Interview with Shannon Dittemore: Author of Angel Eyes

How did your debut novel Angel Eyes come about?

There are so many things I could mention here, situations that led me to the moment I plopped my bum in the chair and started writing: my youth group kids obsessed with paranormal fiction, my own desire to tell a story, my hatred of math and the poorly suited bookkeeping job I was doing. But, the long and short of it is that one night I had an epiphany: if I want writing to be my job, then I have to write. So, I spent the night walking around the house, fussy baby in arms, thinking and praying and thinking some more. And then I sat down to write.

At what point did you find an agent?

Because I’m so awful at math, I reserve the right to change this answer should someone smarter and with a better memory have more accurate information, but I think it was nearly two years after I started drafting Angel Eyes. I had my first draft completed in a handful of months, but it took me another year and some fabulous feedback to really get it to a state that made an agent jump at it.


Tell us how you found your agent.

Ah! My Twitter success story.

I had been querying primarily Christian agencies, but it was weird. I’d hit ‘send’ and then receive nothing in return. No acceptance. No rejection. No feedback. It was like my query disappeared into the e-verse. And then I noticed that a lot of the main stream agents would update their Twitter followers with their slush pile progress and that was super appealing to me. I happened to catch a tweet announcing that the Waxman Agency had hired a new agent, Jason Pinter, and so I read up. He wasn’t scheduled to start until the following Monday, but I thought he was a good fit, so I queried him. He requested my ms on Monday and by Wednesday I’d signed the contract.

As a follow-up to that, Jason ended up leaving Waxman while Angel Eyes was out on submission, but I’m ever grateful that he pulled me from the slush pile and had the foresight to submit to Thomas Nelson. After he left Waxman, I was paired with the amazing Holly Root. She got the deal finalized and I couldn’t be happier with my representation.


Describe the process of going from a newly-agented writer to a contracted author.

It’s funny because to the author involved it feels like it takes forever. You think every email, every phone call, every knock at the door is the contact—that one contact—that will make your dreams come true. That said, the learning curve is huge. I went from piddling in my manuscript for two years to having six months to finish the sequel. It’s daunting and I don’t know that you can ever be truly prepared for that.


What has surprised you most about this process?

It’s such a “hurry up and wait” industry. I have to hurry, my agent has to hurry, my editors have to hurry and then we all wait. And we wait. And then we’re hurrying again. It’s a bizarre thing.


How are you involved in the marketing of Angel Eyes?

Mostly through online stuff. I have two blog tours back to back, so I’m putting together content and answering interview questions.


What has been the most difficult part of your journey to publication so far?

A couple months ago I would have said juggling my responsibilities, but I think the hardest part has actually been managing my own emotions. There is so much feedback out there nowadays and because I’m working on the next book in the series, I really don’t have the time or the energy to dissect any of it. It can be overwhelming at times, but I’m learning to give that stuff to God. All I can do is write. The rest is out of my hands.


Any tips you’d like to pass on to our readers?

There’s a time and a place for thinking, for chewing on your story and mulling things over, but most of the time, all the answers you need are on the page. You may not have put them there yet, but you’ll never find them if your behind isn’t in the chair.


What is next for you?

Book three! I’m finishing up edits on Broken Wings, the follow-up to Angel Eyes, and I have a fast approaching deadline for the still untitled third book in the trilogy.


Who is your target audience for Angel Eyes? What do you hope they will gain by reading your book?

Older young adults certainly. Brielle’s journey takes her through some rough territory so if younger teens are interested, I’d recommend parents read along. I also think those that will enjoy it most will have a Christian background. My worldview is woven into the story and it would be impossible not to see it.

I’d love for readers to come away from Angel Eyes wondering about the unseen. To have a sense that they’re not alone even when they most feel it. If I’ve accomplished that, I’m a happy camper.


What would you say God’s role has been so far in your writing journey?

He’s all over it, really. From the night I wandered the house praying and thinking, to the hours I sit perched in my office chair fumbling for inspiration, He’s sustained me. He’s my everything and my writing is a testament to that.

About Elizabeth Thompson 44 Articles
Elizabeth M. Thompson writes contemporary nonfiction, articles and devotionals using her experiences as a Bible teacher, wife, mother and grief navigator. She also enjoys speaking at writer’s conferences and women’s ministry events. Although her background includes marketing and education, writing has always been a driving force in her life. She is currently pursuing publication for her one-year grief devotional book, When the Waves Crash. Her most rewarding adventures to date include her marriage to Michael, parenting her three children, and serving Christian writers through Inspire. Her publication credits include articles published by Focus on the Family, Today’s Christian, and contributions to Whispering in God’s Ear (Waterbrook 2005) and Inspire Promise (Inspire Press 2014).