Saturday, February 16, 2013 books

Guest Post by 
Stephanie Wardrop 
Author of Snark and Circumstance

Today I have the pleasure of hosting a Blog Tour stop for Stephanie Wardrop's debut novel Snark and Circumstance that will come out on May 2nd, 2013. 

Stephanie grew up in Reading, Pennsylvania where she started writing stories when she ran out of books to read. She’s always wanted to be a writer, except during the brief period of her childhood in which piracy seemed like the most enticing career option – and if she had known then that there actually were “girl” pirates way back when, things might have turned out very differently. She currently teaches writing and literature at Western New England University and lives in a town not unlike the setting of Snark and Circumstance with her husband, two kids, and five cats. With a book out – finally – she might be hitting the high seas any day now. 

Today she will tell you something about the books that inspired her: 
First, I want to thank Karin for playing host to this post and for having a photograph of her dog on this site that is clearly my childhood dog, Angus, reincarnated. He was named for the canine hero of the children’s books by Marjorie Flack.

This coincidence got me thinking about all the books I devoured as a kid. I have loved, and lost, so many books over my nearly five decades on this planet that I believe heaven is a place where I will be reunited with all the books I loved and lent to people, or lost in moves from one place to the other. It will be a great big library with all of my old fictional friends waiting for me to start the conversation all over again.

The Early Years
As a little kid, Leo Lionni’s Frederick taught me the important role of the artist in society. Frederick is a storyteller and therefore does not appear to anyone around him to be doing anything socially useful. But the other mice learn that even if Frederick is not out gathering nuts with the other mice, he is gathering story material to keep everyone entertained and peaceful for the long months of winter. This is more than a good excuse for apparent laziness. It’s a lesson in the value of writing.  
I also loved the Paddington Bear books as well as Winnie the Pooh (in fact, I still identify with Piglet) in part because I loved their British-ness. It was like those Brits had a whole other language, but still spoke English! I distinctly remember annoying everyone around me one day because I kept repeating the word “perambulator” and cracking myself up. I thought it was a hilarious word. 
But my real love of words had to come from Dr. Seuss books, which taught me that words can rhyme and have a rhythm and a music of their own. I learned you can make up words, too, and thus make up whole worlds. The Collapsible Frink and the Chippendale Muff should exist.  Somewhere. 

Elementary school
Like most girls, I liked my heroines spunky, and no one was spunkier than Pippi Longstocking; if I could have lived with a horse and a monkey named Mr. Nilsson, I would have been the happiest child on the planet.  I also loved From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and Jennifer Hecate Macbeth William McKinley and Me, Elizabeth by E. L Konigsburg (I still remember the heroine and her brother debating whether an object can be described accurately as “crushed up”) and The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare.  

Junior and Senior High
Judy Blume and Richard Peck were my heroes. I liked JD Salinger, too, and in high school I read Dostoevsky, some Turgenev, and a lot of F Scott Fitzgerald. Lest I appear to be a total geek, I will confess that I also read every book about rock music available at the Reading Public Library, and remember an English teacher pointing out one day in class that I could read something better than the Jim Morrison biography No One Here Gets Out Alive that I had open on my desk (on her desk was a copy of Tammy Wynette’a bio Stand By Your Man.  Hey – you read what speaks to you, right?  No judgment here.) And while I would never make a case for that biography as great literature, the book did introduce to me to loftier writers, like Kerouac and Neitzsche.
But as a young writer, I was most captivated by John Irving’s lovable characters who were at once very real and very exaggerated.  His ability to write with such hilarity and sincerity at the same time will have my undying admiration.    
I remember riding the DC metro home from work one day and crying, wedged between the other straphangers, over the death of Owen Meaney even though I had known from the beginning it was coming.  If I could do that, make someone feel that power just once, I’d be satisfied.

Here is a sneak peak into Stephanie's book, Snark and Circumstance:
One superior smirk from Michael Endicott convinces sixteen-year-old Georgia Barrett that the Devil wears Polo. His family may have founded the postcard-perfect New England town they live in, but Georgia’s not impressed. Even if he is smart, good looking, and can return Georgia’s barbs as deftly as he returns serves on his family’s tennis courts. After all, if Michael actually thinks she refuses to participate in lab dissections just to mess with his grade, he’s a little too sure that he’s the center of the universe. Could there be more to Michael Endicott than smirks and sarcasm? If Georgia can cut the snark long enough, she just might find out.
Snark and Circumstance is the first title in the Snark and Circumstance series of young adult romance novellas from Stephanie Wardrop.

A huge Thank You to Stephanie for stopping by the blog and telling us all about the books that inspired her. Keep your eyes open for a review of Snark and Circumstance, which will be published here closer to the publishing date.

You can also win an e-copy of Snark and Circumstance today. Just enter the Rafflecopter below and keep your fingers crossed:
  a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 comment:

  1. I loved The Witch of Blackbird Pond when I was young, too. I planned to name my son Nat. :) I should re-read that one, now that you mention it!
    Snark and Circumstance sounds great! And I love the cover. :)