Continuing the interview series, I have an interview today with Stephanie Kate Strohm, author of eight books, the most recent being That’s Not What I Heard. I have read every single one of her books, and I have freaking loved all of them.
Here’s a bit about Stephanie:
Stephanie Kate Strohm is the author of It’s Not Me, It’s You; The Taming of the Drew; Pilgrims Don’t Wear Pink; Confederates Don’t Wear Couture; The Date to Save, Prince in Disguise, Love a la Mode,and That’s Not What I Heard. She grew up on the Connecticut coast, where a steady diet of Little House on the Prairie turned her into a history nerd at an early age. After graduating with a joint major in theater and history from Middlebury College, she acted her way around the country, performing in more than 25 states.
Although she was born in New York, she currently lives in Chicago, and doesn’t discriminate against any type of pizza. When she’s not writing, she loves baking, walking her dog Lorelei, taking dance cardio classes too seriously, and playing board games with her husband.
And here’s a bit about Stephanie’s most recent book:
What did you hear?
Kimberly Landis-Lilley and Teddy Lin are over. Yes, the Kim and Teddy broke up.
At least that’s what Phil Spooner thinks he overheard and then told Jess Howard, Kim’s best friend. Something about Teddy not liking Kim’s Instas? Or was it that Teddy is moving to Italy and didn’t want to do long distance? Or that Kim slid into someone else’s DMs?
Jess told her boyfriend, Elvis, that he needs to be on Kim’s side. Especially if he wants to keep her as his girlfriend. But Elvis is also Teddy’s best friend.
Now, Kim’s run out of school for the day. Jess is furious. Elvis is confused. And half the lunch period won’t talk to Teddy. Even the teachers have taken sides.
William Henry Harrison High will never be the same again!
And now for the interview!
That’s Not What I Heard is probably the funniest book I’ve ever read. I know that you briefly worked as a teacher. Did any of your experiences impact how you crafted this book?
My year and a half working at a high school informed EVERYTHING about the teacher scenes – even down to the PE teachers eating a whole rotisserie chicken every lunch. I started midway through the year, and I was shocked by how much being in the teachers lounge reminded me of being back in high school – and even more shocked by how much the teachers knew about all the students’ social lives! (And also, by how many teachers fell in love and got married!) I’d wanted to write a YA that included some of high school from the teachers’ perspective ever since I started teaching, so I’m so glad I finally got the chance to. Ms. Somers’ POV was my favorite one to write.
You have an (adorable) one year old. How has his presence impacted your writing career?
My son has changed everything about my life, including my writing. I used to only write when I felt like it, and then when I did feel like it, I’d write in giant, uninterrupted chunks. Now, my process is completely different. I write every single day (thanks, nap time!) and I usually only write 500 words – before baby, I thought that 500 words was nothing. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that it added up more quickly that I would have guessed! Writing has become a slow and steady process, but I’m making it work. The other big change is that I find it harder to find the time to dedicate to social media – and that I need to make sure events will at least cover the cost of a babysitter before I commit! I love doing festivals and panels and school visits, but it’s a little more challenging to schedule everything now.
If you could choose exactly one of your books to become a movie/tv series, which one would it be and why?
This is tough, but if I could only choose one, it would be Prince in Disguise, because i LOVE Christmas movies!! White Christmas is my all-time favorite, but I spend most of December glued to the Hallmark Channel. Name a made for TV Christmas movie, and I’ve probably seen it!
It’s Not Me, It’s You and The Date to Save both are told through an oral history type of style. What were the main challenges of this and your favorite parts of utilizing that style?
The biggest challenge was being able to move the plot along without exposition – I definitely got the hang of it eventually, but it was a process! My favorite part was not having to write any exposition, hahahaha – the oral history style is basically all dialogue, which is my favorite thing to write!
You have some extensive history working as an actress. How would say that this has impacted you as a writer?
And back to dialogue, I think the reason I love writing it so much is because of my background as an actor. I really like getting into characters’ voices, and I think it helped give me a sense of what dialogue sounds natural and what sounds stilted. Plus, I like to think it helped develop my sense of comic timing and how to pace a joke.
If you could co-write a book with another author, living or dead, who would you pick and why?
Emily Bronte. Wuthering Heights, now with LOLZ!
Thank you so much to Stephanie for her time!!
And here’s some links to check out her works!!