It’s a pleasure to present Shelley Adina, author of It's All About Us: A Novel the first book in the All About Us Series. Let’s meet Shelley!
Award-winning author Shelley Adina wrote her first teen novel when she was 13. It was rejected by the literary publisher to whom she sent it, but he did say she knew how to tell a story. That was enough to keep her going through the rest of her adolescence, a career, a move to another country, a B.A. in Literature, an M.A. in Writing Popular Fiction, and countless manuscript pages.
Shelley is a world traveler and pop culture junkie with an incurable addiction to designer handbags. She knows the value of a relationship with a gracious God and loving Christian friends and writes books about fun and faith--with a side of glamour. Between books, Shelley loves traveling, playing the piano and Celtic harp, movies, and period costuming.
JA: Your new book is It’s All About Us. Please tell us about it.
SA: People ask me all the time where I get my ideas. Well, for the first book and the series as a whole, I can sum it up in one word: Eavesdropping. One day I overheard some women talking about their daughters’ reading material, which involved a line of books I won’t name but that focus on glitz and glamour. I could tell by their voices how distressed they were about it, yet on the other side of the coin, their girls were reading. We all want kids to be reading, right? So it was a dilemma for these parents. A light went on in my head and I thought, “What if there was a series of books where, given similar choices and circumstances, the characters made different decisions based on their faith (or lack of it)?” Next thing I knew, I was running for my computer!
The twist in this book is that my heroine, Lissa Mansfield, is used to being on the A-list. She’s tall, blonde, beautiful, and has a sky-high limit on her Platinum Visa because her dad’s a movie director. But when she transfers to Spencer Academy, she finds that the stakes are much higher and being popular is not as easy as it used to be. She figures that if she can land Callum McCloud, the hottest boy in school, she’ll be “in” with the popular crowd he runs with. Getting him isn’t the problem, though—keeping him is. She considers being a “technical virgin” to hang onto him while trying to stay true to the promise she made to God about her purity.
JA: Lissa Mansfield has to deal not only with fitting in at her new school, but also pressure from her new boyfriend to go all the way. These are some serious issues young woman face today. Kudos for addressing them in such an accessible way. What kind of response have you had from young readers?
SA: I’ll need to table this one until the book comes out. At press time, there has only been one review, but it was very positive.
JA: It’s All About Us is the first in the All About Us Series. I love the upcoming titles: The Fruit of My Lipstick, Be Strong and Curvaceous… Which comes first for you, the title or the story idea?
SA: Usually, it’s the story idea. In It’s All About Us, the story certainly came first. But then one night I was kicked back with my local Christian writers’ group, which includes Kristin Billerbeck and Camy Tang, and we were batting around title ideas and these chick-lit twists on Bible verses started spitting out. I actually sold the last three books on titles alone—and then had to come up with stories to go with them.
JA: What do you hope people take away after reading It’s All About Us?
SA: In each book in the series, the protagonist learns to find within herself a biblical power. It’s never mentioned or spelled out, but it’s always there as part of the underlying theme. In It’s All About Us, Lissa discovers the power of discernment—especially when it comes to boys. In The Fruit of My Lipstick, releasing in August, her roommate Gillian Chang learns the power of honesty—with herself. And in next year’s Be Strong and Curvaceous, their friend Carly Aragon finds out that there’s such a thing as being too nice and going with the flow—that sometimes you need the power of courage. I want girls to know that the powers in the Bible are still alive and well, and you can draw on them in your own life to get you through any experience, and to help you learn and grow.
JA: What’s next for you in the writing arena?
SA: I have three books left to go in this series. I’m working on Who Made You a Princess? right now, the theme of which is the power of choice. I mean, what would you do if, in your senior year, you found out your parents had committed you to an arranged marriage … to a prince. Whose personal net worth was over a billion dollars. Hmmmm? Based on a true story. I kid you not.
JA: What inspired you to become a writer?
SA: My DNA [LOL]. I’ve always written and always known I was going to be a writer. When I was 8 I turned in a composition about a ghost in a graveyard and got a rave review from my teacher. I realized then that writing could affect the emotions of people, and I was hooked.
JA: You're a self-confessed pop-culture junkie. As a fellow lover of pop, I’d love to know some of your favorites: TV shows, movies, books…?
SA: Oh my. Once I get started, it’s hard to stop :)
- TV shows: Supernatural, Bones, Gossip Girl, New Amsterdam, Masterpiece Theatre, Mystery Monday on BBC America.
- Movies: anything set between 1800 and 1945. The Indiana Jones movies. Star Wars. Anything Joss Whedon or Eric Kripke cook up.
- Books: My favorites are my friends’ books :) But I also discovered Tosca Lee and now I want to be her when I grow up. Oh, and I have a collection of everything Lucy Maud Montgomery ever wrote. First editions from the early 1900s. Yum.
JA: You’ve traveled a lot. Where haven’t you been yet that you can’t wait to get to?
SA: I think my country count is up to 27 now, but I haven’t been to Australia or New Zealand. I’m trying to tempt my husband with visions of trout fishing in majestic Kiwi fjords. So far he’s resisting, but like a constant dripping on a rainy day, I’m sure I’ll wear him down eventually.
JA: Last but not least, how can people keep up with your latest publishing news?
SA: FaithWords is managing the series website at http://www.allaboutusbooks.net. As soon as the site is fully populated and running, you can get all the latest news there!
It’s been great getting to know you, Shelley. May God continue to bless you in your writing journey!
WIN THE BOOK
If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of It’s All About Us just leave a reply to this blog. I’ll combine the responses of my Blogger and ShoutLife blogs to pick a winner at random on May 16th. Please leave an email address so I can contact you if you're the winner. (To prevent spammers from trolling for your email, please use this format with the brackets--you [at] yourmail [dot] com--or something similar.) ShoutLifers will be contacted via ShoutMail. Good luck