Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Defy The Stars by Stephanie Parent

Defy The Stars
by Stephanie Parent

Genre: YA, contemporary, romance
Editions available: Kindle, ebook
Date published: June 30, 2012
Publisher: Stephanie Parent

Summary (Goodreads):

Julia Cape: A dedicated classical piano student just trying to get through her last semester of high school while waiting to hear from music conservatories. 

Reed MacAllister: A slacker more likely to be found by the stoners’ tree than in class.

Julia and Reed might have graduated high school without ever speaking to each other…until, during a class discussion of Romeo and Juliet, Julia scoffs at the play’s theme of love at first sight, and Reed responds by arguing that feelings don’t always have to make sense. Julia tries to shake off Reed’s comment and forget about this boy who hangs with the stoner crowd—and who happens to have breathtaking blue eyes—but fate seems to bring the two together again and again. After they share an impulsive, passionate kiss, neither one can deny the chemistry between them. Yet as Julia gets closer to Reed, she also finds herself drawn into his dark world of drugs and violence. Then a horrific tragedy forces Julia’s and Reed’s families even farther apart…and Julia must decide whether she’s willing to give up everything for love.

Defy the Stars is written in an edgy free-verse style that will appeal to fans of Ellen Hopkins and Lisa Schroeder; however, the writing is accessible enough to speak to non-verse fans as well. The novel’s combination of steamy romance and raw emotion will appeal to fans of Gayle Forman, Simone Elkeles, Jennifer Echols, and Tammara Webber. With a story, language and form that both pay homage to and subvert Shakespeare’s play, Defy the Stars is much more than just another Romeo and Juliet story.



What do you think makes a good story or novel?

What’s most important for me is that I can identify with the characters—I have to believe they’re real people, even if they exist within a fantasy world of the author’s creation.  And a good book should make me feel something—not every book has to make me laugh or cry, but I want to have an emotional reaction.

What is your favorite thing about being a writer? Are there any cons?

My favorite thing is hearing from readers—even little things, like you mentioning that you listened to the music referenced in the book, can totally make my day.  Of course I love hearing that readers enjoyed my book, but I also like reading the more critical reviews—it’s just fascinating to see how each reader comes from a different place and gets different things out of the book.  It will definitely make me a better writer in the future!  As for the cons, the writing process itself can be incredibly difficult for me—sometimes it feels like banging my head against a brick wall!  In addition, I think this is a really hard time to enter the writing business, especially writing YA—more books are being published than ever before, both from traditional publishers and indies.  It makes it that much harder to stand out and find readers in a crowded market.

Some authors need things to help them write, like candles or music. Do you have any quirks that help your writing process?

I actually like to write with a TV show on in the background of my computer!  It has to be a show I’ve watched before so I’m not too distracted, but having that extra noise rather than the gaping silence really helps me.  Oddly enough, though, I can’t listen to music while writing, especially music with lyrics—I find that too distracting.  I also like to give myself permission to take frequent breaks and surf the net while writing.  It means the process takes longer, but it preserves my sanity a bit!

Do you like to plan out the story before writing or do you simply let it come on its own?

I try to plan out as much as I can before I start writing, but I do so only in my head without writing it down—having it written feels too restrictive.  And I’ve never been able to plan the entire plot before writing a book—usually it takes me till I’m about halfway through to really figure out what I’m doing.

Who is your favorite character? Why?

I can’t choose between Julia and Reed!  Both of them contain little bits of me, and as such I grew very attached to them while writing the novel.  Like Julia, I can be a bit of a perfectionist and control freak, and like her, I was very involved in piano in high school—I actually attended a performing arts high school as a piano major, and I also studied at the Peabody Institute, the pre-college branch of the Peabody music conservatory Julia applies to in the book.  However, while I’ve always loved music, I never had quite the dedication to piano that Julia does, and I never intended to study it in college or pursue it as a career.  As for Reed, I relate to him in that I’ve struggled with depression and self-destructive tendencies, but I’m not nearly as much of a risk taker as Reed is, and I come from a much more stable home life!

I also have to mention that, even though he’s a much smaller character, I actually really like Marc, Reed’s friend.  I think I know a lot about Marc that didn’t fit into the story and thus didn’t make it onto the page.  He was definitely one of the lighter characters in the novel, so it was always a relief to write his lines/actions in the midst of all the drama.



About the Author:

Stephanie Parent is a YA author repped by Brenda Bowen of Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. She is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC and attended the Baltimore School for the Arts as a piano major.


- 1st prize: $30 gift card from Amazon and a e-book copy of Defy the Stars.
- 2nd place: 4 e-book copies of Defy the Stars.
- Additional Prize: A query letter critique by Stephanie Parent.
- All giveaways are open internationally!

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