I grew up in a small town in Maine, graduating in a class of only forty-six kids! I moved to New Orleans at seventeen; I can't explain why I knew I had to go there, but Loyola was the only college I applied to. (I'm not sure how things would've played out if I hadn't gotten in :0) After taking two years off in the middle, I eventually graduated mcm with a BS in Sociology and a BA in English - majors I initially chose to avoid math courses. I also worked full time during college and ironically took an administrative accounting position that I loved - who knew? I think the lesson learned is that we're constantly evolving and, no matter how much we think we know who we are and what we want, we often ending up surprising ourselves with where we end up.
1. As your book, "Solid," is self-published, what would you say is the hardest part of self-publishing?
Self-marketing, definitely. I went into the process not knowing a soul in the business and having never even read a blog. I found that it's an extremely difficult process and if you don't have a strong sense of self, it can be brutal. I had to read a zillion blogs to find readers who might like my book, then contact each one and buy copies for the takers. (There were also quite a few who said they were not interested in "Solid" because it's not a "real" book, which stung - I won't lie.) Two years of ten- to twelve-hour days later, I've met some fantastic people and learned a ton, but still am nowhere near where I want to be.
2. One thing I thought was really clever for advertising your book was that you put books up on Goodreads' Bookswap. How did you come up with that idea, and what other tips do you have for self-published authors?
I just wanted to get "Solid" into readers' hands; I hoped that if I posted a few copies, interested people would find me, and they have :) I think the key is finding your target audience, so I've tried to help other writers really nail down whom that is for them. I recently helped another author find websites and organizations that I knew would benefit from his coaching manual, and I think his book is finally going to start falling into the right hands.
3. One of the gene expression types in "Solid" is a kind of glowing aura; what is the purpose of having this kind of trait?
I call it "blinding brilliance"; if someone can't see you, they can't stop you or hurt you, so it can be used both offensively and defensively. When Clio first sees Bliss "star it up" as she puts it, she's not only blinded, but also unable to breathe. So if I had to compare it something concrete, I'd say that maybe it's like mace without the burning.
4. The characters in your book all have a military family background; were these written from your personal experiences?
More like the experiences I always wished I had. My dad was a career Army man, but we never moved - not once in my entire life! I fantasized about a worldly life of constant travel, probably in the same way the relocating military kids wished they could stay put!
5. You've lived in a quite a few places - Maine, New Orleans, New Jersey. Do you have a favorite, and what do you love about each place?
I'm going to take some hits for saying this, but my least favorite of the three is Maine. Everyone who hears me say that immediately bemoans, "But it's so beautiful there!" Yes it is. And cold. For many, many months! I'm a warm-weather girl and I need me some sunshine, as you can see by how far South I headed at the first chance I got!
New Orleans is truly the love of my life; there is no place like it in the world, and if you've spent any time there, you know that it hurts to leave, as if you're leaving part of yourself behind. When I followed my husband north for graduate school, it was with the full intention of moving back after graduation. But we all know who laughs when we make plans....
And I have nothing but love for Jersey ♥ My first reaction was the same as Clio's: surprise at how GREEN it is. I meant it when I said I think the locals have a pact to keep Jersey a national secret to keep outsiders from moving in and disturb their peace! The friends I've made here I will have for a lifetime - without my "stars," there wouldn't even be a "Solid" series.
Eighteen years ago, a rogue Army doctor secretly experimented with a chromosomal drug on unknowing pregnant women. When he was killed not long after the children were born, any knowledge and evidence seemed to die with him - except the living, breathing, human products of his work.
Almost two decades later, the newly self-proclaimed “open-book” military unearths the truth about the experiment, bringing Clio Kaid and the other affected teens to a state-of-the-art, isolated campus where they soon discover that C9x did indeed alter their chromosomes, its mutations presenting as super-human abilities. The military kids, who come from across the nation and all walks of life, come into their own as lighter-than-air ‘athletes’; ‘indies’ as solid as stone walls; teens who can make themselves invisible and others who can blind with their brilliance.
As Clio comes into her remarkable ability, embraces new friendships and embarks on first love, she also can’t shake the suspicion that the government has not been as forthcoming with their attentions as they claimed…
A Big Thank You to Shelley for taking the time to answer my questions! You can visit her website and her Facebook fan page.
You should also check out my review of Solid ^.^
Remember: if you review one of her books, you get 2 extra entries per review ^.^