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MEET: Shana Abé

What was the last book that you read that you’d now recommend?  

The Tangleroot Palace, by Marjorie Liu.  I recently read this collection of short stories for a cover blurb, and found it darkly fascinating.

Have you read any classics lately that you were reading for the first time?  

Yes, actually.  I read Rebecca at my editor’s suggestion. (I’d only ever seen the movie before.  The book was, of course, better.)

Do you re-read books?  And if yes, what was your last re-read?  

Not really, unless it’s something I’m reading for research.

What are your go-to genres? 

Fantasy/paranormal, sci-fi, historical fiction, romance.

What is your favorite childhood book? 

The Velveteen Rabbit.  I dare you not to cry.  I dare you.

What books are on your bedside table right now? 

Forgotten Elegance: The Art, Artifacts, and Peculiar History of Victorian and Edwardian Entertaining in America.

Do you bookmark or dogear your page in a book?  

Oh, dear, I can already hear the protests, but I dogear pages.  Hey, they’re my books and I can dogear them if I want to!  I don’t have the patience to keep track of bookmarks.

What is your ideal reading setting? 

Quiet room, good light, pleasant temperature, comfy chair.  Maybe a gentle breeze, if the weather is cooperating.

Tell us about your favorite bookstore? 

The Tattered Cover, in Denver.  An icon of the city and the industry, it’s been around for decades.  I used to go there as a child and be awed by the towering shelves, stuffed with books, that went on and on.

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power? 

According to my mother, my very first word was no.  She was trying to entice me into eating some pureed spinach.  It worked; I didn’t have to eat the spinach!  I have hung on to no ever since.  And I still don’t like spinach.

What literary pilgrimages have you gone on? 

Hmm.  I’ve been to Stratford-upon-Avon, because Shakespeare matters to me.

Where do you get most of your writing and editing done?  

At home.  I am not someone who can easily concentrate on work in loud environments, like a coffee shop.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?  

Oh, energize, absolutely.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?  

Ha!  Too many!  At least…five?  Six?  Something like that.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I will go so, so far out of my way to not read my reviews.  The only ones I do read tend to be the ones sent directly to me by my agent or editor, or the reviewer themselves.  Good reviews are wonderful, of course, but the bad ones sting.  You have to remind yourself that it’s just one person’s opinion, and you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?  

Be persistent.  No one else is going to write your story for you.

When you’re not reading or writing, what are you doing?  

Usually tending to my pets!  I have (at the moment) two dogs, two cats, four house rabbits, and approximately 27 enormous goldfish who live in a stock pond on my back porch.  All of them are rescues, and all of them keep me busy.  (To be fair, my husband helps!)

What are your three favorite things right now?

  1. The Sangre de Cristo mountains (my backyard view!)
  2. The crystalline peace of living in the country
  3. Getting lost in history as I do the research for my next novel (also set in the Gilded Age)

Your favorite travel destination and why?

The South Pacific, because even though I live in Colorado, my secret soul longs for the deep blue ocean.

What’s your favorite meal and go-to drink order?  

Well, right now I’m living in a pretty small rural mountain community, so my restaurant options are limited.  But there’s a local place that sells juicy hot gyros with fresh-cut fries, and they’re so yummy.  I always order extra tzatziki, because tzatziki is insanely delish.  Favorite (adult) drink? Top-shelf vodka martini with a twist.

What six people, living or dead, would you invite to a dinner party?

  1. Andy Warhol
  2. Hedy Lamarr
  3. Alice Roosevelt
  4. Margaret Brown
  5. Mary Shelley
  6. Jane Goodall.

If a movie was made of your life, what genre would it be, who would play you?

Magical realism!  And…Anne Hathaway?

What’s the last TV show or movie that you watched that was really good?

Star Trek: Discovery.  I only just got a decent enough internet connection to stream it, so I’m binging.

You have to sing karaoke; what song do you pick?

For some reason I’ve been singing “Dulcinea,” from the musical Man of La Mancha, out loud lately.  So, probably that.

If you were taken to a deserted island and could only bring one book, what would it be?

Can it be a hollow book filled with food??  I’d be far more worried about eating than reading!  But let’s say it’s a magical isle with, like, pizza trees and spaghetti shrubs and a sparkling stream of champagne.  In that case, I would take my dictionary of etymology.  No kidding.  It’s enormous and interesting and I always learn new things. (Okay, but as for literature, I’d take something by Oscar Wilde or Edgar Allan Poe or the Brothers Grimm, because I’m all edgy like that, lol.)

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