Charming Note #2: To Shannon Hale

I’m a few days behind in mailing this note off because my Hunger Games post distracted me. But I have now written my letter and will send it off tomorrow.

Shannon Hale

This charming note is going to young adult author Shannon Hale who I think gets the award for my current favorite author. I started reading Shannon’s books in high school and have been a devoted fan ever since. I don’t usually gush over style, but every sentence Shannon writes feels like a sweep of a calligraphy brush. Sometimes an author’s style can smother her characters, but Shannon’s lyrical words gives her characters wings. When I read Jane Eyre for the first time, I thought, “Wow, Charlotte Bronte writes like a 19th century Shannon Hale!” Some books you tear through, others you nibble at bit by bit. I always glide (or maybe waltz) through her books. It’s smooth and effortless.

Also, when I read her books, I can sense Shannon’s great affection for her characters. She has no problem with throwing plenty of conflict at them, but at the end of the day, you can just tell that she dearly loves even the most flawed of them. I can just sense her special motherly relationship with them.

Shannon is a regular blogger on her website: and after following her through several book releases, three babies, and a movie deal for Austenland, I almost feel like I know her! I also read her husband Dean’s blog because he writes these twisted and morbidly funny micro-stories.

Because I feel like I know a lot about Shannon as a person and not just as an “About The Author” blurb, it made writing to her much easier. I tried to communicate in a page, how much I appreciate all the above.

For those of you not familiar with Shannon’s work, here’s what she’s written:

1. Books of Bayern Quartet: Started as a standalone novel Goose Girl, which was a fairy tale retelling. The characters and the world worked so well, she continued the series without needing any fairy tale-ness to keep it going strong. The setup kind of reminds me of Tamora Pierce’s Circle of Magic series.

The first three Books of Bayern

2. Princess Academy: I remember expecting this book to be saccharine and cliched, but that is the last thing it is! I’m not sure I can explain why it’s such a special book because there’s some intangible quality to Shannon’s writing that makes it so winsome. If her book was a singer, Simon Cowell would say it had star quality or maybe the X-Factor. It’s a perfect harmony of character, plot, setting, and tone. That’s the best description I can give.



3. Book of a Thousand Days: I almost said it was a retelling of Scheherezade’s 1001 Nights, but then I checked and found out that it’s actually a retelling of the little known Grimm’s Tale  “Maid Maleen.” It’s written as a diary of a girl shut in a tower for seven years as a maid to the princess. Like all of Shannon’s books, it’s beautifully written.

4. Austenland: VERY different than Shannon’s other books. This is about a modern woman who wins a trip to an full-immersion Jane Austen-themed resort, complete with actors playing all the characters. This is probably my least favorite book of the lot, but it’s becoming a movie, which has been exciting to hear about.

5. Rapunzel’s Revenge and Calamity Jack: Graphic novels written by both Shannon and her hilarious husband and set in the wild west. Plenty of fun to be had here!

6. The Actor and the Housewife: Shannon’s first and only book marketed for adults, not teens. I…ummm, haven’t read it yet, but if any of you have, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!

After reading so many dystopians lately, I kind of feel like giving Goose Girl a re-read just to warm up my soul a bit.

Alright, that’s it! This weekend, I’ll write to Vivian Vande Velde!


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Courtney Mohland
    Oct 06, 2011 @ 21:09:14

    I loooooove Shannon Hale. I really need to read more of her books.


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