Monday, April 30, 2012

Interview: Shannon Greenland + The Summer My Life Began

As part of the promotional tour through Teen Book Scene, I'm pleased today to welcome young adult author Shannon Greenland to the blog to answer a few questions about her upcoming release The Summer My Life Began. The Summer My Life Began comes out May 10th from Speak.

Em has dreams of being a chef even though she’s “supposed to be” a lawyer following in her father’s footsteps. Is there a particular dish you’ve made that came out so well you impressed yourself with your cooking abilities? (I would just like to point out that this has never once happened to me ;-) 

You might surprise yourself! I made beef wellington once and was like, wow, following a recipe totally works!

*I would like to reiterate that, recipe or no, I'm a disaster in the kitchen. I'm a culinary failure :-)*

If you had the chance to go back and tell your seventeen year-old self one thing about pursuing your dreams, what would you most like to tell her? Do you think she’d listen? 

I would tell my younger self to do exactly what I wanted and to not listen to anybody else. I think my younger self would definitely listen to that advice. What teen doesn’t want to hear that?

What is your favorite summertime memory? 

I lived in a RV one summer right on the beach. Cool right? That is definitely at the top of my memory list.

If Em had to describe her perfect guy before spending time with her aunt, what would she say? The perfect guy after her time with her aunt? 

Before her aunt: smart, driven, and neatly groomed. After her aunt: smart, sense of humor, laid back, with some sort of future figured out.

You have to describe Em’s journey in The Summer My Life Began in terms of food. What specific food item or category (i.e. chocolate 7 layer cake – lots of dark, bittersweet goodness) best sums up the Em’s emotions as she goes through this summer of change? 

Ooh this is an easy one. Before the summer she was a cookbook with exact measurements in everything. During the summer she closed the cookbook and relied on senses to guide her.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions Shannon! More information on Shannon and her books can be found here:



Elizabeth Margaret—better known as Em—has always known what life would contain: an internship at her father’s firm, a degree from Harvard and a career as a lawyer. The only problem is that it’s not what she wants. When she gets the opportunity to get away from it all and spend a month with the aunt she never knew, she jumps at the chance. While there, Em pursues her secret dream of being a chef, and she also learns that her family has kept some significant secrets from her, too. And then there’s Cade, the laid-back local surfer boy who seems to be everything Em isn't. Naturally, she can’t resist him, and as their romance blossoms, Em feels she is living on her own terms for the first time.


  1. Jenny - someday you need to visit me and I will teach you how to cook. Or maybe I'll make something and let you carry it to the oven, so you can claim it as your own masterpiece. :-)

    I wish I'd done something cool like live in an RV for a summer, although I hate camping. I do love the beach. I took the path most traveled - became a lawyer :-)

  2. I love cooking! Cooking, not baking! I'm a good cook and a horrible baker, just to make this clear lool! Jenny, come visit me in Germany and I cook you some deliecious stuff!! :)

    This sounds like such a great summer read and coming-of-age novel. I want to read more Contemporary the more I hear about books like this.. *sigh*

    I love that you spend a summer in an RV!!! My parents had an RV so we were driving around all the time in our vacation...

  3. "What teen doesn’t want to hear that?" <-- Amen, sister! ;) Haha I love reading interviews -- you always get to find out which authors have unexpected spunk that makes you smile, and Shannon is so sweet! And I wish that recipes could be as nice to me as they are to you! The last time my little cousin and I tried to follow one, she put a can in the microwave when I wasn't there... It didn't go so well after that LOL x)

    Awesome interview, you two! :) <3 I've heard this book around a bit and am kind of curious. I'll be reading your review if you write one for sure, Jenny!

  4. This book had my mouth watering! And now this interview too, next time I will have to come prepared with loads of chocolate, I'm feeling hungry already! Fab interview Shannon and Jenny! :)

  5. This book looks and sounds adorable. I love reading about food, baking...stuff like that. One of my favorite shows is Cupcake Wars...yes I am a dork..;)

  6. I love the answer to the last question! Seriously life just can't be perfectly measured--sometimes you just have to throw stuff in and see if it sticks!

  7. Alison - Oooooo I like the way you think! Faking it might be my only option, you really don't me to set foot in your kitchen for the purposes of cooking:)

    Danny - I should have mentioned my lack of skills in the kitchen earlier, everyone is inviting me places! I would come visit you in a second:)

    Mimi - Uh oh. Can in the microwave = bad. My college roommate once tried to reheat her leftover sandwich from when we went out to dinner. Would have been fine except she left it in the styrofoam container and put it in the oven. Yikes.

    Jasprit - I could go for some chocolate cake at the moment. Chocolate cake for breakfast is a win:)

    Tina - YES! I love that show too! Wasn't so excited about the beer one though - I don't want beer flavored cupcakes.

    Felicia - I can't even throw perfectly measured stuff in! It's a good thing the hubs enjoys cooking or we'd be eating out a lot more than we do:)

  8. I'll commiserate with you about not cooking, Jenny. I love watching cooking shows, but fail to make the dishes on my own. I just don't think I have what it takes to be a good cook. I can do the baking and boiling just fine. :)

  9. Lol, I'm completely the opposite of Danny I see; I'm a great baker but horrible cook, haha. But I do like to cook and try, even if I fail! This one definitely sounds interesting! :) Great interview!

  10. The cover plus this interview make this a must have. WHY must I torture myself with your blog?!?! I'm out of room!

  11. This one is new to me, thanks for posting the interview! I'll be sure to check this one out.

    Living in an RV for the summer by the beach sounds awesome!

  12. I loved that cookbook analogy at the end. What an interesting comparison. Wouldn't it be great if you could go back and talk to your 17 yr old self? Interesting thought to ponder over....

  13. Rummanah - YES! I watch cooking shows all the time, but I watch with the knowledge that I couldn't make what they're making:)

    Rebecca - I think I would be a better baker if it came down to it. Cooking just isn't for me:)

    Ashley - There's always room for more. ALWAYS:)

    Jennifer - I know. I want to live on the beach:)

    Heidi - I think I would like to see a playback of myself at 17, just to see how different I was then:)

  14. Sounds like a great summer read...sunshine and delicious food, who wouldn't like that.

  15. I like what you would tell your 17year old self :) I would tell myself..well nothing really

  16. Aw man... food. I think I'd be so hungry reading this book. :)

    I'm also a horror in the kitchen. I threaten people with my cooking. :D

  17. Jenny - Right? I'm ready for summer:)

    Linda - I don't know what I would tell myself! I like to think I'd impart sage advice, but I'm not sure that would happen.

    Melissa - Me too. I'd need to read in the kitchen where I had easy access to food:)

  18. OMG! I just spent the weekend at the beach and the whole time I was there I kept thinking to myself, I wish I had an RV so I could live here! I will have to make it happen someday.

    And I'm a culinary failure too, but I once made Maggie Stiefvater's November Rolls by following her recipe and guess what? It worked...kind of. Oh, and I also had Jen helping me on Skype. hehehe

    Fun interview. If I had the chance, I'd tell my younger self the same thing. And I'd make her listen!

  19. YAY! I'll will be getting to this book soon! Loved the interview!

  20. Brilliant interview! It has me in the mood for the summer. Hopefully the rain over here is ready to move on and make way for some sunshine. ;) This book sounds like a good read!

  21. What a fun interview! I thought this book was really cute and perfect for the beach. I love hearing about Shannon's favorite summer memory- RV on the beach? Perfection!

  22. Great interview! I saw The Summer My Life Began on netgalley, but I didn't really plan to read it. But now I totally have to! Em wants to be a chef? Cooking is one of my passions, love that aspect about the novel!

  23. I actually got hungry reading that.

    Btw Jenny, I finally have a real blog so stop on by and check it out!

    See you at the BEA!

  24. I want to live in an RV on the beach (well, I'd like to be lake-side but the desire's still there)!

    This story sounds adorable--I do love a good summer read.

    And, sadly, I truly hate to cook but I'm impressed by those who love it.

  25. This book sounds great! I've had my share of culinary disasters but cooking can be really fun too. But if you did a lot of cooking you wouldn't do as much blogging so I'm quite okay with your disdain for the kitchen!

  26. Sounds like another great summer read! I love the questions (of course) and the answers. It sounds like a great book! Perfect to take to the pool!


  27. This sounds like a great summer read!
    I'm not a great cook but I hate reading recipes and I strongly dislike cooking. But since I'm mostly began I have to cook a lot.

  28. This book sounds like the perfect beach read !! Em seems to be great heroin and I also look forward to meet Cade (surferboy OMG) !! Great interview Jenny :)

  29. Reading this one made me hungry although sometimes Em's creations were kind of weird.

  30. Spending a summer living in a RV on the beach sounds amazing! Love her advice to her teen self, too :)