Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

An Interview with Sharon Shinn

shinn-tttt.gifYou have also written four fantasy books for young adults: Summers at Castle Auburn and a three book series, The Safe-Keeper’s Secret, The Truth-Teller’s Tale, and The Dream-Maker’s Magic. How is the experience of writing for younger people different from writing for adults?

Some writers say there’s no difference at all. For me, I’m conscious of a few things: One, the books are generally much shorter, so I have to write more tightly and get to the point more quickly. That’s a challenge, but it’s really good for me; I think it’s made my other writing sharper overall.

Two, the readers are younger, and so are the protagonists, so I’ve tended to tone down the happily-ever-after stuff. The books set in the Safekeeper world also feature romances, but the heroines are 16 or 17 by the end of the book. I’ve been a bit cautious about how I’ve ended those books–you believe the main characters will be together, but for the most part they aren’t getting married right away and setting up household. I want them to realize that they still have some growing up to do.

The other thing I’ve tried to be careful about is how I’ve treated key issues. In Safekeeper, for instance, a village woman comes to Fiona and asks for some herbs to use as a contraceptive. I could have had her come to Fiona and ask for help getting rid of a baby once she was already pregnant, but I chose the birth control route instead. I’m not saying abortion shouldn’t be covered in a YA book, but I didn’t want to deal with such an important issue in what was essentially a throwaway scene.

I’d like to talk a bit more about your series. In what order do you recommend to readers that the books in the Samaria series be read?

I think the series probably makes the most sense read as I wrote it: Archangel, Jovah’s Angel, Alleluia Files, Angelica, and Angel-Seeker. I’ve seen a few online forums where people say they’ve read the books in chronological order (Angelica, Archangel, Angel-Seeker, Jovah’s Angel, Alleluia Files) and they prefer that. I’d think it would be tough to start with anything but Archangel, though. Maybe read that one first, and then skip around as you like. I intended each of them to be standalone books, but I think they probably all make more sense if Archangel is read first.

shinn-taf.gifWill there be any more books about the angels and mortals on Samaria? Is there a chance we will see Hagar and Uriel’s story someday, perhaps?

This is the question I get asked more often than any other! My standard answer is: I have no plans to write more angel books, but you never know.

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Janine Ballard loves well-paced, character driven novels in historical romance, fantasy, YA, and the occasional outlier genre. Recent examples include novels by Katherine Addison, Meljean Brook, Kristin Cashore, Cecilia Grant, Rachel Hartman, Ann Leckie, Jeannie Lin, Rose Lerner, Courtney Milan, Miranda Neville, and Nalini Singh. Janine also writes fiction. Her critique partners are Sherry Thomas, Meredith Duran and Bettie Sharpe. Her erotic short story, “Kiss of Life,” appears in the Berkley anthology AGONY/ECSTASY under the pen name Lily Daniels. You can email Janine at janineballard at gmail dot com or find her on Twitter @janine_ballard.


  1. msaggie
    Oct 09, 2006 @ 09:54:07

    Thanks to Janine, and the two Ja(y)nes for organising this interview with Sharon Shinn. It is so comprehensive that I can’t think of any further questions which need answers for the time being! I am just looking forward to Reader and Raelynx – oh – one question – is there a way I could get an advanced reader’s copy ? (How do these work? I have never had ARCs before, but have heard and seen that they exist)

  2. Janine
    Oct 09, 2006 @ 11:20:56

    Thanks to Janine, and the two Ja(y)nes for organising this interview with Sharon Shinn. It is so comprehensive that I can't think of any further questions which need answers for the time being!

    You’re welcome! Our big thanks goes to Sharon Shinn for being gracious enough to answer this many questions, and answer them so thoroughly.

    I am just looking forward to Reader and Raelynx – oh – one question – is there a way I could get an advanced reader's copy ? (How do these work? I have never had ARCs before, but have heard and seen that they exist)

    I’m not sure if this question is for me or for Sharon Shinn. Please post all your questions for her in the comment section of the post titled “Sharon Shinn answers your questions.”

    But I can tell you what I know about ARCs. Usually they are only given to reviewers, booksellers, and others who get the word out about books (We sometimes get ARCs at Dear Author because we are a site that reviews books, but even so, we don’t get many).

    ARCs are labeled “Not for sale”, but sometimes people who get them do sell them, and generally speaking, readers almost always get them by buying them. The author gets no royalties from such sales, and there have been some discussions of this on blogs and romance sites, with some authors speaking out against the sale of ARCs.

    On rare occasions, readers have also obtained ARCs otherwise, either by winning them in author contests, or through a publisher program to promote the book by sending readers ARCs to review and spread the word about.

  3. AAR Rachel
    Oct 09, 2006 @ 22:13:35

    Great interview! And thanks for the review of Dark Moon Defender. I’ve got to go get that one. Maybe tomorrow. I enjoy Shinn’s writing so much.

  4. Kailana
    Oct 10, 2006 @ 13:37:48

    Wow, what an awesome interview! I just started reading Shinn, so perfect timing for me to read all about her.

  5. --Deb
    Oct 10, 2006 @ 17:16:33

    Thank you so much for this interview! Sharon Shinn has been one of my very favorite authors since I discovered Archangel when it came out. It’s a rare month that goes by without my reading one of her books. (Yes, I’ve read all of them multiple times, except for the most recent.)

    I haven’t read your review for Dark Moon Defender yet because I only just started reading it. (I had to re-read the first two first.) But . . . the interview? Wonderful!

  6. --Deb
    Oct 10, 2006 @ 17:27:13

    Oh, and I do have a couple questions that I’d love to ask Sharon.

    The music in the Samaria series is always so beautifully written–I want to HEAR it! Obviously, that’s not possible, but are there any choral works that you particularly like that would be reminiscent of the Magnificat, or any of the other Glorias? Or, just that you like, yourself?

    I wondered, when Samaria invented its own sound-recording and scoffed that Rachel’s voice could have compared to Hagar’s . . . does Jehovah have recordings of all the Gloria’s in its memory banks? That could somehow be transmitted? It would be such a shame for Gabriel’s and her voice to be lost to the void.

    And, not a question, but, a possible novella in the “Heart of Gold” world? Be still my heart. That book is one of my absolute favorites. The world is so similar to ours in a way, and yet so different in its hierarchy–it’s a world I would gladly visit again. I also always feel like it has such a Jane Austen kind of vibe, in the Indigo’s aristocratic world of manners and balls . . . I really just want to know more!

  7. Mary Katherine
    Feb 18, 2007 @ 21:48:10


    thanks for the interview! it was wonderful to read.

    are there any plans to issue the first three books in the Samaria series in hardback? I have often wished to have them in hb like the other two. If there is anything we as readers can do to encourage this, please let me know.

  8. Angela
    Oct 22, 2007 @ 20:02:35

    You’re a cruel, cruel woman, Sharon Shinn. To state that two of your favorites of your books are unpublished and that you don’t intend to rewrite them any time soon to publish as books or e-books seems terribly unfair!

  9. My First Sale by Sharon Shinn, Every Sale Is Cause for Celebration | Dear Author: Romance Book Reviews, Author Interviews, and Commentary
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 04:00:17

    […] Shinn is one of our favorite authors here at Dear Author. Given the diversity of our tastes, its amazing that we can come to any […]

  10. Chappysmom » New Arrivals
    Mar 23, 2008 @ 09:57:01

    […] if you’ve read any of her books, there’s an excellent 8-page interview with her over here. (Thanks, Kelly, for letting me know.) Really, I just love her […]

  11. Joanna Muccigrosso
    Oct 14, 2011 @ 15:41:09

    I am no longer sure where you are getting your information, but great topic. I needs to spend some time studying much more or understanding more. Thank you for excellent information I used to be looking for this information for my mission.

  12. aravis
    May 29, 2012 @ 05:42:36

    This interview is much too short! Just three questions?!

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