Hey, there! I’m Shelley and I’m glad to *meet* you. I get a lot of letters
asking about my background and how the Solid series came to be, so
I’d like to use this page to answer some of the biggies. ;) *
I grew up in Maine, spent many years in New Orleans, am now living in
Jersey and I love them all. I am also a lifetime lover of food and books,
which I luckily get to bring to life through my Solid teen series, and my
blog, But What Are They Eating? To be able to share what you love
is truly a gift.
How would you describe Solid?
The briefest synopsis is: Teens who discover they were secretly genetically altered before birth are brought together at a classified site where they develop "super-abilities," while at the same time forging new friendships, finding love, and searching for answers.
The series doesn’t fit precisely into one genre – Solid could be classified as sci-fi, though the science is light and accessible to even reluctant readers; there’s a fantastical element, but the story keeps its feet fairly solidly on the ground; and, although there is most certainly romance, the developing friendships are the more dominant relationships. The core message is one of self-discovery, independence, and empowerment – that the secret of life is finding your own “super-ability.” Every person is different, but everyone has a purpose, and perhaps the greatest gift you can give is to help someone else find theirs.
What inspired you to write the series?
I first dreamed the romantic scene that eventually became the twelfth chapter of the first book. I always have wild and vivid dreams, but that one really took root in my conscious mind and wouldn’t let go. My thoughts kept coming back to those two people – who they were, where they were, why they were there – until I found myself with a story that could fill several books!
Solid then moved from the hypothetical realm into print mainly because of my personal feeling that 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 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.
Who’s your favorite character?
Garrett is my favorite Solid personality and I think it shows because most of the readers choose him, too! He’s the fun and somewhat-secretly-smart jock who could be serious if he wanted to, but why should he? We love him most for providing comic relief (even at inappropriate times); he brightens every scene he’s in.
What are your favorite scenes to write?
Without doubt, the conversations. I “launch” a scene in my head, then take notes as the characters run with it, almost like planning a dream (which I also do). They may be fictional, but they are strong, distinct personalities and their voices (thus the dialogue) just flow. Now, the “filler,” as I call it, is another story. As a reader, I tend to skim over descriptions and background to get back to the dialogue; for me, writing those “inactive” parts is more difficult as well.
What do you like to read?
I’m a very random reader and often walk out of the library with more books than I can carry. :) I’ve been known to pick up a book because of its color (The Toss of a Lemon, by Padma Viswanathan), a subject matter I know nothing about (So, You Want To Join the Peace Corps: What To Know Before You Go), or because the author’s name started with my two favorite letters: Q and X (Qui Xiaolong). I just love books!
What advice would you give young writers?
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 published copy of your first novel, they’ll probably also say, “Wow, it’s like a real book.”) Don’t let anyone belittle your effort, or you!
* If you have a question for me that I didn’t answer on this page, feel free to contact me here!
I do my best to respond to every message.