Jan 5, 2010

Guest Author: Stephanie Burgis

Today I'm thrilled to welcome Stephanie Burgis , author of the upcoming Unladylike Adventures of Kat Stephenson trilogy for readers ten-fifteen. The first book in the trilogy, A Most Improper Magick  will be published April 20, 2010 with Atheneum Books (Simon&Schuster).

Stephanie grew up in East Lansing, Michigan. Today she lives in Yorkshire, England, with her husband and her baby boy,  called Mr. Darcy (isn't that cute?)  In her childhood, her father used to read The Lord of the Rings and Pride and Prejudice to her when she was less than ten years old.
And it was a nice surprise to hear that one side of her family is Croatian! Imagine me staring at my screen and wondering about how small the world is.
Without any further ado, ladies and gentlemen-Stephanie Burgis!

Q: Where did the idea for The Unladylike Adventures of Kat Stephenson, Book One: A Most Improper Magick come from?

I've always loved Regency-era romantic comedies, especially the novels written by Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. In a few of my favorite Regencies, like Austen's Sense and Sensibility and Heyer's Arabella, the romantic heroines have wonderfully disrespectful younger sisters who pop up just long enough to say something snarky to their sisters. In A Most Improper Magick and its sequels, I wanted to make a fun, snarky younger sister the true hero of her own series, rolling her eyes at her romantic older sisters and managing their love lives very efficiently even in the middle of her own magical adventures. :)

Q: How long have you been working on your book?

I first had the idea for A Most Improper Magick back in early 2006, but after writing the first two chapters and having a huge amount of fun with them, I suddenly got nervous and stopped for several months. I was convinced that it wasn't the "smart" book to be writing, and that I ought to be writing something much darker and more "serious". But I missed it so much that I finally gave in and came back to it in the spring 2007, almost a year later.

Now the advance reader's copies are circulating in the wild, and I've only just finished doing the final, final round of revisions (tiny line-edits based on mistakes or inconsistencies we found in the printed ARCs), almost four years after I first started writing it. It's been a total joy for me to spend these years living in Kat's world.

Q: What or who inspires you to write?

My husband, Patrick Samphire, is a wonderful writer - we actually met at a writing workshop, back in 2001 - and he has inspired me to write on so many days when I might not have otherwise. He's my partner in every way, and I feel very, very lucky to have him. :)

Q: Were Kat's siblings inspired by your experience of growing up in a big family?

Definitely YES. :) Her siblings are individually nothing like mine (for one thing, I have two younger brothers, whereas Kat has two older sisters and one much older brother), but I couldn't have created Kat's set of noisy, loving, aggravating, and completely beloved siblings if I hadn't grown up in such a large, close-knit family of my own. My brothers are two of my best friends, and that definitely influenced me in writing Kat's family.

Q: What is the best thing to do when you get writers block?

For me, the best thing to do is to read through the book-so-far and see if I've gone in the wrong direction (which is usually what gives me writers block in the middle of a novel - my subconscious drags me to a halt before I can dig myself in any deeper).

Q: Do you have some rituals when you write (music, a hot drink, a special place...)?

I used to have a LOT of writing rituals - when I was writing A Most Improper Magick, I always read a few of Jane Austen's letters before each writing session to put myself in the right mood, and then I did my writing with a Jane Austen action figure standing on my desk.

Nowadays, since I have a toddler, I have to use my time a lot more efficiently, so I've had to dispense with most of my writing rituals. When I can, though, I like to drink a cup of Earl Grey tea and eat dark chocolate as I write, and I have a specific writing soundtrack for each book which I listen to as I write (at least when I'm not listening out for the baby monitor...).

Q: What are you currently working on (if it's not a secret)? :)

Right now, I'm writing the first draft of Book Three in the Unladylike Adventures of Kat Stephenson and waiting to get the copyedits for Book Two, A Tangle of Magicks.

Q: What was the most difficult thing you've encountered on your road to publication?

Waiting has always been the hardest part. Publishing is a long process, because a lot of different people have to contribute work along the way before the book can finally be published, everything from copyediting to jacket designs and marketing plans. I finished the first draft of A Most Improper Magick in 2007, then found my wonderful agent in May, 2008, and sold it to my editor later that year, but the book won't be published until April, 2010...so basically, as a writer, you have to learn a lot of patience. :)

Q: Who are the authors you admire and who influence you?

I am an obsessive reader, so there are SO MANY writers I admire. My answer could go on forever! :) For The Unladylike Adventures of Kat Stephenson, though, my two main influences have been Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer.

Q: How do you balance being a mother to a toddler and your writing (asking for personal reference)?  :)

This is a really difficult challenge, and I struggle with it all the time. Luckily, my son is still at the age where he naps for 1-2 hours a day, so that's the time I use to write. It's amazing how much can be written in just one hour a day when you're really, really motivated!

Thank you, Stephanie! It's been a pleasure to chat with you! 

Check out this cool trailer below, and make sure to visit Stephanie's homepage. 
There you can read an excerpt, find out more and go behind the scenes of The Most Improper Magick. Other places to connect with Stephanie: on Twitter, Facebook, Livejournal, and Goodreads.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...