Hi Shannon, and welcome to MG Book Village. Thank you so much for taking part in our Fast Forward Friday feature. Can you introduce yourself to our readers, please?

Hi! I’m so excited to be here! I am Shannon Doleski, the debut author of the upper MG, Mary Underwater. I live in west Texas with my husband, our three kids, and our two rescue dogs. I used to be a middle and high school English teacher and swim coach. My husband is a social worker in the Air Force, and we move around the world. 

Your debut book, MARY UNDERWATER, will be released on April 7th by Amulet Books, and I hear that it’s inspired by Joan of Arc. Could you tell us a bit more about that, please, and give us a brief synopsis of your story.

Mary Underwater is about a fourteen year old girl, inspired by Joan of Arc, who builds a submersible and pilots it across the Chesapeake Bay.

I remember camping in Santa Fe, with a half-done first manuscript about a sad girl who builds a sub, and thinking it needed something else. Mary Murphy, my Catholic school protagonist, needed an internal hero. She needed something to shield her from her abusive family. And I knew it had to be a saint. At first, I thought I could pick a whole bunch of girl saints and rattle off facts like a Catholic school kid would. But then it became apparent that Mary needed one heroine, Joan. I was, like Mary, pretty obsessed with the superheroes of the religion when I was a middle schooler, and Joan was such a perfect fit. Two teens on epic quests. 

If there’s one thing you hope young readers will take away from your book, what would you like it to be?

This is a hopeful story. We are captains of our own ships (we are pilots of our own subs 😉 So the one thing that I want young readers to know is that they are worthy. Worthy of love and happiness and joy and success.  

What has it been like for you to publish your debut book?

It’s wild. I still can’t believe it’s happening. Maybe it’s not! Maybe it’s all a beautiful dream. No, I am so lucky to have a wonderful agent and editor and team who believe in me. I can’t wait for kids to get their hands on my book.  

If readers want to find out more about you and your writing, where can they go?

I have a website: and a pretty good Instagram (if I do say so myself) @shannondoleski. That’s my favorite, but I’m also available on Shannon Doleski Author Page on Facebook and Twitter @shannondoleski.

Thank you again for taking time to chat with us, and I hope your debut year is a successful one!

Thank you so much for having me! Meant the world to me 🙂 🙂 🙂 

Shannon Doleski was born and raised in Cazenovia, New York. After graduating from Niagara University with an English Education degree, Shannon was an English teacher and swim coach in New York and Maryland. She lives with her husband, three children, and rescue dogs wherever the Air Force sends them (currently West Texas). Visit her author website at shannondoleski.comMary Underwater is her debut novel.

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