….and here she is !
What a gorgeous cover! Makes you want to read, doesn’t it?
After collecting a couple English degrees in the Midwest, Stephanie Lawton suddenly awoke in the deepest reaches of the Deep South. Culture shock inspired her to write about Mobile, Alabama, her adopted city, and all the ways Southern culture, history and attitudes seduce the unsuspecting.
A lover of all things gothic, she can often be spotted photographing old cemeteries, historic buildings and, ironically, the beautiful beaches of the Gulf Coast. She also has a tendency to psychoanalyze people, which comes in handy when creating character profiles.
On her thirtieth birthday, she mourned (okay bawled) the fact that in no way could she still be considered a “young adult,” so she rebelled by picking up Twilight and promptly fell in love with Young Adult literature.
She has a love/hate relationship with Mardi Gras–where does all that money come from?–and can sneeze 18 times in a row. 🙂
Ms. Lawton will now take your questions …
Q. When did you first realize you wanted to write?
Not until a few years ago when we moved from northeast Ohio to Mobile, Alabama. I’ve always been a voracious reader and I earned two English degrees, but I focused on nonfiction writing — academic, TV news, and copy editing, etc. I think fiction was a way of working through culture shock!
Q. What books inspired you as a teen? Who are your favorite authors now?
I was a total nerd, so I stuck to the pieces my teachers had me read. If I liked a certain author, I’d go find more stuff by him or her. I read a lot of Shakespeare, Poe and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Now I read as much YA as I possibly can. My absolute favorite YA author is Cassie Clare, but I also adore Michelle Hodkin, Myra McEntire, Kelly Keaton and Maggie Stiefvater. I’m also a fan of fellow Alabama YA author R.A. Nelson. There’s even a little nod to him and his first novel, Teach Me, in my book.
Q. How did you meet your husband? Was it love at first site, or did you make him chase you around first?
Oh, jeez, this isn’t a good story. (Sorry, honey!) I was dating his friend, who called me up one evening and dumped me over the phone. (It was the first and last time I’d ever been dumped!) It was totally out of the blue and I was really, REALLY upset about it. So I called his friend and asked him if he knew what the deal was. He said he didn’t and was just as shocked. There was an off-campus party the next night, so I invited him up so we could talk about the situation. Well … I was really low, and there may have been some drinking involved. I kissed him, but decided I just wanted to be friends, so we hung out for a couple months and everybody kept asking me why I wasn’t dating him. Yadda, yadda, he was patient and persistent, my family and friends fell in love with him, so I gave him a chance, and now we’ve been married ten years and have two adorable kids. He’s my best friend. 🙂
Q. Where do the inspirations for your stories come from? Do you have a muse?
Ideas don’t just hit me — they have to marinate for a while. Want was inspired by a snotty lady at a Mardi Gras parade and the culture shock I was experiencing. My second manuscript was partially inspired by two TV shows and some Mobile history. The story I’m starting now is a result of a little homesickness for rural Ohio, along with another TV show.
Q. What does an average day look like for you? Can you take us through your routine?
“Woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head … ” Beatles? Anyone? *sigh* I’m up early to get the kids fed, dressed and out the door to drive my son to school. That’s followed by grocery shopping or errands, and then home to check email, Facebook, etc. After about ten minutes of that, my daughter usually jumps on me and we spend the day together. Then we pick up my son, I make dinner, my husband comes home, and I get an hour to myself (to shower, write, read, whatever) with the bedroom door locked. We get the kids ready for bed, read stories, say prayers, and then I have about two hours to write. Glamorous, eh?
Q. What speaks to you and why, Scottish castle, New York penthouse, or rustic, California beach house?
All of them and none of them. The history nerd in me would love to explore the Scottish castle; the adventurer in me would love a posh New York pad; and I can’t live without being near the water, so a beach house is appealing, too. And yet–this is going to sound weird–I don’t like to travel. Someday, though, I’d love to have a beach house on Dauphin Island, Alabama, right on the Gulf of Mexico.
Q. What do you see as the next big trend in YA?
That’s a tough one. We’ve seen vampires, zombies, werewolves, angels (fallen and otherwise), dystopians … I think we’re going to see a lot of genre-bending and blending. I’d love to see more well-written YA horror.
Q. What are you working on now?
I’m currently querying a fast-paced Southern ghost story, but it also could be magical realism, soft horror, paranormal, with a small thread of LGBT. It’s a total mutt. And I’m starting a contemporary story that blends in some semi-apocalyptic stuff, basically boy v. nature. I don’t want to give away any more. 🙂
Q. Do you have any pets? Can you tell us how they joined your family and what they mean to you?
Sadly, we only have one cat now. We had two — Romeo and Juliet — but Romeo is now scratching in the litter box in the sky. Oddly, Juliet seems happier without her Romeo. We also had a Newfoundland mix, but she too is barking at birds in heaven. We have a few fish that no one pays attention to, and I’m considering naming our dust bunnies. 🙂
Thanks so much for joining us today, Stephanie. It was great having you.
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