Introducing Author Shelley Workinger
Hi everyone. Grab a cup of coffee, sit back and enjoy my latest interview. Shelley Workinger, author of the SOLID series is my guest and her answers to my questions are thought-provoking and interesting. Leave her a comment to let her know you stopped by!
Interview with Shelley Workinger
What is the favorite character you have written and why?
I obviously care for all of them, because each has his or her own thing to offer like every person on the planet. I purposely built a large and diverse cast for the SOLID series so that every reader would be able to find her/himself and thus invest more fully in the story. But I have to admit that Garrett is my favorite. He’s the friend that Clio needs (that everyone needs) for some comic relief. And I love that so many of the readers I meet feel the same way about him!
Are you self-published or traditionally published and why?
In what has become a very DIY world, self-publishing now looks to be the way of the future. It’s a natural evolution of the American philosophy, at least – make things happen for yourself; build your own dream. That very much appeals to me because I’ve never had the patience to wait for everyone else to catch up with my bullet-train of ideas! Seriously, I wrote my series for today’s kids and I wanted to get the books into their hands today, so I made it happen and I think sharing that process with readers also serves the second purpose of showing them how they can bring their own ideas to fruition.
What did you want to be when you grew up? Did you realize that dream?
I wanted to be a judge right up until I learned that you have to practice as a lawyer first. I always knew I’d be great at hearing both sides of a case and bringing everyone to a fair and just conclusion, but I had no interest whatsoever in the arguing aspect of the process. I guess in a way I am realizing part of that dream in that I see every side to every character and figure out how to get them all to the finale in one piece!
Explain your creative process. Pantser? Outliner?
Essentially, I let the characters write the story. I “launch” a scene in my head, then take notes as they run with it. It’s like planning a dream (which I also do); I imagine a setting, then close my eyes to watch as it develops on its own. The characters of “Solid” just exist so clearly in my imagination that for me to “direct” them would almost be unnatural. They may be fictional, but they are strong, distinct personalities who can really only react one way to the situations I’ve created for them in order to stay consistent and believable. So I may know where the story’s going and how to roll out the plot, but I have to let them talk amongst themselves to pick up their dialogue along the way. Then, of course, I have to back and add all the “filler” (descriptions, etc.); that’s one thing they don’t do for me. 😉
How do you come up with ideas for your writing projects?
Ideas come to me at all hours in all places! That’s why I always have pens and paper somewhere on my person, and I also keep a digital recorder in the car, as well as in my pocket when I run. I find that a perfect phrase can be fleeting, and if I don’t capture it when it first appears, it may not return. This goes double for dream-spirations, which is why I stack notebooks and pens beside my bed, too!
Who is your biggest supporter? Why?
I have a group of girls – my “circle of trust” – who are my go-to readers when I come out with anything new. They’re all quite invested in the story and the characters, so they don’t hesitate to tell me when anything sounds or feels disconnected. I adore these women, who are so willing to help and ask nothing in return…well, one did make me promise that I’ll take her with me when I go on the Ellen DeGeneres show. 😉
Explain a day in the life of a writer (you).
Currently, my days aren’t that structured, mainly because I’m completely focused on a project involving middle and high school libraries that needs to be completed before summer break. This means I’m essentially standing* at my computer for 6 hours a day, as well another 3 to 4 hours each night, researching, typing, and Skyping.
*Yes, I said standing – since I have to be logged in for such extensive hours and I despise sitting down, I decided to wall-mount my whole system.
What is your wildest dream for your writing?
I would most love for SOLID to be made into a television series, because I get to see and hear the characters so clearly in my mind and it’d be wonderful if readers could fully experience that as well!
What types of books do you like to read/authors that have inspired you?
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” – 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 like books! But I do have an all-time favorite book, which is “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak. (Putting together a top 10 list is virtually impossible since I love so many works for different reasons, but I never waver on that #1 pick!) If you’ve read it, you know what I’m talking about; if you haven’t, bookmark this page to read later and go get your hands on a copy! “The Book Thief” is technically YA for some publishing-related reason that I’ve forgotten, but it really should be classified as AA for All Ages. Or, better yet, RR for Required Reading. Are you starting to get a sense of how much I adore this book?
What is your favorite hobby? Does it enhance your writing?
Oh, how I wish I had time to indulge in a hobby! When I need a mental break from writing and plotting, I tend to pick up a book or the TV remote. I also make monthly dates with my non-writing girlfriends to go out for dinner or drinks and not think about work for a few hours. I see how we’re all so “plugged in” technology-wise that we’re a bit in danger of staying connected in a real way.
Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog, Linda, and for asking such thoughtful questions!
And thank you, readers – 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