Tell me a little about yourself.
Hi! I’ve been married to my hubby for 10 years now, and we have two amazing kiddos (ages 5&7). I’m also a proud mom to three super-fluffy kitties. I graduated from Ohio Dominican University with a degree in English. Organizing is my favorite way to calm down, and I love rainstorms and naps a lot! If I could have one wish, it’s that I could dine out for all my meals and never have to cook again.
How long have you been writing?
When I decided to officially pursue writing, I began with nonfiction. That went absolutely nowhere. That was about 8 years ago. I started playing with some fiction ideas in 2014. My first books, both in a YA fantasy series, didn’t take off either, but they were really great practice! Writing those definitely showed me that I was exactly where I needed to be in the writing world.
What interests you about writing in the YA genre specifically?
I love how much “fresh starts” play a part in YA. These young people have their entire lives ahead of them and so much to figure out along the way. It’s just a majorly exciting time, and I love to relive and explore through my characters!
Who are your favorite authors?
Janette Oke made me fall in love with books. Marissa Meyer taught me that sarcasm and banter are absolutely necessary in my life and stories.
A pirate story is an interesting approach for Christian fiction. What gave you the idea for Unanchored?
I love to find hope in hopeless places. I think that became the main goal of writing this pirate story. Pirates were a nasty sort. I mean, really, they were quite terrible! I just kind of kept playing in my mind, “Yeah, but what if they weren’t all like that?” That just led to all the things they’d be able to do with their status, and I had a lot of fun creating their adventure.
What’s your personal favorite scene of the book?
This is tough! I won’t give away the spoiler-y ones toward the end, but I love when Cecily and Nikolaus fight in Ireland. It’s a fun mix of friendship and rivalry. I think it really plays up the fact that they’re still kids, even if everything around them is in chaos.
Was there a scene that was particularly difficult to write?
There’s a scene where Finn has to punish his crewmembers for fighting. I hated writing that part, because I knew how much he didn’t want to have to do that! It was just one of those things he needed to do in order to hide his true identity. Even while editing, I always just wanted to skip it. I’m way attached to these characters!!
What are some of your other interests, other than writing?
I really enjoy helping out at our local humane society. I get to help the critters in other ways, since I can’t own them all. Music is a huge part of my life, and I can’t get motivated to do much of anything without the right tunes to get me going. I also love to look up things on Pinterest that I’ll never really try or watch a funny sitcom with my hubby at the end of the day.
Are there any bits of advice you’d give to aspiring writers in general and/or to YA writers specifically?
Don’t rush the process. I’ve seen a lot of writers submit their work too early or only do the bare minimum when it comes to editing. You don’t want to ruin your chances of success by jumping ahead in the process. It’s a really tough journey, but it’s worth all the effort you put in. Seek out beta readers, edit, repeat. Do that a great number of times. It will pay off!
To all those aspiring writers out there from me, Becca Hart, she and I are in total agreement about that piece of advice! Thanks again, Stephanie, and we look forward to more of your books!
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