Lisa: We’re so pleased to have author Shirley Anne Edwards joining us today to celebrate the release of her new book, Rage to Live. Welcome, Shirley!
Let’s start right off with a book question: what’s your favorite scene in Rage to Live, and what makes it a fave?
Shirley: One of my favorite scenes in Rage to Live is when Charlie and Arielle go to a Halloween carnival together and check out the haunted house there. Let’s just say they end up in a hidden room and there’s not much talking going on between them 😉. It’s one of the more lighthearted and sexy scenes in the book.
Lisa: If you could spend some real-life time with one of the characters in the book, who would you choose and why?
Shirley: Marshall, a secondary character, who is the senior class president at Charlie’s school made such an impression on me. He’s the son of the town’s mayor, is also gay and wants to be President of the Unites States one day. He also has a bad crush on Theo, one of Arielle’s friends in college, who also happens to be the son of a woman Marshall’s father once dated. A lot of subtle soap opera type drama with him, which I hope to reveal more of in a sequel with Marshall as the main protagonist. He also becomes a good friend and big support to Charlie as she recovers from her past trauma and acknowledges her feelings for Arielle.
Lisa: What would you say are your least and most favorite things about being an author?
Shirley: I have a love/hate relationship when writing my first draft. Self-doubt creeps in because I’m writing something from scratch that works in my head but getting it down on paper can do a number on my emotions. But when I finish that book, a feeling of pride comes over me because I have accomplished something that I thought I couldn’t.
Lisa: When you sit down to start writing a new book, how do you decide whether it will best be told in the first or the third person?
Shirley: For some reason writing in the first person is more comfortable for me than in the third person. I feel a closeness with my main protagonist when I write in their point of view. I love getting into one of my character’s heads because I have front row view on how they think and how they might act in certain situations.
Lisa: If you could choose one of your books to be adapted for the silver screen, which would you choose? Why do you think it would translate well to film?
Shirley: I would love to see Rage to Live adapted for the screen. Because I have a background in screenwriting, most of my books I’ve written have that screenwriting/ script feel to it. I think Rage to Live would work well as a movie or TV show. Also, I would love to see more LGBTQ books made into movies or into TV series because there isn’t enough LGBTQ representation in Hollywood.
I also have a soft spot for my debut – What If? because it’s a murder mystery that also brings to light important topics such as bullying and bigotry but being true to one’s self.
Lisa: What’s the one book you’ve read in your lifetime that you wish you’d written? Why did this particular book leave such a lasting impact on you?
Shirley: Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden is the one book I re-read every year. It’s one of the most endearing and sweet young adult romances I have ever read. It’s was one of the influences that helped me write Rage to Live.
Lisa: What’s the best piece of writing/author advice you’ve received that you’d pass on to someone else just getting started in the business?
Shirley: Don’t follow trends just because you think those trends will make you popular or give you a lot of sales. Write what you enjoy, because if you don’t enjoy what you’re writing, you’ll be left with an empty feeling.
Lisa: If you were stranded on a desert island, what are three things you’d absolutely have to have?
Shirley: chocolate, coffee and Wi-Fi access because I am addicted to the internet (but that would also mean a laptop, so do I get a 4th option?)
Lisa: Star Trek, Star Wars, both or neither? Explain.
Shirley: I’m a Star Wars fan girl. Princess Leia is my queen idol. Star Wars also has more powerful women and warriors than Star Trek.
Lisa: Thanks for taking a break from writing to be here with us today, Shirley, it’s been a pleasure!
About the Book
Can a young woman reveal her traumatic past to the woman who wants her to release the bubbling rage inside… her rage to live?
An act of violence tore Charlie’s existence, and her family, apart. In an effort to reclaim something like the life she enjoyed before, Charlie moves in with relatives in a different state. Charlie might be damaged, but she isn’t going down without a fight. With the help of her cousins, who attend the local college, she steels herself to repeat her final year of high school. On the university campus, she meets Arielle Forest, president of a popular sorority, daughter of the dean, and bisexual. Charlie is drawn to Arielle’s sunny outlook, but she can’t banish her doubts as romance blossoms. Does Arielle know what she’s getting into with Charlie and her unhealed wounds? Will she want to deal with the complications?
When Charlie’s past catches up to her, will she find the strength to keep fighting… or succumb to the call to escape all her pain for good?
About the Author
Shirley Anne Edwards is a Northeast girl who discovered her love for books when she read Nancy Drew’s The Secret of the Old Clock Tower at thirteen. Shirley found her love for writing at a very young age and, since then, has let her imagination run wild by creating quirky characters and vast worlds in her head. Shirley is also a brownie addict who loves to bake when she’s not busy writing. Shirley lives in New Jersey and works in the entertainment industry in New York City.