Sunday, May 24, 2009

Interview with YA author, Michelle Stimpson

Today I welcome author, Michelle Stimpson to Urban Christian Fiction Today. Michelle is one of several women's fiction authors who also writes for the young adult market.

Michelle, introduce yourself to my readers. Hi, Rhonda’s readers! I’m Michelle Stimpson – a wife, a mother, an educator, and a writer. I live and worship in the Dallas area. I’m a native Texan and I enjoy getting together with my girlfriends for fun and relaxation. I’ve been writing since I was twelve years old, when I started keeping a regular diary to deal with the sudden absence of my mother, who was severely injured in an auto accident. During her recovery, I started journaling to deal with the stress of suddenly being the “little mother” of the family. I’m so thankful that God kept me with the gift of writing and the Holy Spirit protected me from all the other harm the enemy intended for me while my parents were busy dealing with my mother’s recovery. I just Bless Him for being a fence all around me!

Tell us about your debut young adult novel, Trouble In My Way. Trouble In My Way is a novel about 16-year-old Karis Reed who wants to the right thing, but sometimes trouble does get in the way – especially when her mother (a women’s minister) reads her diary! Karis’s mother finds out that Karis went to a young man’s house, unauthorized, and that’s where the trouble begins. The funny thing about Karis is that she really doesn’t see the problem with doing things her way. In fact, maybe if her mother’s rules weren’t so strict, Karis wouldn’t have to lie and sneak around! I think it’s a fun, poignant read for both mothers and daughters.

I’m laughing because I remember my mother would question me about things in my life and I assumed she was psychic. It never occurred to me that she was reading my diary. LOL. Tell me what inspired you to throw your hat into the young adult market. Actually, I’ve always write something for teens. In fact, my first fiction pieces (short stories) were written for young adults when I was teaching high school. I had been toying around with the idea when I sat down with ReShonda Tate-Billingsley in late 2006, shortly after the release of her first young adult novel. She encouraged me to give it a try and even referred me to her agent. (Thanks, ReShonda!) Once I got started on the manuscript, the rest was history.

Tell us about the main character, Karis. What sets her apart from her peers and why do teens need to know her story? Karis is a good girl at heart. She knows right from wrong and she’s been raised in the church, so she knows what God has to say about being obedient to her parents. But according to Karis, the problem with her parents (who are divorced) is that her mother is too strict, and her father is dating a woman who isn’t much older than Karis. Add drama with boys, friends, and driver’s-ed – and you’ve got the wild and crazy life of Karis Reed! The thing about Karis is that she knows better. Knowing better makes all the difference.

Teens need to read this book to take a peek into the life of another young person who is facing some of the same struggles and know that God is concerned about teens’ lives as much as adults. My hope is that readers will journey through Karis’s crazy tale and discover the importance of integrity right along with her.

I’m impressed that with adult fiction writers who are able to capture the young adult voice. I’ve tried with no success to find my inner teen. :o) Tell me how you do it, Michelle. One of the things that helps me is to go back and review all of those diaries I kept as a teen. When I read them, I recall the voice, the logic, the intense emotions, the newness of experiences and situations that I now recognize almost immediately as an adult. It’s a very refreshing perspective and it helps to get into the mindset of a teenager.

Ha, ha, ha - I go back and read my diaries and wonder why I wasn't medicated. Drama!

Anything else you’d like to share? Just want to encourage readers to pick up a copy and share it with a blessed young lady with a wonderful, bright future ahead of her!

Tell readers how they may find you on the Internet.

Make sure to also check out Michelle's adult novels. She weaves a compelling tale with lots of great plot twist and awesome character development. I highly recommend her novels. As a matter of fact I did in my list of the best Christian Fiction authors at the beginning of 2009.


La Monica R. Smith said...

Congrats to Michelle for diving into YA fiction. I am so excited to see YA Christian fiction blowing up for our teens and for middle-aged readers like me who can't get enough! lol

Kristen said...

I just want to thank Michelle for writing young adult fiction that is spiritual and teaches good values. I remember how hard it was as a teenager to find clean books to read. So, thank you for setting an example. I found a novel you might enjoy yourself called Three Women, Three Mentors, One Plane. The values of integrity, faith, love, and commitment are revealed throughout this novel and are very essential to every age.