Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is pleased to shine our Friday spotlight on local author S.M. Stevens, who will be signing her new book at Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester on Saturday, November 16th at 1:00 PM. S.M. (also known as Sue) has written a middle grade book, several young adult books, and has just completed a new women’s fiction novel, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades.
I asked her to tell us a little bit about herself, and this was her response:
I began writing fiction 10 years ago during back-to-back health crises: a shattered pelvis and ovarian cancer. Talk about a silver lining!
Where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester –though they should totally check here first!)
Annie’s should be your first stop, but my books are also available through online retailers, or ask at your local library. If they don’t carry it, they can order it.
How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?
Through your social media platform of choice, or you can subscribe to my blog:
For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from Horseshoes and Hand Grenades?
I try to write stories that make people think, but that are entertaining and accessible at the same time. Horseshoes and Hand Grenades tackles tough #MeToo subjects, but in an uplifting and entertaining coming-of-age story – or so my readers tell me!
What was the inspiration for Horseshoes and Hand Grenades
The “inspiration” for Horseshoes and Hand Grenades was the Harvey Weinstein scandal. I was fascinated to see society asking the same questions of workplace sexual harassment victims that they ask of incest victims – Why did you wait so long to speak up? Why are you speaking up now? Was it bad enough to count? So I dusted off an old manuscript about a young woman dealing with childhood incest and added the parallel plot line of her friend struggling with workplace harassment, in an attempt to answer those questions.
What was the biggest challenge in writing and putting out Horseshoes and Hand Grenades How did you overcome that challenge?
The greatest challenge with Horseshoes and Hand Grenades was convincing a publisher that a story about “lesser abuse” had merit. In this day when extreme stories sell best, it took an independent press like TouchPoint to recognize that more women (and men) can probably relate to my characters’ experiences than to those in novels about extreme abuse.
Writers very often have furry or feathered or otherwise non-human companions to “help” them through their work. Do you? What do you have? How do they “help” (or, “not-help”) with your writing?
I’m a big believer in animal breaks, whether I’m writing fiction or consulting for solar companies (my day job). My mutt Korra is a cuddle muffin and always happy to oblige when I need a break.
Do you have any favorite foods or drinks that must be in the vicinity (or must be avoided) while you’re writing or editing a piece of work?
I love to have a beer or glass of wine while writing. This habit started when I worked at a PR firm in my 20s. After 5 o’clock, we were allowed to imbibe if still working. I would write like crazy, not knowing if it was brilliant or terrible. Luckily, the next day, I’d find the work was pretty good, although maybe not brilliant.
What do you consider the most challenging part of the writing process? And how do you overcome that?
Writer’s block is the scariest challenge many writers face, but I have a trick that has worked so far. I only stop writing for the night if I know what’s coming next. I can picture the scene, giving me a solid starting point for the next day.
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions, Sue. We look forward to seeing you on Saturday, November 20th at 1:00 PM!