About Shelley Workinger
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!
Find out more at
1. Could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
Hi all! I grew up in Maine, graduated magna cum laude from Loyola University of New Orleans, currently reside in New Jersey, and consider all of them home. The SOLID series was my first to be published; when I’m not writing, I’m reading and chatting about it on my “FoodFic” blog: http://Bookfare.blogspot.com. Stop by and let me know what you're reading and what they're eating!
2. You grew up in Maine. What do you miss the most when you think back about your childhood there?
To be honest, not much. First, I am not a fan of cold weather, so Maine and I were climatically incompatible from the start! I also grew up in a very small town where everyone knew way too much about each other. Nobody really moved in or out, which didn’t allow for any personal growth, experience, or change. I moved to one of the most interesting and diverse cities I knew of at my first opportunity and learned and grew so much more quickly there. Looking at my life from that perspective, it’s almost more appropriate to say that I “grew up” in New Orleans. ;)
3. Where did you get the idea for your SOLID series?
At the risk of sounding cliché, SOLID was born when I dreamt the romantic scene that is now chapter twelve. I do have vivid dreams all the time, but not all stick in my conscious like that one, particularly because it came around the same time I started feeling a real concern for young teens that I saw losing interest in reading. I remember the point in my own life when required school reading became so overwhelming (in quantity and antiquity) that I stopped reading for fun, and so I decided to flesh out my Solid idea into the book I wish someone’d written for me back then. ☺
4. Your main characters in SOLID are strong and smart teenagers. Who did you have in mind while creating them?
From the onset, I had a few “rules” for my heroine:
1. She would eat. Real food. Without obsessing over it.
2. Her life would not revolve around a boy. (There is a love interest in SOLID, but Clio can function without him.)
3. She *gasp* had to have a great relationship with her mother. (Specifically, a mutual respect.)
4. She would be a complete mess.
Okay, that last one I threw in for fun. ;) No, Clio’s not a total disaster, but she’s miles from perfect and she definitely makes mistakes (including one I’ve gotten many reader letters about, but had to happen!) because she’s real.
You see, the teen and tween girls I know are in evolving states of self-discovery and, in finding where they fit in the world, they don’t always make the best choices. Or even consistent ones. They may be confident in some situations, but wholly insecure in others. Yet, even when their behavior contradicts itself, they remain true to the people they are becoming.
Clio is like many girls in that her weakness is perhaps her greatest strength; she makes mistakes, sometimes trusts too readily or not at all, but then she learns from the fall-out and at least makes different mistakes in the future. I think that’s the most interesting and beautiful kind of mess to be. ;)
Not that I want to keep all the focus on Clio; she may be the protagonist, but Jack, Garrett, Bliss, and Miranda certainly share the stage, if not steal the scene more often than not. (Garrett is my favorite character; shh, don’t tell the others.) And the center stage fills with 2 or 3 new folks over the course of each book! It was important for me to have a large and very diverse “ensemble cast” so that every person reading the book would be able to see her- or himself in the text and immediately feel inside the story!
5. You have a food blog – how did that come about?
I love food almost more than I love books, which was why my very first requirement for Clio as a heroine was that she actually ate. 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.
When SETTLING finally went to the printer, I happily found myself with a little extra time to pick up some of the books that’d been accumulating into my own little “Mount TBR.” Of course, that led me to entertain the idea of blogging about books, but I didn’t want to start a book blog unless I could offer something different than all the others. My thought process went like this: Do something special…daily special…fare…Bookfare! The word and the idea collided in my mind at the same time; I love food and I love fiction, so why not combine them?
The premise seemed so simple, so obvious, and so me:
We book lovers all talk about the characters – what they’re thinking, what they’re doing, whom they’re doing it with…But What Are They Eating? It wasn’t until I scribbled down the idea that I saw the acronym – BWATE? – as in: But wate (wait), there’s more! Yes, readers, there’s one more layer to that book even after you’ve devoured the plot and the people – a dessert course, if you will. ☺
And the response from readers has been fantastic. People are hungry – for love, for power, for money, for lunch! – and the food described in books speaks to that part in all of us. But despite how much fun I had launching BWATE?, I knew that I didn’t have to time to digest and serve up a book every week. So the obvious solution was to invite some guests to my virtual table! Once I found other writers to stop by and blog about the food in their own work, I realized that they were the sprinkles I hadn’t even known I needed to top my sundae. I love all the guests who’ve pulled up seats and I always have room for more, so even if you’re not a writer, come by and let me know what you’re reading and what they’re eating!
6. On your blog, you also have a SOLID playlist (which I absolutely love). Why did these songs make the playlist?
Clio has very strong feelings about music; in SOLID she says: I loved how the words to a song could perfectly capture my feelings about a moment, or a day, or a friend. I imagined someday putting together a massive compilation, like a sort of soundtrack of my life…. And she hears through the music to the story behind it and the truth within it, partly because of the appreciation of words she’s learned from her novelist mother, but mostly because, as the saying goes, every teenage girl is a poet. So the music that’s important to her – that resonates in her mind – is not even always music that she likes, but that speaks to her. Speaks so loudly, in fact, that by the end of SOLID she’s decided to write a song of her own!
Of course, Clio’s song has yet to be recorded, but I could certainly share the other tunes from pivotal moments in her story. I won’t elaborate on all of them to avoid spoilers, but the Cowboy Mouth song is one of Clio’s favorites that she adds to her lyric journal when she has some down time at “camp” to think about home. For You I Will also goes into the journal after it plays during a significant moment with a very significant boy. ;)
7. What does a typical day look like for you?
I would love to say that I lounge by my pool in a robe, dictating text to my personal assistant, but I’m not that glamorous. ;) I do have small children, so every day opens with getting everyone up and going. My daytime schedule is mostly made up of the “work” side of writing; editing and formatting, making calls and answering emails, meetings, school visits, social media, etc. My creativity comes out to play after dark, so that’s when I get the real writing done. Of course, my ideas tend to stream like a broken faucet, so even when I finally call it a night and turn out the lights, I’m often back up several times jotting down “just one more” thought or phrase in the notebook I keep at my beside.
8. What is your favorite season in the year and why?
Not winter. Is that a season? The other 3 all have such good aspects that to choose one over another would be like trying to name a favorite child. ;) I just need sunshine, and I can take it with a breeze and a sweater or a pool and bare feet, but not with snow!
9. If you got an invitation to a costume party, what costume would you choose and why?
I love costumes! One of my favorite parts of New Orleans living was the double dress-up holidays: Halloween and Mardi Gras. I thankfully have a very up-for-anything husband who has always gone along with my ideas: our first Halloween dating we went to a party as Ebola (years before the recent outbreak), complete with stickers to spread the disease among the guests. My all-time favorite was the Mardi Gras we went as a woman who drowned going down with the Titanic and the man dressed as a woman who stole her seat in the lifeboat. Quite a narrative to pull off with just makeup, wardrobe, and a stenciled flotation device, if I do say so myself. ;) As for the next costume opportunity, I can’t predict how my imagination will dress us!
10. What can we expect from you in the future?
I have a million other projects waiting in my queue, and am not sure which one will shove its way to the front of the pack first. :) The current front-runners are a ghost story about a football team, a futuristic dystopian tale, and a middle-grade inter-planetary adventure. Then there’s the non-fiction piece for new moms that I’ve been plugging away at for several months, as well as a spin-off of the SOLID series that keeps poking at me (the possibility is floated out in the epilogue of book 3) and/or a 4th title that fast-forwards 5 years into the future to see what the characters are up to. That book would be called SPLIT if it were to come to fruition…not that I’m making any promises!
Thank you so much for your interest in SOLID and giving me the opportunity to speak with your blog followers; I know we all have dozens of books on our TBR lists and I am so appreciative for your consideration of mine!
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Review by Anniek
During their pregnancy 100 women were given altered vitamins. They all thought that they were doing the proper thing during their pregnancy. Because of those vitamins the children who were born are genetically different from normal children. Now that this experiment has become public knowledge the children are asked to come to a military camp. They will be protected and in a safe environment they can find out what this experiment means for them. Or so they thought...
Clio is a young girl who has been living alone with her mother after het father died. Her mother is an author, so she's used to travel around and to meet new people. After she arrives at the military camp is doesn't take long for her to find new friends. They are all trying to figure out if they have special abilities because of the differences in their genetics. Some people are really fast and can jump high, some are rock solid or are very talented in music or art. Clio finds out she can make herself invisible. Within all the abilities that come to the surface some teens are stronger or more developed than others.
The military camp has everything a teenager could ever wish for. Food in all varieties, good accommodation and even a Starbucks. Living in this well created heaven for teenagers most of them are fine with where they are and believe everything they're being told. Clio and her friends soon find out though that things aren't what they seem. There is more going on, which becomes visible for those who are willing to look more closely. They are going on a search, because they want to find out the whole truth.
Clio and her friends are all smart and strong teenagers. I really liked that about the characters of this book. Teens nowadays are truly like that so this made them believable and easy to connect to. Of course they have their flaws, being human and young, but I fell in love with them even more because of this. They have a strong bond, even though their friendship is new, and I liked the dynamics of their group very much.
When you read the interview with Shelly Workinger and visit her website you will notice with how much passion she has written this series. While I'm reading a book I also think about music that would go with the story and even find myself looking up recommended songs when they are being mentioned. I really loved finding a playlist of Solid on the website. Shelley Workinger succeeded in writing an intriguing story about a professor who has gone too far with his research and the effects of what he's done. The angle she uses is different and it kept me interested and craving for more. I can't wait to read the rest of the series, so I can find out what happens next to Clio and her friends.
One very lucky winner will receive the complete (e-book) set of the Solid series by Shelley Workinger.