Stephanie has graciously accepted my request for an interview in conjunction with my REVIEW of her novel, Hope's Journey.
Stephanie has been blessed to be a stay at home mom to her four children, many of whom share her love for art and design. She spends her days designing, building, painting, drawing, landscaping, and yes, writing. She loves the smell of fresh-cut lumber and has been known to create projects for the sake of creating projects. She volunteers a lot of time to the service of the young women and boy scouts in her area and finds great joy and laughter in their company.
Now, here's where I stumble through the question process, and Stephanie graciously answers. :)
What inspired you to write Hope's Journey?
I think it's safe to say that the basic concept has been juggling around in my head for many years. Having worked with youth (12-18 year olds) for most of my adult life, I've seen a lot of girls struggle to one degree or another with self worth. I've also seen the naivety of young men concerning their influence over those girls. One of the unfortunate consequences of this cycle is teen pregnancy. Having experienced that turmoil myself, I'm familiar with the emotions, the self-disgust, and the cruel stigmas of society. My hope was to share a story that would help teens understand their worth enough to make good choices, provide insight to those on the outside of the influence they can have (positive and negative), and give hope to those who may have already found themselves on the "sad end of a pregnancy test."
You put a lot of yourself into the book. Was that difficult for you to do?
Reconnecting with feelings that have long since been buried is always hard. I had to remember things that I'd chosen to forget and had to replay some very difficult moments of my own history. In a way though, it was very therapeutic.The best - and probably hardest - part was constructing Alex's side of the story. With all of my own feelings and interpretations to deal with, I'd never stopped to really consider what it must have been like through his eyes.
The primary struggle in the book seemed to be the struggle of self worth, rather than the struggle of immorality. Would you say that's an accurate summation?
Absolutely. I think we often blame bad choices on low morals, and while sometimes that's the case, more often its not. People - teens and adults alike - crave validation. It's a basic human need. Girls seek after the attention of boys, not necessarily out of hormonal rages, but to fill some void they have within their own self. Even when they know something is wrong (whether it be drugs, alcohol, profanity, or premarital sex), the need for validation can cause even the best of kids to make bad choices.
What is your next project?
I have two manuscripts just about ready to leave my desktop. The first is a non-fiction how-to guide for Girls' Camp Leaders, and the second, All the Finer Things, is a novel about overcoming abuse and discovering what the finer things in life really are. And, because I can't stay focused on just one or two projects, I have a few other novels in the works - Lucas Kai (about a drug-addicted baby), Beyond Tomorrow (which will probably be renamed, about the close connection between this life and the afterlife), and by popular demand, a yet to be titled Hope's Journey sequel.
Thank you, Stephanie, for allowing us a glimpse into your life. Congratulations on Hope's Journey. It is a truly worthy novel.
To pick up your copy of Hope's Journey, visit your local store or follow this LINK to purchase your own copy. Thanks for visiting!