Mind Games by Shana Silver ***Interview with the Author: Learn about her newest book, and what else she's working on -- Giveaway***
by Shana Silver
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: August 27th 2019
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
A teen programmer at a school for geniuses must join forces with a boy she can’t remember to stop a hacker from deleting their memories in Shana Silver’s action-packed YA debut, Mind Games.
Arden sells memories. Whether it’s becoming homecoming queen or studying for that all important test, Arden can hack into a classmate’s memories and upload the experience for you just as if you’d lived it yourself. Business is great, right up until the day Arden whites out, losing fifteen minutes of her life and all her memories of the boy across the school yard. The boy her friends assure her she’s had a crush on for years.
Arden realizes that her own memories have been hacked, but they haven’t just been stolen and shared… they’ve been removed. And she’s not the only one: her mysterious crush, Sebastian, has lost ALL of his memories. But how can they find someone who has the power to make them forget everything they’ve learned?
An Interview with the Author
Welcome to Character Madness and Musings. Please tell us about your newest book.
MIND GAMES is about a girl who must team up with a boy she doesn’t remember to stop the hacker that’s deleting their memories. It’s got girls kicking butt in STEM, swoony kisses, and severed eyeballs—sometimes all at the same time!
Writing isn’t easy. What was the most difficult thing you dealt with when writing your newest book?
The most difficult thing I had to deal with was removing a pretty complex subplot that weaved throughout the book. My editor pointed out all the reasons why the book would be much stronger without this plotline and she was absolutely right. In fact, I can’t believe I ever had it in the book. But to remove it required untangling it from the book. You can’t just delete the scenes it touches and stop there. You have to course correct all the aftermath and fall out of the subplot itself and the changes you made. It was tough, but necessary, and I love the final version!
Tell us about your writing career.
I’ve had a really long road to publication that consisted of multiple books, multiple agents, and multiple close calls before I finally got “the call.” I’d been trying to get published for over ten years and nearly quit several times along the way. But instead I honed my craft by taking several different classes and figuring out what I wasn’t good at writing wise, then mitigating that by improving my skill in that area with practice and research. Additionally, I figured out how to come up with a high concept idea vs my previous attempts, which were quieter. Lastly, I got better at outlining and plotting so my first drafts came out cleaner instead of messes I needed to spend months fixing. All of this led me to write MIND GAMES and I’m so happy it’s my debut because it’s stronger than anything I’d written previously.
They say Hind-sight is 20/20. If you could give advice to the writer you were the first time you sat down to write, what would it be?
I wrote my first novel at seventeen years old right after a unit on existentialism in English class. My book was 75,000 words but none of the characters had names (just pronouns), the book had no real plot, but there were a lot of existential ponderings on the pages. My best advice to seventeen-year-old me would be to figure out who the character is, what they want, and what’s preventing them from getting it. Also, give the character a name!
What was your most difficult scene to write?
Without giving away spoilers, the most difficult scene to write was toward the end. Arden makes a discovery that unleashes a slew of new information on her and as a result of that information, she has to make an incredibly difficult decision. That whole sequence—from the information coming to her and the impact of what she learns, then realizing she’s the one that has to decide, and the finally making the hardest decision of her life—was incredibly difficult to write but I’m proud to say that I even made myself cry during my final read through of the book!
Are themes a big part of your stories, or not so much?
A big theme in the book is defining who you are when who you are might change. If you lose your memories, are you still the same person? Does your personality change based on what you experience and remember? I had a lot of fun playing with this theme.
What are you working on now?
I’m finishing up revisions to my summer 2020 book, THE CON CODE, about a girl who bands together with a team of teen criminals to perform a series of heists in order to find her fugitive mother before the FBI does. My main character is a forgery artist similar to Neal in WHITE COLLAR and she’s got a master of disguise BFF, an electronics hacker who communicates only in glares, and a rival con artist who can charm the pants off anyone, including her, much to her dismay. I can’t wait for everyone to read it!
Is there a release date planned?
MIND GAMES releases August 27, 2019 and THE CON CODE comes out summer 2020!
Who is your favorite character from your own stories, and why?
I’ve really enjoyed writing the love interests in MIND GAMES and THE CON CODE. In MIND GAMES, Sebastian was so fun to write because he was a blank slate—he started with no memories and slowly built himself into a full person. In THE CON CODE, Colin is a charming con artist with a vendetta against my main character but also a vulnerable side and that was so fun to play with.
Most writers were readers as children. What was your favorite book in grade school?
My favorite chapter book series when I was younger was SLEEPOVER FRIENDS, about a group of friends who—you’re not going to believe this—have sleepovers. I loved the friendship dynamic and reading about all their fun adventures!
What are your plans for future projects?
My plans are to keep writing of course! For now that means working on THE CON CODE and then…it’s a secret!
Is there anything you would like to add before we finish?
Thank you for having me!
Good luck with your newest release, and thank you for being with us today.
Rachel Shane (writing as Shana Silver) studied creative writing at Syracuse University. She’s been a computer animator, an e-book creator for a major publisher, and now works as a Project Manager in digital and TV advertising where she enjoys telling people what to do. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, young daughter, and the characters she dreams up.
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