Coffee and Conversation with Rori Shay

Good Friday morning! Today promises to be a balmy 40 degrees. Folks, we’ve got a heatwave on our hands!

Our next conference, Spring: Nature’s Revised Draft opened for registration this week and runs until March 19th. If you’re planning on submitting a critique, you have until February 28th to do so. Checkout Laura’s post for a rundown of all our speakers, as well as critique tips.

The Cyber Cafe is open and I am so excited to be bringing you our first interview for the conference! I’m doubly excited that it’s Rori Shay! I had the great opportunity to participate with her in a panel discussion on social media at our last conference and totally enjoyed meeting her.


Rori  lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and two proficient hair shedders – Misch the cat and Gerry the ninety lb black lab. She studied public relations and marketing at the University of Maryland and received an MBA from George Washington University. Besides writing, she likes to travel, run, read (of course), go pumpkin-picking and snow-shoe! Her first book in The ELECTED series releases April 22nd, 2014.

elected-large_wrush imprint

Let’s get started! First off, what’s your favorite coffeehouse beverage?

Hot chocolate…anything chocolate related, actually.


Chocolate lover? I knew I liked you! And your favorite snack?


What was your favorite book as a child? 



Sensing a theme here. And now, what is your favorite book as an adult?

THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE or THE HUNGER GAMES or the HARRY POTTER series.  There are really so many that I love, it’s hard to choose just one!

What advice for beginning writers do you wish you would have followed?

When an agent comes back to you saying they like your manuscript but want you to make changes, refrain from writing back a day later with just a couple of alterations.  Take some time and make large scale changes, consult with your writers group.  Only then send the manuscript back with the edits.

How were you inspired to write your current or upcoming release?

I woke up one morning with the plot for all three ELECTED Series books in my head.  I wanted to write about the importance of protecting the environment as well as the notion of tolerance, so those are two big themes that run through the series.  Many futuristic YA books start their story after some kind of environmental or human-created apocalypse, but they never tell the readers what caused the disaster.  ELECTED describes exactly what happened when global warming and extreme temperatures affected the earth.  Then it explains what laws the remaining world leaders enacted to make sure an environmental disaster never happened again.  It’s up to the readers and ELECTED’s main character, Aloy, to decide whether these laws are fair.

Sounds fantastic! It’s definitely going on my to read list. What is your favorite line from these books?

The last sentence of ELECTED’s first chapter:  “We use hemlock.”

If you followed the career path you chose for yourself in high school, what would you be doing for a living now?  

Veterinarian (unfortunately, I found out I was allergic to cats).  So can’t have that as my profession!   But it didn’t stop me from having both a cat and dog as pets!

For one day, time travel is a reality and you have the opportunity to visit any famous deceased author you want. Who do you pick?

Roald Dahl

What is your favorite quote?

Stay forever young, always a child at heart.

If you could sum up your best advice for new writers in only four words, what would they be?

Write…no matter what.

Now for the lightning round—no more than four words per answer!

Do you . . .

Outline or wing it? Both

Talk about works-in-progress, or keep it zipped? Talk about it.

Sell by proposal or completed draft? Completed draft.

Prefer writing rough drafts or editing? Definitely writing rough drafts!

Dread marketing/blogging or love it?  Love it.

Read Kindle or traditional books? Kindle.

And finally, what’s your favorite:

Time to work? Anytime.

Music to listen to while writing? Coldplay.

Writing tool? Any laptop.

Pair of shoes?  Black and clear open-toed high heels.

Guiltiest pleasure? Mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Line from a movie?  “I’ll have what she’s having.”

when harry met sally

Love that movie, love that scene!

Thanks so much for stopping by, Rori, and congratulations on your upcoming release. We’re all looking forward to hearing more from you at our conference.

Have a great weekend, friends. Happy writing and illustrating!

About Susan Mannix

Susan worked as a biomedical research editor for the Department of the Navy for fourteen years and has been a member of SCBWI since 2007. She writes young adult and middle grade novels. When she isn’t writing, she spends her time doing all things horses, including attending her teenaged daughters’ many competitions. Susan lives in Maryland on a small farm with her husband, two children, an adorable black lab, two cats, and three horses.
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