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Kids' Q&A

Shannon Hale

Describe your latest project.
River Secrets is essentially a murder mystery set in a fantasy world. I'm just in love with the main character, a boy named Razo. He has powerful friends (a king and queen, an amazing swordsman, and a fire-speaker), but he feels pretty powerless himself. When his captain takes him on an urgent peace-keeping mission, he becomes a spy and works to figure out who is burning bodies and trying to restart a war. It takes place chronologically after The Goose Girl and Enna Burning.

And right now I'm working on fairy tale retelling called Book of a Thousand Days, told in diary format. I've never had so much joy in the writing process as with this book. It's still hard work, as writing always is for me, but it's been such happy work! That'll be out next year.

  1. River Secrets
    $8.95 Used Hardcover add to wishlist

    River Secrets

    Shannon Hale

  2. Enna Burning
    $4.98 Sale Trade Paper add to wishlist

    Enna Burning

    Shannon Hale

  3. The Goose Girl
    $4.50 Used Trade Paper add to wishlist

    The Goose Girl

    Shannon Hale

  4. Princess Academy
    $5.95 Used Hardcover add to wishlist

    Princess Academy

    Shannon Hale

If you could choose any story to live in, which story would it be? Why?
I think it would be The Goose Girl or another Bayern book. I know that sounds silly to chose my own book, but I've spent so much time in that world with those characters that it feels like home.

What is your favorite literary first line?

Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, "and what is the use of a book," thought Alice, "without pictures or conversation?"
Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventure's in Wonderland

How did the last good book you read end up in your hands?
Passionate recommendations from a group of teens who read galleys.

What do you do for relaxation?
Yoga, read, lie outside and look at the sky.

Why do you write books for kids?
I wrote The Goose Girl (my first published book) for me and then an agent told me it was young adult. I can only write for my internal reader, and I'm so lucky that my internal reader is young. Kids are the best, and I think books for young people are so important. What I read as a child influences me more than all my college and grad school reading.

Share an interesting experience you've had with one of your readers.
At a signing, I met a woman named Martha who learned to read late in life, in her thirties or forties. She told me that The Goose Girl was the first complete book she had read. It was pretty stunning. And there's nothing as satisfying and humbling than getting letters from young readers who say, "I didn't like to read until I read your book, and now I read every day."

Name the best Simpsons episode of all time, and explain why it's the best.
I'm a sucker for the literary stuff, I guess, but I about died when reclusive author Thomas Pynchon made a guest appearance.

Who are your favorite characters in history?
I've always been intrigued by the great women who faced crazy odds and were so powerful — Elizabeth I, Anne Boleyn, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Eleanor Roosevelt. spacer

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