Minutes Before Sunset Review and Author Interview

Hey guys it’s Meagan and today I’m here to review Minutes Before Sunset by Shannon A. Thompson, a book about the light, the dark, and great characters!

She was undoubtedly a shade, but I didn’t know her.
Eric Welborn isn’t completely human, but he isn’t the only shade in the small Midwest town of Hayworth. With one year left before his eighteenth birthday, Eric is destined to win a long-raging war for his kind. But then she happens. In the middle of the night, Eric meets a nameless shade, and she’s powerful—too powerful—and his beliefs are altered. The Dark has lied to him, and he’s determined to figure out exactly what lies were told, even if the secrets protect his survival.
He had gotten so close to me—and I couldn’t move—I couldn’t get away.
Jessica Taylor moves to Hayworth, and her only goal is to find more information on her deceased biological family. Her adoptive parents agree to help on one condition: perfect grades. And Jessica is distraught when she’s assigned as Eric’s class partner. He won’t help, let alone talk to her, but she’s determined to change him—even if it means revealing everything he’s strived to hide. –goodreads.com summery

The author gave this book to me in exchange for an honest review and I’m glad she did! I had never heard of this book before and I really liked it; so much that I could see myself rereading it somewhere down the line!

Things I Liked
Um, pretty much everything. But I guess I should be a little more specific than that so, I’ll start with the writing style! Shannon Thompson’s writing style immediately immerses you in the story and its characters. She quickly introduces the characters to you and, through them, sets up this really interesting world! Speaking of the world, this book sets up a very interesting and intricate world. It is full of people that I would like to meet and rules that I would like to explore in the next books.
Another great thing is the plot! The plot takes something that has been done a million times before and takes a new spin on it. My favorite thing that this book does is show the story from a ‘dark’s’ POV and it’s an interesting twist instead of the usual ‘good guy is a part of the light and is taking down the dark’. I can’t wait to see where the second book goes with the plot!

Things I Didn’t Like
My only complaint about this book is that it can be slightly confusing at times. It does something where shades have a human form and a shade form and they look different depending on which form they are in. This was kind of hard to wrap my head around because I had a habit of still picturing the characters the same no matter which form they were in. I know, this is partially my fault, and this isn’t completely a negative but I just want y’all to be aware about it and I thought I should talk about it.

Overall, this was a great book and I am so glad that I had the opportunity to read it! It has an interesting plot set in a complex world. More people should know about and read this book!

Interview with the Author
Yes! Below is an interview with the author that you can read if you want! (Psst! You should read it! ;)

First, for anyone who hasn’t read the book, describe Minutes Before Sunset in one sentence.
The Timely Death Trilogy is a young-adult, paranormal romance that challenges identity, fate, and traditional archetypes through the eyes of two teenagers who are facing a war between the worlds of humans, shades, and lights.

I have to ask the most cliché question of them all, but how did you come up with the idea for The Timely Death Trilogy and the world behind it?
The Timely Death Trilogy was born from a series of dreams I had during a dark time of my life in high school. I actually share a real-life excerpt from my diary about one of the dreams on my website - http://shannonathompson.com/2013/11/15/my-dream-goodreads-extras/ - and if you read it, you might recognize it from book 2, Seconds Before Sunrise. That’s because the second book was written first. The trilogy was more or less a fantasy I came up with in my own mind to explain my dreams – something my mother taught me to do when I had a nightmare. Most of my novels are inspired by my dreams.

Did you ever think of writing this story from the perspective of a light instead of a dark?
Oh, yes! But – trust me – the trilogy will have that time. The first novel focuses on the Dark. The second novel revolves around humans. The last installment, Death Before Daylight, exposes the Light’s side.

How did you decide that the shades should look different from their human form? (Like how Eric looks different as Shoman).
This actually came down to the dreams I had as a teenager. They were very real, but there was something very surreal about the boy I saw. On top of that, I also saw a boy (who inspired Pierce/Jonathon), a girl (who inspired Camille/Teresa), and another girl who never made it into the final version of the novel. During the dream, they seemed human to me, but once I woke up, I could tell there was something inhuman about them, so I knew I wanted creatures that – overall, maybe at a glance – they would appear normal, but in the end, would be very paranormal, almost ghost-like.

Which character’s point of view did you enjoy writing from the most?
Overall, I enjoyed Eric’s point of the view the most. In fact, I have always enjoyed writing from a male’s perspective more than a female’s, but I’m still unsure why considering I am a female myself - but I was raised by my father and my brother, so I imagine that has something to do with it. That being said, my novel, Take Me Tomorrow, is written only by the female’s protagonist, and I enjoyed that novel tremendously. I love writing my novels with two POV’s, but sometimes, one just won’t have it. That’s also why there is no pattern to the chapters. The characters come to speak when they are ready to tell their side of things. 

Do you have a favorite of your own characters? And, along those lines, do you ship any of your own characters? ;)
In The Timely Death Trilogy, I definitely developed a bit of a crush on Pierce. Since he was Eric’s best friend, I felt like he became my best friend, and he was always making me laugh or helping me understand the elements I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around. In my others novels, Miles in Take Me Tomorrow has a very serene nature to him I found myself appreciating, and Serena in November Snow was so brave, even though she was so broken, that it was difficult to not love her and stand by her. I love them all so much though!  

Does any of your personality ever go into any of your characters?
I never intentionally put myself into my characters, but close friends of mine have definitely pointed out some funny correlations – whether it’s similarities in friends or loved ones or me, there always seems to be something poking through the surface. One thing I know I do for certain is giving my characters traits I envy. I have always wished I could paint, so Jessica picks up painting, and it becomes a very close passion of hers by the end of the trilogy. It also allows her to get closer to Pierce and discover herself independently from her paranormal world. 

Do you outline your books before you begin writing them?
Yes! I am a crazy outliner. I basically write a screenplay before I ever write a novel. I’m not sure why I do this, but I always have. Dialogue almost always comes to me first – sometimes even before I understand it – so organizing dialogue becomes the outline, and I fill in the rest. If you want to see examples, I wrote about this on my website with more detail: http://shannonathompson.com/2014/03/10/my-writing-process-blog-tour/: I like to look at writing as a road trip. I know where I start, I have an idea of where I would like to end, and I have a few places marked to stop by in-between, but I am always open for detours. The characters are always in control.

Do you listen to music while writing? If so, what bands or genres?
Yes! I listen to music while planning my writing, but I mainly find myself on 8tracks.com. I don’t like to know the music beforehand, but I have playlists for all of my novels with the music that was ultimately played for the majority of the time. For The Timely Death Trilogy, I listened to a lot of Stateless, Florence and the Machine, and the XX. For Take Me Tomorrow, though, I listened to Lykke Li, Portishead, and Lana Del Ray as if no one else existed.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Create your own mantra that reminds you of why you write what you write and why you pursue certain goals. Remembering it will help you get through the rough days, but it will also energize the good ones. Mine is “write with passion; succeed with self-discipline.” But I believe everyone needs their own little sticky note in their writing head to keep around.

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