Friday, November 7, 2014

Author Interview with Stephanie Faris

The DMS was lucky enough to interview Stephanie Faris. Lizzy reviewed her new book 25 Roses, and it was great to share our thoughts about it and hear yours! We're excited to learn a little more about her story. So, without further ado... take it away, Stephanie! 


What inspired you to write 25 Roses?

When I was in high school, every Valentine’s Day we had a carnation sale. For a small fee (I think it was a dollar?), you could send a carnation to your crush or one of your friends. I started wondering what would happen if someone decided to send carnations to the people who didn’t normally receive any. Instead of carnations, I made them chocolate roses, though.

How long did it take you to write 25 Roses?

It took about a month to write but the revision process was a multiple-stage event that covered about two years (intermittently!).

What was your inspiration for the characters Mia and Miss Kaylee?

When I started imagining someone who would secretly send roses to students who didn’t normally receive them, the character naturally developed. She’s more idealistic than heroic, but she’s also the girl most of us were at that age. Just a normal middle schooler trying to get by.

Kaylee is that girl we all knew in middle school. Popular, pretty, perfect, and surrounded by friends. I mentioned Jennifer Lawrence’s dimple when I described her, but I hope readers picture that girl when they read it. The girl who just seems to drift through life with good things always falling in her lap.


What are some of your favorite books from childhood? Were there any specific authors who inspired you?

When I was a tween, there was no middle grade, really. I read Judy Blume, but those books weren’t quite girly enough for me. I started reading teen books like Sweet Valley High as soon as I could and there was a book series called First Love from Silhouette that I loved during the brief time they lasted. Because there weren’t middle grade and young adult books like them at the time, most of my generation read books like Flowers in the Attic and anything Stephen King. I’d say Stephen King was my biggest inspiration, but I think a lot of today’s authors feel that way.

If you could live anyplace real or fictional, where would it be? Why?

Somewhere scenic, like the beach or the mountains. I’d love to have a big window that overlooked nature in some way or another. I think simply being surrounded by that is inspiring for writers. Although usually when I try to write with a beautiful view in front of me, I find it distracting, so maybe four walls is best!

If you could befriend a character from one of your books, who would you befriend? Why?

I love all my characters! I think I’d befriend Maddie, the main character in my first book, 30 Days of No Gossip—mostly because I love gossip!

Mia wants to help people, even if people misunderstand some of her actions. She seems to know a lot about fashion and hairstyles. Have you ever given anyone a makeover? If so, can you tell us about it?

No, I can’t say I have! I wish I was better at that stuff. I did take a makeup lesson in my 20s, where I learned quite a bit about how to apply makeup so that it looks natural. That was very enlightening.

Are you currently working on a book? If so, can you tell us a little bit about it?

I’m working on a partial right now called Tales from an Undercover Middle Schooler. It’s about a tween TV star who goes undercover in a school to research a movie role she wants to land. It’s one of three partials I’m going to send my agent. I’m not sure if it will ever see the light of day, but I’m enjoying writing these three chapters.

Where can we purchase your books?

My first book, 30 Days of No Gossip, is available on Amazon or you can purchase an autographed copy from Parnassus Books in Nashville. Just put in the comments what you’d like me to put in the autograph and I’ll go by and sign it. They ship it to you. You can also pre-order a signed copy of 25 Roses from Parnassus Books and they’ll send it to you when it comes out in January.

25 Roses will hit bookshelves everywhere in January, but you can enter the book giveaway for a chance to win a signed hardcover copy of this excellent new middle grade book!




Enter the Book Giveaway: 
1) Follow Fairday's Blog with GFC or Bloglovin
2) Leave us a comment: 
What middle school drama do you remember?
3) Fill out the Rafflecopter form below 




Giveaway runs until Sunday, January 25th
Open to US and International :) 

60 comments:

  1. Glad that Stephen King's influence didn't spill over into Roses or you would've had a story like Carrie!
    Just kidding.
    I could handle that view.
    Two month to your release!

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    1. I do have an interest in reading horror, but only the non-violent kind! Horror for kids is a little tricky. It has to be scary but not TOO scary.

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  2. I like anyone who admits they love gossip...how else are we going to find out the interesting things. Stephanie's books sound like they would certainly appeal to middle school girls. Maggie and her friends are sure into "fashion" and makeovers. Times have changed so much since I was a tween and what kids are exposed to now. Great review!

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    1. I think even today there are some girls who are into makeovers and fashion and some who aren't. But when someone finds out she has a secret admirer, it's amazing how much her perspective changes!

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    2. That "perspective" hasn't changed all that much in half a century Stephanie. :) Good Luck with 25 Roses.

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  3. congrats on your success, stephanie!

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  4. Congrats indeed, those revisions sure can take a while

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    1. Oh, way, way too long, especially if you are a pantser!

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  5. What a great interview Stephanie.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  6. Stephanie, what a great idea for a book (wish I'd thought of it *wink*). I can't wait to read it. Fantabulous interview.

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    1. I remember the carnation sale from high school but I can't remember the moment it occurred to me to write a book about it! I can't even remember if I got any carnations when we did it. I'm sure if I did, they were from friends.

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  7. I have to say that I love the idea behind this!! And I wish the best to Stephanie!

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  8. Stephanie is a lovely lady. Glad to have learned more about it through this interview.

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    1. Aww, thank you, Vanessa! You're pretty lovely yourself.

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  9. You've read Stephen King, Flowers in the Attic and Sweet Valley High. Oh Steph we are book mates for certain. It's so nice to have a book about a normal girl trying to help people in an everyday way. Sometimes all the magic and bad ass heroines can get a bit much. Enjoyed reading every word of this interview and so glad I already pre-ordered 25 Roses.

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    1. We LOVED those V.C. Andrews books back in the 80s. Everyone was passing them around! I do tend to like sweeter stories, though. Luckily there seem to be enough people who are good at writing action and vampires to fulfill the demand for it!

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  10. Stephen King's name comes up on almost everyone's blog:) It's great how much you love your characters and you have to since you wrote them:)

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    1. I've often wondered if Stephen King knows how much of an influence he's had over almost every writer out there today. I hope he knows. Often people don't really show their appreciation for famous people until they're gone and that's unfortunate.

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  11. Thanks for the interesting interview. The book sounds terrific. I will definitely be reading it. I don't remember any particular drama from middle school, but then for me it was a really, really long time ago.

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    1. It was a while ago for me, too, Rosi. I remember some of the drama, but not too much of it!

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  12. Lovely to see Stephanie here, it was interesting to read about the work that went into the writing of the great read that is 25 Roses

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  13. I love the interview and was wondering when is your best time of the day or night to write. Do you need to be totally alone in a no distraction room? Do you ever write in bed?
    Hugs,
    JB

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    1. I don't write in bed, but my reclining sofa is my office, pretty much! With my dog at my legs. I think I write best in the morning, although I'm writing nonfiction all day. I also seem to feel really inspired to write fiction while I'm on the treadmill--mostly because that's when I'm reading it!

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  14. OH gosh, I devoured Judy Blume and then later read Flowers in the Attic and King of course, one of my all time favs. It would be sad to not receive a carnation on Valentine's Day. Hmm Middle school drama, I can't remember really much of any, but I know plenty of kids were left out and felt bad which is sad.

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    1. I seem to recall that my friends and I got each other carnations just to make sure we all got some of them. I know I never got a carnation from a boy I liked--but unrequited crushes were pretty much my life from age 12-20!!!

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  15. Love that view. And wouldn't do anything except look at it and dream.
    Great interview - thank you.

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    1. When we were at the beach, I took pen and paper and sat out on the balcony--and I found I was either buried in what I was doing and therefore could be writing anywhere or staring at the ocean to put off writing. I'm not sure writing in a scenic location is best...

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  16. Fantastic interview. I loved Judy Bloom, and stole my mom's copy of Flowers in the Attic to read in bed at night..LOL

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    1. I remember passing it around in class. I think I checked the rest of the series out from the library. I do know I read every V.C. Andrews book that was written before her death. I tried reading the ones written by the ghostwriter but it wasn't the same.

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  18. haha I think we all had that girl too. I love the dream of a big window open to nature! I think most kids would enjoy the dream of secretly being a movie star. I hope the book makes it!

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    1. Molly- I love the big window idea too! :) ~L

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  19. Nice interview!! this sounds like a really cute story. I like the idea of giving to those that don't normally get anything on these occasions.

    -Lauren

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    1. Shooting Stars Mag- I love the idea of giving to people who don't normally get anything on these occasions. :) ~L

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    1. Gloria- Thanks for stopping by! So glad you enjoyed the interview. :) ~L

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  21. (I was sure I'd left a comment here...but my browzers are freaking out on me!) I think Stephanie's book looks fabulous, and I love that she was inspired by something in her own life. Wishing 25 Roses much success!!!

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    1. Lexa- What a wonderful comment! Stephanie did a wonderful job with 25 Roses! :) ~L

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  22. Sounds fun! I don't like gossip, but I like knowing things. :)

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    1. Erik- I like to know things too! :) ~L

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  23. Congrats to Stephanie! Stephen King has continued to be a big influence on me. I remember reading all those V.C. Andrews books when I was 13 and 14 too.

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    1. Christine- I have read many VC Andrews books too! There is just something about them that draws me in. :) ~L

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  24. Yay, the giveaway is international! I like the storyline of this one and 30 Days of No Gossip (though I constantly remind myself not to be a gossip ... yep, reminders are needed, lol). I remember watching more high school dramas ("Parker Lewis Can't Lose") than middle-school. Does "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" count?

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    1. Claudine- Good luck with the giveaway. :) I think most of us need a reminder to keep our gossip to a minimum- or to cut it out altogether. :) ~L

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  25. I made a reference to Flowers in the Attic and my partner had never heard of it. I thought everyone read that in High School. This sounds like such a fun story. Fingers crossed I win the giveaway!

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    1. TBM- I am amazed that someone you know has never heard of Flowers int the Attic! I thought it was a book and series most people have heard of and even read. :) Good luck with the giveaway. ~L

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  26. I just scheduled my review of 25 Roses for December 26th. :) My daughter has 30 Days of No Gossip and I'll be reading it when she's finished.

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    1. Kelly- How exciting! I have 30 Days of No Gossip to read soon. :) ~L

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  27. I remember The Little Drummer Boy when I was in Middle School. As you can probably tell I went to a catholic school.

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    1. Esperanza- Thanks so much for stopping by. :) ~L

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  28. I loved the SVH books as well. I wasn't as big on the FLS books, but I loved the *Sweet Dreams* romance series and the *Wildfire*/*Crosswinds* romances. (I was a huge fan of Janet Quin-Harkin's books!) And, also the teen romances series', *Couples* and *Seniors*. Guess it shows that I was in middle school in the Early 90s and loved 80s YA romance books.

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    1. Hi Holly-
      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! Awesome to hear about the books you enjoyed reading growing up. :) We tried to comment back on your blog, but we kept getting an error message the Disquss wasn't working. :(

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  29. I love the idea for the book! A lot middle school related memories include not getting my homework done and then having to finish it all in a hurry.

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    1. Yun-A- It is a great book! I think a lot of people can relate to procrastinating with homework! :) ~L

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  30. There's a chance you are qualified to receive a $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.

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