished at just over 60,000 words.
    * The song “We Run” by Sugarland was where I got the title for UNDONE. Sugarland’s music along with Eric Church’s, were major inspirations during the writing process.
    * I have an addiction to strawberry Lip Smackers Chap Stick. I always have some on me and it’s a bit of a problem.
    * Coffee is the most important meal of the day. Wine is the second.

Here’s an excerpt from UNDONE to entice you a bit more:

    Paige was wrapped in just a towel as she searched for something to wear. She had exactly twenty minutes before Brendan was supposed to pick her up. There was a knock on her door as her hands closed over a pair of jeans.
    “Come in,” she called over her shoulder.
    The door opened and Paige turned, throwing her jeans onto her bed.
    “What time is he picking you up?” Denise asked as she stuck her head inside the doorway.
    Paige had a sudden flashback to high school when her mother would help her get ready before a date. She immediately thought of Brendan and Grace and how their mother had died when they were both so young. They’d missed out on so much, especially Grace. Paige couldn’t imagine not having all of those years with her mother and she felt intensely grateful for every single one of them.
    “At seven. You busy?”
    “No,” Denise said, shaking her head.
    “Will you sit and talk with me while I get ready?” Paige asked.
    “Yeah,” Denise said, her mouth breaking into a smile. She opened the door farther and walked into the room, a glass of wine in hand. She shut the door behind her and sat down on the edge of Paige’s bed, just like old times. “What are you going to wear?” she asked, grabbing a pillow and playing with the frilly lace edging.
    “Jeans,” Paige said, pointing to the pair on her bed. “I haven’t decided on a shirt though,” she said and turned back to her closet.
    “My black wedges.” She knew they drove Brendan crazy, and that’s exactly what she planned to do tonight. She didn’t feel guilty about it at all either; he obviously had no problem doing it to her. Turnabout was just fair.
    “What about your red peasant top. The one that hangs off your shoulders and hugs your waist.”
Paige grabbed the shirt and turned around, holding it up to show her mom.
    “Red on a first date?”
    “You look good in red,” Denise said.
    “You don’t think it’s too much?”
    Her mother gave the blouse a critical eye. “Just wear ugly underwear. If you wear stuff that you don’t want him to see, you’ll be less likely to sleep with him.”
    “Mom!” Paige said shocked. “I’m not going to sleep with him on the first date.”
    “I know. Just wear something to keep you grounded, and then you won’t slip.”
    “I have some self-control.”
    “Yes, well, I’ve seen that boy. Slipping would be completely justifiable considering the circumstances.”
    “What circumstances would those be?” Paige asked as she walked over to her dresser and opened her underwear drawer.
    “That gleam in his eyes,” Denise said.
    “What gleam?” Paige asked, turning to her mom.
    “The one he gets when he’s looking at you. It’s something that goes way beyond sex.”
    “Well, he is a nice young man,” Paige said mockingly.
    “Yes, he is.” Denise nodded, taking a sip of her wine.
    She grabbed a fairly tame pair with yellow and white stripes. Stripes didn’t scream “I’m going to have sex tonight,” at least not like black or red lace would have. She could’ve sworn she’d read that stripes were unflattering on everyone. Or was that faux fur?
    She dug around in the drawer and found her strapless bra. She grabbed her clothes from the bed and went into the bathroom.

Thanks for stopping by today. Have you ever had a Brendan King-type help you out with when you had car trouble?


  1. Mason - Thanks for hosting Shannon.

    Shannon - Thanks for sharing the story behind Undone. Car trouble is such a very effective way to bring people together and I'm glad you made it work for you in your novel.

    1. Margot, thanks for stopping by. Car trouble can be an intriguing way to bring people together.

  2. Shannon, thanks again for joining us. I enjoyed the 'behind-the-scenes' look at how UNDONE came to be. Wishing you much success.


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