Q & A: Shelia M. Goss

Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started writing?

The Lip Gloss Chronicles is my first young adult series. I am the author of six women’s fiction books. Besides writing, I love to read, travel and meet new people. One of my favorite things to do when I go to a new city is visit the aquarium and the area’s botanical garden. I started off writing when I was about nine years old. I’ve always had a vivid imagination and I’ve channeled that into writing stories.

Do you have a special routine when you write?

Yes. When I’m working on a manuscript, I like to be by myself. I like to start first thing in the morning. I usually take a 15 minute break every hour to go to the restroom, check email and/or get up and stretch. I also have to have a cold bottle of water or juice near by.

Tell us more about your last book, and what are you working on now?

The Lip Gloss Chronicles explores the life of three Sassy, Urban, and Hip high school friends (Britney, Jasmine, and Sierra) who are high on fashion and a magnet for drama. There are currently three books in the series but I’m hoping it will get expanded to more. Each of the three books is told from one of the girl’s point of view. The Ultimate Test is the first book in the series and is in stores now. This
book is told from Britney’s point of view. The girls are freshmen in high school and deal with growing pains, boy problems and other issues that threaten their life long friendship.
Splitsville is the second book in the series and is told from Jasmine’s point of view. Her parents are on the verge of getting a divorce and besides dealing with their split, the girls learn the dangers of using the
internet. It will be in stores at the end of September. Sierra’s story is told in the third book – Paper Thin. Sierra is dealing with weight issues and one of the characters is involved in teen domestic violence. The third book of the Lip Gloss Chronicles series is set to be released in 2010. Readers can get more information or keep up to date with the series by joining the Lip Gloss Chronicles mailing list at the website: www.thelipglosschronicles.com
I am currently working on another series too.

Who are a few teen urban fiction authors or titles that you have enjoyed reading?

I’ve enjoyed reading books by these YA authors: Paula Chase Hyman, L Divine, Darrien Lee, Earl Sewell, and Celeste O. Norfleet.

Outside of teen urban fiction, who are a few authors that you enjoy?

There are so many. I love books by Carl Weber, Michelle McGriff, ReShonda, Tate Billingsley, Kimberla Lawson Roby, Lutishia Lovely, Bettye Griffin and the list goes on and on.

Who’s your favorite character from your books?
It’s a three-way tie: Britney, Jasmine and Sierra from The Lip Gloss Chronicles series. I enjoyed writing each one of these three characters with their unique personalities.

What do you say to critics of urban fiction? And why should librarians purchase urban fiction for their collections?
Urban fiction comes in a variety of flavors. All Urban fiction doesn’t depict life in the hood. For example, the characters in my books come from a suburban reality. The characters are more in line with the characters you read in “Gossip Girls” or the “It Girls” series except they are African-American and without the sex. Librarians should purchase urban fiction for their collections so patrons will have a diverse choice of books to choose from.

What are a few “adult” urban fiction books that you would suggest for teens to read?

Due to the fact that there are now many teen urban fiction books available, I would suggest that teens read teen fiction instead of books meant for adults.

Any predictions on the future of teen urban fiction?
I see the genre expanding as more and more authors realize that there’s a younger audience out there.

Any thoughts on how librarians and teachers could promote urban fiction to teens?

The best way to promote urban fiction to teens is to educate them on the fact that the characters look like them. Let them know reading a book opens them up to a whole new world for a few hours. Also reinforce the fact that the characters might be dealing with similar issues and it’s good to see how someone else handles a situation.

For more information on Shelia M. Goss, visit her website at www.sheliagoss.com

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