Friday, July 11, 2008

And Another Awesome Author Visit: Stephanie Kuehnert

Today's awesome author is none other than the magnificient Stephanie Kuehnert. Her recently released debut novel, I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone, is a breathtaking and amazing novel! Click here for my review. Stephanie is a super cool lady as well as a great author so I hope you enjoy learning more about her.

Also there is a HUGE contest going on to support I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone, so click here to learn more!!

To learn more about Stephanie click on these links.

Her Website
Her Blog
Her MySpace

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1. What made you write about a girl dedicated to music? Was it just a thought or personal experience?

I wrote about it because women in music have had such an influence on my life. I've always been drawn to female musicians and female bands/female-fronted bands like Hole, Sleater-Kinney, and the Gits got me through my toughest time as a teen, so I wanted to pay tribute to them. I can't play music, so I thought I'd write about it.
2. When did you realize you wanted to become an author?
When I was like 5 years old. I wanted to be Laura Ingalls Wilder. I loved those Little House books. I loved reading and I started keeping a diary and writing short stories very young.

3. Do you see a lot of yourself in Emily? In any of the other characters?

Emily is the kind of girl I wish I could be, strong, sassy, funny, outgoing and musically talented. I don't have any of her talent and I've always been pretty shy. She's like my alter ego, which was why she was so fun to write.

Louisa is the woman I could have turned out to be. I went through a lot of hard stuff as a teen, including an emotionally abusive relationship. There was a time period where I dealt with it by moving to another city and partying a lot. I eventually forced myself to face my demons, but if I hadn't I could have been Louisa. I feel close to her for that reason.
4. How did the names for your characters come about? Did you know what they were going to be before you started writing the book or did you peruse endless pages of names from the internet?

The names came from various places. I have a baby name book and sometimes I do pick names according to their meaning using that, but I don't think I did that with this book so much. Emily is a name I've always loved. I had a Cabbage Patch Kid named Emma Loreli, but I used to think of her as Emily and wanted to one day name a daughter Emily. Emily is very much like my first child. Louisa and Molly are both names of friends I had in high school. Louisa's name I always loved and Molly was a friend I admired very much. My two good male characters, Tom and Michael, I realized after the fact that I subliminally named after my two best guy friends in high school, Tom and Mike. I had a lot of guy problems, but they were two great, dependable guys in my life and I named my great, dependable characters after them. Johnny is just the perfect punk guy name, y'know like Johnny Rotten. Then Marissa, Regan, and Colette are all just names I really liked.

5. What's your ideal writing location?
In my office. Preferably when it's clean, which is not often. And it's better when my cats aren't causing trouble in there. Also it's a little hot and not quite as sunny as I'd like so sometimes I move to the dining room table to alleviate those problems.

6. Do you listen to music as you write? If so what do you listen to?

No, I usually can't listen to music when I write. On the rare occasions that I can, it's music that inspires a particular character or scene. Or I have a playlist for my project. I usually listen to that before writing to get pumped up though. Lots of punk rock for IWBYJR, especially the female singers like Patti Smith, The Gits, Hole and The Distillers. But also Social Distortion, Joy Division, and Iggy Pop.

7. What's your advice for aspiring writers?

Read a lot! It is the best teaching tool. Also find writer friends either online or in your community and exchange work with them. Their feedback will be valuable and help you grow and you will be inspired by their work!
8. Now I know you love music, obviously, but can you play any instruments? Do you sing?
No, I can't! I've tried. I took guitar lessons, but was dismayed that I wasn't a natural talent and didn't have the discipline to practice. I was in chorus in fifth grade, but I don't think I can really sing. I usually only do it when I'm alone or in the car quietly to myself!

9. What are you currently working on?

I have another book from MTV Books that will be out next summer called Ballads of Suburbia. It's about a teenage girl who hangs out with a group of punks and skaters and misfits at a suburban park. All the kids have their different problems, especially with family, so they make like their own dysfunctional family and try to take care of each other the best they can but life starts to spin out of control. You can read an excerpt at www.stephaniekuehnert.com/backstage.html

As to what I'll write next, I have two book ideas battling for control…
10. What are the last three books you've read? Do you prefer YA or adult books, or a little mix of both?
Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr, Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready, and Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer. Which is all genre, I realize, and usually I'm more of a straight up fiction person. But I like vampire and faery books and those are what those are. Ink Exchange and Wicked Game are my favorite books that I've read this year along with Leftovers by Laura Wiess. One is YA and one is adult. I read a mix of the two, but right now there is sooooooooo much good YA out there so I am mostly reading that.

11. What's one quirky fact you wish to share with readers?

My first concert was Janet Jackson. I was 10. It was her Rhythm Nation tour and I asked for tickets for my birthday. But it was soooooo loud that I could only stand to stay for like four songs. Right after that is when I got more into rock music and punk. I also learned to put toilet paper in my ears or get earplugs!
12. Are there any other questions you wish I had asked?

I always take this opportunity to ask: "Stephanie, how do you pronounce your weird looking last name?" And the answer is Key-nert. A lot simpler than it looks, huh!

3 comments:

*Heather* said...

Stephanie Kuehnert rocks my socks! I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone was so amazing, and I love this inteview.

I can't believe she's shy, though. But I guess we always write our alter-ego at least once. I know I have...

RR2 said...

hmmm..I never would have guessed that she was shy, either.

I can't wait to read her book.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

graeat interview. her book is awesome. it's weird to hear she's shy, but it's not really unexpected...i'm super shy myself, and yet one of my good friends swears i'm not! guess she doesn't see the shy side...LOL

-Lauren

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