Wednesday, February 9, 2011

In Which I Fangirl Shana Silver

Okay, so today, I thought I'd do a little feature on one of the new Bookanistas. Shana Silver is super nice, and she has just about the coolest name ever. So of course I emailed her. I think she might think I'm crazy, but I suppose that's not all bad...

And then I came up with some questions that are a little on the unconventional side, and she didn't even blink! She is that awesome.

1. So your book is like Alice in Wonderland, but not. Explainage.
It's a retelling Alice in Wonderland with every scene reimagined in the real world high school. For example, instead of crying a pool of tears, Alice accidentally floods her school. The Cheshire Cat is a mysterious boy named Chess Katz with a killer smile and a penchant for disappearing. Instead of wanting to get inside the beautiful, forbidden garden the original Alice spies through the tiny key hole, my Alice joins a group of teenage environmental vigilantes who do good things but on the wrong side of the law. It's quirky and humorous with a Veronica Mars-style mystery at its heart. Also, there's kissing, lots of it. (SOLD! Especially with the kissing parts. Seriously, this sounds amazing. Can't wait to read it!)

2. Quick! You've been chosen to go on the best reality TV show EVER, Survivor. What do you take as your luxury item?
As a writer, I probably should say a book, but that would be a lie. I'd take a giant bottle of moisturizing lotion (Jergen's) because I hate dry skin so much and all that sand scares me. Though I probably wouldn't need a giant bottle because let's be real here. I'd be the first one voted off. Lack of arm muscles would ensure that. Also, I have an irrational fear of fish which would make eating or participating in water challenges difficult. However, it would probably make for awesome TV watching me freak out! (LOL! I have an irrational fear of fish too! And ducks and geese...)

3. If you had to eat one food, and only one food, for 24 hours, what would it be? Different preparations are fine, but only one food.
My husband makes the most amazing meatballs and spaghetti. I specifically married him for his cooking skills (also for his last name) so it would be stupid not to utilize them if I was forced to eat the same meal over and over again.

4. Longest day ever? Spill.
December 21st, without fail, every year. (I inherited my cheesy joke sense from my dad. Thanks, Dad!)

But really, probably the day I wrote a 5-page love letter to my crush in high school and waited for his answer. Which turned out to be no. I didn't let it get me down though, I tried again with the next crush. Same result. You'd think I had learned my lesson but no, because the real problem was an efficient school system. I blame this on My So-Called Life. Angela had written Jordan a love letter and it worked for her, but only because Jordan hadn't been able to read it. If only my crushes couldn't read, it would have totally worked! (Oh my heck. This is the best story ever.)

5. If you went to a superhero costume designer, would go with a cape or no cape? Give reasons to support your answer.
I think we all know why the cape is really there, right? It's not a fashion statement or because it looks cool flapping in the wind. It's there because spandex doesn't do a very good job at keeping a Superhero warm. So the cape's there to act like a jacket but not as bulky and it doesn't obstruct the logo on their chests. They wrap it around their arms to prevent goosebumps. They shield themselves from the rain like a hood. So of course I'd design a cape into my outfit, I'm practically cold-blooded. (Brilliant. And I've been properly persuaded to include a cape on all my superhero costumes now, notwithstanding the whole no-cape rule on The Incredibles.)

6. When did you decide you wanted to be a writer? What's the first step you took toward publication?
I've been writing my whole life. I wrote and illustrated my first book when I was in elementary school. It was about a girl who could walk through lava, which let me tell you, was VERY useful in volcano-less NJ where the story was set. At 17, I wrote my first manuscript. It was 75k of existential musings. There were only two characters, neither of them had names, and they only shared maybe 4 scenes together. Needless to say, that one's sitting in a drawer. My mom loves it, so that should tell you how good it really is. At the very least, it taught me that I *could* write a novel.

Then I went to college where I took actual creative writing classes taught by some very famous authors (like Pulitzer Prize winning authors), though at the time I had no idea who they were. I honed my skills and wrote a bunch of short stories for my classes. So I guess this is my first step toward publication because I started sending them out to lit magazines and I sold every single one I wrote for class.

But as far as novels go, I've queried 3 novels. One was college-set and though I had a high request rate, I kept getting rejections that said, "I really love this but it's too edgy for YA, too juvenile for adult." And since it was about the dark side of a sorority, it was impossible to re-set in high school. So I wrote another book that was completely YA about sibling rivalry that goes too far when one girl causes her sister to lose her prestigious college dance scholarship and then has to fix it before their parents find out. I had a 100% request rate on the query and got an agent within 10 days. I had some VERY close calls while on submission. Eventually that book didn't sell and my former agent left the industry, leaving me agentless. It was okay though, I saw this as a good thing and in hindsight, I'm really happy this happened. I wrote a new book (ALICE), using all the feedback I'd received from editors so I didn't make the same mistake again (i.e. this one had to be HIGH CONCEPT). I actually had to start it 3 times from scratch until I found the perfect retelling angle. I sent out queries, this time I had a 95% request rate. 2 R&Rs and 2 offers later, I found the absolute perfect agent for me. I adore her so much, she's the perfect champion for my books and she gives amazing editorial suggestions. Also, she loves Buffy as much as me.

7. Give us the basics: blog, website, twitter, facebook, agent, eye color, shoe size, dream vacation locale.

  • Blog/Website: http://www.shana-silver.com
  • Twitter: www.twitter.com/shanasilver
  • Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rshana
  • Agent: Sarah LaPolla at Curtis Brown, Ltd.
  • Eye color: Brown, though I like to pretend there's a recessive blue-eyed gene in there somewhere that I will hopefully give to my kids (when I have some)
  • Shoe size: 5.5! I usually have to buy a 6 though because my feet are freakishly tiny.
  • Dream vacation locale: Hubs and I have been talking about doing a wine tour in France for a long time. 

(Okay, go stalk away people. You know you want to.)

8. Bacon or chocolate? (I couldn't help myself.)
Chocolate for sure! This is going to be weird, I know. I've never actually eaten bacon. I'm a very picky eater. I also don't like cheese. Cue the gasps! (*gasp!* I love cheese. And the correct answer here is BACON.)

9. Anything else we simply must know?
I think I have a pretty cool day job. I do computer animation for television. If you've ever watched football or basketball on CBS, I designed most of the in-game graphics (like the scoreboard). I was the lead designer on March Madness, so whenever you see the brackets on TV, I created those. I also designed graphics for the USA Network (like when it tells you what show is coming on next) and the truTV network. If you've recently seen commercials for WORST COOKS IN AMERICA (on the Food Network), I did that entire campaign. I also did a lot of work on some CG Barbie movies. (This is the COOLEST THING EVER. I love Worst Cooks in America and my husband watches more sports than anyone in the world, trust me. This is SO COOL!)

Thanks for stopping by, Shana. And isn't she cool?

56 comments:

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great interview. Shana, I so enjoyed learning about you. Your job and new book sound great. And you have such a great attitude about your first agent.

And Elana, don't die of shock that's she's never tasted bacon. The correct answer, sorry, is not bacon.

Len Lambert said...

This is a cool interview, with the cool Elana and cool Shana. Thanks so much, Elana! I love both bacon and chocolate (is that a safe answer?) LOL.

Theresa Milstein said...

I LOVE the premise of this book.

And I too am sold on superhero capes, which I thought would never happen.

I love cheese. If it were a choice between bacon, chocolate, and cheese, I'd choose cheese.

I'm on my way to Shana's blog/site.

kellyhashway said...

Awesome interview.

Kerri C at CK Farm said...

Cool interview! Shana is def. stalker material. Must stalk right away :)

Michelle McLean said...

seriously cool :D And I can't wait to read her book! Sounds amazing.

K.D. Anderson said...

Oh my heck (heh heh), this was the best interview EVAH! I want to now hang out with both of you (which I intend to do someday) and Shana! I can't WAIT to read this book of yours!!! I feel like an idiot that I didn't know about it. Where have I been? It sounds utterly fabulous.

noellepierce said...

First - the book sounds amazing! Second - Elana, there is no "irrational" fear of geese. The little bastards bite! It's a totally founded (I may have just made that up to be the opposite of unfounded--can't be sure) fear.

Paul Greci said...

Totally cool interview Elana and Shana!! Alice sounds like a great book. For that matter, the other two books of yours sound pretty cool too!!

Matthew Rush said...

Environmental vigilantes makes this an instant FTW for me. Thanks for featuring her Elana, great interview ladies!

Angela Felsted said...

Love the questions, especially bacon or chocolate.

Laura said...

Great interview! I absolutely adore Shana. We've had lunch, met up at ALA, had more lunch, met up at BEA, had another lunch (actually, I kinda infiltrated her lunching with friends!).

I know when I'm around Shana, I will eat! :)

Colene Murphy said...

Hadn't heard of this! That book sounds amazing!! Awesome interview, thanks gals!

Lola Sharp said...

LOVE the college age story ...and HATE that there's this 'black hole' where we can't write college age characters. Because I think they are the most interesting years of our lives. I really think publishing is missing out. (I know, I keep hearing this rumor of a New Adult category/genre or something like that, but...)

Okay, sorry. Now that I've got that off my chest, I LOVE this interview. I love the retell Alice concept. (AiW is one of my favorite stories)

Now, as I often am after visiting this blog, I am craving chocolate and bacon. (and cheese!)

And a wine tour through France is in my top 3 wish lists. *dreamy sigh*

Love,
Lola

Jennifer Hoffine said...

Yes! Shana is so cool!(We met on Critique Circle) Yay, new Bookanista.

Magan said...

This was a really awesome interview with great questions! Now I may have to hunt her down and Fangirl over her myself...in the LEAST creepiest way possible.

Michelle Merrill said...

Wow! She is super cool...really. need. to. meet. her. My kids love the barbie movies :) I love her story about how she finally got her current agent as well! Awesome. Thanks for the interview Elana.

And I love your book quote at the top of the page. I didn't get to comment yesterday...but I just hat to mention it :) I can't wait to read your book.

Jamie - I'm a guy, btw said...

Wow, talk about a fascinating individual! Love this interview, and her book sounds A-MA-ZING!

Shari said...

Way fun questions. It was fun to meet her. Her book sounds really intriguing. BTW, I love your own inserts into the interview.

Heather said...

Shana, you had me at Buffy!

Melissa said...

OMG! A book like Alice in wonderland set in high school. I am so sold! Seriously. I freaking love Alice in wonderland!

marissameyer said...

O.O Modern-day Alice sounds AWESOME. I can't wait to get my hands on it!

lexcade said...

i <3 march madness!!!!!!!!!!!! you sold me on your book w/ the description, but you sealed the deal with march madness. i live for college b-ball.

great interview, elana!

Susan R. Mills said...

I'll definitely be reading this book. Sounds incredible. Thanks for the interview. Lots of interesting stuff here.

Carolyn V said...

Okay, that book just sounds cool. =)

Carolyn V said...

Oh, and great interview!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Holy wow! She really IS cool: look at those request rates! And her day job? WOW! :-)

Jessica Love said...

I loved this interview! Shana is awesome. :-D

Heather said...

I love Shana! She's GREAT people! Also, I thought she was going to say that superheroes need capes to effectively hide the junk in their trunk (because spandex uniforms, in addition to their inability to keep you warm, are also extremely form-fitting). But then I remembered that I have a lot more junk in my trunk than Shana, so...yeah. Clearly my cape would be much longer :)

Crystal said...

Go Shana, Go Shana, Go!

She IS pretty cool.

BTW, I totally have the same hope of a blue eyed recessive gene. I know there's not but one can hope!

Denise Jaden said...

Love this interview! Not eating bacon = not that weird. Not eating cheese? Who ARE you???

But I love you anyway, Shana. Great questions, Elana - so fun!!

Elle Strauss said...

Hey Shana, loved your answers! Thanks for the awesome interview questions, Elana!

Amanda said...

Great interview! I suddenly have a craving for spaghetti and meatballs!

Heather said...

Her books sounds like it will be a fun, wild ride! I must get it. And everyone should be so lucky as to find an agent that loves Buffy that much. ;) Shana rocks but then of course she does. Elana, you really know how to pick the special ones!

Henya said...

Yeah, she's cool. And so are your questions.

Roxanne said...

What a fun interview! Shana's book sounds absolutely AWESOME. It's definitely going on the (miles & miles & miles long) to-be-read list. :)

Roxanne said...

...and my friend & I had a conversation just a week ago about chocolate vs. bacon. Bacon wins, hands down. But I would also want to try...chocolate covered bacon!

mmmm....gross....mmmm...my brain can't decide.

chandlermariecraig said...

Great interview, Shana!! I LOVE Alice. It's as awesome as it sounds!

chandlermariecraig said...

Great interview, Shana!! I LOVE Alice. It's as awesome as it sounds!

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

Awesome interview! You have a gift for asking off-the-wall questions that are intriguing. Thanks for introducing me to this fun author and graphic designer. I'm going to pay more attention to the graphics on TV. :)

Lisa_Gibson said...

Wow, what a totally amazing and cool interview! I watch Worst Cooks in America. Love it.
Oh and Edna is my fav character from the Incredibles. I agree though, a cape is a must. :)
Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

Lisa_Gibson said...

Oh and the book sounds AMAZING! I'm sold.
Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

Nicole Zoltack said...

Awesome interview! You aren't the first person I've met that doesn't like cheese, hubby's father doesn't either (yet he'll eat pizza....)

Stephsco said...

Her story ideas all sound great! I didn't realize there is a gap in "college age" storytelling, but hoenstly, the only one I can think of off hand is Meg Cabot's "Size 12 is not Fat", and I loved it b/c she was an RA in the dorms like I was.

joylene said...

What delightful questions, Elana. I bet they were fun to answer. Thanks for the lift. I'm supposed to be writing.

Janet Johnson said...

Wow, Shana. You ARE cool! What an awesome job you have. :D

And congrats on the up-coming novel! Sounds amazing!

Melanie Hooyenga said...

I love everything about this interview. But I cannot BELIEVE Shana doesn't like CHEESE!

O.o

Shana Silver said...

These comments keep making me smile! Thank you so much, everyone! And thanks to Elana for hosting me!

Jemi Fraser said...

Yup - I agree - Shana really is cool! ...even if she doesn't like cheese.

Anita Saxena said...

OMG. Shana is cool on so many levels. Can't wait to read her book, even though she doesn't like cheese. As a self-proclaimed cheese-a-holic this is difficult for me to understand.

Sara B. Larson said...

Fun interview! Her book sounds awesome. I want to read it! :)

Meredith said...

I'm so going to stalk right now--Alice in Wonderland with Veronica Mars elements? I'm sold. And I have an irrational fear of fish, too! So good to know I'm not the only one.

Melissa Gill said...

Amazing questions Elana and fantastic answers from Shana. Gotta love a HS version of Alice in Wonderland.

Karen Lange said...

She is cool! Great interview, loved it all. :)

L.T. Elliot said...

Excellent interview! Shana sounds pretty awesome! Writer, designer, fan of Buffy. =]

Sadly, bacon loses again. Woe is me.

K. M. Walton said...

This was a great interview and let me just say that Shana is lovely in person as well!! We are agent-mates and I had the pleasure of meeting her in NYC at the Kid Lit Night before the SCBWI Winter Conference.

I too can't wait to read her book!!

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