Wednesday, February 20, 2019

SPOTLIGHT w/INTERVIEW - Stanley and Hazel by Jo Schaffer

Stanley and Hazel
Book One
by Jo Schaffer
Date of Publication: May 15th 2018
Publisher: Month9Books

Cover Artist: AM Design Studios
Genre: Historical Fiction

A great depression grips the city of St. Louis in 1934. Stanley, an orphaned newsy, lives in a poor part of town hit especially hard by the economic downturn. One night, Stanley runs into Hazel, a restless debutante-in-waiting who has begun to question her posh lifestyle in the midst of the suffering she sees. She’s out and about without an escort and against her father’s wishes.

When they discover the body of a girl with her head bashed in by a baseball bat, the very different and separate realities of the two teens inform their decision. Together they will figure out what happened to her and bring those responsible to justice.

But getting involved with each other and digging into the secrets behind this murder earns them some powerful enemies, including a secret group seeking to rid society of all they deem “undesirable.” They’ve put into motion “The Winnowing,” a plan seeking to take over the city and enforce their will.

As Stanley and Hazel’s forbidden feelings for one another grow, their investigation turns deadly. Now, it is up to Stanley and his gang of street kids to stop Hazel from becoming the next victim.

Hazel stumbled down the grassy hill of the moonlit park. Stanley glanced at her from several steps ahead. “You with me, Bananas?”
“Yeah.” She swallowed back the urge to be sick. Hazel’s legs moved her forward but nothing seemed real. She was in Forest Park at night with a newsie boy she’d just met and Sandy’s runaway sister was back there, slumped against the statue of St. Louis with her head cracked open.

She couldn’t make her brain take it all in. Evelyn’s face—caved in on one side, her mouth slack, teeth showing like gravestones covered in blood. Gripped with panic, Hazel quickened her step to catch up with Stanley—her only guide in this darkness. He was a part of it. This was his world, not hers.

Author Info
Jo Schaffer was born and raised in the California Bay Area in a huge, creative family. She is a YA novelist, speaker and a Taekwondo black belt. She’s a founding member of the nonprofit organization that created Teen Author Boot Camp, one of the nation’s biggest conferences for teens where bestselling authors present writing workshops to nearly a thousand attendees. Jo loves being involved in anything that promotes literacy and family. She is passionate about community, travel, books, music, healthy eating, classic films and martial arts. But her favorite thing is being mom to three strapping sons and a neurotic cat named Hero. They live together in the beautiful mountains of Utah.

The Book Junkie Reads . . . Interview with Jo Schaffer . . .

How would you describe your style of writing to someone that has never read your work?
I suppose my style is less flowery than some, but I have fun with description and I like to get into what my characters are thinking. In Stanley and Hazel I enjoyed sprinkling in details that help the reader see and experience the era of the 1930s. Dialog is my favorite thing to write to show the personalities of the characters.

What mindset or routine do you feel the need to set when preparing to write (in general whether you are working on a project or just free writing)?
I like to be in comfy clothes, and sometimes have snacks and music when I write. I used to wait for inspiration to strike but now I sit and start writing until something starts to flow.

Do you take your character prep to heart? Do you nurture the growth of each character all the way through to the page? Do you people watch to help with development? Or do you build upon your character during story creation?
I think it’s a really good idea to know more than just what your characters looks like and what a few of their quirks might be. There’s a class that I’ve taught at Teen Author Boot Camp about “shrinking” your character. If you act like a psychologist and examine their backgrounds and possible issues or traits they may have it can really tell you something about how they’ll behave in a given situation. I like to explore how the nature and nurture they’ve experienced in their lives would affect their personalities. It was fun to come up with personalities for Stanley and Hazel that would show the differences in their upbringing and life experience.
I am an avid people watcher—but I don’t just watch. I listen. I ask questions. I invest in getting to know people past a superficial level.
When I’m writing, I allow the characters to evolve with their experiences and sometimes they surprise me a little.

Have you found yourself bonding with any particular character? If so which one(s)?
I really love all of the characters. I relate to Hazel in some ways and Stanley in others. I even feel a lot for Arthur even though he’s a little scary. Mumsy fascinates me because there is so much more to her than meets the eye.

Do you have a character that you have been working on that you can't wait to put to paper?
There is a new strong female character in Book 2 that was so much fun to write and who will rise in importance as the story continues into Book 3.

Have you ever felt that there was something inside of you that you couldn't control? If so what? If no what spurs you to reach for the unexperienced?
I am a pretty disciplined person in general. But I do have a lot of passion for life and learning. My curiosity and sense of adventure drive me to experience new things and to go to new places.

 Snapchat: jojoschaffer
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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for featuring me and my book! This is awesome! =D