Saturday, July 11, 2015

Author Interview + Giveaway: Stephanie and Holland

Mother/Daughter writing team Stephanie Taylor and Holland Burris were kind enough to answer some of my questions today! Please welcome them to the blog.

How did you get the inspiration for your book? (Holland) Well, I think it was last summer, and I wanted to write a story by hand because I didn't know how to type. I asked my mom if she could type it up for me after I wrote it on paper, but then we got an idea to actually make a series together. I got the idea to write stories about different girls from the "American Girl" books. (Stephanie) To add on to that, we sort of quickly jumped from "stories about girls" to "stories about girls who come to America." At the end of last school year, Holland was studying the pioneer experience and was fascinated by that, so I think we felt like writing something contemporary about girls her age, and then mixing in that pioneer spirit, would give us the basis for a really cool series.

Could you talk a bit about your writing process/experience? (Holland) I come up with the big ideas for the characters, and then my mom is good at details. (Stephanie) We sit down together to draft (side-by-side, usually!) and then we talk our way through the scenes as I type. She keeps me in check in terms of what we're saying and doing, and if something seems off for the age of our characters and readers, she lets me know!

If you could jump into the world of your favorite book, who would you be and what would you do? (Holland) Percy Jackson is my favorite! I would be my own character. I like a lot of the characters, but I'd want to be me...and also one of the main heroes of "Heroes of Olympus"! (Stephanie) One of my favorite books ever is "Replay" by Ken Grimwood. The premise is that a man dies over and over again at the exact same moment in time, but each time he wakes up, he comes back as his younger self at a different point in his life. It would be terrifying to wake up over and over again in your own life not knowing when or where you are, but also fascinating to get to relive things with the wisdom and different vantage point that age and experience bring.

Are you currently working on any projects? (Stephanie) We're working on book #2 of the "American Dream Series". Book 1 focuses on Iris from the Netherlands as her family moves to California, but book 2 is about a girl named Mai from Tokyo. Her family moves to Hawaii to help save her aunt and uncle's restaurant, but they're also looking for a fresh start after Mai loses her arm to cancer.

What is something that surprises people about you? (Holland) People are surprised that we're really a mother-daughter team, and that we write books together even though I'm just starting middle school!

What is the most important thing being a writer has taught you? (Holland) In our series of books, it's taught me about being myself. People in middle school want to fit in, but we write about just being yourself, honestly. (Stephanie) Being a writer has taught me to take charge of my own destiny. I've always wanted to write professionally, and I learned that through the magic of indie-publishing, we could get our work out into the world and make it exactly what we want it to be. From there, it's just a combination of luck, tenacity, discipline, and fairy dust.

If your book were made into a movie, what would the tag line on the poster say? "What's YOUR American Dream?"

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Twelve-year-old Iris Beekman loves photography, her family, and her life in Holland. She DOESN’T love having divorced parents, the panic attacks she’s had since Dad left, or the news that her mom just got a job teaching at Stanford University in America. With their beloved grandma in tow, Iris and her siblings move to California with their mom to start their new life. But can Iris’s older brother get his three-part plan to reunite their parents off the ground in time to break up Dad and his girlfriend? Will Iris be able to keep her anxiety in check when Mom starts dating a fellow professor? And will the family pull together or fall apart when tragedy strikes? 

Join Iris as she goes in search of her American Dream.

Author bio:
Stephanie Taylor and Holland Burris are a mother-daughter author team from the Pacific Northwest. Together they write the "American Dream" series about young girls and their families who move to the United States.

Stephanie is a high school teacher who loves sushi, "The Golden Girls", Depeche Mode, orchids, and coffee. Holland is a middle-schooler who swims competitively, loves animals, jumping on the trampoline, making her parents laugh, and every creative aspect of storytelling. 

Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases. 

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