An Interview with Sharon Shinn
You 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.
Will 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.