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Vulnerability, Love, and Resilience: A Conversation with Shannon Marzella

We at Nymeria Publishing are delighted to welcome new author Shannon Marzella to our warrior family. Shannon puts vulnerability, love, and resilience at the forefront in her debut novel Girl in Shadows.

This novel follows Laura Thompson as she navigates through the loss of her mother, her childhood home, and her world as she knows it when she finds out she is pregnant at fifteen. Inspired by her own experiences as an adopted child, Shannon takes readers on a journey of what life might have possibly been like for her own biological mother.

Prior to the release of Girl in Shadows, we sat down with Shannon to discuss her debut novel and the inspiration behind it all. Check out the conversation below and preorder Girl in Shadows starting August 18th on

Nymeria: What inspired you to start writing?

Shannon: I’ve always loved to write. My focus in the past was on poetry, but during COVID, I felt a strong pull to attempt writing a novel. I was spending a lot of time at home, and I needed a creative outlet. During my son’s nap time, I would spend an hour or two each day writing.

N: What was the inspiration for Girl in Shadows?

S: Girl in Shadows was inspired by my birth mother’s story. As an adopted person, I know very little about my biological parents. I was born in the eighties when closed adoptions were still the norm, and I only received a packet of papers with some information on my parents and their medical history. Imagining a world for my mother has been an important part of processing my own past.

N: What came first for you in this novel, the characters or the plot?

S: The character of Laura came first. Using the little information I had from my papers, I created a fictionalized world for her.

N: Who was your favorite character to write in Girl in Shadows?

S: Laura was my favorite character to write since I have such an emotional connection to her. It was fascinating to place myself in her shoes and consider how she might have responded to discovering she was pregnant as a teenager. I also enjoyed writing Sammy who adds some lightheartedness to an otherwise heavy topic.

N: What is the most difficult part about writing for you?

S: The most difficult part of writing is editing. I could easily get lost in the rabbit hole of editing if I let myself. There’s always something to improve!

N: What is the significance of the title, Girl in Shadows?

S: The title came to me when I thought about what Laura’s life was like. She had very little agency. After so much trauma, she had a very hard time being vulnerable. I wanted to capture her inclination to hide and then, throughout the novel, have her explore her vulnerability and emergence in small steps.

N: What advice would you give a new writer, someone who is just starting out?

S: I would say a few things. First, create a system for writing that works for you. If you have an hour a day or two hours, use it to write a few pages. They add up quickly!

Second, find a topic that fascinates you. It will keep you coming back to the page. Also, you don’t have to know the whole trajectory of your book before you start. Begin writing and discover for yourself where your story wants to go.

N: Last question: What can readers expect next from you?

S: I’m a huge fan of historical fiction and I’m contemplating writing a novel based on Elizabeth Blackwell, one of the first female physicians in the United States.

Girl in Shadows will be published in September 2021 by Nymeria Publishing. You can visit and follow @nymeriapublishing on social media for updates about Girl in Shadows’ release.

Preorder Girl in Shadows starting August 18th on

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