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The Inspirational Element–Guest Columnist Shelley Adina

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Today, I’m pleased to feature a guest column by award-winning author Shelley Adina!

This is a great discussion and one I have regularly with readers both young and old. I’m writing the All About Us series for FaithWords, featuring a different protagonist in each of six books set in a posh private school in San Francisco. With everything that kids have to deal with today, from metal detectors and ID badges to cliques, classes, and crushes, it’s a challenge to weave in an inspirational element without sounding like a preachy dork.

So I go stealth. 🙂

My readers could be regular and hearty churchgoers, with lots of involvement in youth groups and missionary work, or they may not have any spiritual leanings at all. You see, the books won’t be shelved in the inspirational section, they’ll be in with the regular YA books. So figuring out how to approach the faith thread when It’s All About Usthe audience is so diverse was tricky—but it was also doable. And fun. 🙂

My strategy was to locate the books in your Christian Worldview camp, Kaye. Lissa Mansfield and Gillian Chang, two of the characters in the first book, It’s All About Us, are Christians when we meet them—though unfortunately they don’t show it, because the first thing they do is have a massive, screaming fight! The other three of the five main protagonists are not Christians, though two had gone to church with their parents while they were at home. One has hardly any exposure to faith at all. So I cover the spectrum of belief and nonbelief, and part of the over-arching series plot is these characters’ journey from realization of a lack in their lives to acceptance that there’s something out there that’s bigger than they are—and that when they say it’s “all about us,” they mean “me and God.”

The books are not evangelical. I treat faith as something that’s just in your life. My characters talk to God and pray together (and Gillian walks around with Christian music playing on her iPod). The thing that differentiates this series, I think, is that given the same choices and distractions as other popular series with glitzy covers and spinoff TV shows whose titles I won’t mention , the characters in the All About Us books make different choices based on their beliefs and on biblical values. Faced with a decision, they choose a direction after praying about it. This may take them to places they don’t expect, but they grow and learn from it.

The Fruit of My LipstickAlso, in each book, the protagonist learns to find within herself a biblical power. It’s never mentioned or spelled out, but it’s always there as part of the underlying theme. For instances, in It’s All About Us, which comes out in May 2008, Lissa discovers the power of discernment—especially when it comes to boys. In The Fruit of My Lipstick, releasing in August, Gillian learns the power of honesty—with herself. And in next year’s Be Strong and Curvaceous, their friend Carly Aragon finds out that there’s such a thing as being too nice and going with the flow—that sometimes you need the power of courage.

It’s possible to show the Christian life without actually spelling it out—and whether the characters do the wrong thing and make mistakes, or listen to their hearts and work through their challenges and problems, it all makes for a fun read. And that’s my ultimate goal!

Shelley AdinaAward-winning author Shelley Adina wrote her first teen novel when she was 13. It was rejected by the literary publisher to whom she sent it, but he did say she knew how to tell a story. That was enough to keep her going through the rest of her adolescence, a career, a move to another country, a B.A. in Literature, an M.A. in Writing Popular Fiction, and countless manuscript pages. Shelley is a world traveler and pop culture junkie with an incurable addiction to designer handbags. She knows the value of a relationship with a gracious God and loving Christian friends and loves writing books about fun and faith—with a side of glamour. Between books, Shelley loves traveling, music, making period costumes, and watching all kinds of movies.

  1. Wednesday, January 30, 2008 12:21 pm

    It’s possible to show the Christian life without actually spelling it out…

    Amen! 🙂 Thanks for the great perspective. Your books sound intriguing…and kudos to the publisher on great covers!


  2. Wednesday, January 30, 2008 12:49 pm

    I love your covers and your titles. I think you’re right about going stealth–teens will sniff out anything preachy from the get go.


  3. Wednesday, January 30, 2008 2:57 pm

    Great post. Love the title Be Strong and Curvaceous. 🙂

    I’m glad the characters in this series all start at different places, and cover the gamut.



  1. A Conversation with Shelley Adina | Incurable Disease of Writing

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