Education: University of Texas, degree in broadcasting. Hobbies and other interests: Reading, science fiction television shows, crossword puzzles, singing in the church choir, baking, travel.
Agent—Kristin Nelson, The Nelson Literary Agency, 1020 15th St., Ste. 26L, Denver, CO 80202. E-mail—sha[email protected]
Writer; has worked variously in public relations.
A Storybook Hero, Avalon Contemporary Romance (New York, NY), 1993.
Love's Best Friend, Avalon Contemporary Romance (New York, NY), 1993.
Runaway Hearts, Avalon Contemporary Romance (New York, NY), 1994.
(Under pseudonym Samantha Carter) Dateless in Dallas, Silhouette Yours Truly (New York, NY), 1996.
(Under pseudonym Samantha Carter) The Emergency Stand-by Date, Silhouette Yours Truly (New York, NY), 1998.
Enchanted, Inc., Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 2005.
Once upon Stilettos, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 2006.
Shanna Swendson became fascinated with telling stories at an early age. As a child, she enjoyed making up stories in her head, often basing her fictional adventures on her everyday life or on the characters from her favorite films and television shows. She would then act many of those stories out, sometimes using her Barbie dolls or Fisher-Price toy people as actors, and other times relying on the contents of her dress-up box. It was an exciting day when she realized that if she wrote her stories down, she could create her own book. She began using spiral notebooks, then later taught herself to type on an old manual typewriter, using it to write the first chapters of several novels. Not sure exactly how one made a living as a novelist, she went to the University of Texas to study journalism with a focus on television broadcasting. She rounded out her schedule with classes she believed would make for interesting background in her fiction: fencing, an astronomy course on the search for extraterrestrial life, psychology, interpersonal communication, and parageography (the geography of imaginary lands).
Although Swendson went to work in public relations following graduation, she continued to pursue her dream of becoming a published novelist. She signed up to attend a writers' conference, where she met an editor who encouraged her to remain persistent. Following this advice, Swendson began to submit her writing, and soon had several romance novels published, including A Storybook Hero, Love's Best Friend, and Runaway Hearts. She also was able to publish two works with the editor who originally encouraged her: Dateless in Dallas and The Emergency Stand-by Date, both under the pseudonym Samantha Carter. Following that, Swendson suffered a dry spell and was unable to publish any additional books for eight years.
Enchanted, Inc. ended the drought. The book tells the story of Katie Chandler, an ordinary girl who has moved from Texas to New York City with several friends from college. The four girls share a cramped one-bedroom apartment and are building their lives, but Katie feels she does not truly fit in at work or on the social scene, and she is discouraged that she may be blowing her one chance to shake off her small-town persona and become someone special. Until M.S.I., Inc. (Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc.) offers her a job doing just what she does best: being ordinary. Because she is so ordinary, magic has no effect on Katie, and the company needs her to help find hidden magic that other, more magically sensitive people cannot detect. In a review for School Library Journal, Kim Dare wrote that "although the plot stretches credulity in places, the novel cleverly combines fantasy and practicality." Charles De Lint remarked in a review for the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction: "Swendson's style is light and breezy, but not without substance. It has a bit of the sense of a screwball comedy, only updated for these times that we live in." Swendson's follow up book, Once upon Stilettos, is a continuation of Katie Chandler's adventures, in which Katie is put on the trail of an office spy. Booklist critic Kristine Huntley described the book as a "smart, snappy novel."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 15, 2005, Kristine Huntley, review of Enchanted, Inc., p. 1644; May 1, 2006, Kristine Huntley, review of Once upon Stilettos, p. 77.
Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2006, review of Once upon Stilettos, p. 158.
Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, August, 2005, Charles De Lint, review of Enchanted, Inc., p. 25.
Publishers Weekly, April 18, 2005, review of Enchanted, Inc., p. 43.
School Library Journal, September, 2005, Kim Dare, review of Enchanted, Inc., p. 245.
Shanna Swendson Home page,http://www.shannaswendson.com (October 9, 2006).