Sunday, June 19, 2011

Author Chat: Shelley Workinger

We have with us today Shelley Workinger, author of The Solid Series!

Hi all! I grew up in Maine, graduated from Loyola University New Orleans, currently reside in New Jersey, and consider all of them home. And if you're a food lover like me, please check out my new blog at and let me know what you're reading and what they're eating! (taken from Shelley's profile)

- So, Shelley, why did you decide to being writing young adult fiction as opposed to adult novels?

I didn't really choose to write YA as much as the idea that really stuck with me that I had to write ("Solid") revolved around teens. The more schools I visited and the more students I met, the more convinced I was that I'm writing exactly what I'm supposed to for the right readers. 

- In your opinion, what are the most essential elements in any great story?
The characters, absolutely. When I'm reading, if I can't connect with anyone I can't get into the story. I hope readers can find someone in my motley crew to relate to, especially with the new faces that are introduced in "Settling." 

- What are some of your favorite books or authors? Do you think they influence your writing style?

Being from Maine, of course the first author that I “followed” was Stephen King. When you read his work, you “know” the people on the pages; that’s exactly what I strive to do, and I go about it in the same way I’ve heard he does by keeping paper and pen on my person at all times so I can note things that strike me. My high school English teacher says he met Stephen fishing once and that one of his lines made it into one of Mr. King’s books. (When asked how it was going, my teacher said of the slow day, “Better than a sharp stick in the eye.”)

- How much of your writing do you think is inspired by your own life? Do any of your characters or stories resemble events that you’ve experienced?

Very little, actually. My father was in the Army, but we never moved; my mom was a computer programmer, not an author; and when I was 17, I had none of Clio’s self-confidence, though I will do everything I can to make sure my kids do.

- What would you say is your writing quirk?

I cannot write and type at the same time. I was taught to type letter-by-letter, which means I can type very fast, but also that I only see individual letters – not words and definitely not ideas. So I write everything out longhand, then type the pages for early readers and editors so they can actually read it. J

- If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpower to be?

If I had to choose a “traditional” superpower, it’d be flying because I’m terrified of planes. I’d love to be able to send my bags to the airport with my family and just meet them at our destination!

- If you had to be shipwrecked on a deserted island, but all your human needs – such as food and water – were taken care of, what two items would you want to have with you?

I have to admit, I’m one of those people who always answers the genie-in-a-bottle question with “more wishes,” trying to circumvent the limits on the reward. J So, let me see…is there such thing as a solar-powered satellite laptop? Because that would cover all my photos, work, and access to my loved ones! I always think the Bible would be a good thing to have – not because I’m religious, but because I’ve never read it and it’s the biggest, most complicated book I can think of so it’d last me awhile out there.

- What was one of the most surprising things you learned when writing your books?

That the story really took over my whole life. No matter what else I was doing, I couldn’t stop thinking about scenes and characters. The worst part was wanting to talk to people about things like what Clio and Jack were doing, but it was like watching a show that no one else had ever seen so I didn’t have anyone to share it with. It was kind of isolating.

- What advice would you give to other aspiring writers? Any words of wisdom?

Believe in yourself. From the moment you declare yourself a writer, there will be people who say, "Isn't that cute?" (And when you hand those same people a printed copy, they'll probably also say, "Wow, it's like a real book.") Don't let anyone belittle your effort, or you!

- Anything you would like to add, Shelley?

That I am so grateful for your consideration of my work! I know we all have wish lists and TBR piles in the triple digits, so every set of hands that picks up my book is such a gift. J

Thank you so much, Shelley! To check out my review of Shelley's newest novel, Settling, click HERE


Aydrea said...

Loved the interview, great advice!

Krystal Larson said...

I love the interview too and I would love to read this book :) edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom

Unknown said...

a solar powered laptop would be pretty nifty... (:
Amazing interview!