Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Blog Tour, Interview, and Giveaway: Dark Halo (Shannon Dittemore)

Welcome to my stop on the Dark Halo blog tour hosted by YA Bound Book Tours.  Click HERE to see the full blog tour schedule!

One halo brought sight to Brielle. Another offers sweet relief from what she sees.Brielle can’t help but see the Celestial realm. Even without the halo, it’s everywhere she looks. And with the heavens above Stratus ravaged by war, Brielle wishes for another gift, any gift. Because Jake is gone. The only boy she’s ever loved has been taken by the demon, Damien—and she knows if she ever wants to see him again, she must fight.But fighting is so hard when everything you see makes you afraid.When she receives instructions from the Throne Room leading her to Jake, she unknowingly walks into a diabolical and heartbreaking trap. Then the Prince of Darkness himself offers Brielle a halo of his own making. With the dark halo, she won’t have to see the fear and brokenness that surround her. She’ll be free of that unbearable burden. And it comes with a promise: the guarantee of a life with Jake.When confusing details about Jake’s past emerge, and the battle above reaches a fever pitch, Brielle is forced to make a choice. Will she choose the dark halo and the ignorance that comes with it, or will she choose to live with her eyes wide open and trust the Creator’s design—even if it means a future without Jake?

Release Date: August 20, 2013
320 pages

Available from:
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Shannon Dittemore is the author of the Angel Eyes Trilogy. She has an overactive imagination and a passion for truth. Her lifelong journey to combine the two is responsible for a stint at Portland Bible College, performances with local theater companies, and a focus on youth and young adult ministry. When she isn’t writing, she spends her days with her husband, Matt, imagining things unseen and chasing their two children around their home in Northern California. ANGEL EYES was Shannon’s debut novel and the launch of a young adult supernatural trilogy. It was published in the summer of 2012 by Thomas Nelson. The sequel BROKEN WINGS hit shelves in February, 2013 and the final novel in the trilogy, DARK HALO, will be available August 20, 2013.

Author Links:
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Dark Halo: Ali interviews Shannon
I thought we’d do something a little different today. Since Brielle, Dark Halo’s heroine, would like nothing better than to sit down and chat with her best friend, Ali, about everything that’s been going on in Stratus, I thought it would be fun to have my very own best friend, Alicia, interview me. And, yes, the nod to my BFF was intentional. This picture was taken in Maui the summer after our senior year. Since Dark Halo takes place the summer after Brielle graduates, I think it’s appropriate. You’d better start, Alicia, or I’ll start telling stories.
A: Ok, I've known you my whole life and you've always been interested in the dramatic arts (theater, acting, singing, etc.) and been so creative. Have you always wanted to write? When did the writing bug bite?
S: I don’t know if it’s a case of always wanting to write, but I have always written. Poems and little stories. Mostly, I think I have always liked storytelling. And when the acting became too difficult—when I got married and had a family of my own—I turned to writing.  

A: One of my favorite things you are able to do is to transport your readers straight into your story. Do you have any favorite authors that do the same for you? How do you do this so well?

S: First, THANK YOU! I love a tale that draws you right in and I’ve always hoped to do that with my stories. You know, I read Suzanne Collins’, Hunger Games, at a critical time on my road to publication. Her ability to be absolutely present in every word was something I wanted to emulate, so I’d have to list her first on my list. I’d also include Veronica Rossi, Beth Revis, Jill Williamson, Jennifer Donnely, and CJ Redwine, among so many others.  

A: Brielle has been so shaped by her life experiences (I mean, who hasn't been). What life experiences have shaped you and the way that you write?

S: That’s a great question and one that’s hard to answer because I do believe that we write what we know. I’d have to say that my upbringing certainly shaped me. The teachers I’ve had find their way into my writing as well. Remember Mr. Cimino, our AP English teacher? I think about his lectures all the time. I also went through a season of irrational, debilitating fear. That, especially in this series, has played a role. It wasn’t intentional, not at first, but when I look at Brielle’s journey, I can see mine as well.

A: Your characters are so vivid. Do you draw from real life people as you create them?

S: Yes and no. I’m sure I did, and as I read my own characters, I see my friends and family in them, but it really happens quite naturally for me. With few exceptions—like naming characters after people I know—my characters steal attributes from the people around me and make them their own. I think it’s hard to avoid that, honestly. We don’t have to power to create something out of nothing; we work with the material we have or we go out and gather more. There’s a reason you’re warned to be kind to writers. They really can write you into a bad spot!

A: What inspires you? And it doesn't have to be just literary inspiration.

S: I am easily inspired! Theatre, certainly, can do it. Even well-written movies and television shows. Good acting! Benedict Cumberbatch inspires me daily! Music too. While I’m not a huge music buff, it really serves to set the mood for my writing. In fact, if I’m trying to avoid writing, there are certain songs and musicians I won’t listen to. Weird, right?
A: Your Angel Eyes trilogy deals so much with the supernatural - the unseen. Do you believe that there really are angels and demons among us every day? To what extent?
S: Absolutely. Now, I don’t know that I’ve got them pegged correctly. My stories are absolutely fiction, but I have done my very best to use the Bible as my foundation. To be honest, I don’t know how you write a supernatural novel without considering what the Bible has to say about the angels and demons you’re crafting. That said, the Bible doesn’t tell us everything there is to know about the angelic, so there is a lot of room for creative license. It’s daunting, actually, to take freedom with beings you believe exist. It’s different than writing about fairytale creatures. I feel the burden of doing them justice.

A: Ok, you have all the time in the world and money is no object. Paint for me the perfect place and setting to write in.

S: I just reread Tasha Alexander’s Death on the Floating City and I think I’d very much like to write in Venice. Tasha’s another author I greatly admire. She’s had the opportunity to write in several of the locations she immortalizes in her books, and that is fascinating to me. I’d love to stay in Venice and write something dreamy and mysterious. Let’s go now, ‘kay?

A: For all of the aspiring writers out there can you share the tool or tip that has been the most helpful for you. (My favorite thing you do is the board with the index cards. I LOVE coming into your space and seeing your vision take shape. I also love seeing the board change and shift as the story develops and evolves. Just thought I'd share.)

S: Ah yes! My boards. They’re a mess right now, by the way. Covered with school schedules and reminders to order uniforms. A lot of writers use bulletin boards to help them plot out a story. I do that too, but usually, I use index cards to remind me of those scenes I’ve already written. Honestly, the best advice I’ve ever gotten is to settle in for the long haul. Publishing is a hurry up and wait business. You hurry up and then you wait. At every junction it’s like that, so sit and write. Without content, you will have trouble advancing from that aspiring phase.

A: You are a wife, a mother, and a writer. WOW. How are you able to juggle everything? How has your life been impacted by your writing?

S: I don’t juggle very well. Until recently, I was usually 100% involved in parenting or 100% hidden away in my writing cave. But summer has a way of forcing you into a juggling act and while it’s not easy, it can be done. The biggest change writing has made for me is probably an internal one. I’m trapped in my head more now than I ever was before. Always plotting, always crafting. It can be challenging at times to be a normal person—not that I’m convinced normal exists!
A: I know you have many more stories and ideas brewing. Any glimpses into what might be coming next?
S: I have a few things going at the moment. I have a time travel piece and a historical, and I’m thinking I’d really like to write a mystery. Once summer is over and I’ve got my munchkins back in school, I’m hoping to actually finish something. You’re a new mom, you understand! AND with that in mind, THANK YOU for taking time away from your beautiful baby girl to chat with me. I appreciate it more than I can say.

A: I am honored to interview you. And I am beyond proud of you and the wonderful, incredible job you are doing. I look at your books on my shelf or in the bookstore and my heart swells. You are amazing. You have a gift. Pure and simple. And I love, LOVE that you are sharing it with the world.


  1. A unique story line. I'll be honest I haven't read any books with this sort of plot, but reading the synopsis has made me think I may enjoy reading this book. Thanks for the giveaway. :-)

  2. I haven't read this series but I am looking forward to reading it from start to finish I have been looking for new books that aren't the same old thing over & over again & I believe I have found what I;m looking for

  3. That poor girl has a terrible choice to make and that is what makes this book interesting and one that I would want to read. Thanks for the review of the book