Okay, I have been completely neglecting my blog (and everything else in my life besides the few key things that seem to take up all my time, which I'm not even going to get into...) so in order to make it up to you all I have decided to post my first author interview!
And the lucky subject? Stacy DeKeyser, whose first young adult novel Jump the Cracks was published in March.
And now, without further adieu, I present... Stacy! *applause*
How much is the main character in Jump the Cracks, Victoria, based on yourself? Are any of the other characters based on people you know?
Victoria is sort of the teenager I wish I'd been -- opinionated and pretty sure of herself. I was shy and quiet as a teenager. I had plenty of opinions, but I usually kept them to myself! Victoria says exactly what’s on her mind, and I like that about her, although it does get her into trouble sometimes.
Wills is based on my own kids and my little sisters and is basically an amalgam of every 2-year-old I've ever known. Miss Theresa is based very loosely on my 2 grandmothers. Not "book-smart" but very very wise.
How long did it take for you to write Jump the Cracks?
I started and stopped writing several times, because as my first novel I didn't always know what I was doing! I got stuck a lot too, because I knew the beginning, and I knew the ending, but I had no idea what was going to happen in the middle. So from first idea to finally finishing, it took almost 4 years. Actual writing time -- probably 2 years!
Are there any plans for a sequel to Jump the Cracks?
No. I've always had just this one story of Victoria and Wills to tell. But I like to think that they both grow up to be decent, happy people, and that one day their paths cross again.
What was your favorite book as a child, and what is your favorite book now? Why?
I loved Winnie the Pooh. Those stories have a silly, gentle humor, and I liked the way A.A. Milne played with words — like the broken sign outside Piglet's house that says "Trespassers Will," so Piglet thinks that's the name of the person who used to live in his house.
Now, it's hard to pick one favorite book. Two of my favorites are The Wee Free Men (and its sequels) by Terry Pratchett and the Casson family series by Hilary McKay — Saffy’s Angel, etc. Lots of wonderful, quirky characters!
What are a couple new and/or upcoming releases that you’re looking forward to reading?
I still need to read the last Casson family installment, titled Forever Rose. And a book by my friend Tracie Vaughn Zimmer called The Floating Circus. That’ll be out this summer.
Do you listen to music as you write? If so, what type of music really puts you in a writing mood?
Yes, but it has to be instrumental or I start singing along to the song instead of writing. I like Celtic music and "quiet" classical music -- quartets and stuff like that.
What made you first want to become a writer? Were there any special influences in your life?
I’ve always loved to read, so I think wanting to write naturally comes out of that. You want to try it yourself. And my mom is a writer. She published lots of stories in Highlights and other kids’ magazines when I was little. So I guess I always thought of writing as something “normal” people could do.
What is the best piece of writing advice you have ever gotten?
Two things: Read a lot. Write a lot.
There are a few key parts of the book that are really important to the main character and the story. Can you tell us what each one means to you, as the author:
Promise: One thing I kept thinking as I wrote this story is that so much of life is NOT black and white. There are many shades of gray. Is the “right” thing always the same as the “legal” thing? Is it enough to make a promise, even if you have no idea how to keep it? At the beginning of the story, Victoria sees the world in black and white, which makes her pretty rigid and unforgiving. By the end, she has seen those shades of gray, and has learned to forgive others (and herself) for not being perfect.
Home: Home is very important to me, maybe because I’ve lived all over. When someone asks me where I’m from, sometimes I have to stop and think about the answer! When I was Victoria’s age, I would’ve agreed with her opinion that “Home can only be one place.” But now I know that’s not always true.
Family: Family is everything. I don’t know what I’d do without my family.
Now I’m going to be completely unoriginal here: Create a question for yourself and answer it.
Sure! Here you go:
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I’m glad you asked that! :) I’m working on a novel about a girl named Emily who uncovers an old family secret with the help of a lady who may or may not be imaginary. There’s no publication date yet, but stay tuned!
[[For unknown reasons... the blue will not change to pink... so I guess I'm stuck with an uneven looking blog entry =P]]
Special thanks to Stacy for doing my first interview!!