Saturday, November 27, 2010

Stephanie Watson Author Interview

Interview with author Stephanie Watson

I would like to introduce Hometown Track Author in the Spotlight, Stephanie Watson.  Thanks Stephanie for taking the time to answer these questions for us.

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, not far from where I live now. I have a 3-month-old daughter and a tiny dog. I am a storyteller.

  1. What is the inspiration behind the story of Elvis & Olive?
Elvis & Olive started like all of my stories do, with a very tiny idea that I followed to see where it led. It began with the image of a girl biking around her block, then being stopped by another girl wearing no shirt. Growing up, I rode my bike around the block a lot and there was a young girl who would roam the neighborhood shirtless during the summer. The story grew out of my own memories of being young and imagined stuff, too.

  1. Why did you choose to write a novel for young people and what do you hope your audience will experience or gain from reading it?
I wrote a novel for young people because that is my favorite kind of book to read, even now. The best middle-grade novels have the ability to lift you out of your normal life and take you somewhere magical. My hope is that Elvis & Olive might give some readers this experience.

  1. Do you consider yourself to be more like Elvis or Olive?  Which character do you have the most in common with?
My personality definitely slants toward Natalie, which is why the book is told through her eyes. As a kid, it was always very important to me to do well in school (like Natalie), and follow the rules so I wouldn’t get in trouble. I think now, though, I am more like Annie. I have learned to be wild.

  1. Did you model your main characters after real people?
I gave Natalie the emotions I felt at her age. As for Annie, she’s a composite of wild girls I once knew. But as in all fiction writing, the models are just something to get you going. The rest is imagined.

  1. Do you have a favorite character from Children’s literature that inspired you or a favorite children’s book?
My all-time favorite children’s book is Harriet the Spy. As a ten-year-old, I wanted to be Harriet so bad. I still do.

  1. This is your first book.  Can you tell us why you decided to become a writer?
I love good stories, and I wanted to try to write some of my own.

  1. How many books will be part of the Elvis & Olive series?  When can we expect them to be in bookstores? 
There are two books in the Elvis & Olive series, and I don’t have any plans to add more books to it right now.
Natalie: “Technically, that’s not a series. You need at least 3 to make a series.”
Annie: “So?”
Both books, Elvis & Olive and Elvis & Olive: Super Detectives are in stores now.

  1. Can you tell us a bit about your 2nd book and give us an idea on what your 3rd book will be about?
Elvis & Olive: Super Detectives is the sequel to Elvis & Olive. After a summer of spying on their neighbors (and getting into a lot of trouble), Annie (code name Elvis) and Natalie (code name Olive) decide to try something new: open a detective agency. They start by solving little mysteries for their neighbors, then stumble across some big mysteries that put their skills to the test.

  1. How did you decide on the title for your book?
I didn’t have a title for Elvis & Olive for a long time. I tried creating all kinds of snazzy and clever names but none of them felt right. So I simply used the girls’ code names as the title, and it sounded right.

  1. Usually an author puts some of her own life experiences in the book.  Did you include your childhood experiences?
Yes, I did use some of my memories and emotions of childhood as a springboard for the story. Like the moment when Noah squishes the firefly. That really happened, only it was a girl named Veronica who squished it in front of me and my sister Lisa.

  1. Please tell us in one sentence why we should read your book, Elvis & Olive?
If you ever had the urge to peek in your neighbors’ windows to see what interesting things they are doing, you should read Elvis & Olive.

Thanks so much Stephanie for taking your time to answer these questions.  I hope all is going well with you and your baby. 

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