All about Shannon Messenger and KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES

Shannon Messenger and I are publishing sisters in so many ways. Not only do we have the same editor (the lovely Liesa Abrams) and books at the same imprint, we ALSO have books that came out on exactly the same day (October 2nd, 2012)!
I’m pleased that Shannon answered some questions for me today to celebrate her middle-grade debut, Keeper of the Lost Cities!
At age eight, what did you want to be when you grew up? And at age eighteen? And while you’re at it, what about at age twenty-eight?
Shannon Messenger: At eight I was still in the prime of my “I wanna be a Disney Animator” phase. Not long after I realized that animators needed to be able to draw the same thing over and over–and that even my stick figures don’t look alike–so I dropped that idea. At eighteen I was all about: “I wanna go to USC film school and study screenwriting and work in hollywood”–and I actually made all of those things happen. And… quickly discovered that Hollywood was SUCH a wrong fit for me and changed course again. By twenty eight I working VERY hard to get my book ready to be published. Still took another year for that to happen. But it did, and I’m hoping this is a career I’ll be sticking with for a long time.
Which Breakfast-Club-style label would have best fit your teenage self? 
SM: Much as I wish I could claim otherwise, I know everyone will call shenanigans on me if I don’t say, “the princess.” My eyeshadow obsession and love of all things modcloth sort of seal my fate on that one.
Without giving away too much from your newest book, which character or scene from it are you the most pleased to have created, and why?
SM: It would have to be , this snarky, hilarious 14-year-old boy who has quickly become the fan favorite. He’s not a character I EVER thought I would write, and I really don’t know where any of his dialogue comes from. I’m always rereading the scenes after I write them and thinking, “did I really type this?”
Which are your favorite movies to watch again and again?

SM: Mean Girls. Clueless. Pirates of the Caribbean. Anything by John Hughes or Cameron Crowe. The Kiera Knightley Pride and Prejudice. Any of The Lord of the Rings. This is fun–I could keep going. But I’m betting I’m boring you.

And, now, the most important question of all: Beatles or Elvis? Please support your answer. 😉 
SM: Beatles, all the way. I’m sure people will fling rotten things at me for saying this, but most Elvis just feels so over-the-top it’s almost spoofy to me. Maybe I was jaded by watching Uncle Jessie impersonate Elvis too many times on Full House (Have Mercy!), but it all feels like a schtick. And I know he INVENTED the schtick. But still…  Whereas the Beatles have that timeless feel that I will never get tired of, no matter how many times I had to listen to my dad sing their songs off key.
About the author:
Shannon Messenger graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts where she learned–among other things–that she liked watching movies much better than making them. She also regularly eats cupcakes for breakfast, sleeps with a bright blue stuffed elephant named Ella, and occasionally gets caught talking to imaginary people. So it was only natural for her to write stories for children. KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES is her first middle grade novel, launching October 2, 2012. LET THE SKY FALL, a young adult novel, will follow in Spring 2013. She lives in Southern California with her husband and an embarrassing number of cats. Find her online at
About the book: 

Twelve-year-old Sophie Foster has a secret. She’s a Telepath—someone who hears the thoughts of everyone around her. It’s a talent she’s never known how to explain.

Everything changes the day she meets Fitz, a mysterious boy who appears out of nowhere and also reads minds. She discovers there’s a place she does belong, and that staying with her family will place her in grave danger. In the blink of an eye, Sophie is forced to leave behind everything and start a new life in a place that is vastly different from anything she has ever known.

Sophie has new rules to learn and new skills to master, and not everyone is thrilled that she has come “home.” There are secrets buried deep in Sophie’s memory—secrets about who she really is and why she was hidden among humans—that other people desperately want. Would even kill for.

In this page-turning debut, Shannon Messenger creates a riveting story where one girl must figure out why she is the key to her brand-new world, before the wrong person finds the answer first.

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