We are excited to welcome author, Stephanie Parent, to the nest today. Stephanie has also graciously provided an awesome giveaway for our readers. Be sure to check out the details at the end of the interview.
Andrea @ Reading Lark: Why did you choose to self publish?
Stephanie: I have a wonderful agent, and we actually submitted Defy the Stars to several publishers and received some great responses from editors. Unfortunately, we kept hearing the same thing: no matter how much an editor wanted to buy the book, the marketing department didn’t believe a debut novel in verse would sell in today’s crowded, trend-based market, so editors weren’t allowed to buy my book. One editor actually offered to look at Defy the Stars again if I rewrote it in prose (traditional sentence and paragraph) format, but I wrote the book in verse because I really believed that was the best way to tell this story! I’ve written several novels, and out of all of them I believe Defy the Stars is the strongest, and it’s received the most enthusiastic response from readers. I really didn’t want to put this one back in the drawer, so to speak, so I decided to self-publish it in ebook format and give people the chance to read it!
Andrea @ Reading Lark: Can you describe your novel in five words?
Stephanie: Dark, beautiful, all-consuming, addictive love.
Andrea @ Reading Lark: What are your top 3 favorite YA novels?
Stephanie: It’s really hard to choose only three, but I guess I’d have to say Dangerous Angels by Francesca Lia Block, Local Girls by Alice Hoffman, and Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson.
Andrea @ Reading Lark: Does music inspire you? If so, what are a few songs from your playlist?
Stephanie: Music DEFINITELY inspires me! The main character in Defy the Stars, Julia, is a classical pianist, so I listened to a lot of classical piano music while writing the book. One piece I listened to over and over is Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata—you’ll see why if you read the book! A few more modern songs I was also inspired by are “1979” by The Smashing Pumpkins and “Your Decision” by Alice in Chains.
Andrea @ Reading Lark: Where is your book set?
Stephanie: My book is set in the fictional small U.S. town of Fairvern—Defy the Stars is a Romeo and Juliet retelling, so I got the name from “Fair Verona, where we lay our scene.” I like setting my books in fictional places because I don’t have to worry about keeping my geography accurate! I was also purposefully vague about where in the U.S. Fairvern is located, because really, this story could take place anywhere—places all over America, from small towns to big cities, are impacted by drug use and methamphetamines in particular.
Andrea @ Reading Lark: If you could travel anywhere in the world today, where would you go?
Stephanie: The British Isles. I visited England once and it was the best experience of my life, so I’d love to see Ireland, Wales, and Scotland as well. I’ve read and dreamed about those places my whole life!
Andrea @ Reading Lark: What is your favorite bird?
Stephanie: That’s a REALLY hard one! I’m tempted to say ravens because I love the fairy tale The Six Ravens, but I also love swans, flamingos, cranes, hummingbirds…I love birds and animals in general! I even like pigeons after reading Wringer by Jerry Spinelli!
- Harry Potter or Twilight? Harry Potter
- Coke or Pepsi? Coke
- Vampire or Werewolf? Werewolf, but I like both.
- Comedy or Drama? Comedy…which is weird since I pretty much write (over?)-dramatic stuff!
- Noise or Silence? Noise, as long as it’s not loud enough to damage my eardrums!
Julia Cape: A dedicated classical piano student just trying to get through her last semester of high school while waiting to hear from music conservatories.
Reed MacAllister: A slacker more likely to be found by the stoners’ tree than in class.
Julia and Reed might have graduated high school without ever speaking to each other…until, during a class discussion of Romeo and Juliet, Julia scoffs at the play’s theme of love at first sight, and Reed responds by arguing that feelings don’t always have to make sense. Julia tries to shake off Reed’s comment and forget about this boy who hangs with the stoner crowd—and who happens to have breathtaking blue eyes—but fate seems to bring the two together again and again. After they share an impulsive, passionate kiss, neither one can deny the chemistry between them. Yet as Julia gets closer to Reed, she also finds herself drawn into his dark world of drugs and violence. Then a horrific tragedy forces Julia’s and Reed’s families even farther apart…and Julia must decide whether she’s willing to give up everything for love.
Defy the Stars is written in an edgy free-verse style that will appeal to fans of Ellen Hopkins and Lisa Schroeder; however, the writing is accessible enough to speak to non-verse fans as well. The novel’s combination of steamy romance and raw emotion will appeal to fans of Gayle Forman, Simone Elkeles, Jennifer Echols, and Tammara Webber. With a plot, language and form that both pay homage to and subvert Shakespeare’s play, Defy the Stars is much more than just another Romeo and Juliet story.
Please note that this novel contains mature language and themes, including drug use.
Stephanie was awesome enough to offer up 3 eBook editions of Defy the Stars for our readers. One lucky winner will also receive a $5 gift card to Amazon in addition to one of the eBooks.
* You must be 13+ years of age to enter
* You must be able to accept eBooks in epub or mobi format