Swanky Seventeen Rebecca Barrow recently interviewed Stephanie Scott, author of the YA contemporary novel Alterations, published by Bloomsbury Spark on December 6, 2016.
About the Author
Stephanie Scott writes Young Adult stories about teens who put their passions first. She enjoys dance fitness and cat memes, and Pinterest is driving her broke. Born and raised in Kalamazoo where there are no zoos, she’s a Midwest girl at heart. She now lives outside of Chicago with her tech-of-all-trades husband. You can find her chatting about TV and all things books on Twitter and Instagram, and online at stephaniescott.net. Alterations is her first book.
If anyone saw the prom boards Amelia Blanco makes on her favorite fashion app, they’d think Ethan Laurenti was her boyfriend. They wouldn’t know that all the plans she’s made for them are just dreams, and that she’s the girl who watches him from the kitchen while her parents cook for his famous family.
When Amelia’s abuelita enrolls her in a month-long fashion internship in NYC, Amelia can’t imagine leaving Miami–and Ethan–for that long. As soon as she gets to New York, however, she finds a bigger world and new possibilities. She meets people her own age who can actually carry on a conversation about stitching and design. Her pin boards become less about prom with Ethan and more about creating her own style. By the time she returns to Miami, Amelia feels like she can accomplish anything, and surprises herself by agreeing to help Ethan’s awkward, Steve-Jobs-wannabe brother, Liam, create his own fashion app.
As Liam and Amelia get closer, Ethan realizes that this newly confident, stylish girl may be the one for him after all . . . even though he has a reality TV star girlfriend he conveniently keeps forgetting about. The “new and improved” Amelia soon finds herself in between two brothers, a whole lot of drama, and choice she never dreamed she’d have to make.
Rebecca: Alterations is loosely based on the Audrey Hepburn film Sabrina. What made you decide to use a film as your inspiration, and how much did you play with the plot?
Stephanie: Great question! I’ve always loved the movie starting with the 1990s version with Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond. The Audrey Hepburn original has incredible fashion but some real cringe-worthy moments for a modern audience. When I was looking for my next project, I believe the idea I stumbled into an online conversation about which classic movies would make good book adaptations. While writing, I got hung up at times trying to mirror elements of the original story. What I ended up focusing on were the elements that make the movie appealing–the romance, the idea of reinvention, and a glamorous world for someone not used to glamour. I also added in a heavy dose of my own interests in reality shows, Project Runway, and Instagram.
Rebecca: What do you love about writing for teen readers?
Stephanie: The enthusiasm! I’ve gone to lots of reader events and book signings and that’s my favorite part–seeing readers get excited about stories and characters. The art and creativity that comes from book fandoms is also a lot of fun. I have favorites tagged on Etsy and sites like Society6 of book merch created by fans.
Rebecca: I know you’re a big proponent of Instagram for authors (your feed is excellent and so pretty!) – why do you love it so much? And can you give us one tip for getting started on IG?
Stephanie: Thanks! It’s been a year since I discovered Instagram as more than a place to dump random pictures with some funky filters. I found the lively bookstagrammer community and started following accounts. On breaks at work I’d scroll through pretty book pictures for five or ten minutes at a time. I joined a monthly photo prompt challenge and didn’t miss a day last December, so the practice helped me get used to using it. Even Christmas Day I arranged my aunt’s holiday cookbooks and some cookies for a pic (my family joined in helping). One tip to get started: pick three things you like and make that your focus for your account. It could be books, coffee, and your dog. Or family, hiking, and healthy living. Try focusing your photos on a few things so the feed isn’t entirely random. Bonus tip: take pics in natural light and use Instagram’s edit features to adjust brightness and contrast.
Rebecca: You’re involved in a lot of contests—what do you think are the benefits of being involved in things like #PitchWars, both on the mentor and mentee sides?
Stephanie: The community aspect to writing contests cannot be understated. I found my agent through a blog pitch contest and my early critiques all came from writers I knew from blogs and twitter. There are more options than ever for writers to publish, and the choices can be overwhelming. Predatory scammers urge writers to hand over hundreds and thousands of dollars for publishing promises too good to be true. Being connected to a writer community can save you that pain. There’s a ton of information out there and groups of writers seeking similar goals can watch out for each other.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with music?
I used to be a huge music nerd, but I tend to get most of my writing done in silence. I have a few music mixes on Spotify I’ll cue up if needed.
Ebook or physical copy?
Both! Ebooks are easy and super portable. I can start reading on my ereader and the same app on my phone will save my place. Technology is awesome.
Writing beverage of choice?
One author who inspires you?
Recently: Taherah Mafi. She was a guest on Seth Meyers’ late night show and it was so cool to see a writer from the YA community on TV. Her books are great and she has incredible style.
First book you remember reading by yourself?
The Berenstain Bears
Favorite way to celebrate finishing a draft?
Reading a few books in a binge or investing time into a video game (the Fallout series is my fave! And a total time suck).
About the Interviewer
Rebecca Barrow writes stories about girls and all the wonders they can be. A lipstick obsessive with the ability to quote the entirety of Mean Girls, she lives in England, where it rains a considerable amount more than in the fictional worlds of her characters. She collects tattoos, cats, and more books than she could ever possibly read. Find her on Twitter at @RebeccaKBarrow.
Her debut novel, You Don’t Know Me But I Know You, will be published by HarperTeen in August 2017. About the book: Nothing makes Audrey Spencer happier than turning her world into art—seeing her family, her best friend, and the boy she loves through her camera lens. But when Audrey realizes that she’s pregnant, she feels a tightly sealed box in her heart crack open, spilling her dormant fears and unanswered questions all over the life she loves.