A Message from Megan:
Turn The Page’s Cozy Chat with Karen Avivi, Indie Author of Shredded
- I’m not one of those authors who always wanted to be a writer. I wanted to be a flight attendant. Travel, adventure, always on the go… it looked like the best job in the world. Fortunately for airline passengers, my dream of serving drinks and pushing carts at high altitudes was not to be. The eyesight requirements wouldn’t even allow me to send in an application. A brief stint with waitressing a few years later showed that jobs involving serving the general public were not a good fit for me.
- The first time I seriously thought about writing a novel was after reading One for the Money by Janet Evanvich. I was going through one of those “is this what I really want to be doing with my life?” phases, and that book was such a fun escape, I decided that writing novels was something I wanted to learn how to do.
2. What inspired you to write Shredded?
- I had a seventeen-year-old female character in mine, and I wanted her to do an individual fringe sport-not a school team sport. A friend’s daughter is into motocross and when I was looking at her sport I stumbled onto girl’s BMX and kept clicking and clicking and thinking wow, I didn’t know girls did this. Girl’s BMX grabbed my interested and made it a lot of fun to research and write the book.
3. How did you come up with the title Shredded?
- I didn’t come up with the title. Roxanne St. Claire did, and I am extremely grateful.
4. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
- The only thing I’d like to resonate with readers is that you are the only judge who matters. Not parents, friends or even judges. At the end of the day it’s how you feel about yourself that’s important. It sounds simple, but it’s easy to forget, and most people I know struggle with other people’s expectations well past their teen years.
5. Is the premise of the book (girl BMX riders) based on your own experience, someone you know or just a passion you had?
- I enjoy individual sports like scuba diving, cycling, and kayaking. I like to mix sports and travel, like going on a dive vacation or a multi-day cycling trip or kayak camping down a river. The fewer rules and more opportunities for adventure and fun, the better. For Shredded, I wanted a fringe sport with a no rules attitude that hadn’t already been done several times in novels. When I found girls’ BMX, I liked the way that girls from around the world are supporting each other since there are so few of them in the sport.
6. Tell us a little about the cover.
- A friend of mine is an athlete and a professional graphic designer, so she was the perfect fit to do Shredded. I told her I didn’t want a decapitated girl on the cover, and I didn’t want it to look like a romance. I asked for a graphic treatment, and she gave me several fantastic concepts. I had a hard time choosing one. I love what she did on the back cover too.
7. What were the biggest challenges for you when writing Shredded?
- Approaching teenage boys in the skate park was terrifying, but once they realized I wasn’t going to complain about them making noise or being reckless, they were flattered that I was taking an interest in their sport. Making the time to write was really challenging. I couldn’t cut sleep, workouts, or earning money so cleaning the house took the biggest hit.
8. What did you learn from writing Shredded – both from a writing perspective as well as from the research you did on girl BMX riders?
- I had to face some serious self-inflicted stress issues. I became my own worst boss at times when I was trying to force myself to stick to an unrealistic writing schedule. While it’s necessary to spend time at the keyboard, too much will lead to burnout and physical injuries. Writing a novel can’t be rushed, and I can’t be stressed when I sit down to write. The ideal “flow” state of creativity requires relaxation. That doesn’t mean I can wait until I feel relaxed before I write, it means I have to figure out how to relax when I need to write. Not easy. The research I did on girl BMX riders gave me the inspiration and courage to go Indie. Girl riders don’t get a lot of encouragement or support but they don’t let that stop them or use it as an excuse not to try. I also learned first-hand what it feels like to lose control on a ramp, wipe out in front of a bunch of people, and have your bike land on you.
9. Are there any new authors that have caught your interest?
- Thanks to Goodreads and book blogs that feature contemporary YA I’m discovering more and more authors who are new to me. I loved Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley, and Raw Blue by Kristy Eager. My “to read” pile is overflowing. I just added Merch Girl by Rebecca Lewis based on Megan’s review.
10. What books influenced your life the most?
- I was an avid Nancy Drew fan as a kid. I have a couple of the old 1930’s editions with black and white illustrated frontispieces. After reading Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer I read a lot of Everest books and I think that put the idea of climbing in my head and inspired me to summit Mount Kilimanjaro.
11. Can you share a little bit of what you’re working on now, or any upcoming projects you might be working on?
- My current work-in-progress is about a teen who lies to her parents about going to college while she chases opportunities in the world of high-risk adventure sports instead. The research has been a fun look at how much some things have changed. One weekend in ’99 I was a reported on the web team covering an adventure race-we posted content using old dial-up modem (this was back in the days of limited cell phones and no Facebook). The competition was fun to follow, but the behind-the-scenes stories fascinated me. Ideas and what-if’s from that experience have been running through my head ever since and they fit well into my girl in a fringe sport niche.
12. Do any have any advice for other writers?
- Be brutally honest with yourself about your strengths and weakness in your craft and process. Take classes and listen to critiques to improve your craft. Dig down to the root cause of your process problems-why aren’t you getting enough writing done? The answer usually involves some kind of fear, but you have to face it to move forward.
13. Is there anything specific that you would like to say to your readers?
- Thank you! I appreciate everyone who chooses Shredded from their “to read” pile. Your comments, reviews, and emails mean a lot to me. Whenever someone writes something in a review that tells me they really *got* Josie, I know that writing is what I really want to be doing with my life.
** Indie authors rely on readers and fans like you and I to help them spread the word about their work. If you enjoyed Shredded, please feel free to share your comments with us here, as well as write a review on BN.com and Amazon. **