Before we start, here’s a quick look at why Stephanie is awesome:
Stephanie Burgis was born in East Lansing, Michigan, but now lives in Wales with her husband, fellow writer Patrick Samphire, their son and their border collie, Maya. She studied music history as a Fulbright Scholar in Vienna, Austria, earned a Master's degree at the University of Pittsburgh, and worked as a website editor for a British opera company before she began to write fulltime. She has published almost thirty short stories for adults. Kat, Incorrigible (a.k.a. A Most Improper Magick, in the UK) is her first published novel, followed by Renegade Magic (a.k.a. A Tangle of Magicks, in the UK).
The Writing Questions
When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I still remember this so clearly! I was seven years old, and it was an Event. I was riding in the car with my mom and my little brother when I made the announcement: I had finally found something that I liked even more reading: writing! So I was going to be a writer. I never changed my mind - over the years, I went through plenty of self-doubt and even despair about whether I could really make it into my profession, but I never ever stopped wanting that.
What’s the first story you can remember writing?
The first story I remember writing is one that I remember it because my mom saved it and I ended up re-reading it a couple of times over the years. I wrote it when I was around six or seven (I also did the illustrations! That sure wouldn't happen now), and it was all about a dolphin named Jackie Bauman (which just happened to be the name of one of my own grandmothers) who lived with her little brother Ben (my little brother's name) and her mommy and daddy dolphin...yeah. It was all very true-to-life, if only my family had been composed of dolphins. ;)
Where did the idea for Kat, Incorrigible come from?
I've always loved Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer's Regency-era romantic comedies. Something that struck me, though, was how many of Austen and Heyer's romantic heroines have younger sisters who pop up only long enough to say something decidedly snarky and disrespectful to their older sisters before disappearing again to make way for the plot! I wanted to write a book about a snarky younger sister of two Regency romantic heroines - a girl who would happily attempt to take charge of her older sister's romances out of family loyalty, but who would also be having her own even more fabulous MAGICAL adventures while they were distracted by romance!
But really, all of that is what I figured out after I'd already started writing. The real reason I started writing was that one day, out of the blue, a girl's voice whispered in my ear: "I was twelve years of age when I chopped off my hair, dressed as a boy, and set out to rescue my family from impending ruin. I made it almost to the end of my front garden...." And it all took off from there!
Who inspires you to write?
All the writers I love, from Jane Austen to Jenn Reese, Charlotte Brontë and JRR Tolkien to Caroline Stevermer and Susanna Kearsley - they all remind me every day of the joy of storytelling. And I'm lucky enough to be married to one of my favorite writers in the world, my husband, Patrick Samphire - we write at the same time of day, usually in the same room, and it's massively inspirational to see him typing away across the room on his own pieces as I work on mine.
What do you do when you aren’t writing?
I have a three-year-old son, so the majority of my non-writing time is spent parenting! Luckily, my son and I both love libraries, cafés, and castles (of which there are a LOT in our part of Wales). When I'm not parenting, I'm often reading, devouring Jane Austen TV adaptations, and/or knitting. (I am not a very good knitter, but I am an enthusiastic one!)
The Spontaneous Questions
You get to choose any of your characters to go out to lunch with. Who do you pick, where do you go, and what do they order?
I'd go with Angeline (Kat's second-oldest sister, who's very funny, extremely self-confident and totally ruthless) to a café for strong coffee, strong chocolate and excellent gossip. ;)
If you could meet any author (living or dead), who would it be?
I'd love to meet Jane Austen - but I have to admit, I would be nervous, knowing perfectly well that she'd skewer me in her next letter to her sister! ;p (I love her letters - I used to read them before every writing session on Kat, Incorrigible to put me in the right mood! But oh, she was she a funny - and ruthless - blaster of all pretensions. )
You are trapped on a desert island, with no way to escape. What 3 books would you bring?
The Collected Works of Jane Austen (ha! that totally counts as one book); The Mozart Season, by Virginia Euwer Wolff; and The Rose Garden, by Susanna Kearsley.
If you had to choose one food to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Garlicky macaroni & cheese. Mmmm...
What are 3 words that best describe your personality?
Erm... I'd really like them to be: creative, compassionate and loyal.
The Quickfire Questions
Purple, Green, or Blue?
Blue! My favorite color.
Milk, White, or Dark Chocolate?
Dark chocolate, always.
Harry Potter, Twilight, or Hunger Games?
Harry Potter! I am a huge Potter fangirl.
Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, or Broccoli?
Broccoli - especially fried up with pesto.
Fantasy, Romance, or Historical Fiction?
Ouch! How can I choose among those three? I want them ALL!
Stephanie was such fun to work with during this interview! Thanks Stephanie!