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May 23, 2010


Enna Isilee

Heh. I prefer key lime. :)

great post. You did your job just right. :D


My friend called me on Friday and said, "I'm reading the BEST BOOK! I'm only 45 pages in, but the witty banter is fabulous! You have to get it!" Guess what book she was talking about? Congrats on the paperback printing!


People actually find your books offensive? What planet are they living on? I don't expect people to have the same taste (maybe they're into nonfiction books about mapping the universe) but I cannot figure out how anyone could find something offensive in your books.

Also, pie is to hug as cake is to...?


For what it's worth, Mrs. Hale, I love your stories. I think the biggest message I take from them might be on writing!


Such an eye-opener. Thanks for sharing, Shannon!

Katie Willden

That was a delightful and insightful post. Thank you so much for it. I read "The Actor and the Housewife" with my book club (not to brag, but we were the lucky and thrilled winners of the "Actor and the Housewife" contest a few months back), the members of which are all LDS, and a few members had some serious issues with the Becky/Felix relationship. Because they couldn't condone the relationship, they could not enjoy the book or gain anything from it. My experience was very different. I thought about the book days after I finished it. To me, "The Actor and the Housewife" explores a more universal issue than that of a friendship between a married man and a married woman. It takes a typical Mormon woman and puts her in a very atypical situation. Her conundrum--to be or not to be best friends with a famous, beautiful, and oh yeah, married man--is fantastical, but her struggle to make the right choices is very real. Becky's relationship with Felix may not be right for those around her, or for those who read about her, or even for the one who writes about her, but it is right for Becky. Her struggle to figure out what is right for her, in the face of the opinions of others, is the essence of the story, and isn't that a universal struggle?

Thank you for writing stories that make me think and feel and wonder and ponder. Can I make you a pie when I am in Utah this August? I'm actually better with cake. How do you feel about cake?


That's a beautiful cover for the The Actor and the Housewife! And I always love your posts about how it's the reader's job to give the story meaning.

Dr. Sallie N. Cheinsteen

Yes, the cover is beautiful. I give you full permission to send it to me, even though I already have the hardback. :)
As for the "moral" character, I completely agree with you. Who would ever want to read about a character who was morally perfect? Wouldn't that be interesting? Nowhere to go, no room to develop?
Save me, please. Your books are just fine, thanks. I'll defend them to the death. And sorry I'm becoming so extreme. :)

Je Reve

Love the cover, and agree with the rules. Thanks for the post!


I absolutely love reading your books! Thank you for all the hard work it takes to get them to us, the readers!

Lynnette Black

I must say that I am a fan of the first order! I am asked what books I read and if I have any recommendations about authors...I always go for "Shannon Hale" right off the bat. I have found you to be an author after my own (and my daughter's) heart! I began reading your books as a way to get closer to my -then 14 year old daughter. I chose a few books at a Barnes and Noble that had covers I thought she would be interested in opening, and she LOVED them. I was sneaky though..I read the first one before I wrapped it up for her! It was Princess Academy...I was hooked!
I have read all the books here, and I have read The Book of a Thousand Days several times. It is my favorite - Not gonna lie!
I am grateful that you write for us. I am grateful there are stories alive in my mind with characters I have chosen to keep there from books I have read and loved!
Thank you!

Debbie (Celes)

Wonderful post, and I love the new cover! I absolutely adored The Actor and the Housewife. It struck a chord with me that I didn't expect, and I especially loved the relationship between Becky and Mike. It came out something-like 6 months after I got married and so the relationship between husband and wife was particularly interesting to me, and I really loved theirs.

In addition to all that, I have to say I've recently been making a lot of pies. Right now they are my favorite thing to bake, and I find the whole process to be quite therapeutic. And I often think of Becky (and you) when I make them.


Well, I'll have you know that I love your books, Missy! That's right. So you just keep your chin up and continue being moral-less when you write. Yep. ^_^ LOL!

I am SO happy that Actor&Housewife is out in paperback now! FINALLY!!! It cost $23.99 or something as a hardback, and I haven't bought it or rented it from a library yet. I can buy it now! YAY! And read it! HOORAAAAAY!! *jumping up and down, running in circles* It's about dang time!


I love The Actor and the Housewife. It was probably my favorite book of yours (though I love them all). It was a well-crafted story and beautifully written!


Bravo, well said. I have only read your adult novels, but I can say that The Actor and the Housewife is in my top 5 favorite books of all time. Hilarious, moving, sad, you got it all in there and it worked. It was just a story and people need to relax and go with it. Thats why we read fiction, because its make believe and allows us to escape into another entertaining world. I cant wait for more of your works. Also, two questions...Is that a new cover for the book? Two, will we ever see a Becky and/or Felix reprise?


Hmm. I have never had a problem with any of your books. But, I'm not sure I agree with your idea that authors have no moral responsibility.

I suppose authors can write whatever they want to write, but I do hate picking up a YOUNG ADULT or CHILDREN'S book and reading a story that is most definitely ADULT. I should be able to show my child a G rated movie without R rated scenes. I should be able to read my child a children's book without having to explain oral sex. Authors do have some moral responsibility.
In the same way my child should be able to google "white house" without being exposed to a porn site.
Books don't have ratings, or internet parental controls... you can not always trust the labels- like YOUNG ADULT, so i tend to trust authors. It always bugs me when authors begin to slide in their morality. Meg Cabot-- loved her earlier books, feel like her later books are a bit crude and adult for her young adult audience.
As the YW President I recommended Twilight to all my YW. I had to call their parents as the other books came out to warn them they were a bit sex-y. Not that they were bad, just a bit old for a 12 year old. In my opinion. (No, I didn't write Stephanie a nasty email. I'm sure that even she struggled with keeping her story true to the charectors and still YOUNG ADULT.)

There must be a difference between ADULT fiction and YOUNG ADULT fiction. Between a novel and a book of porn. Do I have to read every book two-thirds of the way through to know it isn't something I want my children to read? I know you are against censorship... and, I'm a pretty open-minded mother. But, I want my children to be safe when they play at a playground and I want my children to be able to read books from the library without being exposed to pornography.

Perhaps this is why I am a mother and not an author. My job is to teach meaning, morals, and understanding, I believe it can be done. And, I believe that people who write CHILDREN'S books or YOUNG ADULT books must have some moral boundries and responsiblity.

Do you really not believe that?


"characters" :)


Wow, what a thorny topic. I agree that writer's have the responsibility to write the best story. In fact one of my characters is a rebellious fellow and I had a friend who questioned his largely innocent but slightly colorful language and my response was, "How can I write a rebellious character who never does anything wrong?"

By the same token, as a reader, I, like Jenifer, wish that some authors (Shannon Hale not included) would pay more attention to what's appropriate for an under 18 audience. I recently picked up a popular YA book only to find R rated language and graphic pornographic images within the first 10 pages. Yikes!!

While I think it's ultimately up to parents, not authors, to be concerned about their children's reading material, that was a fairly disturbing experience.

Princess Loucida

I had actually just finished eating some pie when I read this.

Now I really want to read 'The Actor And The Housewife'!

Heather S.

I have enjoyed all of your books and appreciate you sharing yourself with all of us. I'ma big fan and enjoy discussing them with my 10-year old daughter. I always enjoy the dialogue and depth of your characters.


I am so glad to read a story that is true to its characters. I also believe it ISN'T the author's job to write morals. It is a parent's job to be aware of what their kid is reading. I'm taking a Media and the Family class, and we were discussing the idea of book ratings. It would be nice to know ahead of time what is in a book that my children are reading, but that won't change what I let them read. While there are some topics I wouldn't want my young kids reading, there are other topics I feel are a good conversation starter. Thanks for writing great stories (which I LOVE!) that are true to the characters.

Miss Erin

I love the new cover a TON.

And I LOVE YOUR BOOKS. and you. :-)


loved it. had a girlfriend who got stressed out about the relationship and came to me, "I can't read it! I'm nervous that they're going to mess up!" so she made me tell her all about what happens and then she was happy.

i think it's good for readers to go through experiences like that in a book - it helps us to know ourselves.

Danielle Dimond

Ditto to all the above, of course we all think your the cat's meow! One thing I'm curious about in your writing habits...how many books are you writing at any given time? You're always mentioning how long it takes you to write a book (which is SO encouraging) and while I'm no mathematician (I'm reader/writer:) you must be writing several books at a time. How do you keep them straight?


Wahoo!! I love this post. Way to say where you stand Shannon. Oh, and the Actor and the Housewife is one of my very favorite books. I've read it at least three times and love, love, love it! Give yourself a big hug from me (you wouldn't want a pie that I baked:).


Thanks for this post, Shannon. I have read and LOVE every single one of your other books. But because my husband had an affair with a "friend" and left me after 20 years of marriage, I decided it was way, way too raw to read The Actor and the Housewife -- because of my own personal issues.

Reading your post, I realized that I have an agenda myself. I feel compared to warn people that friendships with the opposite sex should always be inclusive of the couple. If you have "in" jokes with the other person that you don't share with your spouse, if there's any lack of transparency about that friendship with your spouse, you're already in dangerous territory. (And I formed those opinions from the book NOT Just Friends, by Dr. Glass -- it's a very common way physical or emotional affairs start in today's society.)

But obviously I have an agenda. I felt very differently before it happened to me. And now male friends are crucial to my well-being -- though I always make sure I am good friends with their wives, too.

Thank heaven you have no personal reason to worry about this! I have no doubt I would love the book, if not for the personal baggage. Perhaps in ten years or so, I can read it without pain. But I hope I will never ever go so far as to say you shouldn't have written it.


Oops. Should be "compelled" to warn people!

Also because of my strong agenda, I hope I will never write a novel that comes near this topic -- the message would be waaaaay too heavy.

Miss Clark

Thank you for sharing your stories!


I LOVED this book. Very few books can make me laugh out loud, but the film interview scene had me gasping. And the ending was so utterly perfect. I was worried that it was going to go either one way or the other or that it wasn't going to go one way or the other but you let us try out both endings and then see that the real ending is exactly what it should have been. If that makes any sense. Thanks for a lovely read!


Exciting! When in Forest Born commming out in paperback?

kristen norby

I'm a HUGE fan of yours and anxiously look forward to all your new books. Saying that, The Actor and the Housewife, in my opinion was your best writing. While it's hard for me to recommend it because as you stated some people have a serious problem with the subject matter. But I loved the dynamic between Felix and the housewife. Although Forest Born comes in a very close second. Thank you for your writing, it is truly amazing.


I love it when you share your insights about writing and how you create. It helps me as I begin to navigate my own writing. Thank you for sharing!


I don't think it's an author's responsibility to purposefully instill "morals" into a book. Rather, I think it more important than authors write the story they mean to tell. And while there are authors that purposefully write for a children's, YA, or adult audience, many don't--it's the publishers who determine which audience it will fit best. Authors who write for a specific audience or with certain morals in mind have the potential for losing the truth of the story in favor of these things. I would prefer a story which rings with the author's honest passion--they are often the most compelling, and can have the broadest audience appeal. And if a parent finds that a book their child has been reading has what they would deem "questionable" content, it could provide a great opportunity for honest discussion about the matter.


Why would someone continue to read a book they didn't agree with? That's my question.

I think you spoke very truthfully in your post. As an author you have to cover your hide sometimes and you do it well everytime.

Thank you for being you and for having the courage to write what's on your brain!

You're my fave.


nicely said, Shannon :D


Wow. Thanks for that great post. I so appreciate your wisdom and insight on writing. I'm thankful to have perspectives like this as I water the little green story growing up in my head and notebooks.

I definitely agree with SarahEllen, who said, "I would prefer a story which rings with the author's honest passion--they are often the most compelling". Let the author speak his heart and the reader listen well, weighing.

P.S. The idea of a story only being real in the reader's head is so true, though as a writer I feel it can be hard to accept. As a reader, thank you for trusting us with your precious stories.
I love River Secrets. :)


Lasciviousness in Forest Born? I better go read that one!

I love your books Shannon, and I think it's too bad you had to write a disclaimer. I have been thinking, lately, how sad it is that people think they can dictate what someone writes. (Like starting the censorship before the book is even written.) My son just had to do a book review and project for school, and one of the questions on the form was something like this: "If you could tell the author to change one thing, what would it be?" I bristled at that question. I know it's important to teach children critical thinking skills, but there's a difference between learning the skills to evaluate the themes and meanings in a book and learning to tear something apart to find something wrong. Unless it's a Choose Your Own Adventure book, the reader doesn't get a say in what the author writes or doesn't write. We wouldn't go around telling artists they used too much burnt sienna or a musician that the song would have been much better in a different key.

Rant over. Thanks for the great books!


I can honestly say I have enjoyed every journey I've taken with your characters. Thanks for taking your job seriously with a grain of salt!


If you don't feel it's your responsibility to promote good morals in your books, then it's not. There are probably authors who feel it is their responsibility. Either way, I just wanted to say that it is perfectly valid for somebody to not like a book just because they don't agree with the morals (or lack thereof) presented in it.

Myrna Foster

It's so strange to me that people find your books offensive. Do you think it's because you're a mormon? Your stories are beautiful. Thank you for working so hard to share them.

Becky H.

Let me just say AMEN! to what you have posted. If you don't like what you are reading then don't read it. I love your comment "It's the reader's job to give that story meaning." That is what makes book discussions so great. As a librarian I recommend your books to many people because I know that the contents are "clean" and usually not offensive. I know that I will continue reading your work because I have NOT come across one that I've hated.

Marianne Hale

I guess "moral" in a book, for me, has more to do with how I feel during and after the book. Since while reading this book, I was a happy (though frequently tearful) lady, who for those two days managed to not yell at her children, even when we were late for school (mostly my fault, anyway), and kept wanting to share what I was reading with my husband and mother. I would call it very moral in character. It was uplifting and edifying and filled me with gratitude that my best friend and lover are both the same guy and I'm married to him. Thank you, Shannon.

Stefanie Jackson

I am enjoying your book greatly. Currently I am writing my own historical fiction book. I am finding it to be quite a challenge. Your book was wonderful entertainment in between research and word counts for me. Thank You!

Heather Carver

Dear Shannon
I literally just finished reading The Actor and The Housewife and I thought that it was brilliant. When I was reading it I thought about my mother and her best friend Garry. My mom met him when she was in 14 working at Tim Hortons (he loved Tim Hortons)four years later my mom met my dad and the first time my dad met Garry was also the first day he kissed my mother. My mother loved Garry and so did my dad (but like a brother) there never was a problem. The fact that people think a guy and a girl cannot be friends/close friends/best friends without soemthing else going on bugs me. Your story was magical, and beautiful, and amazingly written, as are all of you books. I am currently reading Austenland. So far I'm finding it witful and funny. Your books are amazing.
BTW my favourite kind of pie is Apple with a caramel drizzle lol :D
Your books are amazing and anyone who says otherwise is a hypocrite.

Love Heather <3


Those people who have a problem with your books need to come see me. I'll straighten them out.

Your books are awesome. Don't let anyone tell you differently.

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