Monday, February 24, 2014

An Interview By Regina West (of me!)

Please check out Regina West's website at www.reginawest.com for more information on her, her writing and for other great author interviews!



Crooked Trees and Crazy Families – An Interview with Steph Post



Hello, everyone.  We Pandamoon Publishing authors are embarking on a fun project wherein we get to interview one another.  This week, I managed to lure the gorgeous and talented Steph Post over to my blog so that we could get to know her a little better.  Her novel  A Tree Born Crooked (see the synopsis below) is due out November, 2014.


Steph lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, with her husband and six(!) dogs.  She got her Bachelor’s degree in English from Davidson College and her Master’s degree in Graduate Liberal Studies from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.  She’s also a high school teacher at a performing arts school in Tampa.


And if that weren’t enough to impress everyone, she also received the Patricia Cornwell creative writing scholarship, won the Vereen Bell award for short fiction, and was a semi-finalist for the Big Moose prize for fiction.


I know I was impressed but enough from me.  Here’s what Steph had to say.
steph post author photo 21. Tell us about your novel, A Tree Born Crooked? 
It’s the story of a man reluctantly coming home to attend his father’s funeral only to discover that it’s already been held without him and that the dysfunctional family he’s tried to so hard to run away actually has more of a hold on his heart that he ever imagined. It’s also about a robbery gone wrong, low-level criminal idiots, love, loss, drugs, road trips, anger and oranges. Yes, oranges. It’s classic Florida writing with a spoonful of Steinbeck and a dash of Elmore Leonard.


2.  Is it a thriller? What made you choose the genre?  Do you want to write in other genres as well?
A Tree Born Crooked is what I consider a literary thriller in the Country Noir genre. In other words, it’s a high-action plot written in the “literary” genre with dark, Southern overtones. I think the Country Noir style definitely suits me, but not all of my writing is always in the exact same genre. The novel I’m currently working on is more thriller, less literary. Poetry was my first love and I’ve written and published short stories as well.


3. Was there a specific moment when you felt pulled toward writing or have you always written?
I think I’ve always been a daydreamer and a story teller. When I was in middle school I quite suddenly realized that I could take all of the stories floating around in my head and put them into words. When I was in high school I realized that there was the possibility of people wanting to read the stories I was putting into words. It all took off from there.


4.  You grew up in wild, backwoods Florida.  How has that influenced your writing?  How has that influenced you as a person?
I spent a lot of time daydreaming when I was kid. Because of where we lived I was able to roam through the woods and spend long hours on the dock overlooking the creek that we lived on. I spent a lot of time alone, which meant that I had a lot of time to create characters and their stories in my mind. Much of the landscape that I grew up around features prominently in my novels.


5. As a teacher AND a writer, how do you find time to prepare lesson plans, grade papers, and still write? How do you balance it all?
Fortunately I moved this year from being a classroom teacher to the writing coach for my school. This means that I have slightly more free time at home, but also that I am immersed in the world of writing ALL of the time. I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but I’m pretty happy with the arrangement. I have learned, though, that I can only write on weekends and holidays.  When I get home from school there’s no way for me to focus on my own writing. But any day that I’m not at work is a day to crank out the pages.


6. If someone handed you all the money you could ever need and you would never have to work for money again, how would you spend your time?
I’d probably be doing exactly what I’m doing right now! Except I’d be living in a much bigger house on a much bigger piece of property. And I’d probably have ten dogs instead of five. And a swimming pool. :)


To connect with Steph, you can find her:
On Twitter: @StephPostAuthor
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Steph-Post/153516208138065
And on her blog: http://stephpostauthor.blogspot.com/


If you aren’t already totally stoked to read Steph’s novel, you will be after you read this synopsis:
Thirty-six year old James Hart has a tough-as-nails exterior and an aching emptiness inside. The only one in his family to leave his stagnant birthplace in Crystal Springs behind, James is filled with a burning spark of restlessness and anger that keeps him roaming from one trailer park and temporary job to another. Out of the blue, James gets an unsigned postcard from his mother, Birdie Mae, informing him of his father’s death.
Left with no choice, James finally heads home to Florida and to a collapsed rural town running on the fumes of the occasional interstate tourists speeding through. It is a place where dreams are born to die. Here, James discovers that he is too late for his father’s funeral, but just in time to learn of his younger brother, Rabbit’s, new scam of stealing copper wire, trading it for Oxycodone pills, and then selling the drugs to the girls at the local strip club.
The lone bright spot during James’ return home is meeting the beautiful Marlena, who works in her father’s bar called The Blue Diamond. At this local watering hole, James learns of Rabbit’s newest easy money scheme, but is unable to convince Rabbit to curtail his plan which is doomed to fail. James is helpless as he watches Rabbit, high on Oxycodone, become part of a robbery-turned-murder. As if that isn’t bad enough, it appears Rabbit is now being double-crossed by his partners in crime, one of whom may very well be Marlena’s father, Waylon, who disappears. Throw in the Alligator Mafia, the local group of redneck gangsters, and Rabbit is soon on the run of his life with Marlena who wants find her father, and James, who wants to protect them both.
Together, the three embark on a cross-country journey hoping to find enough time to come up with a solution to their escalating tragedy. With the Alligator Mafia hot on their tracks, time and a lucky break are both in short supply.

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