Sunday, September 16, 2012

Walnut Springs Press Month: Spotlight and Interview with Stephanie Humphreys

Spotlight on
Author Stephanie Humphreys

Stephanie Humphreys was born in Utah, to an American mother and Canadian father. The family moved often when she was young and by the time she celebrated her thirtieth birthday, she had moved thirty times. All those different locations gave her ample opportunity to observe people and discover interesting characters for her stories.

At an early age, Stephanie discovered the joy of the written word. The oldest of six children she had many opportunities to practise her storytelling skills on her siblings. She filled notebooks with poetry and her brothers, sisters, and the neighborhood kids all took turns participating in plays she wrote. But her biggest dream was to be a novelist.

She and her husband Rick have a combined family of six children. She still stays involved with the theatre by serving on her community’s cultural arts board, and she supports literacy by serving on the public library board. She has always used books to escape the pressures of life, explore far-away places, and learn new things. When she isn't writing she loves to spend time with her family, sew, embroidery and read. Stephanie lives in Alberta, Canada.

Stephanie is the author of 2 Walnut Springs Press titles, including Finding Rose (2010) and Double Deceit (2011).

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Book Bug: Welcome to The Book Bug, Stephanie!

When and why did you begin writing?

Stephanie: Writing is just something that I have always done. I am compelled to write and always have a story to tell. Putting the words on paper helps me to explore my feelings and cope with life. I began writing as a young child and would send books of poetry to my great-grandmother. (I’m sure they were fabulous!) She encouraged me to continue writing and always wanted to see what I was working on. From there, I had several good teachers who encouraged me to write and develop my talents. For me, writing is a way to explore all the possibilities the world holds.

Book Bug: I love that definition of writing! I feel the same way about reading (and maybe someday about writing as well!)

What is your favorite genre to read/write?

Stephanie: A good mystery/suspense is one of my favorite things to read, although I will read just about any genre. These days I read a lot of YA because I like to read the same books my kids are reading so we can discuss them together.

Book Bug: My two favorite genres! YA is becoming so popular that its appeal is spreading to adults. (Which is good because most YA is fairly "clean".)

What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine?

Stephanie: I try to write in the afternoon so I can spend time with my family after school and in the evenings. When I am in the middle of a big project, I will often write late at night after the rest of the family has gone to bed. This is when I seem to do the best work and the ideas flow the smoothest.

Book Bug: Funny, that is when I blog too! When the kiddos (and the husband) are in bed!

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

Stephanie: I don’t really suffer from writer’s block. Usually when the writing isn’t working is when I am too busy with other things. It is a constant challenge to say no to other activities that distract from my work and to focus on writing. When I do find myself struggling to make the words flow, I will take a break and do something else creative. For me, it helps free up the story and after a short break, I can sit down and get the story out.

Book Bug: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Stephanie: For me the hardest part is my own self-esteem. I spend too much time telling myself that the story isn’t good and that no one would want to read it. It slows me down and makes me question every sentence. I’m learning to write through that and get the story down without doubting myself.

Book Bug: Well, let me give you a self-esteem boost . . . I love your books!!

What do you think are the most important elements of good writing?

Stephanie: I think one of the most important elements of writing is good storytelling. This includes strong characters and well thought out plots. It doesn’t matter how good a writer’s voice is, or how well they phrase a sentence if the story is weak.

Book Bug: So true!

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Stephanie: When I have time, I do a lot of sewing and embroidery. When am frustrated with the writing, it is nice to have another creative outlet.

Book Bug: What book are you reading now?

Stephanie: Castles in the Air by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, the author of The Scarlett Pimpernel.

Book Bug: I haven't heard of that one but I really like The Scarlett Pimpernel.

What are your current/future projects?

Stephanie: I am working on a sequel for my first book Finding Rose. I am also working on a cozy mystery series.

Book Bug: Can't wait to read them!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Stephanie: Don’t give up. When you push through the hardest parts of writing, you will find the greatest rewards.

Book Bug: Thanks so much for the interview, Stephanie! Looking forward to reading more books by you in the future!

Walnut Springs Press Books
by Stephanie Humphreys

Title: Finding Rose
Author: Stephanie Humphreys
Release Date: August 2010
Publisher: Walnut Springs Press (Facebook | Twitter)
Genre: Historical Romance
On his deathbed, Rose Sterling's father asks her to consider Miles Crandall as a suitor. Then Rose is sent to live with an uncle in Spring Creek, Montana, far from her carefree life with her family in Utah. Miles is returning to his hometown of Spring Creek to set up a medical practice, so Rose is certain her being sent there is a setup. Yet Miles doesn't seem interested in her, and after Rose falls ill in Montana, he seems content to act as her physician and friend. When Rose captures the attention of Miles's younger, flamboyant brother as well as the town sheriff, Miles retreats even further from any attempt at courtship. How can Rose honor her father's last wish if Miles doesn't even try to court her? Will she have the courage to put her heart on the line and fight for the one she really loves?

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Title: Double Deceit
Author: Stephanie Humphreys
Release Date: May 2011
Publisher: Walnut Springs Press (Facebook | Twitter)
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Someone is watching . . .

As a young widow, all Elaina Bryant wants is a fresh start. Determined to put ten painful years behind her, she returns to her hometown and moves in with her sister, Natalie. Elaina soon accepts a job working at a small bookstore owned by the handsome Ryan Hill and his mother. Despite her reluctance to become romantically involved with anyone, she is drawn to Ryan and finds herself falling in love.

But someone isn’t happy with Elaina’s new life and is watching her every move. Her tormenter seems determined to destroy her sanity and her future, but Elaina can’t convince anyone the threat is real. Natalie is preoccupied with her own blossoming romance, and their friend Peter, a police officer, seems to believe the threat has been manufactured in Elaina’s own mind as a result of her guilt and grief.

Now Elaina’s plans for a new start are crashing down around her. She knows she will have to find the answers before she can overcome the past and enjoy love and happiness again. But how can she protect those she loves when she doesn’t know whom to trust?

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