She went to UBC to study and earn a general studies BA with a concentration in Political Science and Economics. Macro analysis of world events, social justice and human motivations became a passion of hers. This passion is a driving force in all her stories, which have political, economic, and social justice undercurrents.
After a career in the financial field she decided to stay home and raise her two children until school age. In 2007 she return to the workforce as a sales / marketing / advertising professional.
THIRTEEN is her debut full size paperback novel.
1.) When did you first get serious about writing?
A.) In 2007 I met a lost boy from South Sudan whose story of being an 8 year old child trying to survive a war torn landscape on his own ripped at my heart. My own son at the time was 8 and it pained me to think of him in the same situation. What I found more upsetting was when this young man was trying to survive, the world was fixated on Ethiopia with band-aid and 24 hour famines. How come we didn't know about the struggles just next door in the South Sudan region?
I'd always wanted to write and be a writer, now I had a story. The only problem was, it wasn't my story to tell. No matter how much I tried to make the story empathetic to North American kids, the minute I wrote about the African setting it jumped the reader out of the connection with the main character.
One day when my son was 13 a thought came to me - Bring the war here. If I wanted North American kids to care about children caught in war I needed to make it about them. Take away their freedoms, their technology, their safe neighbourhoods. At the time my son was pulling away from me and the daily struggle was a difficult one. Put both conflicts together and viola - I had a novel.
2.) What is the hardest part for you about writing?
A.) Finding the time. As a mother and a woman in the middle of a divorce it was hard to focus on it. The story itself was written in 3 months, it was the revisions, edits, and confidence in my ability that was difficult. I allowed others comments to dictate my story and their fears soon diluted the storyline.
I took a year off from THIRTEEN to focus on other more therapeutic writing, which helped sharpen my skills. When I came back to the novel I was stronger, more confident, and determined to make it. I had some extra money and hired a professional editor. That was the best decision I ever made.
Synopsis: A boy, his mom, a cop, a city under attack. Can Jack find his dad before the soldiers do?
At Thirteen Jack just wants to have fun with friends but his mother's rules keep getting in the way until one morning he wakes up to machine gunfire. Foreign soldiers have invaded his town shutting off the power, cutting off communication, and restricting travel. To make matters worse he doesn't know if his dad is alive, wounded, captured or dead. He just wants to go find him but his mother doesn't care, the soldiers are in his way, and the cop who busted him is no help at all.
3.) How did you feel upon publication of your first completed project?
A.) Elated. I have even sold copies of both my paperback and my ebook versions. I have had some good feedback in the form of reviews and I continue to build on my confidence as a writer.
4.) What is more important to you, story, or character? Why?
A.) Character. If you have strong characters you can put them into the story and they write it for you. If readers care about the character than they'll follow him / her into any scenario, twist and turn of the story.
5.) What is a typical day like in your world?
A.) Get up, have my coffee, and work on THIRTEEN's online promotion & offline marketing plan until 9am when I start my paying gig as a customer success coach of an online review site. I drive my kids around, run errands, figure out how to pay for their needs and wants. I work on promo during lunch and in the evenings / weekends. When I'm not working on the promo of THIRTEEN, I'm writing the sequel and next instalment in the series.
Shannon maintains a website at: http://shannonlpeel.wix.com/shannonpeel