Why did you decide to write SAD PERFECT in 2nd person?
I didn’t plan on writing Sad Perfect in 2nd person. I wasn’t even planning on writing a novel. My daughter had just met a boy and it was such a ‘meet-cute’ that I thought about writing a vignette or a page about how they met so the first original chapter was just the story about how my daughter and this boy met, and then it morphed into the book.
Why did you decide to write a YA novel after writing multiple Adult novels?
It wasn’t really a decision, it’s just kind of what happened when I started writing (see above! :). And actually, my novel WHAT SHE LEFT US is about a freshman in college and her older sister so it’s almost YA. When I was writing my other novel, A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING LOST, I really struggled where to take it — there are two timelines in that book — one that could go very YA and one that is very much adult. I could have taken that book and made it just YA but it didn’t feel true to the story.
How did you hear about ARFID?
This is the actual eating disorder that my daughter has. She has struggled her entire life with being afraid to eat foods that felt unsafe to her. We had seen countless therapists and doctors. When she was 15 we took her to an eating disorder center and a doctor there who specialized in ARFID diagnosed her. It was the first time our whole family felt immense relief to have an answer to what was wrong with her. BTW, ARFID stands for Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder and is pretty much extreme picky eating and it causes severe depression, anxiety, and social disorders among other things.
How did you come up with the name Pea?
You have to read the story for this answer! And that’s NOT her real name!
How long did it take you to write Sad Perfect?
My daughter McKaelen started an intensive outpatient therapy program for her eating disorder that was 20 weeks long in July of 2014. While she was in therapy three times a week I started writing, and I finished the completed draft in October. It took me three months. It’s the fastest I’ve ever written anything. It was literally my therapy when she was in therapy.
Do you think that social media is helpful, hurtful, or both?
I personally LOVE social media. I am on Twitter, FB, Instagram, and Snapchat more than I would like to admit. It’s great to stay connected to authors, readers, bloggers, friends, etc. And I love to promote other authors and their accomplishments.
However, I think it’s REALLY hard to be a teen in today’s world with the amount of social media there is. I say this so often: I would HATE to be a teen today with all the added pressure girls AND guys have with social media — having to post selfies, and share where they are, what they’re doing, who they’re with, where they’re going. The pressure to share so much of themselves with everyone is ridiculous.
Describe Ben- the love interest!
Ooh, I really love Ben. His eyes are as dark as Hershey’s chocolate kisses, and he’s tall, 6’4”, with a lean, muscular back (first time they meet his shirt is OFF! HELLO!!!!), dark, thick hair, and he runs track. He opens car doors and is very polite! He “smells like Abercrombie & Fitch but not like how when you walk into the store and get a massive headache, just how if you walk by the store and get a quick whiff of it. A mix of that and soap.”
What has your experience been so far with working with all of the Swanky 17ers?
I am an administrator of the group and this group has been so amazing! We are so supportive of each other and it has been just an incredible experience. If we’re having a bad day or feeling down about copy edits, a quick check-in to the forum or our Facebook page, and there is ALWAYS someone there to lift our spirits and make us laugh. I say this all of the time: I don’t know how authors survived before there were debut groups like this and they didn’t have a support group. You gain a literal family of wonderful friends who you share so much in common with immediately. It’s stressful and awesome to go through the publication journey and it’s so nice to not have to do it alone.
What’s your favorite food? Curious minds want to know 😉
OMG I just had to ask my husband this. I immediately wanted to say pizza cuz… PIZZA. But he said I like pasta. I still say pizza. If I was stuck on an island and could only eat one thing? Pizza. I’m pretty simple.
Are there any books by your fellow Swanky 17ers that you’d highly recommend?
I have only read two so far and loved them so very much! Sara Biren’s The Last Thing You Said and Ellie Terry’s Forget Me Not. I have requested to read a TON of the Swanky books though and I’m so excited to read them all!
*~~About the Author~~*
A Florida native, Stephanie has lived near Chicago and Philadelphia and currently calls Scottsdale, Arizona home. She graduated from Northern Illinois University, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. Stephanie and her husband Scott have three children: AJ, McKaelen and Luke. They are all her favorites..