Random Chitchats

Shop Talk Tuesday with Shanna Swendson

The next gal making the rounds in the Girlfriend Cyber Circuit is Shanna Swendson, author of fairy tales for modern times like DAMSEL UNDER STRESS and the recently released DON’T HEX WITH TEXAS!


A Ballantine Books Trade Paperback Original
May 2008, 304 pages, $14.00
ISBN 978-0-345-49293-7

Katie Chandler has fled fast-paced Manhattan and returned home to a simpler life, working at her family’s feed-and-seed store in Cobb, Texas. In a painfully selfless gesture, Katie left the sexy wizard Owen Palmer to battle his demons in the magical realm—after all, she just seemed to attract evil, which only made Owen’s job a lot harder. But now, it seems, trouble has followed her home. Despite the fact that Merlin, Katie’s former boss at Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc., has assured her that Cobb is free of enchantment, magically speaking, Katie begins to notice curious phenomena.

Cobb is being plagued by a series of unexplainable petty crimes and other devilish mischief, and after her experiences in Manhattan, Katie knows “unauthorized magic” when she sees it. As this new dark magic strikes deep in the heart of Texas, Owen reappears (literally) to investigate. Now Katie’s friends and family must show the bad guys why it’s bad luck to hex with Texas, while Katie and Owen combine their strengths like never before to uncover a sinister plot before evil takes root in the Lone Star State.

Swendson’s contemporary urban fantasy novels have enchanted fans of romance, chick lit and fantasy alike. DON’T HEX WITH TEXAS—and don’t miss what Booklist calls “one of the best romantic-fantasy series being written today”!

Click here to read an excerpt!

Welcome, Shanna! Grab some coffee, get comfy in the beautician’s chair, and let’s get down to the gossip.

What’s the most regrettable hairstyle you’ve ever had? Any mullets? Rat tails?

I have curly hair and didn’t learn how to deal with it until I was out of college. I didn’t know that you weren’t supposed to brush it once it was dry, and my mother thought that my hair had to stay short or else the weight of long hair would pull the curl out of it, so I spent my childhood and teen years with truly unfortunate hair. It was too short to curl properly, and I kept trying to brush it into submission, so I tended to have a big, poofy cloud of bushy hair. My high school nick name was “bird nest.”

What hair styling product can you not live without?

Conditioner. Without it, I would strangle in the knots created in my mass of hair.

How long have you been with your current stylist and what are your appointment conversations like—chatty and personal, or quiet and professional?

I just had to switch stylists because my former one vanished without a trace. Even the salon doesn’t know what happened to her. That was a real crisis because I have trouble finding people who can deal with curly hair, and I loved this stylist. We had nice, long chats during appointments, so I was surprised that I never heard from her when she left the salon. I discovered that she’d gone missing when I called for an urgent appointment before my book release and a big awards ceremony weekend.

But I think I like the stylist I found when I tried the salon that just opened across the street from my house. It’s too soon to tell what our appointments conversations will be like.

In my novel, the ladies have fun answering the “Hypothetical Questions of the Week” from their favorite tabloid. So here are some for you:

HQ #1: For one day, time travel is a reality and you have the opportunity to visit any famous deceased author you want. Who do you pick?

I’d love to hang out with C.S. Lewis for a while. The Narnia books were a major influence on me when I was a kid, and as an adult I’ve enjoyed his theological writings. I’m curious about what he was really like as a person.

HQ #2: You magically find a $100.00 bill in your box of cereal. In what frivolous way would you spend it?

I’d head straight to the bookstore and load up on the books that I’ve been curious about but haven’t bought because I couldn’t justify spending the money.

HQ #3: Paparazzi are stalking you, looking for shots of odd things authors do while writing. What do they catch you doing, hmm?

They would die of boredom watching me stare into space for hours on end. They might occasionally catch me bursting into song for no apparent reason.

HQ #4: If you followed the career path you chose for yourself in high school, what would you be doing for a living now?

I’m doing exactly what I really wanted to do when I was in high school, but if I was doing what I told people I wanted to do, I’d be a globe-trotting television reporter (my degree is in broadcast journalism).

HQ #5: If you could go back in time and make changes to any of your published books, would you? If so, which one and why?

Most of the changes I want to make are minor, just wording tweaks. But I did learn after this new book (Don’t Hex with Texas) was written that my publisher didn’t want the last book I’d planned for completing the series, so I suppose I wish I could go back in time and write that last book instead of this one so the series could end properly. Still, though, I really love this book and I would hate to erase it from existence, so I live in hope that eventually the publisher will want to finish the series.

The Lightening Round—no more than two words per answer!

Do you . . .
Outline or wing it?
Talk about works-in-progress, or keep your trap shut? Some talk
Sell by proposal or completed draft? It depends
Love to edit or cringe at the thought? Love editing
Prefer writing a new book or marketing the old? Both
Write better at home or in a coffee shop? Home alone
Read your released book or no thanks, I’ve read it enough? No, thanks!

And finally, what’s your favorite . . .
Time to write?
Late afternoon
Movie? I can’t possibly pick one – it depends on my mood
Book? To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis
Author? Connie Willis
Song? Another one I can’t possibly pick. I have different songs that strike me at different times.
Pair of shoes? The Infamous Red Stilettos – a pair of candy-apple red patent heels I bought to reward myself for selling the first book in the series that ended up inspiring the second book in the series. They’re my power shoes that I wear to major events when I want to make a splash.
Guiltiest pleasure? Sci Fi Friday – I love it when the Sci Fi Channel has a good Friday-night line-up, like now when they’ve got The Sarah Jane Adventures, Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica. I make a good TV-watching dinner, like pizza, some snacks and a dessert, then spend the evening bonding with my sofa. And then I get online to discuss it all.
Line from a movie? “We’ll always have Paris.”

More about the Author:

SHANNA SWENDSON escaped the corporate rat race to be a novelist and pop culture essayist. She is the author of Enchanted, Inc. and Once Upon Stilettos, in addition to contributing essays to books about television series, authors, and novels. When she’s not writing or watching television and movies so she can write about them, she enjoys cooking, traveling, and singing. Visit her web site at www.shannaswendson.com.

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