I am excited to welcome S.T. Sterlings to the BookEnds team!
S.T. and I connected through her unsolicited query (it can and does work!). Her YA made me laugh, pulled at my heartstrings, and sent me on a fun adventure. I fell in love with her protagonist, and her inclusive world sealed the deal.
Hope you enjoy learning more about S.T.!
Tell us a bit about your writing process. Where do you write, and how often?
I try to write every day. Most of the time, it doesn’t happen! However, I’m always writing inside my head. When I sit down to write, I can usually write a lot. I usually make a really in-depth outline so I that I don’t have to stop. I hate having to stop writing once I get in the groove!
Though I have a desk with a nice, big desktop computer and dual monitor, I usually do all my writing while sitting on my bed with my laptop. It’s the most comfortable way for me to write.
Do you have any writing rituals? (e.g. burning a candle if you’re having trouble getting started at the computer or writing longhand first if you’re feeling uninspired.)
If I’m writing at home, I almost always have to have a bad horror movie playing in the background. That probably says something about me that I’m writing stories while fictional characters are screaming for their lives in the background, haha. I normally don’t like much distraction when I’m writing. I can’t even listen to music when I write. Horror movies are the only exception to this. Weird, right?
What do you love about writing YA?
Everything! I love telling stories that can help inspire young adults. More importantly, I love writing to make them laugh. There is so much going on in the world, and not all of it is good. If they decide to escape for a bit with a book, and choose mine, I feel like it’s my duty to put a smile on their faces. I like making people go through various emotions, but happiness always has to be in there somewhere. Same when it comes to adult fiction, which I also write.
Why did you choose the genre you’ve chosen?
I chose YA because there’s still a need for own voices authors and books. When I was younger, I grew up reading stories that barely had any diversity in them. I didn’t realize it at the time. I just thought that was how things were supposed to be. Now that I’m older, I realize how wrong I was. I don’t want anyone growing up thinking that only certain people are worthy of having their stories told. I’m proud of who I am, and I want anyone who reads my stories to feel the same.
What is the hardest part about writing YA?
I think the hardest part of writing YA, or writing fiction in general is coming up with something fresh. Trying to think of something new, different, and exciting can be hard work!
If you’re not reading or writing, what would we catch you doing?
If I’m not reading or writing, I’m watching horror movies! Horror is my favorite genre, but I doubt I’ll ever write in the genre. If I’m not watching horror movies, I’m watching anime. I love anime! If the weather is nice (and since I live in SoCal and it usually is), I’ll hang out with my two sons and our two German Shepherds. I’m kind of a homebody, but I would like to get out more and start exploring a bit.
Where can readers find you on the web and social media?
What’s the last book you read?
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. I absolutely loved this book! I gushed about it so much. It’s one of those books that makes you laugh, swoon, and laugh some more.
If money were no object, what would be your dream writing location?
Probably in a cabin near a lake. I love writing when there’s no real distractions around me. I’m from Virginia, but I’ve lived in a desert area of California for the past two years. I’d love to write somewhere near trees and grass, and where I can just get out and enjoy nature.
Plotter or pantster?
Mostly a plotter. I’ll usually make a long outline to guide me, but then I’ll just come up with stuff as I go. I like my characters to do what they want to do. Sometimes they even surprise me!
Synopses, love them or hate ‘em?
I am not a fan of them, but I like them more than query letters!
Do you have a writing playlist or a vision board? If so, what’s on them?
I usually have a couple of songs that I like to listen to while I’m driving or cleaning when I’m mentally plotting out scenes. For my current WIP, I’ve been listening to Rihanna’s “Love on the Brain” and Jeremih’s “Oui.” Music for writing inspiration is great as long as it’s not playing while I’m writing.
Do you get inspiration from any TV shows or movies? If so, which ones?
I do! With the book I recently finished, I got my inspiration from the movie, Interview with a Vampire. You know that part where Claudia cuts her hair, and it grows back? That one little scene inspired my book. I saw that movie when I was a kid, but I was fascinated by that scene. I always knew I would do something with it.
Drink of choice when writing? When not writing?
My body says water, but my heart says Sprite. Sometimes I’ll drink green tea, too. I usually try to have a bottle of water with me at all times.
What excites you most about joining the BookEnds family?
Everything! It is such a fantastic group of amazing agents and authors. I’ve been following the BookEnds blog for some time now. That’s another thing I appreciate. We all know how busy BookEnds is, but they still make time to post blogs and interact with authors. I think that’s wonderful. As a librarian, I’m naturally inclined to help people, so seeing BookEnds helping authors is extremely important to me.
What advice would you give to other authors in the query trenches?
Just keep trying. There’s no way to guess what an agent will think about your book. Listen to relevant advice. Don’t knock yourself down, or compare youself to someone else. All you can do is keep trying, and hoping for the best.
If you could meet any author, living or dead, who would you want to meet and why?
Edgar Allan Poe. It takes a lot to scare me, but he’s pretty good at it. I still can’t listen to anyone narrate “The Raven” or “The Black Cat” without getting creeped out. I love it!