I first met Shannon Dittemore a few years ago, after she published the Angel Eyes trilogy. I’m excited that she has a new book, WINTER, WHITE, AND WICKED, due out in October (just in time for my birthday):
Twice-orphaned Sylvi has chipped out a niche for herself on Layce, an island cursed by eternal winter. Alone in her truck, she takes comfort in two things: the solitude of the roads and the favor of Winter, an icy spirit who has protected her since she was a child.
Sylvi likes the road, where no one asks who her parents were or what she thinks of the rebels in the north. But when her best friend, Lenore, runs off with the rebels, Sylvi must make a haul too late in the season for a smuggler she wouldn’t normally work with, the infamous Mars Dresden. Alongside his team—Hyla, a giant warrior woman and Kyn, a boy with skin like stone—Sylvi will do whatever it takes to save her friend.
But when the time comes, she’ll have to choose: safety, anonymity, and the favor of Winter—or the future of the island that she calls home.
I love the Go Teen Writers blog. How did you originally become involved with it?
Oh, thank you! Go Teen Writers was the brainchild of author Stephanie Morrill. Since 2010, she’s been encouraging teen writers and providing them with instruction and tools to improve their craft. Author Jill Williamson jumped onboard sometime thereafter, and they asked me to join them in 2013. I love the mission and the community we’ve built there, the teens who come back multiple times a week to discuss the how-tos of writing. And I love our little team! Jill and Steph have enriched my own journey so much–they’re just fantastic friends–and we have some fun news on the horizon about a project we have in the works. So, definitely stay tuned.
I definitely will! In WINTER, WHITE AND WICKED, Sylvi has to make some tough choices. Did she come to you fully formed, or did she develop as you wrote her?
Nothing comes to me fully formed! I’m a discovery writer through and through. On the way home from Disneyland in 2015, with FROZEN mania in full swing, I looked out the windows of our family SUV and saw only big rigs. I was reminded of the Discovery Channel show Ice Road Truckers. I wondered how challenging it would be for rig drivers to navigate icy mountain roads that were not only treacherous but magicked. The story started there and grew. Sylvi, of course, was the first major piece to come into focus, but her history, her journey, and every one of her problems grew up alongside the plot of the story.
What a great concept! I also love the cover for WINTER, WHITE AND WICKED. What is your favorite part about it?
Thank you! Hana Anouk Nakamura was the cover designer and Ruben Ireland was the artist who drew Sylvi so beautifully. I couldn’t have been happier when the artwork arrived in my inbox. It felt like Ruben pulled Sylvi right out of my head. I think my favorite aspect of the drawing is the look on her face. When the first chapter opens, Sylvi is staring through a storm, waiting for someone to arrive. She’s up for the journey she knows must follow, but not at all happy at having her hand forced. I imagine she’s wearing this very look. There’s also some detail in the picture that may only be appreciated once you’ve read the book, and I love that my team at Amulet was careful to see they got Sylvi just right.
It’s a perfect way to connect to the book’s opening in a way that makes me want to read more. What are some of your current projects?
This is always the question, isn’t it? What’s next? I can’t be specific because rules, but I’m working on a couple things right now. One is an entirely new fantasy and, I’ll be honest, it scares me a bit. It’s a story that feels so big and sprawling inside my head, and all I can do is move forward one word at a time. I love where the plot is going and I genuinely hope I’m up to the task. But that just means it’s a good idea, right? When it nearly scares you away? One can hope!
Winter, White and Wicked:
The Angel Eyes Trilogy: