Interview with Book-Bosomed Book Blog
Five Questions with Author Kelly Stevenson
Q1. How did you get started writing? And what is your favorite thing about the writing and/or publishing process?
I think my writing journey began before I could even read or write. My older sister read to me constantly. We’d sit for hours, just engulfing one book after another. We also watched hundreds of movies, playing our favorites over and over. (Back when you could actually wear out the VHS tapes!) She’s the real reason I fell in love with stories. Once I was able to read and write, my love for storytelling continued to grow. Writing was always my strength in school, and I went on to write for my high school’s newspaper, as well as write and direct several school plays. I also have a strong acting background, which has played a huge role in my writing.
My favorite thing about the writing process is probably the first draft. It’s messy and sometimes ugly, but it’s when the story first unfolds and takes on a life of its own. It’s such a high. I become obsessive during this process, thinking only about the story and my characters. My overall energy increases, my appetite fades, and a character will often wake me up in the middle of the night and I have to reach for my phone to jot down notes. It’s a madness that I wouldn’t trade for the world, and I only get that experience with the first draft.
Q2. You really captured the essence of the end of high school years well—the concerns about friendships and relationships surviving after graduation, negotiating what’s real love and what’s just infatuation, decisions about losing your virginity. What do you feel are the benefits and challenges of writing in the New Adult genre?
Thank you! Capturing an authentic high school experience was important to me.
There are several benefits and challenges of writing in the New Adult genre. For one, it’s a new genre and it’s on fire right now! It’s great to be a part of that. I also enjoy having the freedom to write the stories I want to write. It wasn’t that long ago when there wasn’t a place for a story like this. There was a huge, empty space between children’s books and adult books. Now we have so many incredible stories because of this new genre, and it’s thrilling! One of the challenges is getting it mainstream. I think we’re getting there, but since so many bookstores and publishers are still fighting it, it can be a challenge at times to reach a broader audience. I’m hopeful, though. YA was once treated as an outcast, and look at it now! We’ll get there. Another challenge is breaking the stereotype that all NA is “smut” or erotica. I think as NA grows and becomes more mainstream, people will see the wide range of categories that are out there.
The unique aspect of writing TFoG specifically was that it’s on the young side of NA, but the mature side of YA. So it feels like the bridge between the two. I was worried it would be a challenge to target my audience, but so far it’s been beneficial. Kaley is eighteen and in high school, but she deals with mature issues that are relatable to the older crowd as well.
Q3. What was your inspiration for The Force of Gravity? Did you ever have a sexy, young math teacher like Mr. Slate?
I was inspired to write TFoG last summer when I was searching for a student/teacher romance novel. The common theme I found involved the couple either meeting, dating, or hooking up before they knew they were student and teacher. Don’t get me wrong, they were fabulous stories that I enjoyed, but I was thirsty for a different take on it. After searching for a few weeks, I became restless and decided to write the story I wanted to read. I wanted the male teacher to be a little older, and I wanted them to meet each other as student and teacher—I wanted my characters to have no excuses when it came to their decisions. I also wanted it to be set in high school.
I never had a sexy, young math teacher in high school, nor do I know anyone who has. But I did have one in college—and I was just as shocked as Kaley. He was good-looking, youthful, funny, and confident. I didn’t understand how he could be a math teacher. That’s where the similarity in the story ends, but I will say it did make me a believer in mathematical unicorns. ;-)
Q4. Kaley goes through a lot in the last few months of her senior year. What life lessons would you say she has learned and what has she taken away from her experience, both good and bad?
Yes, Kaley does go through a lot in the last few months of her senior year. She goes from living a pretty sheltered life to having every security ripped from underneath her. Her story isn’t finished, and she still has a lot to learn, but I would say one of the biggest life lessons she has learned so far is: Love is a risk. It’s something you can’t control. No matter how hard you try, you can’t force love, and you can’t choose who you fall in love with.
She also learns what most of us eventually learn—that parents are human. They make mistakes. They have their own stories, their own baggage. I think that’s the final veil that is lifted off a young person’s eyes—when parents fall from their pedestals. You can never go back to being a child after that.
Also, her friendships go from simplistic to complicated as she questions loyalties and trust throughout the book. However, Kaley isn’t always the victim, and is often the betrayer. And that’s something she has to eventually own.
Q5. What can you tell us about the sequel to The Force of Gravity? Will Kaley and Elijah be the main focus or will it center on some of the supporting characters? How many titles can we expect in this series?
I am always extremely tight-lipped about any writing projects I’m working on. If I don’t keep it private, it hinders my writing. But I will tell you this: Kaley will continue to stretch and grow in the next book as her most important relationships are tested to their limits. Also, Jace plays a bigger role.
Yes, Kaley and Elijah are the main focus in the sequel. You will see a slight shift in supporting characters, though. Kaley’s in a new environment and some of her closest friends are off to different colleges, so dynamics change.
Because I’m still in the early stages of writing, I haven’t decided on whether it will be two books or three. It depends on a certain storyline I’m working on. When I announce the release date for the sequel, I will also announce whether or not this is the last book in the series, or if there will be one more. If you want to stay informed, I will announce it on my website as well as Twitter and Facebook.
Thank you to Book-Bosomed Book Blog for the interview! Xo
Thank you Kelly for taking the time to talk with us and for delivering such a great story!