Review: The Darkest Minds Review: Chasers Review: Cornered Review: Finale Review: Leopard Moon

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Settling Blog Tour: Shelley Workinger

I like to welcome Ms. Shelley Workinger author of Solid and Settling!


Several readers have described the “Solid” series as an “X-men for girls,” focusing more on the relationships than the superpowers. I haven’t seen the film, so I can’t make a fair comparison, but I do agree that the characters have always been the heart of the story.The second-most statement I hear is, “I’m so happy this wasn’t another Hey, I have superpowers;  now I’ll go save the world!book,” which kind of piggy-backs onto the first comment and opens the discussion of how the super-abilities came to be. 

When I first set out to write the series, I wanted readers to be able to put themselves into the story; I meant what I said on the cover of “Solid” when I asked, What if you discovered you were the product of a secret genetic experiment?I wanted the results – the genetic “gifts” – to be (although highly improbable) at some level possible, so I specifically used the word “abilities” instead of “powers” when talking about what the characters can do. That’s also why the abilities evolve so slowly; the kids never even considered having any sort of special ability before they got to campus, and even once they found out about the secret experiment that altered them before birth, they were only worried about how C9x may have messed them up, not enhanced them. Away from home and everything they know – along with now being unsure of who they even are – it seemed to me they’d want to make friends first and study later, like drowning people instinctively grabbing for life-rings instead of trying to figure out how to swim. And when their special talents do start to come out, they’re not over-the-top powers like throwing lightning bolts, so not as exciting as finding friends who are exactly the same kind of strange as you.

The actual abilities themselves came from exploring different directions I thought our bodies could evolve if people could be just one level more or less than what they are now. I imagined the human form sort of one-shot Darwin-ing to become either more buoyant or more dense; for the solid self to be able to brighten or disappear. And as the possibilities settled in my mind, I quickly saw how similar the polar evolutions were to stereotypical high school groups: lighter muscles would mean super-agility that could create super “jocks;” conversely, becoming physically heavier could coincide with introversion and introspection – artistic, musical, “indie” souls. The kids who could vanish into the crowd would be the crowd – the “general population” – and the shining ones the elite.
Looking at the abilities from that point of view helped me establish the logistics of the story and break down the total hundred kids into groups with the greatest number becoming “stealths” and only a handful emerging as “stars.” Creating such drastically different groups also set up the most interesting twists – the kids who are even more different, who’ve evolved even further from the new groups. When the new “normal” is established in “Solid,” Jack appears to be the only odd one, having shown no ability at all. Then, in “Settling,” not only does Clio prove to not fit cleanly into one mold, but two new characters are introduced that are startling exceptions to the “rules” of C9x abilities that everyone thought they’d figured out. 

The new arrivals challenging everything about the experiment and altered chromosomes that we thought we knew sets the stage for book three to push for some real answers. By the end of “Settling,” we’ve seen the vertical leap of the jocks, the stone-walling of the heavies, the vanishing of the stealths, and the blinding brilliance of the stars, but in “Sound” both the characters and the readers will really explore the different abilities and finally see what the kids can do. 

Thanks so much for being here today Ms. Workinger! If you have not check out her novels you should!

Author Information:
Happy Reading!


  1. Since I'm a huge fan of X-Men, I'm quite excited by the "X-Men for girls" description:):) This series just sounds like an interesting one, and I like that on some level the abilities are possible given all the amazing things the human body is capable of! Looking forward to reading both of these:)

  2. Oh this sounds interesting. I'm a huge X-men fan (*rawr* to Wolverine) so this really perked up my interest. I also like the idea of abilities as opposed to powers. Oh I'm so much more curious now!

  3. I've heard a lot about this series, but it was refreshing to hear the author's take on it! Fab post! I really love the sound of these :)

  4. The SOLID series in on my radar.


  5. Thank you so much to Savy for hosting me, and to who all the readers who are checking out my new series!

    If you didn't win this giveaway, you still have time to take advantage of the "Solid" series promotion I'm offering for the month of July:

    Happy Reading :)
    Shelley W.


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