Friday, June 10, 2011

Author Interview: Shelley Workinger

It is a pleasure to post an interview with Shelley Workinger, author of Solid, and the upcoming sequel Settling, due to be released on July 4, 2011.  Shelley spent some time giving me answers to some questions I thought her fans might like to know about her.   (See my review of Solid here.) 

Shelley Workinger grew up in Maine, graduated from Loyola University New Orleans, currently resides in New Jersey, and consider all of them home.  Visit Shelley at her websites:

Readergirl: How long have you wanted to be a writer?
Shelley: I’ve always been told I have great stories to tell, but I never felt compelled to publish one until Solid. For me, it wasn’t a profession I could’ve chosen; it was more like I just chose to answer when it called me.
Readergirl: What was your submission experience like prior to making the decision to self-publish?
Shelley: Frustrating. I wanted to get some professional eyes on my manuscript to tell me if it had merit and, if so, where it needed work, but all I got in response to my queries were form letters saying they didn’t read unpublished authors. So I decided if I published it myself, it’d take away that excuse and agents would look at my work. Next thing I knew, I had readers and fans(!) and a sequel begging to be written, so I embraced the role of an indie author and forged ahead.

Readergirl: What has the self-publishing experience been like for you? Have there been any special challenges?
Shelley: I’ve found it hard to keep all the sticks in the fire without burning a few marshmallows! ARCs went out as final editions for a couple of months before I figured out the wrong files were being used and I had no way of finding the buyers who got the wrong books to rectify the mistake; traditional publishers have a team of people to manage all those things for you, so that you can focus on what you do best – write!
Readergirl:  How did you get the idea for Solid?
Shelley: I dreamt the major romantic scene for Solid one night and, unlike all of my other bizarre dreams, that one just stuck with me. The backstory for Solid kind of spider-webbed out from the two original characters to where they were and why they were there until I had a story spanning several books!

Readergirl: What made you decide on YA, and have you or do you expect to write in any other genres?
Shelley: I went YA because the story that came to me fell solidly in that genre, so it wasn’t really a choice. Of the two ideas I’m thinking of developing after the Solid series, one is YA and one is not, so I’m not necessarily genre-locked, but I’m finding that the more I write – and read – YA, the more I prefer it.
Readergirl: What has been the most challenging thing about writing and publishing Solid?
Shelley: The marketing – I’m a writer, not a speaker (and definitely not a salesperson). I don’t like talking at people, but I love talking with them, so I tend to shy away from big signing events and gravitate toward book clubs and classes (live and via Skype) where I can have good conversations.

Readergirl: What has been the most rewarding experience?
Shelley: The readers who’ve reached out to me to tell me what they loved about the book. Their praise and support really pushed me to finish Settling and get it into their hands!
Readergirl: Do you have any favorite authors or stories that have inspired you as a writer?
Shelley: I recently discovered – and am awed by – Marcus Zusak. His way with words is poetic and profound, yet at the same time fresh and accessible. I’ve never read anyone else with a voice like his.

Readergirl: Will you be taking part in any book tours, signings or release parties that your fans might like to know about?
Shelley: The biggest thing I’ve set up is a massive month-long blog tour that spans the two weeks before the release of Settling on July 4th and the two weeks after. I felt this was the best way for me to *talk to* the most people and I’m really excited about the diversity of the post topics I was given to work with. The full schedule is posted at:
Readergirl: What will be your next project after Settling’s release in July?
Shelley: Book 3 of the series - Sound!  I’d really like to continue the pattern of July releases for the series installments, so no time for writing breaks. J

A huge, huge, thank-you to Shelley Workinger for, first, allowing me to read an advance copy of Solid (which I have now purchased for my Nook!), and secondly, for taking time to answer these questions for me and her other fans.  Having read Solid and LOVED IT, I am really looking forward to next month's release of Settling.  So mark your calendars for July 4 when we get to find out what happens to Clio and her friends!

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