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Interview with Stephanie Morrill and Jill Williamson {and a giveaway}



     I would like to welcome Stephanie Morrill and Jill Williamson to my blog today! I am so excited that they took the time to do an interview with me. Here is a little bit about them: 


     Stephanie Morrill and Jill Williamson have written a combined two dozen speculative and contemporary novels for teens. They also blog obsessively at www.goteenwriters.com. When not writing or blogging, they can be found at the teen table at writer's conferences or wherever chocolate is being given away. Come hang out with Stephanie at www.stephaniemorrill.com and Jill at www.jillwilliamson.com.


Why did you choose the genre that you did?


Stephanie: I feel like “contemporary young adult” chose me, honestly. I wanted to write deep, serious books that might get studied in English classes … but I never had any ideas for deep, serious books, so that flopped. My ideas, even after high school, were always for stories about girls and the boys they liked and the complications in their family.


Jill: Because I’m weird! Ha ha. Seriously, though, my brain is always way “out there,” imagining strange things. I could have probably done okay writing a historical genre or mystery/suspense, but I think that speculative fiction is the best match for me. There is nothing more entertaining than creating an entire world of my own.



What is your favorite part of the writing process?


Stephanie: I adore the brainstorming and writing the first couple scenes. That’s when the story feels the easiest, and when it feels so fresh and fun that it’ll be a breeze to write. Around chapter three, reality sets in… I love the rest of the process too, but it takes a bit more work.



Jill: Editing. I hate writing that first draft. It’s super painful for me. Even though I’ve put in time brainstorming, I’m still learning who my characters are and creating my storyworld. But once I get the thing done, then I can play. I can go in and make things better, add plot twists and characterization. It’s the best time for me. It’s much less stressful. Sequel first drafts are easier for me than book ones or standalones.



What is one author who you wish you could model your writing after?


Stephanie: Oh, that’s so tough! The first author I remember marveling at was Barbara Kingsolver when my English class read The Bean Trees. I thought if I could learn to describe things half as well as she did, I could be happy. I really admire literary writers like Lisa Samson, who have such beautiful language and imagery. And writers who weave in poetry like Janet Finch did with White Oleander. My own style is fairly straight-forward, though. Sigh.



Jill: I’d say J.K. Rowling, but not because of her craft. It’s because of her innovation in creating her storyworld and plot twists. From the moving faces on newspapers to flying airplanes at the Ministry of Magic to the cool plot twists in book three … she thought of everything. And it delighted me. I always strive to create such a strong storyworld and plot when I write.



What is your favorite part about being an author?


Stephanie: The writing. I love other parts to—like hearing from my readers or being able to teach. But writing is the one part of my job that I would never, ever give up. Even if I never had another book published, I would still be writing them.



Jill: Creating new storyworlds is my favorite. It’s so much fun. I could sit for months, daydreaming up a new land and the people in it and what’s going to happen to them. It’s better than Disneyland. I mean, wow. This is my job! How cool is that?



If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel that you would change?


Stephanie: Oh, probably. I never read my books after their published because I know I would see stuff that I wish I could change. It’s hard to let go!


Jill: Yes! I would change tons of things. And I agree with Stephanie. It’s painful to go back and read my old books because I see things that I’d do differently now, but I can’t.



Have you ever written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?


Stephanie: Yes! Two of them, actually, though I haven’t tried very hard yet so hopefully once I brush them up a bit, they’ll have a chance of seeing the light of day.



Jill: Sure. So far, both of those are contemporary novels with no speculative elements. They’re normal! And publishers and readers don’t want normal from me. Someday, maybe. But for now, I have to keep writing weird things.



Tell us about your upcoming book?


Stephanie: Go Teen Writers: How to Turn Your First Draft into a Published Book is the first non-fiction book either of us have ever written. It was born out of the joy we find in working with teen writers. We both get asked so often about how to get published and the topic is so big that we decided to write a book tackling the process of making your first draft into a book someone will want to publish.



Aside from the Go Teen Writers book, I have a new fiction release coming out in May called The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet. It’s about a teenage girl who gets left behind by her friends when they enter high school, so she copes by writing them into a book. It was so fun to write, and hopefully that means it’ll be fun to read too!



Jill: I, too, have the Go Teen Writers book. But besides that, I have Captives releasing soon. It’s a dystopian novel about three brothers whose village is conquered. The survivors are taken captive into a crazy city called The Safe Lands, that’s not at all safe. And the brothers have to try and rescue their people and get them out before bad things happen. That might sound a little vague, but I don’t want to give too much away. *wink* Click here to read more about the book on Amazon.com.

This is me with my copy!


Stephanie and Jill are also giving away a free download of their book Go Teen Writers: How to turn your first draft into a published book!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Comments

  1. I'm completely with Jill on the writing process one :P AAAHH, first drafts! xD

    Awesome interview questions, Alyson! :D I really enjoyed reading this!

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    1. Thank you! I am glad you enjoyed it : )

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  2. This is so cool! :) I definitely will be entering!

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  3. I'm also with Jill on this one. First drafts are the hardest things ever.

    Thanks for hosting this giveaway!

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    1. Your welcome. I have struggled with first drafts as well. I do plan on talking about how I got through them in my Wednesday post.

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  4. Hi Jill,

    What you said about your first draft is definitely true. I'm working on my first draft: it's hard to don't change all the things you want to. You know, details and things...

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    1. I have a hard time keep writing my first draft and not go back and fix everything I hate : ) I will talk more about this in my Wednesday post.

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    2. Great! Can't wait to see that...

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  5. Thanks for the interview! I agree with Mrs. Morrill about the brainstorming and first few scenes being my favorite part of writing. I love it when the ideas are fresh in my mind and I feel like I could just write forever.

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    1. That is my favorite part of the writing process too!

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    2. It's so great, isn't it, Sarah?

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  6. I am so glad that you decided to write a book to help out us teens!

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    1. I have read it, and it is a HUGE help! They are awesome!

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  7. I love editing/revising better than first drafts, too! :)

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  8. Thanks Alyson for an awesome interview! Also, Jill, you could consider using a pseudonym or your two "normal" novels ;)

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  9. Love J.K. Rowling. I really hope I can win this book! :D

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    1. I have never read any of her books, but my friend tells me all about them. I don't think I could ever be that creative : )

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    2. Oh, you have to read them! The Harry Potter series is my favorite book series EVER.

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  10. I'm with Stephanie! I LOVE writing the beginning of a new story. It just makes me so exited to be starting something new and exciting. I can't wait to read the Go Teen Writers book!

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    1. I have to agree. The story flows with so much enjoyment in the beginning! And then I get to the middle, Ugh. But, the GTW book has a section on middles with is really helpful!

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    2. Great! That will be really helpful!

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  11. Thanks for the interview, Alyson! I should be working on a first draft right now, but I'm procrastinating! Bad, Jill! *hands head in shame*

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    1. I absolutely love how you get mad at yourself in third person : ) And, your welcome. It was a lot of fun coming up with questions for you two. You both have helped me so much in my own writing.

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  12. You guys really are awesome ^.^ I can't wait for your guest at my blog tomorrow! :)

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  13. Great interview! I'm also always amazed at how detailed JK Rowling's storyworld is. I feel like I would forget all those rules and spells and have to have a chart with all of them or something. :)

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    1. I find charts help me so very much : ) I tend to forget all the little things I said in the very beginning of the story.

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  14. Awesome interview! Both Stephanie and Jill are awesome. ^_^

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    1. So is the Go Teen Writers community!

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  15. Ugh, editing is so hard for me! My hat is off to those who adore it because editing takes way more time that drafting for me.

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    1. I don't like editing much, either. I like the creative process best, where you don't have to worry about rules or agents or any of that. I don't like the technical stages as much.

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    2. I don't mind editing. I am the kind of person that just has to get through the first draft so I can breathe.

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  16. I hate the editing part, I have to admit. It's really really hard. I LOVE planning, and coming up with new ideas. That and writing the first draft is the best part of writing. :)

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    1. I love the reworking part of editing, but I don't like the grammar, word choice, and line by line editing. That drives me nuts.

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  17. I'm entering, I love Go Teen Writers

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  18. I'm so excited about this book! I've been reading Go Teen Writers for awhile now (over a year, at least) and have found it to be so incredibly helpful. I've looked at tips on other blogs, but haven't found anything that's remotely close to having as much info as Go Teen Writers. Thanks so much, ladies!

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    1. I have found the GTW book to be extremely helpful! I always have it on hand!

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  19. I love this! Thanks guys for doing this. I also think that the start of a story is so thrilling. It's a new world and you're still setting it up in your mind. But yes, it does get harder as you go further along but that's what makes it fun.

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    1. I love building my story world for a new book!

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  20. It's encouraging to see people that love editing... and creating the story-world is my absolute favorite part as well! Even writing has its low times and stress, but worldbuilding - I feel like I can just sit back and dream. It's wonderful.

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  21. I'm definitely with Mrs. Morrill on loving the writing part! Even if I never get published, I will be a writer for the rest of my life! :D

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    1. Absolutely! Couldn't have said it better.

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  22. Really interesting interview! Learned a lot, thanks! ^_^

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  23. This was really interesting. I liked it a lot. I wish I loved editing ... at least, maybe someday soon I hopefully won't hate it as much? I love the magic of first drafts. Thanks for the interview, guys!

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  24. Stephanie and Jill, you're awesome :) Haha. Sorry, that was one of the criteria for leaving a blog comment in order to be entered in the giveaway. But I love your tips on writing, and Go Teen Writers is a great reference point for all of us.

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    1. It has been an extreme help for me too : )

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  25. Those were really good interview questions! And great answers, too, of course. :) Go Teen Writers is awesome.

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  26. Very cool post. :] I can't wait to for Captives. The Go Teen Writers book looks awesome too!

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    1. I had Captives preordered weeks ago. I can't wait either.

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  27. Ooh, it sounds like it would be SO painful to read part of one of my stories and then find someing that I want to change... and to be unable to change it. I don't really blame you for not reading your published things! But I actually enjoy reading what I have done far in my WIP for fun, so it would be sad to not read it anymore.

    Great interview - I enjoyed reading it!

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    1. I know that if I get my books published, I wouldn't be able to read them.

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  28. I am going to order a copy of Captives as soon as I finish the book I am reading for school! It looks so good!

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  29. Awesome post! I'm really excited for both The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet and Captives. :D

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  30. Oh! I love reading Jill and Stephanie's blog posts! I never miss one!

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    1. Thanks, Jennie! What a compliment :)

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    2. You are very welcome!

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  31. You book is such a great thing! I cannot wait to read it!m you guys are awesome! I am excited to read it!

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    1. It really is a great help for writers!

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  32. Thanks for doing this interview guys! It was great!

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  33. Great interview! Jill and I have similar reasons for choosing Speculative Fiction

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  34. Awesome interview! I literally just discovered their site and am now in love.

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  35. Wow I really liked this post!

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