JJ is delighted to be interviewing Stephanie Keyes.
Stephanie Keyes grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and spent years traveling and working as a Corporate Trainer before she made the decision to pen her first novel. As a teen, her family always accused her of having an “overactive imagination.” Now, she’s encouraged to keep her head in the clouds and share her world with readers.
Still a resident of the ‘Burgh, Steph is now Mom to two little boys who constantly keep her on her toes. In addition, she’s best friend to her incredible rockstar of a husband. She is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), as well as a featured author for Love a Happy Ending Lifestyle e-magazine.
Keyes is the author of the YA Fantasy series, The Star Child, which currently includes The Star Child, After Faerie, The Fallen Stars, and The Star Catcher, all from by Inkspell Publishing. The Fallen Stars was a 2013 semi-finalist in the Kindle Book Awards. The Star Child has topped the Amazon best-seller list several times since its 2012 release. Steph writes YA novels because she’s a hopeless romantic who lives to believe that Magick truly does exist. She is hard at work on a new YA novel.
Did you travel to any places or undergo any new experiences while you were writing The Fallen Stars?
I packed my entire family (my mother included) into a rented minivan and drove sixteen hours to Bar Harbor, Maine for research. Now, keep in mind, I’d already been there ten years ago, but I wanted a refresher. So I went everywhere in the area. We drove to the top of Cadillac Mountain, had breakfast at Jordan’s (which I call Jacob’s in the book), hiked through the woods by Jordan Pond. I even went on the spooky Compass Harbor Trail and climbed the steps to the remains of the Old Farm estate—the inspiration for the Compass Harbor chapter in this book. It was a great trip and really helped me get into the Maine frame of mind for the book.
Do you have a most creative time of day?
Yes. Early morning. I’m usually up and writing by 5am. I have the house to myself and I can be as grumpy as I like. This usually requires copious amounts of coffee, but it works.
Are you a panster or a plotter?
Oh, God. I am a serial plotter. I probably need help. I can’t write anything valuable without an outline! Of course, once I have an outline, I’m happy to throw it out the window in order to follow where my story needs to go.
Which authors have influenced your writing?
OR Melling, JK Rowling, Cate Tiernan
What are you reading now? Opinion?
Mist Walker by Saundra Mitchell. I am inly about ten pages in, but loving it so far.
Being a writer can be lonely. Do you have a support network?
Yes, it can! My husband is my number one supporter. He reads everything, listens patiently as I bounce ideas around, and makes me banana and Nutella crepes. I am also a member of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and participate in a critique group. That Monday night writer’s group is a big part of what motivates me every week. Those guys and gals are the best.
Does your book tackle a social barrier? How have you incorporated it into the story?
It’s not contemporary, however, there are several underlying themes throughout the series. I think the most important is that, no matter who you are and where you come from, no one else defines you. YOU define you. I believe in that message wholeheartedly. That’s something that applies whether you’re in a fictional world of Faeries or deciding whether you’re ready to have sex for the first time. We all make our own destiny.
Do you make use of local resources for promoting your book?
Absolutely. I’ve appeared at local bookstores and many of the libraries in the Pittsburgh area. This fall, I’ll be presenting at the Three Rivers Romance Writers retreat and at the Peters Township Library, as part of the PA Speak Up For Libraries! program. Details are on http://www.stephaniekeyes.com
What has been the worst part of your writing journey so far?
Finding my way back to writing. This is, without a doubt, the hardest job I’ve ever had. Keep in mind that I came from a decade in the corporate world with 60+ hour workweeks. That being said, this is also the most rewarding job. I’ve not only found myself in the hundreds of pages I’ve written, but I’ve discovered friends I’ll never forget. The best part is I get to share them with the world. :)
Finally Steph, what tips do you have for other aspiring writers?
Embrace critique. Be hungry for feedback. It will only make you better. Hunt down a good critique group and become an active participant. You’ll be a better writer for it.
Thank you for sharing Steph.
Wishing you success with all your writing projects.
Kellen St. James was just your average seventeen-year-old prodigy, until he eighty-sixed the Lord of Faerie and proposed to the Celtic Goddess, Calienta. But then everything in Kellen’s life gets turned upside-down when he and Cali end up on the run from a seriously irritated group of faeries. The worst part? They have zero idea why they’re being hunted.
Suddenly, Kellen is stuck in the middle of another prophecy that foresees him turning away from Calienta and embracing the dark. He’ll be forced to take sides in a struggle to claim his birthright, while discovering secrets about his father’s past. Meanwhile, his passion for Cali grows stronger, even as the prophecy threatens to tear them apart.
In the end, will Kellen and Cali survive the fates? When the ultimate power is within reach, which side will he choose?