Questioning AUTHORity is a weekly feature here at Bookish Serendipity in which I interview MG and YA authors. This week’s feature is with Stephanie Morrill, author of the Revised Life of Ellie Sweet duology and the Skylar Hoyt novels.
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Stephanie Morrill lives in Overland Park, Kansas with her husband and two kids. She is the author of The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series, Go Teen Writers: How to Turn Your First Draft Into a Published Book, and the Ellie Sweet series. She enjoys encouraging and teaching teen writers on her blog, http://www.GoTeenWriters.com. To connect with Stephanie and read samples of her books, check out http://www.StephanieMorrill.com.
ME: You’ve published 5 full-length novels, plus a novella and the Go Teen Writers book. If you could meet one of your characters in real life, who would you pick?
SM: Ooh, no one has ever asked me that! Hmm. Probably Abbie Hoyt, who’s the main character of my novella, Throwing Stones. (Which is a free download on my website.) I really admire Abbie’s strength. While her tendency to dig in her heels certainly gets her in trouble, she’s a very strong person.
ME: I love the Go Teen Writers blog! You have tons of useful advice. If you had to pick one piece to share with teen and aspiring writers, what would it be?
SM: You know, I started the blog so if I would HAVE to pick just one piece… I guess my number one piece of advice would be to work on writing an entire book and editing an entire book. Those are two very challenging things to do, and practicing them will be what makes you a strong, publishable writer.
ME: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you bring with you (besides food and water)?
SM: My husband and kids.
Paper and pencil. I really debated on this one, but I think I could survive giving up reading books easier than I could give up writing them!
ME: What do you want readers to take away from your books?
SM: When I write a book, I’m mostly just trying to tell a good story. When one of my stories touches a reader, I absolutely love it … but when I’m writing, my focus is the story and not the take away. That being said, I hope my stories help readers to be braver, bolder, and more honest.
ME: What does your writing space and regime look like?
SM: Here’s a picture of my office. I have a couple different books going on right now so story notes are a bit of a mess.
I work when my kids are having quiet time/nap time or when they’re at school. Typically I spend my first thirty minutes cleaning out email, responding to blog comments, and taking care of a few things on Facebook or Twitter. Once I’m done with that, I’m ready to focus on my current project, whether that means writing or editing. I do that in the morning. After lunch, I work on blog posts or marketing.
ME: Did you always want to be a writer? What did you want to be when you were a child?
SM: I started writing stories in first grade. We were given writing time every day in class and could write about whatever we wanted. When we finished our stories, we turned them in and someone (a teacher or volunteer parent, maybe) would type them for us. We got to pick the color of our cover and binding, and then they printed out our “book” for us to illustrate and read to the class. I loved it and from then on I started telling people I wanted to be a novelist when I grew up.
ME: Thanks so much for stopping by, Stephanie!