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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Author Interview: Stephanie Faris

We are so excited to have Stephanie Faris, author of 30 Days of No Gossip, with us today. Be sure to read all the way through her interview and sign up for the Rafflecopter giveaway at the bottom. Stephanie has generously offered a free autographed paperback copy of 30 Days of No Gossip and some cool bookmarks! You don't want to miss it!

Thanks Stephanie for being willing to go into the "hot seat!"

Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside and play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing. When she isn’t crafting fiction, Stephanie is indulging her gadget geek side by writing for online technology sites. She lives in Nashville with her husband.

You can follow Stephanie on her blog HERE, or check out her website HERE.


Can a middle school gossip queen change her ways, or will she lose her BFF for good? Find out in this M!X original novel.
Maddie Evans prides herself on being the gossip queen of Troy Middle School. She is the first person her classmates go to when they need the latest news on the ins-and-outs of TMS—and Maddie never disappoints.

Her best friend since birth, Vi, isn’t crazy about Maddie’s penchant for passing on rumors, but it’s never been an issue in their friendship. Until the day Maddie lets slip who Vi is crushing on—in front of her crush.

Vi is furious, and she confronts Maddie with an ultimatum: no gossip for 30 days, or twelve years of sisterhood goes down the drain. Maddie agrees, but only a week into the challenge, she gets one of the juiciest pieces of gossip EVER—something that could affect the future of the school. Will she be able to keep her mouth shut and tame her ways? Or will she be left standing alone with no one to hear her stories?

Interested in reading the book? You can find it HERE.


Interview with Stephanie Faris:

 When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

For me, I think it was a gradual process. I wanted to be a writer from the first time I picked
up a book, but I think I realized, even at a young age, that writing wasn’t something you
did because you wanted to. Like singing or acting or dancing, it was a talent you either
possessed or didn’t.

It was only once I got to college that I began to feel confident about my writing. I wrote
news stories for the campus TV station every day. I didn’t have an English teacher
standing over me, asking me to diagram sentences or avoid split infinitives. There was a
different structure to a news story. That confidence stayed with me as I left college, which
soon led me to the decision to write my first novel.

What inspired you to write 30 Days of No Gossip?

I think in many ways I have a bit of a gossip problem myself. I always saw it as a way to connect with other people. I’m usually not sure where my ideas come from, but I remember trying to go without gossiping for even five minutes and it was easy, as long as I didn’t speak to anyone! I wondered what would happen if someone actually had to go 30 days without gossiping and 30 Days of No Gossip was born.

Describe your writing process. Pantser or plotter?

I don’t outline at all. I get an idea and start typing away. About 40 pages in or so, though, I
realize I have no idea where I’m going next! Usually at that point I’ll start a synopsis, but
even then, I don’t plot all the way to the end unless my editor is waiting for a synopsis. I
don’t like to get too far ahead. I guess I like to be surprised.

Have many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I laughed when I read this question. I started writing in the mid­90s and lost count around
book number 20. My favorite book is always the one I’m currently working on, but I still
have a special place in my heart for the book series that landed my agent. It was called
Ghost Patrol and it was about tween ghost hunters. We came close to getting it published
a couple of times, but by the time we’d shopped it around for years, the idea had already
been done to death by other authors.

What are you currently working on?

While waiting for my next round of revisions, I’m working on a young adult series that’s a
little darker. I don’t know if it will ever see the light of day, but I have so many ideas
pending in other genres, I figured I’d try something different during the long wait!

What advice can you give to aspiring authors?

One of the most important things an aspiring author can do is find a writer’s group. The
camaraderie and support is priceless. Much of what I know about writing today came from
attending conferences and workshops when I was younger. Both Romance Writers of
America and the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators offer this sort of support.

Now for some fun questions that have less to do with writing and more to do with getting to know you….

List five adjectives to describe yourself.

Tenacious, energetic, dedicated, sensitive, cooperative

What is your favorite quote?

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”—Wayne Gretzky

If you had the opportunity to live one year of your life again, which year would you choose and why?

I think I’ll stay in 2014! This is the first year I’ve been able to be a full­time writer, so I’m
doing what I love all day. I can’t think of a year in my life that’s more perfect than this.

What is the scariest thing you’ve ever done?

Getting up in front of a group to speak is probably the scariest thing I can imagine. Every
time I have to do it, I want to hide somewhere. I think bungee jumping and skydiving
would probably be less terrifying than public speaking!

If you had your own talk show, who would be your first three guests?

Olivia Newton­John, because I idolized her so much as a child. Stephen King, because
I’ve read his books since I was a small child. Can I do another writer? If so, it would be
Judy Blume, because she’s touched so many generations with her writing.

Thank you so much, Stephanie! And now for the Rafflecopter giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Gretzky's quote is one of the best.
Didn't gossip as long as you didn't talk to anyone - that's funny.
Sorry your one series never found a home.
Don't enter me to win - I'd rather buy the book and support you.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Thank you for hosting Stephanie. I really enjoy her blog. And I agree with her 100% that writing skill is something that you either possess or you don't. Great interview!

Stephanie Faris said...

Thank you, Alex! I feel that way about books, too. Much better to buy the book unless it isn't out yet and I can help by posting a review.

Optimistic Existentialist. It's all about voice. If you have that, along with enjoying writing and reading, you can learn the rest.

Stephanie Faris said...

And a big thank you to Kristin Smith for interviewing me and featuring me here!

DEZMOND said...

ooh, we do approve of the nonoutlining way :) when the writing flows like a river...

Kristin Smith said...

Thank YOU, Stephanie! I enjoyed getting to know you better! You are AMAZING! :)

Ava Quinn said...

I love the Gretzky quote. :) Great interview, ladies!

I agree, Stephanie. Finding a writing group is a great piece of advice. My local RWA chapter is fantastic! (and I'm not just saying that because I was last year's president. lol)

Valerie Capps said...

“I can’t think of a year in my life that’s more perfect than this.” I love that statement! Too many people look to the past for happiness. Stephanie has her eyes and goals focused on the future. What better inspiration for young adults than a woman who is comfortable in her own skin and isn’t afraid to say so?

Stephanie Faris said...

Thank you! I do try to focus on the moment...but I guess we're all a little nostalgic about the past. I'd rather be writing than outdoors swimming or partying with friends, so maybe that's what makes me like NOW more than when I was 16 or 25!

TexWisGirl said...

go, stephanie, go! :)

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I sent Judy Blume a fangirl email and got a for real, personalized email back. It was a highlight of 2013. She is as sweet as can be. Totally love her and want to go to dinner with you guys. King would be great too, but he frightens me a little.

Pat Hatt said...

Great interview indeed, the Gretsky quote is a really good one. A gossip hound hey? The cat will run away lol Maybe your talk show could do a grease reunion lol

kmckendry said...

It is hard not to gossip. I have a good friend that's a gossiper and I always wonder what she's saying about me. Love the idea for the book, sounds really cute!

Chrys Fey said...

It's nice to get to know you and your book even more, Stephanie! You know, I didn't realize it until reading your interview, but it is very easy to gossip and not even realize that's what you're doing. I didn't think I was one to gossip, but then I thought about it a moment and realized I gossip to my mom all the time! haha

I love the idea of your book! And I would totally watch your talk show. ;)

Crystal Collier said...

Wahoo! Public speaking is a HUGE fear for most people, but I don't mind it. Actually, I'm happier in front of a group than in the middle. Is that strange? Must be from all those years of vocal performance.

I totally agree with you. People need to find a writing group or get involved with others in the industry to learn the tricks of the trade and find the support that keeps us going when the sky is cloudy.

Sherry Ellis said...

Great interview! Writer's groups are the best. They really help you grow!

mshatch said...

Excellent interview! And Stephanie's process is quite similar to mine!

Huntress said...

Knowing what you want is the first step. Hurray for you and your persistence. Congrats on making it out alive after speaking in front of an audience. *shiver* I definitely agree. :D

Yvonne Ventresca said...

Fun interview!


Liz A. said...

Interesting interview.

Clarissa Draper said...

I love your advice about the writer's group. I used to belong to one but I don't anymore. I should try to find another. Great interview. I hope you have a lot of success with you novel. It has a wonderful theme for YAs.

Stephanie Faris said...

I'm in a weird place with all that Clarissa because I started writing when I was with RWA and left for a while, then came back with books for younger audiences. So now I'm in SCBWI, but I didn't start here, so I didn't grow with a group. These days I find the best writing community is online. (Which isn't that different from when I started, actually!)

VR Barkowski said...

Fun interview, and I love the Gretzky quote! I, too, like to be surprised and let my story travel wherever it chooses. That's one of the thrills of writing. Outline? What's an outline? :)

VR Barkowski

Editors At Work said...

Great interview, loved reading about Stephanie. Congratulations!

Julia said...

A great interview but to be truthful I really detest gossip so this book wouldn't interest me. Good luck however on this new book. A great quote by Wayne Gretsky.

Thanks for your comment on my blog.

Stephanie Faris said...

Hi, Julia. The book's message is anti-gossip, so you might like it! It's geared toward younger girls, but I think we could all learn from it. I know I did!

Birgit said...

I love the quote. I love your energy and style. Gossip is hard not to do:) There is a basic person who gossips a little and then one who is obsessive-wouldn't want to be the latter

Stephanie Faris said...

Birgit--I think you're right. We all gossip at least a little. I don't gossip so much now that I work from home. I ask for gossip from those who do work, though! I think it's more a desire to connect with other human beings and understand them than a desire to judge someone. At least that's how it is for me. I love the stories!


thanks Stephanie for leaving a comment on my blog. Writing the ups and downs.
Love the title of your book and hope I win - if not I'll be getting it from Amazon. Love YA and middle grade books. Barb
PS I think gossip is fine if it isn't mean spirited or intended to be malicious.

Stephanie Faris said...

I agree, B. Whittington! I'm starting to think that maybe it's the intention behind the gossip... are we concerned? Or are we trying to make ourselves feel better by belitting others? There's a big difference.

Megan Lee said...

Great interview! I lived reading a little more about your process and past. I, too, had a beloved first novel shopped around for two years to no avail. Sigh! And like you, gossip is something I struggle with. I so enjoyed the book! I posted a review on amazon and goodreads. It was great to relive the tween years for a little while! I loved Maddie...

Stephanie Faris said...

I saw that earlier today Megan. That was so sweet of you!!! I do love writing and reading that genre...makes me feel young again. We can relive it without actually having to go through all the angst again!

LuAnn Braley said...

So, is "middle grade" considered a younger set than YA? (It's been so long since I was either...*lol*) Enjoyed the interview. For some reason the FB "like" button didn't show up in rafflecopter for me, but I went and requested to join the group, so I hope that is an acceptable substitute.

Medeia Sharif said...

I don't gossip too much anymore. This is because years ago, at a toxic workplace, gossip about myself and others got out of hand.

20? I know I'm in the double digits with unpublished manuscripts.

Great interview.

Lynn Proctor said...

great interview---i love that quote a lot---and i too don't outline and just let it flow---love that part--how you like to be surprised!

Cathrina Constantine said...

Good Interview! I never heard that quote by Gretzsky and it's a great one, so true. Stephanie, we write somewhat alike, I never know where the story is taking me...

Shelley Sly said...

What a fun interview! I enjoy hearing about others' writing processes and what they're working on.

I really like the premise of your book (anything gossip related is sure to be interesting) and I'm adding it to my To Read list!

Cherie Reich said...

Wonderful interview! That quote from Gretzky is so true, and it's a shame Ghost Patrol wasn't published. It sounds so fun!

Nicki Elson said...

I so get you on gossip -- growing up it was definitely a way for me to connect with others, but it's sooo easy to let it get out of control. This premise is fantastic.

Very nice getting some insight into Stephenie & her process. Here's to 2014, the best year yet!

Michelle Wallace said...

Great interview! Love the quote too.
Nice to learn more about you Stephanie!

Meradeth Houston said...

What a great interview! Cracked me up a few times :) And for someone that does public speaking for a living, I have to agree, there are times when sky diving probably would be less frightening!

Joy Christi said...

Sounds like a great book, and you're in the right line of work!
That is a lot of books. Congratulations on writing full time, that is a dream in itself!
I agree about the writing group, only when I found the right group of people did it get really fun again. Before that it felt like work, but w/blogging no paycheck. Now it's a fun hobby I'm loving again. Someday maybe more, but one thing at a time. Good luck with the next books, they sound great!

Kathy Combs said...

I enjoyed reading about how you got onto the path of being a successful writer! Hope you continue to have lots of success with your writing and books. ♥

Kimberly said...

I love that Gretzky quote.

Congrats on the book - sounds like an awesome book for middle grade. :)

Slamdunk said...

Fun interview Kristin and Stephanie. I admire tenacity. Show me a successful person and I'll bet you'll see a tenacious person.

And love the Gretzky quote.

Sher A. Hart said...

I couldn't resist entering. I would go broke buying books, so I help another way. I send free error lists so authors can fix any mistakes I find. I've seen a lot of book reviews downgraded for poor editing, and I'd rather be part of the solution.

Fun interview!

Holli Moncrieff said...

Awesome interview. I've recently "met" Stephanie in person, and it's great to learn more about her.

Stephen King and Judy Blume would make great talk show guests!

Holli Moncrieff said...

Awesome interview. I've recently "met" Stephanie in person, and it's great to learn more about her.

Stephen King and Judy Blume would make great talk show guests!

Loni Townsend said...

"I remember trying to go without gossiping for even five minutes and it was easy, as long as I didn’t speak to anyone!" - That made me chuckle.

Fun interview!