Interview with Shelley Workinger and More
Today, indie author Shelley Workinger has stopped by to share some information about herself and the Solid series. Be sure to take a moment to learn more about Shelley and her books!
Author Interview with Shelly Workinger
Please tell us more about the Solid series. What is it about? What was your inspiration for this series?
In a nutshell, the SOLID series follows Clio Kaid, a girl whose life has been fairly typical until the summer before her senior year when she learns she was genetically altered by a rogue military doctor before her birth. All 100 of the so affected teens then head to a secure military facility, where both the kids and the Army hope to learn more about what happened in the past and if there are any long-lasting results now. Together they search for answers, forge friendships, find love…oh, and discover they do indeed have special “abilities.”
Although Clio leads the first-person narrative, the first character that appeared in my mind was actually Jack, so he was actually the tiny seed from which the rest of the story grew. I had a dream (that later became Chapter 12 of “Solid”) in which he and Clio where in some sort of adult-light setting (Dorm? Boarding school? I wasn’t sure right away.) He really stood out to me as a character because he was almost too perfect. So I thought, What if, rather than give him a real flaw, I put him in a setting where everyone else was somehow even more special? That idea led me to creating the different abilities, then individual personalities grew from there and as they intertwined with one another, a story evolved.
The whole idea then moved from my imagination to print because of my concern for reluctant readers, whom I’m sadly seeing more and more of. So many kids (myself included) reach an age when they get so overwhelmed by required school reading that they are in danger of losing the love for reading entirely. My new concept was also the perfect premise for a fun, fast read that could engage even non-readers, so I had to develop it. “Solid” was my chance to write the story that I wish someone had written for me at that age.
Sound, the next book in the Solid series, comes out in November. What do readers have to look forward to in book 3?
“Settling” (Book 2) ended in a complete turmoil, so there’re many relationships to mend in “Sound,” as well as questions that’ve been lingering since Book 1. There’s also a new threat to the kids, who still don’t know if they’re staying on campus or heading home soon, so a lot’s happening in this last book!
In addition to writing the Solid series, you also have a food blog. Tell us more about your blog and passion for food.
I love food almost more than I love books, which is why my very first requirement for Clio as a heroine was that she actually ate. As in real food, eaten without obsessing over it. And as I wrote her meals and snacks into “Solid,” it made me realize how much I notice what the characters are eating in every book I read.
Now, at that point, readers had been asking me to start a blog for about a year, but I’d put it off until I felt like I really had something fresh and interesting to say. The idea of FoodFic (as I call the food of fiction) just felt like the perfect answer. I kind of said it out loud to myself, Everybody talks about the characters and what they did and why and with whom, but I want to know: What are they eating? When I wrote down the acronym (BWATE?), I saw that it basically shortened to “But Wate,” or phonetically “But Wait,” as in, but wait there’s more to the story than just the usual ABCs. There’s also an “F” now , because what the characters are eating (gumbo in New Orleans, empanadas in Venezuela) not only helps readers climb into a scene, but food also stirs memories and feelings (watermelon at a picnic, tomato soup on a snow day). Believe me, once you start noting it, you won’t be able to stop.
Anyway, I love when people stop by the blog or my Facebook page or tweet me what they’re reading and what the characters are reading! And I have a huge backlog of authors who want to guest post at BWATE? because they also think it’s a fun and different way to look at their own work.
Can you give an example of overcoming a writing challenge? Do you have any tips for writers and aspiring authors?
My biggest writing challenge is the “filler,” which is how I see everything outside the action and dialogue. I hear the characters’ voices very clearly, so it’s relatively easy for me to transcribe the conversations that play out in my mind. Then I have to force myself to go back through and all the supporting details – description, location, and such. That’s also the type of reader I am; when faced with long segments of scene-setting, I tend to skip ahead to the next set of quotation marks.
What books were on your reading list this past summer?
Well, what was on my list and what I actually read are two completely different things. My TBR list is well over 1,000 books at this point and growing every day! Compounding the problem is that I’m a compulsive reader, so I’m constantly picking up new volumes that catch my eye for any number of reasons (not only intriguing titles, but a yellow cover on a shelf of dark spines, or an author’s name that starts with “x” – I could go on and on).
The stack next to my bed at this exact moment is:
- Runner by Robert Newton
- Quiver by Stephanie Spinner
- Sunny Side Up by Marion Roberts
- The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff
- Changeling by Delia Sherman*
- Immortal by Gillian Shields*
- Duckling Ugly by Neal Shusterman
*You can tell for some reason I stopped in front an “Sh” shelf and loaded up.
Last week I finished (and will review on my blog this fall):
- Cell by Stephen King
- Spinners by Donna Jo Napoli
- Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- How to be a Zombie by Serena Valentino
- Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu
- Oh, and The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory is in the CD player in my car, too.
Is there anything else you would like to say to readers or fans?
Thanks so much for having me! I love talking books and chatting with other book lovers; I hope to run into all of you again out in the blogosphere.
Solid (Solid #1)
- Publisher: Self
- Publish Date: July 9, 2010
- Format: Ebook, Paperback
- Links: Amazon
Clio Kaid may be 17 and just beginning the last summer before her senior year, but her life is anything but typical.
She’s just discovered she was genetically altered before birth and is now headed to a top-secret Army campus to explore the surprising results of the experiment.
Follow Clio and the other teens as they develop fantastic super-abilities, forge new friendships, and find love as they search for answers.
Shelley Workinger grew up in Maine, graduated from Loyola University New Orleans, currently resides in New Jersey, and considers all of them home.
When she’s not working on the SOLID series, she’s chatting about FoodFic on her blog: But What Are They Eating? Stop by and let her know what you’re reading and what they’re eating!