Author Interview with Stephanie J. Blake
Get to know Stephanie…
Stephanie J. Blake, author of THE MARBLE QUEEN (Two Lions, December 2012). A Colorado Book Award finalist. Stephanie J. Blake loves black jellybeans. She is scared of the dark. She reads lots of books. She’s a terrible driver. Her favorite color is blue. She eats chocolate. A lot. Sometimes she has déjà vu, and she likes it. Her middle name is Jane.
When she’s not in front of the computer, she can be found in her backyard in Colorado with her husband, their three boys, and a cocker spaniel named Rocky. If she weren’t a writer, she’d be a country singer. Or maybe a pastry chef. The Marble Queen is her first book. For more info, visit her website.
What is one place you want to visit before you die?
If your life was a book, what would it be titled?
Always the Bride, never a Bridesmaid. (I’ve been married three times. It’s a long story.)
What’s something that drives you crazy?
Do I have to pick one thing? I can’t stand crumbs on the countertops.
What’s one thing you can’t live without?
The internet. I’m hopelessly addicted. Also, Chapstick.
What’s the silliest thing you’ve heard people say about you?
That I am so outgoing and funny. I am really shy and weird. My heart pounds ridiculously hard when I have to talk to people I don’t know very well.
What’s your motto in life?
If you were to attend a costume party tonight, who would you be? Why?
I would probably be a scary witch complete with green makeup and warts. I love witches. One of my favorite books (and movie) is Practical Magic.
What initially inspired you to pursue a career in writing?
I started writing in high school. I have always been a writer. When I was home with my boys, I started to get serious about it. I wrote several bad picture books. In 2006, I started submitting a middle grade novel.
What books are you reading right now?
I just finished Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford. It was delicious.
Was there ever a time in your writing career where you wanted to seriously give up? If so, how did you find the motivation to continue?
I gave up in late 2009. I went back to school and learned how to draw blood. I was working in a hospital in June 2010, when I got “the call” on my manuscript for THE MARBLE QUEEN. It is a slushpile success story. I might give up again, soon. Giving up is kind of what you have to do to break-in.
What’s your favorite writing quote?
“I hate writing, I love having written.” Dorothy Parker
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Query widely. Don’t take no for an answer. Don’t take silence for an answer. Don’t be too realistic. Don’t sleep with a viable manuscript in the house. Read everything. Be generous with your advice and praise.
Do you have a specific writing style?
Basically, I write and revise as I go. It has to be perfect before I can move on. This takes forever. I don’t recommend it. I also have to have a title or I can’t work on it.
What do you think you do best in your writing? Bragging is encouraged.
I think I am pretty funny. I enjoy making people laugh. I am also pretty tuned in when it comes to what kids think.
What books have most influenced your life?
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a favorite. Ellen Tebbits is the go-to book that I read over and over. I also love anything by Kate DiCamillo, Barbara O’Connor, Alice Hoffman, and Jerry Spinelli.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in writing?
Writing is so hard. Revising is hard. It is all really hard work. Just getting to type THE END is such a celebration.
What comes easily?
Well, I am an idea factory. I have a notebook full of great ideas. I get them constantly.
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