Joining us today is David Stahler Jr., author of the YA novel, Spinning Out. Read to the end of this interview to see how you can win a Free copy of this book.
Thank you for joining us today, David. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?
I live in the hills of the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, where I was born and raised. I’m closing in on forty. I teach AP English at my alma mater, Lyndon Institute. I married my college sweetheart, whom I met when I was nineteen. I have a nine-year old son named Julian and a four-year old daughter named Maida. I love playing my Scottish smallpipes, listening to indie rock, hunting deer in the fall, and playing dorky boardgames with my friends.
When did you first get bit by the writing bug?
I’d done a little writing as an undergraduate at Middlebury College, working with the writer Jay Parini. But it was during my master’s degree program at Dartmouth where things clicked. I took a fiction-writing course with the author Craig Nova, then worked with him on my thesis, which turned into the novel Truesight. It was during this time when I realized I could actually do this whole writing business. To be honest, I sort of stumbled into the career. I was never one of those people who pine their whole lives to be a writer. I still don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing.
Why did you decide to write stories for the YA market?
Again, I didn’t set out intentionally to write YA fiction. It just happened that the stories I found myself wanting to tell ended up having young adults as the main characters. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I’m a high school teacher. It certainly helps, anyway, to be tuned into that consciousness on a daily level.
What is your favorite part of writing for this group? What is the greatest challenge?
It’s hard to answer that question, because I never think of myself as writing FOR that particular audience. I just have a story to tell, and I tell it the way I’d want to hear it if I were on the other end. With few exceptions, I think adults could get just as much enjoyment as teens from reading my books, or any YA novels for that matter. It’s exciting that a lot of people are starting to realize this. The crossover audience for YA fiction is exploding right now. In terms of your question, I guess I would say that teenagers are full of passion, of both the light and dark variety, which can make things easy and sometimes difficult in terms of telling a story.
Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?
Spinning Out is about a lot of things, but at its heart it’s a buddy story. What do you do when your best friend falls apart? And how do you handle it when you’re also dealing with your own upheavals and trying to discover who you are and what you’re going to do with your life? The narrator Frenchy is a kid who’s the perennial sidekick who ends up coming into his own and surprises himself in the process. It’s a bittersweet tale.
What inspired you to write it?
It’s funny because I can pretty much remember where the ideas for all my books came from except this one. I came up with the idea seven years ago, then tucked it away into the back of my head and ruminated on it for about five years before putting it to paper.
Where can readers purchase a copy?
The usual places—online at Amazon and B&N, as well as bookstores with discriminating taste.
Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?
Not yet, but I’m finally going to break down and join the world of social networking this summer. Look for it in July!
What is up next for you?
I’m hard at work on a real genre-blending project—a gritty, futuristic, supernatural tale that involves reincarnation and a young woman’s struggle against an ancient enemy. It has all these framed narratives from different periods in history mixed with elements of horror. It’s been exhausting, but I’m very excited about it!
Do you have anything else to add?
Spinning Out taps into a lot of contemporary issues (teen mental illness, wind turbines, returning veterans with PTSD) and has some pretty heavy moments, but it is also a very funny novel. I think there’s something in it for everyone to enjoy.
Thank you for spending time with us today, David. We wish you much success.
Now that you’ve read a bit about David and Spinning Out, I’m sure you’ll want to own a copy of this book for yourself. Here’s how you can win a FREE copy:
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Contest is open to residents of the United States only. Deadline for entries is 11:59 PM on July 10, 2011. A winner will be selected from all correct entries received. The winner will be notified by email and will have 72 hours to respond with mailing information. If we do not hear from the winner within the 72 hour time frame, a new winner will be selected. Book will be shipped via USPS. TC&TBC is not responsible for books lost or damaged in shipment.