Today I'm pleased to have author Stephanie Worlton on the blog today for a Q & A.
Stephanie is the author of Hope's Journey, which I recently reviewed on the blog and really enjoyed. Stephanie is also a wife and a mother of four. Besides writing, she enjoys gardening, interior design, painting, and carpentry.
Thanks for agreeing to do this Q & A, Stephanie. And without further ado, let's get into the Q & A.
Why did you decide to write this novel?
Perhaps you’ve heard it said that authors don’t find stories, rather the stories find them. In the case of Hope’s Journey, that sentiment couldn’t be more true. The idea knocked around in my head for years as I volunteered in various capacities with youth. I’ve seen a lot of girls struggle to one degree or another with their self worth. I’ve also seen the naivety of young men concerning their influence over those girls. I’ve seen kids make brilliant choices and others make not-so brilliant ones. I’ve seen lives changed by moments of weakness and witnessed the devastation of those mistakes. Having personally experienced the emotions, the self-disgust, and the cruel stigmas of society, I felt prompted to share a story that would break down stereotypes, help prevent others from making the same mistakes, and ultimately give hope to all those who falter.
What do you hope readers will gain from reading this novel?
The most important thing I hope readers take from Hope’s Journey is that, despite our circumstances and choices, we all have great worth. Regardless of where we are on our personal journey, each of us is a child of a loving Father in Heaven and as such we have immeasurable value. So often bad choices are the result of self esteem issues not deficient morals. I hope kids understand their value, just as I hope adults – parents, teachers, friends – understand the power of their influence.
What was your favorite thing about writing this novel?
I loved getting to know Alex. I know that sounds weird, but when I started writing, I had no idea where Alex was coming from or where he was headed. Finding voice for an eighteen year old of the opposite sex was very challenging. His character took a lot of research, interviewing, and digging! And, though there were times I wanted to strangle him, ultimately I fell in love with his courage and integrity.
What was the hardest part about writing this novel?
Hands down, the hardest thing was reconnecting with emotions that I’d long since buried. I had to dig up some very painful parts of my past and, in a sense, repurpose them. I wanted readers to feel Sydney’s heartache. I wanted them to understand Alex’s dilemmas. Neither of those goals would’ve been attainable without those pure, raw, honest emotions.
What would you say to somebody who thinks it’s wrong to write novels about issues like teen pregnancy?
Whether we want to admit it or not, teen pregnancy exists all around us. It’s a sad epidemic, and though it is a tender subject, it is relevant! We can bury our heads in the sand or point scornful fingers in disgust, or we can do something to help make a difference. There are self-help books and guides for parents and teens alike, and though they may be packed with facts and figures, there is nothing more powerful than a story! If experience is the best teacher, then I think it’s safe to conclude that realistic characters sharing authentic emotional experiences can go further in empowering positive choices and promoting life changing insight than any lecture or list of statistics ever could. Hope’s Journey doesn’t advocate teen pregnancy. What it does advocate, however, is self worth, forgiveness, compassion, and repentance.
What made you originally interested in pursuing a career in architecture?
I think it’s just in my blood. I was raised around construction sites, riding in heavy equipment, using power tools, and studying plans. I remember lying on the living room floor, chin in my hands, as I stared at blueprints with my grandpa. I absorbed every step of the building process and by the time I was ten I knew that architecture was in my future.
What do you love about writing?
There’s something rewarding about taking an abstract concept and making something tangible out of it. I think it’s part of that same creative passion that drove me to architecture. My mind never shuts off, so any creative outlet I can find is a warm welcome to my routine.
How do you find ways to balance being a mom, a writer, and fulfilling your other obligations?
It’s all about prioritizing and it’s safe to say that I’m still learning! My family always comes first, which means sometimes writing takes a back seat. I’ll admit, when I get into a good writing groove, the laundry starts to build and dinner sometimes turns into sandwiches or cold cereal. For the most part, however, I try to write while my kids are at school or are sleeping. Luckily, I’ve been blessed with a wonderful husband that not only supports my writing habits, but encourages them along. He picks up a lot of my slack and doesn’t complain about the keyboard clicking while he’s trying to sleep.
Thanks again, Stephanie.