Friday, September 4, 2015

An Interview with Author Carol Riggs

I've chosen to feature an interview with my dear author friend, Carol Riggs, as my first blog post following the summer season. Carol's extraordinary young adult novel - The Body Institute - was just released this week!
But before we get to the interview, here is the awesome cover and description of Carol's debut young adult novel:

The Body Institute
Meet Morgan Dey, one of the top teen Reducers at The Body Institute. 

Thanks to cutting-edge technology, Morgan can temporarily take over another girl’s body, get her in shape, and then return to her own body—leaving her client slimmer, more toned, and feeling great. Only there are a few catches…

For one, Morgan won’t remember what happens in her “Loaner” body. Once she’s done, she won’t recall walks with her new friend Matt, conversations with the super-cute Reducer she’s been text-flirting with, or the uneasy feeling she has that the director of The Body Institute is hiding something. Still, it’s all worth it in the name of science. Until the glitches start…

Suddenly, residual memories from her Loaner are cropping up in Morgan’s mind. She’s feeling less like herself and more like someone else. And when protests from an anti–Body Institute organization threaten her safety, she’ll have to decide if being a Reducer is worth the cost of her body and soul…

Are we our minds...or our bodies? 
                                           *     *     *     *     *

VL - Welcome to Writ of Whimsy, Carol! It was wonderful meeting you at the SCBWI Oregon Fall Retreat in 2011. I'm so glad we've been able to keep in touch since then via the Internet.

CR - It was wonderful meeting you back then, too! The SCBWI is a perfect place to meet other writers and develop great friendships.

VL - Carol, how long have you been writing?

CR - Over 12 years. I took classes in high school and college, but I didn’t start writing steadily until 1993 when both my daughters started school. I wrote short stories, picture books, and novels; I amassed over 300 rejection slips and joined the SCBWI. Life intervened from 1999-2009, but I’ve been writing steadily since then.

VL - Is this your first novel?
CR - This will be my first published novel, but it’s about the 14th I’ve written. It’s the first novel where I really learned to revise, however. My first version of the manuscript was in third person, for instance, and my agent had me rewrite it in first person, which I’d never written in before. I also rewrote the entire ending over at least 3 times. The title even got changed; it used to be called SHAPERS.
VL - What inspired you to write The Body Institute?
CR - I’ve always been fascinated by Before and After photos, whether depicting weight or makeup or whatever. Built like a toothpick myself, I never had to try to lose weight. I found myself wondering how difficult it would really be. I wondered if I could lose weight if I were in someone else’s body—specifically, could I lose weight for people when they couldn’t? Would it really be as easy as I thought, or were other challenging factors involved? The germ seed of the novel was thus born.  
VL - What kind of research was necessary to create this story?
CR - A fair amount of articles on dieting, exercise, self-image, and weight. I used my techy husband as a resource for the science fiction aspects of being able to download one mind into another person’s body, but I did some online research on the geekier tech stuff, too.
VL - What is your current work in progress?
CR - I’m actually trying my hand at an upper middle grade novel for kids 11-13, a “contemporary fantasy,” which is a fancy way of saying it’s a real life story with a twist of magic or the bizarre. I’m having a blast with it; it’s letting me experiment with more zany scenarios and dialogue.
VL - Carol, do you have any advice for pre-published writers?
CR - Keep trying, never give up if it’s important to you. Never compare yourself to other writers or their journeys. Develop a thick skin as far as critiques go; write rough drafts close to your heart and emotions—then, when it comes to revision, learn to separate yourself from your creation and see the work more objectively.

Thanks so much for stopping by Writ of Whimsy today, Carol.
We really enjoyed learning more about your debut YA novel,
                           THE BODY INSTITUTE.
Here are the online links where you can visit Carol:

        Website - Blog - Facebook - Twitter - Goodreads


Amazon - Barnes & Noble - Kobo - Powell's Books - Indiebound

I recently had the opportunity to read Carol's novel; THE BODY INSTITUTE is definitely a book you don't want to miss!



  1. Thanks for featuring me here on your blog, Vicki!! You're the greatest. :o)

    1. You're welcome, Carol! I notice on your website that you'll be at Powell's (Cedar Hills) on 9/21. I hope to make it there so you can sign my copy of The Body Institute! :-)