Friday, June 6, 2014

Feature Friday: Stephanie Keyes

Stephanie Keyes grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and spent years traveling and working as a Corporate Trainer before she made the decision to pen her first novel. As a teen, her family always accused her of having an “overactive imagination.” Now, she’s encouraged to keep her head in the clouds and share her world with readers.

Keyes is the author of the YA Fantasy series, The Star Child, which currently includes The Star Child, After Faerie, The Fallen Stars, and The Star Catcher, all from by Inkspell Publishing. The Fallen Stars was a 2013 semi-finalist in the Kindle Book Awards. The Star Child has topped the Amazon best-seller list several times since its 2012 release. Steph writes YA novels because she’s a hopeless romantic who lives to believe that Magick truly does exist. She is hard at work on a new YA novel.

Contact Stephanie
Website: www.stephaniekeyes.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Stephanie-Keye...
Twitter: www.twitter.com/StephanieKeyes

Interview:

A.L.:
What piece of advice would you give to a budding author?

Stephanie:
Find a professional critique group! I didn’t even know such a thing existed when I wrote The Star Child. Then I found one through The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. It truly allowed me to develop my writing skills, but I’ve also formed life-long friendships with some incredible writers. And no—your family doesn’t count. Believe me, I already tried that one. *smiles*

A.L.:
What's your favorite book and why?

Stephanie: 
I really have to pick just one? Ha! I love The Book of Dreams by OR Melling. It’s part of The Chronicles of Faerie series. Her imagination is remarkable. It’s one of those books where you read it and think, “Yeah, I should just quit writing now, because she’s got this.” It’s magical and it got me reading Fantasy again.

A.L.:
Where did you get the idea for The Star child series?

Stephanie: 
It was totally random. I was getting into the shower and glanced out the window. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky—just a blanket of stars. The term “star child” popped into my head. By the time I got out of the shower I had the basic plot down. That was the most productive shower I’ve ever taken!

A.L.:
Did you hit any snags while writing The Star child series?  What were they and how did you fix them?

Stephanie: 
Tons with the first book, especially. I had no intention of ever writing a novel. I just wanted to see where the story would go. I’d also never written much fiction. So that was a learning curve for me. Everything from character development to plotting could’ve stopped me in my tracks. I had to force myself to learn how to slow the story down, take my time, and get to know my characters. Outlining helped tremendously. I wrote everything out on index cards so i had an idea of where things would go. By the time I got to the second and third books in the series, I had a plan for how to approach each book.

A.L.:
Which one of the characters in The Star child series is your favorite and why?

Stephanie: 
Kellen. He and I have quite a bit in common. He is, essentially, what I would be like as a teenage boy. Sarcastic, suspicious of everyone, but a softy underneath. I loved the idea of writing a character that had no real powers or ability—just his brain. I also didn’t want him to let his childhood and his messed up family define him. My second, very close favorite, would be Gabe, though. He was just so fun to write. The funny thing was that he almost got cut after the first book, but reader feedback on Goodreads saved him. Folks seemed to want to know more about him. So he came back.

A.L.:
Can you tell us a little bit about your journey as an author?

Stephanie: 
Absolutely. I started writing when I was fourteen, just weird little stories in notebooks I threw out about twenty years ago. My plan was to become a journalism major, but then I changed my mind and studied music instead. When I found out music really did equal certain unemployment, I changed my major to IT. I worked as a technical writer and instructor for about eight years before I came back to writing. The Star Child took me nine months to write, three years to edit, and one year to sell. Inkspell Publishing offered me a contract for the series in 2012, with book one, The Star Child, being released later that year.

A.L.:
What are you working on now?  Sequel?  Something new?

Stephanie: 
No more sequels for now! I am in the process of editing a YA Novel set in Pittsburgh, PA and writing another set in Cape Hatteras, NC. Both have paranormal elements in them and I can’t wait to share more!

A.L.:
What's the best place to eat in Pittsburgh?

Stephanie: 
What a cool question! Il Pizzaiolo has been my favorite Italian restaurant for an age. Lots of custom pizzas and great wine. Love ‘em!

A.L.:
If you could visit anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would you go and why?

Stephanie: 
Bavaria. I’ve always wanted to go. Plus, Neuschwanstein Castle was the inspiration for a location in The Star Catcher.

A.L.:
Why did you choose to write about faeries and Celtic myth?

Stephanie: 
When I was a little girl, my gran told me stories of the “Good People” and our family in Ireland. I’ve been hooked ever since. When I had the opportunity to tour Ireland in 2005, the experience changed me. There’s something about being there, whether on the Cliffs of Moher or in a field in Kilkenny... It truly seems as though magic is a tangible thing there. That stayed with me and I felt compelled to immerse Kellen St. James into that world.

The Giveaway:
Stephanie is giving away a signed copy of one of the books of your choice: either The Star Child, The Fallen Stars, or The Star Catcher. (INTERNATIONAL)

The Star Child:  The world is about to be cloaked in darkness. Only one can stop the night. Kellen St. James has spent his entire life being overlooked as an unwanted, ordinary, slightly geeky kid. That is until a beautiful girl, one who has haunted his dreams for the past eleven years of his life, shows up spinning tales of a prophecy. Not just any old prophecy either, but one in which Kellen plays a key role. Suddenly, Kellen finds himself on the run through a Celtic underworld of faeries and demons, angels and gods, not to mention a really ticked off pack of hellhounds, all in order to save the world from darkness. But will they make it in time?

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Buy on Amazon.
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How to Enter:
Enter the giveaway using Rafflecopter. Hit the arrow buttons, follow the prompts, and hit the enter buttons when you're done. (You may have to log in using Facebook to do this). There will be one winner (selected by Rafflecopter).  International.  I will contact the winner via email.

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