Interview with David Stahler Jr., Author of Spinning Out (Giveaway)

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:

 

1. Leave a comment with your email address for your chance to win. You can’t win if we don’t have your email address.

2. BONUS ENTRY: Follow our parent blog, The Book Connection, at http://thebookconnectionccm.blogspot.com/ Leave a comment here that you are now following. +1

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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.

Bad Girls Club by Judy Gregerson

jgregerson-340-Bgc_front_coverBad Girls Club by Judy Gregerson is shocking, gripping, and horrific, but it’s a book you must read.

In Bad Girls Club we follow the story of Destiny and Cassidy, two girls traumatized by abusive and neglectful parents. The story opens with Destiny begging her father to get a summer job so she can buy a car, which he will not allow her to do because she must help her mother, June. That’s all Destiny’s life has really been about–helping her mother, taking care of her younger sister, Cassidy, and keeping the house running because her father can’t handle life. She would love to take Cassidy and run away from the freak show known as her family, but she is trapped and it seems like there will never be any way out.

If only Destiny could find the way to fix her mother–bring her back to the person she was before Crater Lake, then things would be better. But Destiny doesn’t even know if that way exists, as she watches her mother spiral ever downward into the depths of mental illness. Her father, long ago, stopped trying to make things work; to find a solution to the family’s problems. It’s all up to Destiny to figure out how to save Cassidy from the mother who hates her, while trying to find a way to save herself from the abuse her parents dish out.

As things go from bad to worse, Destiny even distances herself from her friends. How long can she continue to try and hold her family together? What will it take for her father to admit that her mother wants to hurt Cassidy? How will she ever find a way out? And will she find it before or after her mother has destroyed her life and Cassidy’s?

Bad Girls Club has to be one of the most disturbing books I’ve ever read, but I couldn’t put it down. Judy Gregerson has created a gut-wrenching story of a family torn apart by mental illness. Told from Destiny’s present day point of view, Bad Girls Club will make you want to turn the other way, while at the same time compelling you to read more. Destiny’s personal struggle between wanting to help her mother while also desiring to run away reminds you of the strong bond between mother and child. And it tears you up as you watch Destiny pull away from even her closest of friends so she can deal with her mother’s ever worsening condition.

With characters so well-developed and real, you would swear you had met them, Judy Gregerson holds nothing back in sharing Destiny’s and Cassidy’s story. I applaud Gregerson for tackling such a weighty issue and for going all the way in depicting the realities of child abuse.

Compelling and disconcerting, Bad Girls Club by Judy Gregerson is one book you will never forget.

Rating:   🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: Blooming Tree Press 
  • ISBN-10: 1933831014
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933831015
  • SRP:  $16.95