Saturday, May 26, 2012

Stephanie Lawton Author Interview

Book Nerd Interview

After collecting a couple English degrees in the Midwest, Stephanie Lawton suddenly awoke in the deepest reaches of the Deep South. Culture shock inspired her to write about Mobile, Alabama, her adopted city, and all the ways Southern culture, history and attitudes seduce the unsuspecting.

A lover of all things gothic, she can often be spotted photographing old cemeteries, historic buildings and, ironically, the beautiful beaches of the Gulf Coast. She also has a tendency to psychoanalyze people, which comes in handy when creating character profiles.

On her thirtieth birthday, she mourned (okay bawled) the fact that in no way could she still be considered a “young adult,” so she rebelled by picking upTwilight and promptly fell in love with Young Adult literature.

She has a love/hate relationship with Mardi Gras –where does all that money come from?–and can sneeze 18 times in a row.

Social Media

Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?

Oddly, no. I wish I could say, "I've dreamt of being a writer since I was in diapers ... " but that's not how it happened. I've always been good with words, but I mainly focused on nonfiction writing. I thought I was going to be an English professor or newspaper copyeditor, and I did both those things briefly. When I had my kids, my professional life got put on hold, and then we moved a thousand miles across the country. Culture shock made me finally attempt fiction writing.

What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?

Want is so heavy, I think people would be surprised to know that I love to make people laugh. My personality is much more like Dave's than any other character! Oh, and I've been skydiving.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?

Teachers are people. I was taught to respect authority, so I spent most of my school years thinking of my teachers as gods. I adored most of them. I got a rude awakening in high school when one teacher was verbally abusive, and another I caught teaching false information. When I confronted him about it (I went and did research -- I'm such a nerd) he said, "Well, it got you to investigate, didn't it?" WORST. EXCUSE. EVER. 

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?

Develop a thick skin and be mentally tough. This is much easier said than done.

Can you tell us when you started Want, how that came about?

I started Want in the spring of 2010, after an experience at a Mardi Gras parade in Mobile, Alabama. There was a really stuck-up woman who was obviously the wife of one of the mystic society members. Even though it was tank-top weather, she was wearing a fur coat, pearls, heels, the whole nine yards, and was extremely rude. She made me so mad that I took a picture of her from behind so I could remember that moment. I began wondering what it must be like to keep up that holier-than-thou attitude all the time, and the toll it would take on her family. I couldn't imagine how horrible it would be to have her as a mother, and that's where Juli came from.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Julianne?

It wasn't until I had shipped Want out to beta readers that one of them said, "You know Juli is textbook Borderline Personality Disorder, right?" I had no idea--I'd just tried to create a character that had issues because of what was happening at home. I imagined what her mindset and reactions would be like. Once she was "diagnosed" by the beta reader, I did more research and added it to the story. It totally fit.

If you could introduce Isaac to any character from another book, who would it be and why?

Hah! Maybe I'd introduce him to Katniss so he could see what real suffering looks like, and how to stand up to your enemies and take responsibility. She'd kick his you-know-what!

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your teen readers. What would it be?

Stop worrying so much about what you aren't and what you think you should be. Embrace who you are and seek out people who like you for it.

When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?

"How are you?" "Fine."

What’s your most missed memory? 

My favorite grandmother (and last remaining grandparent) died a couple months ago. I miss going to her house and reading tabloids with her. We'd giggle over the horrible headlines, and then she'd make grilled cheese and we'd play Yahtzee. She was extremely influential in my life.

What's the worst summer job you've ever had?

Oh, gosh, I was a table busser at a restaurant overlooking Lake Erie. It was sweaty, stinky, back-breaking work. Worse, I had a slimy boss who used to grab my wrist to hold me in place when he wanted to talk to me. I was young so I let him do it, but these days I'd probably crack him across the face if he tried that! *shudders*

When was the last time you cried?

I cry all the time! I'm totally emo, LOL. A good friend had to put his dog down, and my family went through something similar not too long ago, so seeing him so upset made me upset. He texted me a picture when he got his dog's ashes back that said, "Welcome home, Atticus." I lost it.

Most horrifying dream you have ever had?

I have bizarre dreams almost every night, but I can never remember them more than a couple hours after I wake up. The worst involve losing my kids or something bad happening to them. That is truly horrifying and much worse than any monster.

Where can readers stalk you?

I'm totally stalkable! My website is; my Facebook author page is; Twitter handle is @Steph_Lawton; Tumblr is (although I don't use that very much); and my Pinterest (with book inspiration boards) is If all that fails, my email is Stalk away!

Julianne counts the days until she can pack her bags and leave her old-money, tradition-bound Southern town where appearance is everything and secrecy is a way of life. A piano virtuoso, she dreams of attending a prestigious music school in Boston. Failure is not an option, so she enlists the help of New England Conservatory graduate Isaac Laroche.

Julianne can’t understand why Isaac suddenly gave up Boston’s music scene to return to the South. He doesn’t know her life depends on escaping it before she inherits her mother’s madness. Isaac knows he must resist his attraction to a student ten years his junior, but loneliness and jealousy threaten his resolve.

Their indiscretion at a Mardi Gras ball—the pinnacle event for Mobile’s elite—forces their present wants and needs to collide with sins of the past.

Will Julianne accept the help she’s offered and get everything she ever wanted, or will she self-destruct and take Isaac down with her?

You can purchase Want at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Walden Pond Press & Barry for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive one Signed copy of Want by Stephanie Lawton.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I don't play anything T_T
    I sing though... or used to sing :D

    That job sounds horrible!! >.<
    ~high fives~ with the 'How Are You' question :D

    O_O I'm curious now... if you want your character to meet Katniss :D

    OH MY GOD!!
    I swear and repeat! My tear ducts are connected directly to my emotions!! :/
    I think I would've bawled if I ever get texted with exactly what you said... T_T

  2. I can't play any instrument =/
    But I can sing ? (lies, I can't)

    My favorite answer:
    When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
    "How are you?" "Fine."

    Penny Pe

  3. I don't play a musical instrument. I had a failed attempt at playing the euphonium at High School - I know - the most random of instruments! I only took it as it got my out of lessons twice a week! :-)
    Thank you for the giveaway!

  4. I used to play the piano, but stopped taking lessons a few years ago. Nonetheless, sometimes when I have free time I enjoy playing some of favorite songs

  5. i used to play the violin and the flute, i havent played in years tho, and i sing :)
    thanks for the giveaway

  6. No instruments for me but my daughter who is 15 months, and I sing loudly all day long!

  7. No, I don't play a musical instrument. Although I was known to play a mean triangle at school! LOL!

  8. I used to play the piano... :)

  9. I don't really play a musical instrument but I can play a liiiiittle liiiiittle bit flute, drums and piano. :)

  10. I just ordered your book--it sounds wonderful (and it has a gorgeous cover). I'm so proud of you, Stephanie!

    Rebecca Barnhouse

  11. Would love to learn piano :)

  12. I can play the clarinet. I don't play it very often now though :)

  13. I have no musical talent at all!! I can sing (but badly) lol.

  14. I played the piano and cello for a while but I didn't stick with it. I didn't think I was very good at either instrument.

  15. I tried to learn guitar I know the chords but I never tried to play a song, it's VERY confusing.. haha, but I have a keyboard and I'm planning to learn it soon :)

  16. True confession--I played piano for ten years and was OK; French horn and I was decent; tried violin and it sounded like a cat dying a VERY. PAINFUL. DEATH. :P

    Thanks for all the interest in WANT!

  17. Yes! Flute. :D And a little keyboards. ;)

  18. Yes I play guitar and am learning piano. I love music and writing poetry and song lyrics.

  19. I would LOVE to, but I don't, I might learn something someday, but my mom, friends, family and teachers used to say "my voice is an instrument." I'm proud of that.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  20. nope. tried the violin when i was younger but didn't take.

  21. No I dont :) I played 7 years ago for flute but I stopped.
    Thanks for the giveaway:)

  22. Not for a long time. I used to play the trumpet, but then I switched to the flute.

    Great giveaway, as always Jean!

    Thank you!!

  23. I played the trumpet in highschool. :-)

  24. Nop, but I would love to learn to play the piano! (ileana-rafflecopter)

  25. I sing, took piano lessons, tried playing other instruments but ended up being a percussionist for seven years in school. I still wish I could play the piano better, but such is life. Thanks again and have a great day!

  26. No, but I did play clarinet when I was in middle school.

  27. No, but I want to learn how to play the violin or the guitar! =)
    thank you for this giveaway, gbu<3

  28. Yes, I play the guitar and a bit of the piano. Thanks for the giveaway! :)

  29. I played the flute in middle school and high school. I still know how to play but dont do it very often. Thanks for the aweseom giveays!

  30. I can play the guitar a bit.

  31. Not really, I can play a few easy songs on the piano but that's about it lol.

    Thanks for the giveaway.

  32. Wow looks like an amazing book and thanks a million for this!!;))) I do not play anything but I sure wish I could;)


  33. thanks for the awesome giveaway can't wait to read her book i do not play anything i wish i did:):)

  34. I'm learning to play the guitar :3