Ok, y’all! I’m totally thrilled to have one of my writing mentors, Stephanie Morrill here today for an interview! She’s the one who started the much-talked-about-by-me blog/Facebook group, Go Teen Writers. So, without further ado, here the interview is!
Sure! I live in Overland Park, Kansas with my husband and two kids. I’m the author of five books for teens – The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series, Go Teen Writers: How to Turn Your First Draft Into a Published Book, and The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet. My sixth book, The Unlikely Debut of Ellie Sweet, comes out this November. I have samples of all my books on my website, http://www.StephanieMorrill.com
1. How old were you when you began writing?
I started writing stories in first grade. We were given writing time everyday 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.
2. Who would you consider your writing mentor?
Jenny B. Jones. We don’t talk very often, but she’s totally been there for me with her support, encouragement, and kindness in my confusing career moments.
3. How much time do you devote each (day or week, whichever is easier for you) to writing (including proofreading, marketing, etc…)?
It fluctuates as my children grow up. My daughter is in kindergarten now and my son is in preschool two days a week. With my parents and my husband’s parents living in town, I also regularly have babysitters one morning a week. I use that time for writing (and writing related stuff) and nothing else. I don’t meet friends for lunch or stop by the grocery store – I write. And I work most evenings for at least an hour after the kids have gone to bed, but I’m trying to get out of that habit now that their school schedule allows me more time during the day. So probably about 25 hours a week?
4. Do you snack and/or drink while writing? If so, what?
I don’t snack a lot, but I do always have something to drink. Mostly coffee and water, but iced tea (or hot tea) from time to time as well.
5. What was your best “author moment”?
I had a book signing for So Over It, which is the third book in the Skylar Hoyt series, two weeks after I gave birth to my son. I hadn’t slept well, I felt gross, and I just really didn’t want to do it.
But I was really glad that I did, because about halfway through it a teenage girl stepped up to my table. She seemed rather shy, and I was trying to draw conversation out of her. Fortunately, her parents were with her because her father told me that they lived in a small town that didn’t have a bookstore, and when So Over It came out, they’d driven an hour to go get a copy. And then she had seen I was having a book signing and begged to come.
When I got home, I looked it up on a map and saw they lived over two hours away from Kansas City. I felt so humbled by that since I’d been a bit grumbly about doing the signing in the first place. It reminded me that I’m very lucky to have writing and that because of it I get opportunities to meet lots of wonderful people.
6. Which season is your favorite? Why?
I’m an autumn girl. I love getting out my jeans, taking walks in crisp air, and busting out all the soup recipes I’ve collected over the summer. And the leaves. I adore the changing leaves, even more now that I can play in them with the kids!
7. What is one of your favorite quotes?
“Be a voice, not an echo.” I’m not sure who said that first, but I first heard it a month ago, and I’ve been dwelling on what that means ever since.
8. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why?
I’ve lived in California, Florida, and Kansas, and I love it here in Kansas City the most because it’s a great combination of affordable city life, great schools, (I’m at the age where I have to think about those kinds of things), and great culture. Plus both our families are here in town, and that’s hard to beat.
But if I didn’t have to factor in family or affordability, I think I’d be pretty tempted to move back out west. I visited Sonoma, California a couple years ago and totally fell in love with it. Great food, great weather, great culture. Loved it.
9. If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be? Why?
Funny story. My parents recently told my husband and I that for our tenth wedding anniversary (which is next May) they’ll fly us anywhere we want to go, so I’ve actually been thinking about this question quite a bit! Right now it’s looking like we’re going to tour Italy. Other places we contemplated were New Zealand, Austria, Switzerland, and Greece.
10. You have a ebook sampler that can be downloaded for free right now, can you tell us about it?
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Thank you so much, Stephanie, for joining us! I had so much fun learning more about you!