Meeting author Shannon Messenger – Part I

Mailynn Nguyen, Writer

On November 30, 2018, fans of the Keeper of the Lost Cities series had the chance of a lifetime: to see author Shannon Messenger. (The TAB club also listened in to an interview with Shannon Messenger and a school in Fairfax earlier that day.) I, Mailynn Nguyen, had the opportunity to attend this event, and I took notes. The following article informs readers about fun facts that they may not have known about the book and its author.


About Keeper of the Lost Cities Itself

Only readers would understand these facts. If you haven’t read the book, read this book review that I wrote last year about Keeper. If you’d like to check out the book, you can find it at the Jefferson Library or the Arlington Public Library. To begin…

  • Fitz Vacker was originally 97 years old, but Messenger had to change his age because, in order for parts of the story to work, Fitz had to be about the same age as Sophie, and if Sophie were in her 90s, that wouldn’t make sense for the humans she lived with at the beginning of the book.


  • Dex Dizznee originally had light-blond hair like Sophie, but the publisher had to change his hair color to strawberry-blond because it looked like he was Sophie’s brother. “There’s an entire genre dedicated to sibling adventures,” says Shannon, “[The publisher] didn’t want Keeper to look like that.”


  • Shannon considers Sophie to be an insecure character because she grew up hearing everything people really thought about her, both positive and negative.


  • At first, the Lost Cities were supposed to have a class-free society, but when abilities were introduced, it was inevitable that elves with “useful” abilities would discriminate against those without.

If you haven’t read the series yet, you’re probably confused. Who’s Sophie? Who’s this Dex? Well, read quickly, because although you’re definitely not as excited for my writing as Keeper fans are for Shannon Messenger’s, the second part of this article is about Shannon Messenger and her words on the publishing process.