Wow this is really embarrassing! I planned to post the author interview with Stephanie Feuer on the release day of her debut YA novel, but I mixed up the dates. Since most books are usually released on Tuesdays, I thought that it was being released today. However, it was actually two days ago on June 15th!
Happy belated book birthday Drawing Amanda! I was given a copy to review a month and a half ago and wow it was amazing. It was really unique from most YA books, which was really refreshing. If you want to read my full review click here. But overall, I loved the book and gave it five out of five stars. Okay, let me stop blabbing and get on with the interview.
1. What inspired you to write Drawing Amanda? Where were you when you thought of the idea?
DRAWING AMANDA started, as so many creative endeavors do, with a “what if” moment. When an FBI officer spoke to parents at my son’s school about internet predators, most parents asked questions about how best to check up on their kids’ activity. Not me. I got stuck on the part about these trolls using imagery to break down the inhibitions of the youngsters they were trying to lure. I wondered who was behind the artwork. What if it was a high school kid? And so DRAWING AMANDA was hatched.
2. When you first started writing did you plan to have illustrations inside the book?
It was more of a hope than a plan. I had very clear images of what Inky was drawing as I was writing the book. But what you see isn’t always what you get. I got lucky with a publisher who shared my vision and when I saw Sunny (S.Y. Lee, the illustrator)’s portfolio online, I knew she could translate the images in my head to the page.
3. What do you want readers to learn from Drawing Amanda? (I personally found a couple of great lessons from this book).
Oooh. I’d love to hear your thoughts! I think there’s nothing more rewarding to a writer than knowing a reader got something out of your work.
The one thing I hope people take away from DRAWING AMANDA is to not let personal ambition blind you. Inky might’ve been suspicious about Megaland way earlier if he wasn’t all about wanting his artwork to be seen. Self-interest can be blinding. It’s big world out there. Take a look, explore, get out of yourself and whatever is bringing you down. And don’t ever think that any one opportunity is your only chance at something – life is both unpredictable and filled with prospects.
It would also be great if the book evoked some interest in the plight of indigenous people. Right now with the World Cup, all eyes are on Brazil. Still few people are writing about how development is destroying land and culture there.
4. We live in a generation that is run by technology and social media, what are some internet safety tips you recommend for teens?
Always ask a lot of questions about the people you meet, whether it’s online or in person. People who are real friends will like that you are interested in them. Creeps will not. If you’re feeling shy about asking stuff, pretend you’re writing a story about them. And when you make a new friend, especially someone online, tell your other friends about it – they’ll help you see if someone’s story doesn’t check out.
A bigger issue – because I think teens are pretty smart – is to think about privacy. It’s time we all made some noise about the information companies – and our governments – gather on us from the apps we use and the sites we visit. We need to stop blindly giving information away, and I hope that teens will be the ones who “get out of my room” to these privacy intrusions.
5. Who inspires you?
There are so many YA writers I read and love, but my real inspiration is a little more old school. I started out in journalism and it is narrative journalists and personal essayists who most inspire me: Susan Sontag, Lester Bangs, Hunter Thompson, Nora Ephron, Joan Didion, all who know how to open the veins of their lives and extract the universal with the personal.
Thank you so much Stephanie for taking the time out to answer my questions! I really appreciate it. Everyone needs to buy a copy of Drawing Amanda now, you won’t regret it. Stephanie’s social media links are below so go follow her. Also if you would like to purchase Drawing Amanda that is linked below as well. Until next post!
Social Media links:
On Twitter: @StephanieFeuer
On Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2…
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author…
On Tumblr: http://www.tumblr.com/blog/stephanief…
And purchasing information: www.bit.ly/DrawingAmanda