Interview: S.C. Stephens
I’m very private and writing is very personal, so, in the beginning, I didn’t tell a whole lot of people in my life that I wrote a book. My close friends didn’t know I self-published until I showed them the physical copy. My family didn’t find out until after that. For a long time, it just wasn’t something I talked about. I’m a lot more open about it now.
I started writing because I got a story stuck in my head, and it wouldn’t leave me alone until I wrote it out. I thought about it nonstop and wrote it whenever I had free time, which was usually late at night or early in the morning. I hadn’t planned on ever letting anyone read it; but once it was finished, curiosity made me post it. I just wanted to know if it was any good. The bug bit me, and I couldn’t stop writing after that.
Which of your characters would you most like to meet in person and why?
I think the natural answer here is Kellan, but that isn’t who I would pick. For one thing, I’d be even more of a mess than Kiera was when she first met him. I wouldn’t even be able to speak to him. I’d just stupidly stare at him while possibly drooling, and that’s not good. No, I’m going to say Teren Adams from Conversion. He’s such a gentleman, and so sweet, and incredibly handsome, but not on such an overwhelming scale like Kellan. I think I’d feel more comfortable around Teren, even if he does have fangs.
Is there a particular theme you wish you would have explored in any of the books or a theme you’d like to work with in the future?
Hmmm, I don’t usually set out with a theme in mind; I just go where the story takes me. I tend to gravitate toward angst, since I love the tension that comes with wanting someone you can’t have or shouldn’t have. I would love to someday do another darker, more serious book like Collision Course, but it all depends on what storyline hits me.
I HATE KIERA!!! should be a t-shirt. How do you feel that so many readers dislike the female lead character from the Thoughtless series?
It stings a little since Kiera and I have a lot in common, but I understand it. She does some very hurtful things. It’s also very hard for her to make a choice. She doesn’t want to hurt anyone, but she’s torn. Out of all of my characters though, she’s the one that has grown the most. I’m very proud of her.
Besides the Conversion series, It’s All Relative, and Not a Chance, are you working on any new titles that we are not aware of?
Not at this time. I’m working on sequel stories for Conversion Next Generation and Not a Chance. After those are done, I’ll start working on new books. I’m so far behind in publishing my older pieces though, that it may take a while for new stories to be released.
Having moved from the self-publishing industry to the more traditional route back in August 2012, what are some of the benefits, as well as the drawbacks, of both processes?
Exposure is the biggest benefit. I’ll be in bookstores all over the U.S. after November 6th, and that’s something I definitely couldn’t have done on my own. Being published also helps with getting movie studios to look at the book. It’s still a long shot, but I’d love to see Thoughtless on film one day.
The major drawback is the loss of control. The release dates were pushed back, and there was nothing I could do about it. While I had a lot of input on the covers, the final design wasn’t up to me. I also have to wait a certain amount of time before I can self-publish again, so it pushed back the release dates on all the rest of my books. I’m happy with my decision though.
The original ending to Thoughtless is quite different from the one we’ve read. Why did you change your mind and write an alternate ending?
While I was writing Thoughtless, I debated all of the different scenarios—girl with boy A, girl with boy B, girl all alone. But then a different ending struck me, and I typed it out to see how it would work. I had a love/hate relationship with it and posted it with my eyes closed, waiting for the backlash. And there was a LOT of backlash, LOL. I really listened to the reviews coming in and was moved by some very well written objections. Then a fan shared the song Run by Snow Patrol. I started seeing Kellan singing with his eyes closed while Kiera walked through the crowd toward him. That scene did me in, and I knew I had to change the ending. And I’m very glad I did! (Aren’t we all? I (Michelle) have to say that although I know what the ending is and have shared it with numerous people, I have never read. And I’m not sure if I ever will.)
Kellan and possibly Griffin seem to be the two characters who have resonated with a lot of readers. Does that surprise you?
Kellan doesn’t surprise me too much. I’m completely in love with him, so it feels natural to me that others love him too. Although, the level at which people love him surprises me! I never expected that. Griffin…yeah, that one does surprise me a little bit. He’s such a crude horn dog. I love writing for him though. Everything he says cracks me up.
What has been the toughest criticism you’ve received as an author? What was the best compliment?
I get a lot of constructive criticism, which I try and take to heart as it helps me grow. I think the harshest criticism I ever read was after Thoughtless was entered into a writing contest where fans voted for the winner. The reviewer, an ex-judge for the contest, implied that my book being accepted as an entry into the contest brought down the quality of the entire contest. Thoughtless won its category that year, but the remark sort of soured the win for me.
The compliments have been amazing! I think my favorite was this woman who told me that reading one of my books helped her talk to her spouse about a tragedy in his past that he’d never really opened up to her about before. I was blown away when she told me that. I never in a million years expected anything I wrote to touch someone’s life in that way.
Obviously, I was quite disappointed that that the release date for Reckless was pushed back more than three months. Were you disappointed as well or did this give you a little more breathing room to finish writing and editing?
I was disappointed when I first found out. It wasn’t my choice, and it wasn’t something I could control. I was told the reasoning behind the delay; and after the logistics of publishing at this level were explained to me, it made perfect sense. But like all of you, I was really hoping for a December release.
What types of books do you enjoy as a reader? Are those any different from the books you enjoy as an author?
Along with romance, I read a lot of fantasy. I tried to write in that genre a few times, but it was hard for me to get into. Contemporary romance flows a lot easier for me.
Who in your life inspires you most to write?
I don’t know if any one person inspires me to write. My friends and family inspire me in different ways, but I write because I love it. It’s my hobby. I would still get up early every morning and write stories, even if no one was reading them. It’s my favorite thing to do.
As a child, who was your favorite author?
I was obsessed with the Babysitter’s Club books when I was younger, as well as Nancy Drew and Judy Blume. Then I moved on to V.C. Andrews. Loved those books!
What is your writing style? Is it linear or do you write scenes?
Thoughtless was written in scenes, but I quickly learned that doing it that way created a lot of rewrites. Everything after that was written in a more linear way, although I’m constantly jotting down conversations that may or may not make it into a book.
Are you attending the Romance Writers of America Convention in Atlanta next July?
I’m looking into it. I have young children, so I don’t want to be gone a lot. I’m trying to pick the best places to go, but I think this convention would be a lot of fun.
7 Smooches Showdown (first answer that comes to mind)
- Perfume or au naturale? Au naturale
- Favorite Fictional Male character who you have not written? Edward Cullen
- Favorite childhood toy you wished you still had? My Little Ponies…oh wait, I do still have them.
- Superpower you wish you had? The ability to freeze time. I could get so much more done in a day!
- Favorite TV show? It’s a tie between Vampire Diaries and Supernatural
- What candy would you steal from a trick or treater? I would never steal…but gummy bears may accidentally jump into my pocket.
- If you were not an author, what type of “career” would you be doing? I would probably still be a bookkeeper, which is what I did until this last September. Either that, or I would be Ian Somerhalder’s personal assistant.
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