Born in Anchorage, Alaska, Shannon Brown soon moved with her family to New York, Alabama, California, and then Japan. Three years later, they returned to Alaska, where Shannon attended college and graduated with a degree in Journalism and Public Communications.

She would eventually detour into real estate, but never gave up on her writing dream. In 2008, Shannon began writing for various national publications and continues to work as a professional article writer. Earlier this month, she published her first novel, The Feather Chase

Shannon and her husband, Larry, live in Nashville.

What sparked your writing journey?

I had a degree in Journalism/Public Communications but hadn’t planned to write fiction. Then when I was in my twenties, I started reading romance novels, and Debbie Macomber (a newcomer to the field at the time) started doing romances with a touch of humor. Something about that made me want to try writing one. As with many first novels, my sweet romance was turned down, but it started the chain of events that brought me here.

The Feather Chase began life on a Dallas/Fort Worth Interstate (somewhere near Grapevine, for those who live there) when an image of a briefcase full of feathers came into my mind. I knew in my heart that God wanted me to write the book that eventually became The Feather Chase.

Sometimes God sends us down an unexpected path, but one that ultimately blesses us. Have you ever experienced such a “divine detour” in your life?

So many. One of them was this idea for a children’s book when I’d been writing romance novels. Another wasn’t quite so happy. My first husband passed away in 2008. For reasons I can’t even remember today, we’d moved to Tennessee from Idaho in late 2005 (most likely another divine detour.) Soon after he died, I moved a few hours away to Nashville to be nearer to family and have a fresh start. Here I met my Larry and a great new life began with him as my new husband. After reading the manuscript for this book, he encouraged me (read: bugged incessantly) to do something with it, even if it was simply to share it online. I knew it should be a book in print so I picked it up and charged forward.

Let’s talk about your debut novel, The Feather Chase (Sienna Bay Press, February 2014). Please tell us about it.

Without too many plot spoilers (what’s a mystery with the unknown?): Twelve-year-old cousins Sophie and Jessica haven’t seen each other in years. Now they’re spending the summer together and it isn’t going very well. Then they discover a briefcase full of feathers in the forest. As they pursue the mystery, they realized that someone is trying to stop them from solving it.

The two girls are very different and I hope readers will find one they particularly identify with. Sophie’s from small town Pine Hill—where the book takes place. She’s laidback and loves the outdoors. Jessica lives in London, England and is a girly girl who enjoys shopping. The two couldn’t be more different but they work together.

It’s a real mystery that could be for adults—bad guys are in pursuit, and Sophie and Jessica have to work with law enforcement. But it’s also fun. I wanted girls to have fun reading the mystery.

While the book isn’t in the “Inspirational” category—there isn’t a Christian theme running throughout—the girls go to church and it fits naturally into their lives. There is so much material with dark themes being directed toward kids that I felt led to write something joyful and clean. It felt important to me that a book with good values would be available to all girls.

What age group will enjoy the story? Besides entertainment, what do you hope they will take away from it?

Sophie and Jessica are twelve. It’s for middle grade readers ages 8-12.

The two girls solve the mystery. They aren’t simply helping an adult solve it. They have to think logically and use available resources to put the pieces together. I wanted the book to be an example of carefully thinking through a situation.

Also the sheriff is a woman and Sophie’s mom owns her own business. I worked to create strong female role models for girls.

God often uses our work to teach us something. What did you learn (about life, faith, and/or even yourself) in the process of writing this book?

I’ve been a professional writer for years. With more than 600 articles behind me, I thought getting my finished manuscript ready for print would be a fairly straightforward process. It took more than I’d imagined. I had to keep pushing as I edited—with the help of wonderful editors—until the book said what I wanted it to say. I learned to persevere. When I didn’t have the skills I needed, I prayed for them when I went to bed and had the knowledge I needed the next day. I learned to rely on God, knowing that He wanted me to do this and that He would lead me.

A few fun questions…

When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?

I know it’s cliché but chocolate is my comfort food. I even wrote in my wedding vows four years ago not to forget that I like dark chocolate. A single piece of Godiva—I’m a one-piece-at-a-time person—goes a long way toward comforting me.

This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?

My mother was a wonderful pianist and she had me take piano lesson for several years when I was a kid, I’m sure hoping I’d share her love of the piano. I just never found a passion for it. As for singing, I wasn’t even sure I could carry a tune until I met Larry. He has a strong musical background and told me I was an alto and sang on key. I still limit my singing to church, the shower and the car. But when I’m happy I hum so I’m often humming when I’m in the kitchen, especially when I’m baking.

If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?

I would be a hymn or praise song. I think one of the songs with a guitar from my college days, the time when I became a Christian.

In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?

I’d probably be the strong, female lead. I was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska, a place with a lot of strong women. For good or bad, I tend to blunder through as the lead. I have a scene in the book where jeans-loving Sophie puts on high heels and has to learn what it’s like to wear them. There’s a part of me that’s still the shy child I once was. I just take a deep breath and push through, wearing those high heels for all I’m worth.

I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.

I’m excited to say that Larry and I adopted a rescue kitty last fall. Evie is an adorable calico who’s eleven months old and so much fun. She’s so cute that you even overlook her early morning cat wakeup alarm.

Thanks, Shannon! Nice to have you as a guest at DivineDetour.

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 For more information about Shannon and The Feather Chase, visit her website.

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