Hello, people! Today I am very excited to share this interview with Stephanie Morrill, who is a twenty-something living 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, www.GoTeenWriters.com. To connect with Stephanie and read samples of her books, check out www.StephanieMorrill.com
On with the interview!
1) First of all, tell us a bit about your book, The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet.
My book is about a teenage girl who is being squeezed out of her group of friends. For fun, she writes a story about them, only she discovers that she loves writing and loves the story. She works hard to get it published, not really thinking that it’ll happen when she’s still in high school, and then her friends find out about what she did and … well, it gets pretty messy for poor Ellie.
You know, the back cover copy explains it a lot better than I just did. Here’s a proper summary of The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet:
Ellie Sweet is a lot of things—good girl, novelist, silent adorer of the new boy at school, Palmer. But when “outcast” gets added to the list, she decides it’s time to take reality into her own hands … and tweak it as needed.
In the pages of her book, she’s Lady Gabrielle, favorite of the medieval Italian court. Her once-friends are reduced to catty ladies-in-waiting, and the too-charming Palmer—who in real life never spares her a second word—gets to be nothing more than a rake wracked by unrequited love for her. She even has a perfect real-life villain in the brooding Chase, who hails from the wrong side of town.
But just when she’s getting along great in her fictional world, the real one throws her a few curves. With Chase pursuing her, Palmer wanting to date her—but in secret—and the details of her manuscript going public, Ellie suddenly receives more attention than she ever really wanted. And when her former-friends discover what she’s been writing, they’re determined to teach Ellie a lesson about the severe consequences of using her pen as her sword.
2) What’s your favourite part of writing?
I’m crazy about all of it, honestly. From brainstorming to writing to having a box of freshly printed books land on my doorstep. I love it all! Though if I had to pick one favorite, I would probably say the brainstorming. I often get exhausted or burned out during writing or edits, but I always deeply enjoy the brainstorming.
3) What inspired you to create a blog aimed at teen writers?
I started Go Teen Writers because most of the reader mail I received when my first novel came out were people who loved the book, but who wanted to talk to me about writing. I was a teen writer, and I didn’t know anybody else who wrote, so it was really fun for me to be able to talk to these teens since I understood what they were feeling. The blog was born out of that!
4) Also, what would you encourage teen writers (like me) to do?
There are lots of ways to go about the writing life, but I think you can’t go wrong if you focus on the stories that you – and only you – can tell. Focus on writing a first draft, editing it, and doing it again. This is how you’ll get better and become a great writer, is by practicing.
5) How did you come up with the idea for The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet?
Ellie didn’t start out being a teen writer. The story actually started being about Ellie and this boy she liked, Palmer. Palmer likes Ellie, but he’s embarrassed that he does (he’s cool, she’s not) so he starts dating her in secret. It actually wasn’t until I wrote the first draft that I realized Ellie was a writer. And then that part of the story kind of took over!
6) And finally, what has surprised you most about the world of publishing?
That there’s no finish line. I used to think that getting my contract was the finish line. Only to figure out that then I had all this other work ahead of me (marketing and promotions and more books to write.) Then it seemed like selling well was another finish line to cross. But even if one book sells well, that doesn’t guarantee your next one does. Being published is a unique journey for each writer, not a destination. That really shocked me.
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Thanks for letting my interview you, Stephanie. And to all my readers, you should definitely download the ebook sampler.