Hello readers and friends. It seems that the blog tours just keep on happening. Just a few weeks ago I took part in Stacy O’Steen’s book blog tour and reviewed her novel, “Endless Days of Summer.” The link below will take you to the review. Stacy is here today to chat about her life as well as her book. She has a lot of great things to say so read on.
“Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Unknown
I love this quote so much I have it tattooed on me. I originally thought it was from Gandhi but found out later that wasn’t true (thankfully before I got the tattoo with his name at the end) but I like the quote because it implies the individual effort that has to be put in by every person in order for the world to be a better place for all. You can’t just sit back and watch and hope that things go your way. Make a difference, make a change.
What is “Endless Days of Summer” about?
There are so many things that are talked about in “Endless Days of Summer”. Let’s be real, I’m a bit long winded but I think the main theme is Penelope’s path to self-discovery. I don’t know many people who had a perfect first year of college. It’s a time of change and figuring yourself out—by yourself. Exploring the new world and freedom of college life are vital to Penelope’s self-discovery, and even though she falls down quite a few times she learns she can pick herself back up and who can help her hobble along until she can run again.
What or who inspired you to write “Endless Days of Summer?”
Ah, inspiration, the elusive muse that dances in my dreams at night and speeds away during the waking hour.
There were a lot of things that went into the story from my personal experiences. I think one of the biggest things for me though, was to write a character who was asexual. And not like well-established in life and in her sexuality, but just figuring it out like I was. I wrote “Endless Days of Summer” when I had only recently realized I was asexual. It was important for me to give a voice to my fears and the feelings I hadn’t known what to do with when I was younger.
I have also always (secretly) wanted to write something that could change a life. Not millions of them or even a few, but maybe one. Help one person know they’re not alone, to write a story meant to help and not hurt. Maybe that’s narcissistic but that’s a dream of mine.
Me: You are an inspiration and this story is spreading your vision.
What was the deciding factor for your book title? Did it just come to you or did you try different ones?
There were many titles that came before “Endless Days of Summer.” The working title was actually Hard Truths which, let’s face it, needed to go. It was actually my niece’s idea to use a play on the word summer, so shout out to Kaileigh Doyal. I can’t even tell you how many titles we went through with Summer in them, but I was sitting there one night, staring off into space instead of editing, and it just came to me. I can’t remember if it had been something I had talked to my niece about or not, if she came up with it or not but there you go. Sometimes people on the outside of your fiction are useful. =P
What traits were you looking for when you were creating the main character for your story?
Well, you see, this question implies that I had a plan. I did not. I have a confession to make. I am a pantser. I wrote “Endless Days of Summer” for Nanowrimo 2013 and spent the better part of a year editing it and making it what it became (not alone might I add). Therefore on November 1st 2013, I popped open my laptop with a name (Penelope) and a sexuality (Asexual) the rest I pantsed. It was thrilling to watch Penelope become the woman she was but I just as much as anyone else, learned who she was as I went through the story.
Click the link for more information on Nanowrimo 2013
Can you describe the main character’s best friend’s words of wisdom?
Noah is a special breed of human. He has a wealth of knowledge inside him that is way beyond his years. He almost always has some sage advice for Penelope when she’s going through a rough time but at the same time he’s fun and light-hearted. I think Noah is who I would like to grown up to be.
One of the things I struggle with is addressed in the following quote. Noah says this in a conversation with Penelope:
“You need to make a decision. Don’t consider me. Don’t consider her. Don’t consider school, family or whatever else you are using to put stress on this decision. Only think about you, how you feel and what you want. You can’t control anything more than yourself, so you shouldn’t even try to.”
Truly knowing that you can only control yourself and your actions is a big struggle for me so this was a slap in the face. Snarky little Noah!
Did you do any types of writing while you were in school? If so, did you receive any awards or recognition for your work?
I never really enjoyed writing for school, but I also never really took any creative writing classes that I can recall. I wrote angsty poetry as a teen and I had a college English professor who was kind enough to read some and give me feedback. She also encouraged me to submit to the school’s poetry competition in which I won an honorable mention but that was the extent of my writing career until now.
Was there anyone, in your life who was an inspiration for you to write? If so, what did they do?
I never had any one person constantly inspire me to write. I had some, like my partner, who inspired me to chase my dreams no matter what they were and some who encouraged me to write for a short while until November was over. =P There are a few people I admired for their ability and dedication and tried to set my standard to where I held them but that was mostly a recipe for disaster. Life lesson: Don’t compare yourself to others, only compare who you are now to who you used to be. The same goes for writing.
Some say the eyes are the windows to our soul. If you could see into yours what would you see?
Breaking out the hard questions now. So my answer to this will be in two parts. The first part I want to explain what a Johari window is, for this is how I think of souls. Matter of fact, I’ll just give you a picture, everyone likes pictures:
Tada! Okay, so now we have a window to my soul. And if the above is to understood, then I can only tell you about the open part. I believe I am honest and caring. Maybe not always sweet but I love truly and deeply and forever.
Have you baked any vegan goodies? If not, what is your favorite treat, as I can make it vegan. LOL
I have actually! I made vegan cupcakes for a girl who did show…
But I have always wanted an industrial food processor so I could make all of the vegan recipes I see on Pinterest, but alas, bake vegan occasionally isn’t enough cause for a $500+ nut crusher.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? Can you elaborate on what has worked for you?
Oh jeez. Um, one thing I’ve learned the hard way is don’t write for anyone but yourself. If you don’t like what you’re writing chances are no one else will and in a lot of cases it leads to writers block and discarding of projects.
Describe the perfect vacation for you. Where would it be and who would be with you?
I have always wanted to take a cruise to Alaska when the aurora borealis is at its best. I also really want to go to Japan. I actually hope to live there for a year or more. Still working on my Japanese right now though, lol.
What video games do you enjoy playing?
I love RPGs (Role Playing Games). My favorite video games are Final Fantasy 8, ICO, Banjo Kazooie, Clock Tower 3, Legend of Mana, Pikmin 1, 2 & 3 and Little Big Planet. I love video games!
What has been your favorite part of being an author? The least fave?
My favorite part would be the writing. Since I am a pantser, it’s like watching these people you created really come to life and make their own choices, sometime without your consent.
My least favorite part would be editing. I hated it. Going over and over what I wrote to make it better. While it was necessary, I disliked it immensely.
What was the last movie (theatre or DVD) you saw? Would you recommend it?
Oddly enough I am not a fan of going to the movie theater. I like Netflix and Redbox though! The most recent movie I watched was Boy Meets Girl and it was amazing. It was about a transgender girl and a little bit of her struggle.
One thing I think you should know about me is, in a movie, I demand a happy ending and not just a placating tossed in one. The ending has to be so good that it makes up for the strife and sadness of the plot line. Otherwise, I’m not interested and will stop halfway through and fanfic my own ending. So when I tell you I loved a movie it usually means “includes a happy ending.”
What is in the works next for you? If you can’t share, I totally understand and respect this.
I am working on one million projects. I haven’t had one grab me and tie me to the chair to finish it yet but I’m having fun. I have another story about an asexual in the works. I have a comedy about a cruise ship planned. Oh, just so many things but no spoilers!
Now you get to experience an excerpt from “Endless Days of Summer.” Enjoy.
I simply chuckled as I turned toward the open gate and the lights beyond. I stopped and handed the bag of canned goods out the open driver-side window to a man who was dressed as Santa, bell-voiced carolers singing behind him. He pulled it from me with a surprised thank you—the entrance fee was two cans per person— and handed a pamphlet into the car.
“Enjoy yourselves, and thanks for coming!” He shouted from outside the car as the carolers reached the peak of O Holy Night. Their voices faded as I rolled the window back up and set off down the road. I looked at Summer. Her eyes were large and bright and her head swiveled from side to side trying to take in all of the lights.
“Would you like to look at the paper?” I asked as I pulled to the side of the road just past the welcome station.
“Why? Does it light up too?” her voice full of whimsy and magic, still not taking her eyes from the few visible houses.
“No, it doesn’t, but I believe it has a map and some instructions,” I said.
She was always a sucker for the details. She ripped her eyes from the shining horizon and turned them to me and the paper. I handed it to her, and she took it hungrily. I let her read it over as I reached into the back seat for the picnic I had prepared. I pulled a thermos full of steaming hot cocoa from the basket. I had mixed it just the way she always liked it: cocoa powder, half skim milk and half toffee flavored creamer. It made the cocoa ridiculously rich and decadent.
I poured some for each of us into mugs and put a bag of mini marshmallows in the seat between us. I set the two mugs on the dashboard and grabbed a blanket from the back. I covered her legs with it. She, so engrossed in the map, hadn’t noticed what was going on around her. She told me to turn the radio on and put it on a specific FM channel.
She lifted her head after reading—more than likely because she didn’t start hearing music immediately—and goggled at me. A huge grin spread across her face and she childishly stuck out her hands for her mug. Her smile could move mountains. If I ever had any intention of playing like I wasn’t going to just hand over her cocoa, it disappeared as the smile stretched across her face. She took it, sipped it and moaned.
“I love how you make cocoa. It’s my favorite!”
I just chuckled and turned on the radio. It was already set to the correct channel, as I had done my research. We sat and listened for a little bit. The next rendition of the music, properly matching the houses, started in 5 minutes. I pulled us back onto the road. It wasn’t particularly crowded; I thought we would be paying for our late arrival in the season—only a week before Christmas—but thankfully not.
We drove down the streets, Summer sipping her cocoa and occasionally throwing more marshmallows on top. I hummed along to the music as she pointed me in the direction I should turn next. When we were about halfway through the adventure—Summer had already finished two helpings of cocoa and put her mug down—I was determined to tell her how I felt. Everything thus far had gone perfectly, and after all, I couldn’t control how she felt. I could only control what I did about how I felt.
“Mmhmmm?” she murmured.
“I’ve been thinking about someone, I mean, something I wanted, err, realized after I moved away to Seattle…” I stumbled over my words.
“Yeah?” She turned her face ever so slightly to look at me while keeping the houses in her line of vision.
“Well…” I paused, starting to feel the fear of rejection and uncertainty clawing its way up my throat. “Well, you see, I think I might be in love you.”
Well, that got her full attention. Time slowed, only this time I had made my decision, maybe this was time slowing down so she could make hers. She stared at me, her eyes still wide but for a whole different reason than the magical world around us. I would have given anything in that moment to be able to read her mind and take everything back.
I want to thank Stacy for stopping by. It was such a pleasure to have you, so let’s keep in touch. For more about Stacy, please check out her links.
Stacy’s Website – This is also her blog so don’t forget to follow.
Stacy’s Twitter – Feel free to give her a shoutout.
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Until Next Time,
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