I'm skipping the hard questions.
You know, the ones about writing. But no worries! I'll get to them SOON. And to prove that I'm not a complete weenie (only a partial), today I'll answer two questions you might not have expected me to answer at all.
That's right. I'm going to talk about my novels.
Because Shelley had THE NERVE (!!!) to ask:
Okay, you said you'd answer anything soooo.....What is the name of one of your characters in your second novel? What are three words that describe this character? hehehehe.
I love you, Shelley, but YOU ARE EVIL.
But you're right. I said I'd answer anything, so here goes.
(I CANNOT BELIEVE I AM DOING THIS.)
In Second Novel, there's a character named Max. He's not a main character, but he is an important one. Max is unusual in that he's the one of the only characters I've ever written — main or minor — who doesn't have a last name.
I'm not sure why. He's just the kind of guy who doesn't need one.
Maybe he'll have one by the end, but somehow I doubt it. After all, I've known Max for eight years now, and he has yet to tell me! (Though I do know his name is short for Maximilian, as opposed to Maxwell.)
As for three words to describe him:
Spearmint. Cigarettes. Sex.
Make of that what you will!
DJ FOX asked an EVEN MORE EVIL question:
What is the the plot of Anna? I know, I know, you may not answer that, I get it, but hey, I can't be the only one who's wonder from a title like that! =)
Okay, this one is rendered slightly less evil by the mention of my title. Thank you!
Still . . . so painful . . . gaaaaaaaaaasp . . .
I wanted to — I really, really did — but I have to back out of this a bit. I don't feel comfortable sharing her plot yet, but I WILL add another item to the Official List in your honor:
(1) It's a young adult novel.
(2) Hopefully it has some funny bits.
(3) There is kissing. Of course.
(4) Most of it takes place in Paris.
(5) There is an HBM. (Well, more like an HBM plus.)
(6) It’s called Anna and the English French American Boy Masterpiece.
(7) It's contemporary and realistic. In other words, no vampires or magic. Or magic vampires.
Okay, I feel bad about that. That's a pretty weak addition. How about a bonus?
(8) It's set in a boarding school.
Drat. That's kind of lame too. ONE MORE! I promise I'll make it good. Something with details.
(9) It wasn't (originally) intentional, but several important scenes occur on stairs. Though I shouldn't have been surprised when it happened, because the inspiration for the entire story came from a dream (ack, yes) in which I saw a beautiful boy sitting . . . on the steps of a famous monument.
Phew! I've earned an easy question. Zoraida asked:
Can I present you on my blog when you have ARCS come rolling around? I LOVE the title of your book. please =)
YES!! Yes yes yes yes! A million times yes!
Also, I love your name.
(And thank you for the compliment. Titles are hard for me. The original — which I will NOT share — was totally lame and boring.)
DJ FOX also asked:
I agree with the above. I love the title of your book and I love the location! Paris! Have you ever backpacked around Europe? What's your favorite place to visit?
Thank you again! It's amazing to hear you say that. Because when I say my original title was lame, I really mean it. But I'm lucky to have wonderful early readers who tell me when things are boring! I'd much rather know something needs to be fixed BEFORE I send it out into the industry.
Oh. Wait. You had another question for me?
Right! Backpacking through Europe! No, I've not had that opportunity. I suppose I'd like to, though I confess the idea of backpacking is a little, um, what's the phrase I'm looking for?
An American Werewolf in London.
Yes, that's the one.
Hostel also comes to mind.
You see, BAD THINGS happen to people who backpack in Europe. They don't take showers every day and they have to share rooms with strangers and they get turned into werewolves and they get taken to remote buildings to be tortured!
I am just not prepared for that kind of drama.
But I have visited several European countries — England, France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, and Germany. Unfortunately, I was also eleven. Which is a lovely age, but not so helpful now, when I am needing to KNOW STUFF for my novels.
Things I don't remember, because it's been a while since eleven.
But I do remember enjoying the Tower of London, Notre-Dame, and Versailles! And Lucerne, Switzerland was astoundingly beautiful and bursting with friendly people.
It was also, like, the cleanest place on Earth.
In a related question, Sarah asked:
If you could FedEx yourself anywhere, where would you go? PS: the name of your book? I agree with everybody else. It's long and funny and fantastic.
YAAAY! Thank you!!
This is making me so, so happy.
As for the question, my answer is — perhaps surprisingly — not Paris. I'm actually in the process of renting a flat there this January for some last-minute Anna research and for some early Third Novel research. (YAAAY again!) So I wouldn't want to waste my special FedEx-ing on a place that I'm already going.
That would be ridiculous.
So I'd like to be delivered to Iceland, preferably in the middle of a Sigur Rós concert during an aurora borealis while eating skyr (a soft yogurty cheese thing).
Side note/video: If you like Sigur Rós and you haven't seen their film, Heima, you must rent it! Breathtaking! Trailer for the curious, filled with Icelandic goodness:
For the last few years, I've been Iceland-obsessed. The combination of dreamy music and woolen sweaters and volcanic rock and rerouting roads because of the elves is too tempting!
Sarah also asked:
Chocolate or vanilla?
I'm always a little ashamed to answer this question. But the truth is:
I'm a vanilla girl.
And if that makes me boring, SO BE IT. I'll take a single scoop of bean-speckled French vanilla ice cream over a chocolate sundae any day. Not that there's anything wrong with chocolate — I love chocolate, I do! — but there's something so satisfying about vanilla. So delicious. So pure.
Which leads me to a question in Tuesday's comments in which Ben asked:
Stephanie, is it just me, or is Chris Martin's chocolate slant perhaps tainted by your own? Just wondering.
You see? I tell the truth and ONLY the truth here on my blog.
You can trust me. I swears.
And as a special bonus for the other fans of Mr. Martin — I know there are a few of you here! Hurrah! — here is one of my favorite interviews in which My Celebrity Boyfriend eats a lot of chocolate (the eating starts about halfway through):
The most awesome thing about that?
I had multiple videos of Chris Martin eating chocolate to choose from.
More answers, coming soon!
*pretty picture by adlin