How long have you been writing, Stephanie?It feels like it’s been forever—in the best possible way, that is. I wrote my first story when I was six. It was during “pig week” at elementary school. My librarian put the story up there with all the published books for the other kids to read. You can imagine how proud that made me feel as a little kid.
When I turned twelve, I was really into fan fiction. I was terrible. (No, I really was.) I had no idea about grammar and all that other stuff. I wrote five hundred pages worth of fan fiction—twelve stories—and got plenty of criticism. But every story I got better and better.
When I was fifteen my sister read one of my essays and told me that I should read a book. I shrugged my shoulders. That was when one of my essays on eating disorders in young adults got an award in a writing competition. After that, I started writing Until We Meet Again.
The rest is history. Until We Meet Again was released the day of my high school graduation. The book is five hundred pages long.
Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write Dragon Night?Honestly, I don’t really know…I’m very much a serial writer. I sit down and things happen. In fact, sometimes I don’t feel like I’m the one doing it. I see and feel my stories so much that they write themselves. Once the book is done, I feel like it’s my child. *Laughs.* Yes, I “made” it, but it’s its own entity, but it is no longer mine. It belongs to the person reading it, because every person will take Dragon Night differently. That is one of the reasons why I think that books are so beautiful—same book, different visions.
What sets Dragon Night apart from other books in the same genre?Oh dear. Query letter flashback. *Laughs.* I try to humanize my fantasies. I love my characters. I feel that’s what makes the story different. It isn’t just a fantasy for the sake of it—it’s about a boy learning to grow up, and it’s about someone who’s different. Adolescence is one of the most beautiful and hard time of someone’s life. It is the time that decides what you will become. It is so, SO important. That is why Dragon Night is special—it addresses that.
As an author, Stephanie, what is your writing process?I never take a break between books. I’ve done the same thing for the past five years. I start one manuscript and write six pages a day, I edit twenty pages of another manuscript, and I publicize another. When the writing stage is done, I will leave the book alone for at least three months. I will edit a book three times before I send it to a publisher. (I like three. Can you tell?)
How long did it take for you to start and finish Dragon Night?Not long. Dragon Night wrote itself. In fact, Ford was so ready to get out there that he blasted himself upon the page. *Snickers.*
No, but seriously, Dragon Night was very natural for me. It was one of my favorite books to write to date.
Do you have any advice for other writers, Stephanie?
Yes. Don’t ever, ever give up. Also, don’t let criticism get you down. It’s a test of grit out there. I’ve had many people tell me to give it up, some of which were my “friends.” I believe that writers are made through hard work. If you want to be one, then make yourself one. There is no other way to approach something that you love.
That’s great advice – it took me 15 years of not giving up or getting down! So, what’s next for Stephanie Campbell the author?
Lots! Actually, Dragon Night is one of many books that are being released. Right now I’m publicizing my book, Poachers, and am doing book tours to local schools. At the end of November, I’m also releasing another book, P.S. I Killed My Mother. Here’s to hoping for big things!
You dream bigger, you get bigger! Okay, here’s one for me, since I’m writing a time travel series – If you could time travel anywhere into Earth’s past, where would you go and why?
I’m going to approach this honestly, even though it might end up biting me later. I would want to travel back to meet Jesus. I’m very influenced by religion and spirituality. I believe that Jesus is one of the most influential beings in history.