It's hard to talk about this one! I was going through the chapter and got caught up in the story, reading straight through. Ooh, bandits! I remember a review of this book that generally praised but said that the bandits chapters were unnecessary. I disagree. I like them, and if there are no more use than that, that's enough for me. But besides that, I like to allow my characters to experience things, learn and grow, and then put them to a test. Aren't I a cruel god? I stick them in an impossible situation that they never could have survived a few months before and see how they fare now. The bandits chapters do that for me in this book.
Besides, if you ask kids which part is their favorite, guess what most of them choose?
Miri runs: This is the description from the first draft: "Miri didn’t wait to learn more. If Esa said to run, then she would run. But she hadn’t taken five strides toward the village when rough hands seized her." By the final draft I'd focused on making it more tense and exciting. Those sorts of things I have to work for. Nothing comes easily.
Frid: "It's me." *cue hero music* I LOVE Frid. Love her. I get ridiculously fond of my characters, and Frid I'm extremely fond of. Not too bright, our Frid, but what a heart. I've met her kind before. She feels real to me. She's in Palace of Stone, and if I write a third book, I have something in store for her. I feel like I based this moment on something--something real or historical or from another story, but for the life of me I can't remember right now.
Maddie asks, "If they were to make Princess Academy into a movie who would be your personal first pick to play her?" I don't know! I rarely do fantasy movie casting in my head. I'd hope they wouldn't pick some 20+-year-old but an actual teenager, and I'd hope that she was an excellent actress.
Susan asks, "Shannon, knowing the novel is far from finished, I'm curious to know when/how you recognize/define that point when you call a first draft complete?" When I finish the final scene. It may not be the final scene in the final draft, but I always reach an ending point. I like stories that end. I'm not a fan of the modern kind of novel that just cuts off because "that's how real life is." Stories should have beginnings, middles, and ends in my opinion.
Savanna asks, "If you had the chance to jump into one of your books and be a character for a week, who would you choose? And what about a character from a book not written by yourself?" The character I'm writing right now. I would love to be her at a certain point in the story. From what's already pubbed...maybe Rapunzel. Or Enna. Miri's too similar to myself already, I'd like to be someone totally different. From other stories, Wonder Woman for sure. Why not, right? If you have the option, why not the most powerful woman ever? I want to fly and hog-tie baddies and hang out in the Watchtower with Batman and Superman and laugh about inside jokes with the Flash.