Shana Silver: Mind Games
Hello, August! Are you (or your kids) going back to school? Well, here are a bunch of books to cheer you up!
by Shana Silver
Arden sells memories. Whether it’s the 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 15 minutes of her life and all her memories of the hot boy across the school yard. The hot 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 deleted. And she’s not the only one, the hot stranger, Sebastian, has lost ALL of his memories. But how can they find someone with the power to make them forget everything they’ve learned?
August 27th, 2019
Introduce yourself and your debut novel!
Hi, I’m Shana and my novel MIND GAMES is a YA sci-fi romance in which a girl must team up with a boy she doesn’t remember to stop the hacker that’s deleting their memories. There’s badass girls in STEM, hot kissing, hack battles, and severed eyeballs.
As for me, I live in NJ with my husband and young daughter, work as a Director of Program Management for a software company, and play a lot of mobile phone games when not writing!
What’s the most surprising part about your debut journey so far?
The most surprising thing has been finding such amazing groups, mainly the Novel Nineteens and my Swoon Squad. I love how supportive everyone is and it makes me feel like I’m not alone!
Give a shout-out to a fellow debut!
Shout to my fellow Season 11 Swoon authors, Olivia Hinebaugh (THE BIRDS, THE BEES, AND YOU AND ME) and Lillie Vale (SMALL TOWN HEARTS).
Who is your favorite character?
My favorite character in the book is Sebastian. At the start, he’s lost ALL his memories, so not only does he have to figure out who he is and who did this to him, he has to remember how to be a human. There were some fun scenes to write in which he definitely guessed wrong!
How long did it take you to write this book?
This book had quite a journey that involved multiple agents, multiple rounds of submission, some very close calls during those rounds, and ultimately a 2 year gap before it finally sold. The actual first draft took me approximately 3 months, but the extensive rewrites and revisions took much longer! Those previous drafts were important though because the book wouldn’t be what it is today without them!
What’s a cool thing about your book that isn’t in the blurb?
The characters in my book go to a school for science geniuses, where each student is responsible for creating an invention that provides cutting new technology. There’s holographic makeup in the book (to satisfy my IRL make up obsession), mind uploading, speedy 3D bio printing (print an eyeball in seconds!), “Sober Up” pills, music that streams directly into your ear, and more. I really loved coming up with wild new technologies that teens might want to invent.
What inspired you to write this book?
My dad is a sci-fi nut and growing up, he and I used to talk about theories and technology. We had originally mapped out a book idea that I eventually wanted to write one day. Although the initial book idea morphed entirely, the seeds were planted back when I was in HS and we first dreamed up the premise. The book is dedicated to my dad! (And although Arden’s dad in the book passed away before the pages start, mine is very much alive and loves to post “dad jokes” all over my social media.)
Describe your main character in 3 words.
Genius, Badass, Girly
What was the hardest scene to write?
The hardest scene to write is one of the last scenes in the book, when Arden must make an incredibly difficult decision with life or death consequences in either option. Not gonna lie, I cried while revising it numerous times!
What advice would you give to a new writer?
Don’t ever give up! If I’d shelved MIND GAMES after it didn’t sell the first time around, I would not be a debut author today. But I kept trying and it finally found a home a few years later.
Describe your writing space.
I typically write on my bed, super glamorous, I know.
How do you select character names?
I started writing MIND GAMES when I was pregnant with my daughter. We’d settled on giving our daughter either the name Quinn or the name Arden. Both were names I’ve always loved. We chose the name Quinn and we’re one and done, so I gave my book baby the name Arden. For Sebastian, I needed a name that had a nickname that started with a different letter (Bash) to help differentiate between present and flashbacks. He got his last name from my fave singer, Rivers Cuomo of Weezer. And most of the other characters received last names after dorms/buildings at Syracuse University, my alma matter.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
My two writing buddies/CPs are Chandler Baker (WHISPER NETWORK) and Diana Urban (ALL YOUR TWISTED SECRETS). I gchat with both basically all day. Chandler and I brainstorm all aspects of our books together and motivate each other to write via 15 minute sprints where we need to report word count back to each other for accountability. Diana and I regularly discuss the industry as a whole, our books, and marketing. We also will brainstorm ideas as well.
What book or author has most influenced your own writing?
When I was a senior in HS, I was given the assignment to write a term paper on a book of my choosing. Most of the other students were choosing books we were reading in class, but I picked THE HANDMAID’S TALE after a recommendation from my friend. It was the first time a book really floored me in terms of voice, characters, and story and it was the book that made me want to become a writer.
Share character inspiration!
I always pictured Arden like Bay Kennish (Vanessa Marano) from SWITCHED AT BIRTH and Sebastian like a more blond version of Nick Robinson from the movie LOVE, SIMON.
Thanks for interviewing, Shana! I can't wait to check out your book on 8/27/19!