Tales from Thac: Author Shannon Pemrick
This month I'd like to introduce you to one of my co-authors from the Tales from Thac anthology. Shannon Pemrick is the author of multiple works in the fantasy, paranormal, and urban fantasy genres. I first became acquainted with Shannon's work through her Experimental Heart series where I immediately fell in love with the characters Eira, Raikidan, and Ryoko.
Shannon has penned the short story Grand Choosing for the upcoming anthology. It is part of a trio of tales that involve the pirate Clans of the Coast from the world of Thac. She brings with her a unique perspective which truly brings the characters and their relationships to life.
Hi Shannon, thanks for stopping by. Tell us a little bit about Grand Choosing from your perspective.
Grand Choosing is a short coming of age story for young pirate Kortiama, and how she went from adopted orphan to leader of her clan. The story touches on family bonds, conviction to duty, and believing in one’s self, among other themes.
That's a great assessment, especially the theme about believing in one's self. What prompted you to write this particular story?
The idea to write Grand Choosing wasn’t originally mine. I’d been speaking with F.P Spirit about his plans for the next series after Heroes of Ravenford, and we got on the topic of some of the characters. So many of them sounded interesting, especially Korti and Solais.
After me asking more about the two, and some discussions covering concerns about how to portray them, F.P. had asked if I was interested in bringing a crucial event in Korti’s history to life. I was apprehensive at first, because the idea was so intimidating, but was also flattered he’d trust me with his precious characters like that. So, I figured it couldn’t hurt to try. And I’m glad I did.
I was worried there for a moment that I strong-armed you into this. *Phew* But I am also glad you did. So, who are your favorite characters from the story?
Oh, that’s a tough one. Sorta. Eyro for sure. He’s the guy you wish was your uncle or grandpa. And his little quirks that make him stand out from the rest in the village make you love him more. Liadha was another one. The way she was described to me, a dark and sinister witch with a soft spot for her nieces—it’s the combo of personalities I love. Then there’s Solais. Oh is she a riot. I just love her fierce nature and unapologetic attitude towards… well everything. She’s reckless, and that flaw really helps level out her character, which makes me love her all that much more.
Solais is fierce. You definitely capture that side of her in the story. Is there a particular scene you are especially proud of?
I’m pretty proud of them all. Each had their purpose, and had their own difficulties associated with them, but if I have to choose, the last scene hits the top. Watching Korti stick to her convictions and not back down against the odds, even when she’s still rather unsure herself, was a moving scene for me to want to get right.
I can see that. The entire story leads up to that penultimate moment and the way you depict it does not disappoint. Was it difficult to write a character originally created by someone else?
Very much so. Writing my own characters is easy. I already know their quirks, their history, their favorite foods, how exactly they’d respond in a situation, you name it. I know these things because long before I put them on the page, my mind had gone wild crafting them up, even sometimes putting them into fake scenarios to flesh them out more.
But when it comes to someone else’s character, these are all predetermined in someone else’s mind. And not all the heavy information is given or given in a way that’s easily dissected to be used appropriately. So there’s far more trial and error. This is especially true when doing dialogue. You second guess yourself on how a character would react or what they’d say.
And then there’s the added pressure to make sure you do a character justice. It’s one thing to disappoint yourself, but to do so with someone else who trusted you to treat their darlings right, wow, talk about stress!
Wow. I never meant to put you under that kind of pressure. What did you do to make the characters your own?
Besides adding my own background characters to flesh out a scene (like named orphans for example), I wouldn’t say I made any important character my own. I did my best to be respectful of the original design of each character and just bring them into a dimension of believability. I did however expand on a particular relationship that was basic and somewhat vague.
This was Solais and Korti’s relationship. I was told was they were best friends that grew up together since day one when they were orphaned as infants, and they were adopted together (for reasons they didn’t know has a purpose until later). The two were written as two peas in a pod but only as friends, and that part didn’t make much sense to me. If they were that close, they would see each other as sisters of sorts and be proud to call themselves as such. Growing up together like siblings, including the whole adoption bit would only perpetuate that concept. So I took the liberty of developing their relationship in that way, allowing me to play sister dynamics better than a plain friendship would be able to. And I think this improved their original design, and really helps cement their loyalty to each other, even as their lives go all topsy-turvy on them.
That is one of the things that really stands out for me in this story. The sisterly relationship you crafted between Korti and Solais is absolutely marvelous. Anyway, that's probably enough about Grand Choosing. Would you care to tell us what else are you currently working on?
I’m always working on multiple titles at once. It keeps me from getting too bored of one thing and reduces the risk of burn out. At present, I’m working on the second book of my romantic fantasy Oracle’s Path, detailing the trials of young Oracle Aviana as she tries to save her clan and stumbles upon something darker threatening the entire world; as well as one final book in my urban fantasy Experimental Heart, wrapping up some loose ends for former assassin Eira, and setting up for the next series, while giving her a scare in the process; and I’m working on the fourth book (part two of a duet) of my futuristic geek romance series; starting where I left off on my cliffhanger and working magic to get the magic romance sparks flying and insecurities thrown out the window.
I must admit I am looking forward to the final book of Experimental Heart. Also, the artwork for Avianna (see above) is spectacular. (Yes, that was a shameless plug for Jackson Tjota who we both use for our cover art.) So, Shannon, what first inspired you to write?
I’ve always been a creative person. Art just sang the same notes as my soul. But I found some things I couldn’t put down on paper in a graphical form like I wanted, so I started writing them out instead. This was how I got into fan fiction writing. It then blossomed from there when friends encouraged me to try something purely my own, and then again when a teacher challenged me to do an assignment in a short story format. Then one thing led to another, and I focused more on writing than my art mediums.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Garth Nix is a big author for me. While I don’t love all of his work, his books helped me through a tough time in my life. Vivian Vande Velde is another such author, specifically with her story Dragon’s Bait. And then there’s Mary Pope Osborne. She is the whole reason I was enticed into the realm of fantasy as a child, though I did have an unusual draw to dragons before that ;)
Finally, do you have a website, blog, or social media link where readers can follow you?
I have quite a few:
Well that's it for this month. Please tune back next month for more excerpts and author interviews for the upcoming Tales from Thac. Also in the coming months, we will take a little peek into the plans for City of Tears. That is the new title of the first book in Rise of the Thrall Lord, the new series that takes up where Heroes of Ravenford left off.