Author Interview: Shaunta Grimes, Author of Viral Nation (Blog Tour & Giveaway)

Posted June 16th, 2013 in Author Interview, Blog Tour, Giveaway / 32 comments

Welcome to the Viral Nation Blog Tour. Viral Nation by Shaunta Grimes is a Young Adult Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic soon to be released. Today we have a great interview with Shaunta in which we get to know her better. There is also a tour wide giveaway at the end.

Viral Nation by Shaunta Grimes

Paperback: 320 pages

Publisher: Berkley Trade
Release Date: July 2, 2013
First in a series.
Two chapter excerpt available on Goodreads
Genre: Dystopian, Young Adult, Post-Apocalyptic
Purchase: Amazon Print | Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository


After a virus claimed nearly the entire global population, the world changed. The United States splintered into fifty walled cities where the surviving citizens clustered to start over. The Company, which ended the plague by bringing a life-saving vaccine back from the future, controls everything. They ration the scant food and supplies through a lottery system, mandate daily doses of virus suppressant, and even monitor future timelines to stop crimes before they can be committed.

Brilliant but autistic, sixteen-year-old Clover Donovan has always dreamed of studying at the Waverly-Stead Academy. Her brother and caretaker, West, has done everything in his power to make her dream a reality. But Clover’s refusal to part with her beloved service dog denies her entry into the school. Instead, she is drafted into the Time Mariners, a team of Company operatives who travel through time to gather news about the future.

When one of Clover’s missions reveals that West’s life is in danger, the Donovans are shattered. To change West’s fate, they’ll have to take on the mysterious Company. But as its secrets are revealed, they realize that the Company’s rule may not be as benevolent as it seems. In saving her brother, Clover will face a more powerful force than she ever imagined and will team up with a band of fellow misfits and outsiders to incite a revolution that will change their destinies forever.

Jennifer: Can you describe Viral Nation in three words?

Shaunta: Rebellion is necessary.

Jennifer: How did you come up with the world in Viral Nation?

Shaunta: I started thinking about what might happen to the world if some kind of actual apocalypse happened. I focused on the US, because it’s where I live. My university minor is American History, so I’d been studying a lot about how the country was formed and how it expanded. And I realized that if something really, really bad happened, the US would fight hard to keep hold of itself as a country. So I had the idea of the survivors being moved into protected cities, one per state.

Jennifer: If you were going to come up with a theme song for Viral Nation, what song would it be?

Shaunta: Man. You ask hard questions! I don’t actually listen to music when I write– it makes me want to stop and listen. But I think that if there was ever a  soundtrack to dystopia as a whole, it would have to be full of Pink Floyd songs. I think I’ll go with Goodbye Blue Sky.

Jennifer: What made you want to write a post-apocalyptic/dystopian book?

Shaunta: It just happened. I wrote the prologue as a short story for a workshop class. I started thinking about the kids in it, and wondering what their lives would be like after the work of rebuilding some kind of society had already been done. I liked the idea of writing about a cracked, broken utopia. Some of my very favorite books are dystopian—Stephen King’s The Stand, Octavia Butler’s The Parable of the Sower, David Brin’s The Postman. I think maybe it was inevitable.

Jennifer: Can you tell us three surprising facts about yourself?

Shaunta: I’m a borderline Pollyanna-level optimist. I think getting my hopes up is worthwhile all on its own and can’t imagine ever trying to keep them down.

When I was very young and still thought I wanted to be a movie star when I grew up, I called on an ad in the newspaper looking for “telephone actresses.” The person on the other end of the phone said that my voice was spectacular and offered me ten early-1990s dollars an hour to—um–be nice to men on the phone. I took exactly one call, because I couldn’t stop laughing. I’ve always felt bad that my one and only client had to pay $3.99 a minute for that.

I talk to myself when I’m writing. A lot. It sometimes freaks my kids and my husband out. It isn’t uncommon to hear my youngest daughter say, “Dad, Mommy’s doing it again!” Also, they think I’m talking to them, when really I’m talking to people in my imagination.

Jennifer: Can you tell us a little about your experience in getting published?

Shaunta: I started earning a living as a writer in my mid-20s. I wrote legal documents, I was a newspaper reporter, I did lots and lots of freelance writing. Then in the fall of 2004, I found myself eight months pregnant and positive December was never, ever coming. I decided to do Nanowrimo to distract myself. I finished the first draft of my first novel, and the next day December did in fact come. I had a baby a week later and knew that I would never look back. Over the next seven years I changed my major from education to creative writing, went to writer’s workshops and retreats, read countless writing craft books, and I wrote everyday. I received hundreds of rejections for the three novels I wrote before Viral Nation. I also had some successes. I sent out queries to agents for Viral Nation in November 2011 and signed with my fabulous agent Kim Lionetti in January. She sold my book to Berkley Trade in May 2012.  

Jennifer: Finish this sentence: I cannot write without…

Shaunta: Diet Pepsi.

Jennifer: I saw that Viral Nation is going to be a series. Do you have a set plan for the rest of the series, or do your characters tell you the direction you need to go?

Shaunta: I have some basic ideas for the rest of the series, but I’m not much of a planner. The story unfolds itself as I go. I try to come up with some bare-bones guideposts, but I’ve found that too much planning can make me miss out on really good ideas that happen in the moment. I use a story board and sticky notes for planning, so that nothing feels too permanent.

Jennifer: I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to answer a few of my questions. Is there anything else you would like to mention before we part ways?

Shaunta: Just how grateful I am for your support, and for helping me get the word out about Viral Nation to your readers.

Author Bio
Shaunta Grimes has worked as a substitute teacher, a newspaper reporter, a drug court counselor, and a vintage clothing seller. No matter which direction she strays, however, she always comes back to storytelling. She lives in Reno with her family, where she writes, teaches, and perpetually studies at the University of Nevada. Viral Nation is her debut traditionally-published novel.

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This is a tour wide giveaway

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Author Interview, Blog Tour, Giveaway

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32 Responses to “Author Interview: Shaunta Grimes, Author of Viral Nation (Blog Tour & Giveaway)”

  1. Jovon Tucker

    I have never heard of this book before and let me say I am so so so glad I am following your blog because when I saw this and read the summary of VIRAL NATION and I am literally hungering to read this now. It is so up my alley! To be honest i haven’t read your review because if I win I want to review it with my own thoughts only but if I don’t win it in this giveaway, I am going to purchase it myself, LMAO.

    I really enjoyed the interview too and getting to know Shaunta! Nice name BTW, it’s unique!

    Thanks for this awesome giveaway!

    My email: mrsjtucker2012[at]gmail[com

    • Jennifer Bielman

      So happy I could help you out. I haven’t actually read the book yet. I just received it so I will be reading it soon.

      Good luck on the giveaway. 🙂

  2. Jaclyn Canada

    I’m really interested in this one. Loved the interview! The part about feeling sorry for the one client was hilarious. I don’t think I could get through that without giggling either. Thanks so much for sharing 😀 Jaclyn @ JC’s Book Haven.

  3. Alicia Batista

    Thanks for this amazing giveaway! I have been counting down the days until it’s release! 🙂

    Rafflecopter name and comment name is different: Vannah Batista

  4. Barbara E.

    I’ve been interested in this book since I first saw the cover. It sounds like such a great story and the cover is awesome.

  5. Cassandra Loskot

    I saw this cover before and was intrigued 🙂 Now the story line sounds very interesting 🙂 I definitely want to read it 🙂 Thank you for sharing with us 🙂


  6. Maris

    The storyline is very interested. I think it’s something that will appeal to my husband as well. Adding this to my list. Damaris dsr002(at)gmail(dot)com

  7. BookLady

    Congratulations on the publication of Viral Nation! It sounds like an intriguing book. Great interview. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Elisa

    This sounds great, loving the dystopians but having the lead autistic makes it different! I am totally interested – thanks for the giveaway chance too.
    Great interview – hilarious phone actress story, honestly I would crack up too. 🙂

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