Thursday, June 9, 2011
(Someday) Famous YA Author -- Stacey Wallace Benefiel
Here we go--Q and A style!
Question: I loved reading "Glimpse" and I'm just about ready to read the second book in the Zellie Wells Trilogy "Glimmer." I better hurry because book three will be out this summer. How exciting! Tell us a little about the series and what inspired you to write it.
Answer: The Zellie Wells Trilogy is about a pastor's daughter with psychic powers. That's the core of it. My sister and the show Roswell are what inspired me to write Glimpse. We were both big Roswell fans and when the show ended, my sister encouraged me to try to write something like it. I didn't want to write about aliens and I was afraid of messing up the lore of vampires or faeries or anything like that. So, I made up my own powers and applied them to a girl who was very much how I was when I was young.
Question: Zellie comes from a Christian family and goes to church. Have you had much criticism for bringing religion into the stories?
Answer: I grew up in a religious household and went to church three times a week. Many of my friends went to my church and it was a large part of my social life. What I wanted to convey in the books was that someone, even a pastor's daughter, could both be a regular teenager and a Christian. And then I threw in some powers that seriously messed with both of those sides of Zellie. I haven't had any criticism for bringing religion into the stories. Most of the criticism I get is about the sexuality in the books and I think this is moreso because Zellie is a pastor's daughter. Again, my aim is to make her a regular, well-rounded teenager and it's been my experience that crushing on boys in Youth Group is just the same as crushing on a boy in your English class.
Question: What are your plans after Zellie's story is finished? Will you continue writing YA?
Answer: I actually never set out to write YA. When I wrote the first draft of Glimpse in 2005, I didn't really know what YA was. Glimpse started out as a Family Saga, but through many editing suggestions from prospective agents and publisher's, it became YA. I think a better term for what I write is Crossover. My books are for older teens and beyond. I do have more plans to write within the Zellie world - Ben, a character introduced in Glimmer is getting his own spin-off. I don't, however, know if I will write what other people consider to be YA. I think I maybe broke a few too many YA rules. :)
Question: How long have you lived in the Pacific NW and what do you love best about living here?
Answer: I moved to the Pacific NW in 1993 to attend U of O in Eugene. I lived there for four years and then moved up to Portland for a little less than a year. I did a four year stint in Los Angeles and then moved back up to the Portland area in 2002. I love a lot of things about living here. I like rain. No. I really do. I'm one of those people that gets sunburnt from being outside for five minutes. I love being able to go to the beach, the mountains, the desert or the city all within less than a day's drive. What I enjoy most about the Pacific NW is that I feel like I belong here more than I ever felt like I belonged in Missouri. I was a weirdo in Missouri. Here, I'm pretty normal. :)
I interrupt this wonderful Q and A dialogue (are you surprised?) to say that OMG! I ♥ this answer! Rain is AWESOME and I'm so happy we have the same outlook on this subject. As many know, I love similarities and we are totally similar now! The Pacific NW Rocks. There is no such thing as weird here. Have you watched Portlandia? Exactly. Okay, I'm done. Back to the Q and A.
Question: Why is your house orange on purpose if your favorite color is green?
Answer: An excellent question with an easy answer. Our neighbors painted their house green about two weeks before we were going to paint ours. Orange is my second favorite color. Now, the neighbors house is painted this weird eggplant brown color and totally clashes with ours. The orange paint job still looks good, though, and it was really hard work painting a whole house, so it's gonna have to clash for a few more years.
Thanks for the interview! Fun questions!
ORANGE and GREEN are totally cool. You should invite me over and we can paint green and orange rainbows on the sidewalks. :) I'm going to crack open my Kindle to read Glimmer now to find out more about this Ben character. Is he that one guy who did that one thing during that one part in Glimpse? Do we ever get to see that guy again?
Thank you, Stacey, for participating in the interview. And thank you, the readers, for checking us out.
For links to Stacey's Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook and to purchase her books, please visit her website: http://staceywallacebenefiel.com/