I signed up for author Stephanie Faris's blog tour to help promote the two first books in her new middle-grade Piper Morgan series, both of which were just released from Simon & Schuster a couple of weeks ago.
Aren't those great cover illustrations? Piper looks like she's ready to charge (or get pushed!) right off the page! What middle-grader would be able to resist buying the book to find out why Piper is riding an elephant or (evidently) running an office? I'll give you a hint, since you're probably not a middle-schooler so this can't count as a spoiler: Piper and her mom make up a two-member family. They move around a lot, and Piper's mom keeps getting interesting new jobs in each new place. But although Piper has to deal with the same difficulties all kids do when their families relocate often, she also gets a lot of opportunities to get in on the action in each new setting.
I e-met Stephanie when we both participated in the Blogging From A to Z blog tour over the last few Aprils. This is Stephanie:
And here's her bio:
Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside and play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in broadcast journalism, she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing.
Stephanie is the Simon & Schuster author of 30 DAYS OF NO GOSSIP and 25 ROSES. When she isn't crafting fiction, she writes for a variety of nonfiction online websites. She lives in Nashville with her husband.
And here is my interview with her!
1. Hi Stephanie! So, in real life you write articles about information technology, and in unreal life you write middle-grade fiction. Is that how you manage your left brain/right brain split?
Good question! Maybe so. I do feel that the variety keeps things interesting. If I was just doing one or the other all day, every day, I don’t think I’d appreciate my “fun writing” as much. (Fun writing is the fiction stuff, in case you’re wondering!)
2. Piper Morgan is a little girl whose mom sounds like a free spirit, flitting from place to place and having adventures everywhere she goes. I read on your blog one recent Mother’s Day that your own beloved mom sounded a lot like Piper’s. How much of the Piper series is a love letter to your mom, and how much of it is something else entirely?
I think being raised by a single mom definitely gave me a background to pull from as I wrote Piper’s story. We didn’t move around as much, but we did move a couple of times when I was younger. It was interesting that no matter where we lived, my mom made it “home.” I’ve realized, as I’ve gotten further into writing this, that this is really what the series is about. Piper is always longing for a place she can call home, but over time, she’ll come to realize that “home” has little to do with where a person lives.
3. Which comes first for you in writing a story: characters or plot? Can you give a thumbnail sketch of your typical book-inventing process (if you have one)? Ditto for your typical writing day (if you have one)?
I’m one of those “pantsers” you hear about, who flies by the seat of my pants when I’m writing. I wish I could be more of an outliner. However, once you’re published, your agent needs a partial to pitch your book to your editor. So I’ve developed a habit of writing three chapters, then writing the synopsis. That synopsis can then serve as an outline if they buy my book and I get to write the rest of it.
I wish I said I had a daily routine. I usually have every intention of writing 1,000 words or so in the morning, but I end up responding to emails and doing blog sorts of things until around lunchtime, when I go to the gym. When I get back, I realize I’m behind on my word count for the day and I write my butt off until bedtime! I always have writing assignments, and I try to do three to four a day, which means writing around 2,000 words a day, not including my book writing.
4. Piper starts out with a bang by joining the circus! Any hints about future exciting situations in which she might find herself?
She gets to work in the circus and a principal’s office in these first two books. In the third book, coming out in November, she works with puppies at a rescue shelter. The one that’s scheduled for next spring is set in a pool and spa shop and includes a TV commercial shoot. We’re still working on ideas for book number five, but I’m thinking it will be event-planner themed.
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If you'd like to find out more about Stephanie and her Piper Morgan series (and why wouldn't you?), you can check out any of the following links:
And make sure you enter Stephanie's Rafflecopter giveaway!!
The Olympics might be over, but for Piper Morgan, the fun is just beginning!