JR: I am with Stephanie Campbell for this months Author Outtakes. Tell me a little about yourself and your projects.
SC: Hello! I’m the author of the novel Until We Meet Again, the first in a three part series. I wrote the book when I was fifteen years old, and I got it published at seventeen. Now, at eighteen years of age, I am currently studying at a university. I want to become a middle school English teacher at a Japanese army base. (You not only get better money with the exchange program, but you get your housing paid for as well. Plus, I’ve always wanted to live in Japan.)
JR: Japan? Wow. You definitely have your priorities straight. Hell, I can’t remember what I was doing at eighteen. Good for you.
JR: Who is your favorite character in a book, other than one of your own, and why?
SC: I love Artemis Fowl. There is just something so amazing about having the bad guy be the main character. I mean, there is always this line between good and evil. All story plots seem to have the same basic encoding as well: Good guy discovers evil plot, tries to stop it, and then he wins the game. It’s so refreshing to be able to root for the bad guy!
JR: Yeah, that’s why Scarface is one of my all time favorite movies. The good guys can’t always win.
JR: What is your outlook on the publishing industry at this point, considering how closed it is to new authors, and how do you think this will change in the near future?
JC: I don’t like how publishing companies are so closed to new writers. I hear that only ten percent of the letters that are sent in by unpublished authors are actually read. How is new talent supposed to be discovered if the publishing industry is so close-minded? Furthermore, many books with interesting plots are turned down because the book happens to be a ‘genre bender.’
JR: I completely agree. It’s funny when you think about it. They only want to deal with literary agents but even literary agents reply to submissions. It is ridiculous.
JR: Ok. Don’t try to argue with me about authors being a little insane because I know they are. But how do you get to your happy place in order to write on your books?
JC: I agree with you. Authors are insane, myself included, but I think that is what makes us better at being writers. If everyone could be an author, there would be billions more books in the world…And, on to the question, I find that I don’t really need any help to get into my happy place. I can be anywhere, from my room to a funeral, and I will find myself making stories in my head. (This has a tendency to get inconvenient, in fact. Do you know how many times I zone out only to realize that I just daydreamed the entire class period away!?)
JR: You are really insane. But without people like you, I would never have anything to publish.
JR: In your opinion, why do authors have such a hard time hitting writing goals and deadlines?
JC: Since authors get very little money for what they do, it is usually a second job. Between going to work, being with the family and having fun, sometimes (not for me personally, but for many.) writing may be pushed to the side. It is understandable, considering how much is shoved in each day.
JR: Are you trying to say I should be more understanding?
JC: No, not at all! Writing is a job as much as anything else. If you want to be a writer, you have to make some sacrifices. (Such as opting out on going to the movies so that you can finish your work.)
JR: How hard is it for you to have your book looked at critically before going to print and who does that for you?
JC: It is a bit difficult, mostly because you spent so much time on your book and it feels like it’s a big part of you. I would much rather have somebody insult my appearance or my intelligence rather than my book, if that were to tell you anything. I think that your book should be a piece of you when it’s finished. (At least that’s how it is for me.)
My editor was a woman named Christie Valdez. She was a very nice woman who was patient with me, helping even when some people term me ‘still a baby.’ At least that’s what they call me at book signings.
JR: What are the positives and negatives of publishing through Outskirts Press thus far?
JC: The people are all so wonderful and supportive! They help you get your book ready, going out of their way to give you advice even when you change your mind for the thousandth time. Of course, the money thing is a bit of a problem, but it really is the best of the vanity presses. (In my opinion.)
JR: What do you do when you are trying to write and your phone keeps ringing off the hook or your neighbor’s dog is constantly barking ruining your focus?
JC: I have a bit of a temper, which comes with being a redhead (Just kidding). I would unplug the phone, or, if it was a telemarketer, hang up on them…(Yes, I know. It’s not very nice.)
JC: I would have more trouble with the dog. Probably I would slam all the windows in the house shut, preferring it being hot rather than noisy.
JR: How do you overcome writer’s block?
JC: I’ve never had it, to be honest. If I get frustrated or bored with a story, I’ll write something else just for fun then come back to it later. I would much rather have writing remain something that is my ‘savior,’ if you will.
JR: I like you more and more as this interview progresses.
JR: What is your biggest “quirk” as a writer?
JC: I like to try out lines from my book to see if they are actually funny in real life, even if it has absolutely nothing to do with the conversation at hand.
JR: Ha Ha. That is hilarious. How do people respond?
JC: Since I’m the type of person who spews out weird things almost constantly, mostly they just laugh and shrug their shoulders. Anyone who’s been my friend for more than five minutes understands that I’m ‘Just being Stephanie.’ People have come to expect it.
JR: What writer do you respect the most?
JC: J.K. Rowling, because she inspired a whole generation, myself included, to read. She worked through the hard times of her divorce by doing something productive, and she is an amazing person for being able to do that. If I ever met her in person, I would probably pee on myself. She’s my hero.
JR: Now calm down. I don’t want to you pee yourself.
JR: What would you change about the industry if you could change only one thing?
JC: I would want publishers to accept more new authors. There is so much new talent out there if they only bothered to look.
JR: If you had three wishes, what would they be?
I want to become a national bestseller.
I want to live in Japan.
I want people to actually love each other, not fight all the time.
JR: Tell me something about yourself that no one would believe about you.
JC: I dislike bubble gum ice cream. (Not exactly exciting, I know.)
JR: What? Bubble gum ice cream is great.
JC: Exactly! I’m a freak of nature.
JR: Now is your turn to ask me anything you would like?
JC: Boxers or briefs? (Just kidding. You don’t have to answer that…)
JR: I don’t mind. Boxer briefs actually.
Michael Vick…I think his dogs should eat off his face. (No, not really.) Still, dog fighting is sick. He shouldn’t be allowed to do that, and I’m glad he got prison charges.
I think Obama’s plan for health care…It might work if he tweaked it a little.
My celebrity crush is…The star from The Dark Knight (Christian Bale). There is just something about a guy on a sleek motorcycle that makes women say ‘Wow, Mama!’
People who know me would say I…They would tell me I don’t know what reality looks like. Too true…
David Beckham should…Grow out his hair. He looks scary with his haircut.
My last meal would be…Everything. I eat like a pig.