Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Shelena Shorts Interview

I started reading most of the writers I've interviewed on Slush Pile Reader or Authonomy.  Shelena Shorts is the exception.  She teaches at the same school as myself and we also got our masters degrees at the same university (George Mason).  She has written a series that starts with The Pace, a young adult romance that has some Sci-fi elements.  I bought a copy and found myself engrossed in the story.  I was excited when she allowed me to interview her.

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KJ Kron:  Sophie comes to life as we see thing through her eyes (everything from boys, her mom, taking virtual classes).  How would you describe her personality?

Shelena Shorts: Sophie is a girl who actually doesn’t mind being alone. She is content with her life the way it is and doesn’t need to be part of a crowd to fit in. But even with her independence, she’s always felt like she’s been missing some direction for her future. Almost like she’s blinded when she tries to picture herself older, with a career. That’s where Wes comes in and fills in the missing pieces. What she finds out about her future isn’t so promising, but the answers provide enough motivation for her to come out of her shell and open herself up to others

I love how she meets Weston.   Where did you get that idea?

Well I really wanted Sophie and Wes to have a mature relationship, so I liked the idea of him being older. Once I came up with a reason for her to be on the campus where he attends college, the first encounter just made sense and allowed for a reason for him to follow up with her

Weston is a character full of mystery.  Is he based more on people you know or is he fantasy?

He is mostly fantasy. I really didn’t picture anyone when he popped in my head. He was always a new guy which is why I liked writing him so much. I wanted to know more about him!

Would you say it’s fair to say your book is two different genres? 

Yes! I never considered my book science fiction, but I started to when it was nominated for the Cybil’s award in the science fiction category. I was like…really??! That’s what a lot of people say now when they classify it, so definitely. I thinks it’s neat, but I didn’t plan that way when I wrote it J

Which parts of your book do you like writing the most?

The middle! That’s where the story feels the most natural to me. I just let it go where it wants to without having to think about the structure of a beginning or end!

 What actor / actress could you see playing Sophie and Weston in a movie?

No idea! It’s one of those things where I haven’t seen the exact Wes and Sophie, but if they were to be chosen and acted like them, I’d be like, yeah...that was them all along!

I've only read the Pace, but I see you've written two more in the series.  How many do you plan on writing?

There are four planned. Any more beyond that would be forcing something right now, but who knows, maybe one day another one will pop up naturally.

I know that you are a teacher and a mom.  Describe your writing schedule.

I write at night. I usually find myself thinking about the story during the day, and when it’s all quiet, I write and write. Sometimes I go for months without writing a single sentence, and then when the story is there, I’ll write every night until 2 or 3 am!

What types of books do you enjoy reading? 

I enjoy reading anything with a great love story to root for. It can be a mystery, suspense…anything, and I don’t necessarily need it to have a happy ending…just as long as there is a genuine romance that I can feel attached to.

What are some ways that you have been able to promote your book?

I have loved using I was referred to that site by my neighbor and have been hooked ever since. It’s been a fantastic way for me to keep up with my own readings, as well as my friends, and it’s been a fantastic way to share books with others. I’ve also met some great YA bloggers who have been amazing supporters and fans of the series. Festivals have also been fun and a great way to introduce the books to people who may not have heard of them before.

Thank you Karl! I appreciate you thinking of me for an interview and wish you the best with your own book! 

And thanks Shelena for letting me interview you.  Best of luck with your books!

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