If you grew up in the ‘90s or just want to be reminded of how awesome us teens were back then, you should definitely pick up a copy of GCC member Stephanie Kuehnert’s (www.stephaniekuehnert.com) BALLADS OF SUBURBIA http://www.amazon.com/Ballads-Suburbia-Stephanie-Kuehnert/dp/1439102821). It’s chocked for a piercingly honest teen angst and enough 90s music references to make me smile. Plus, I think the cover is pretty cool. Who doesn’t love a plastic riding duck with freaky eyes?
As always, here’s a little bit about her book to get you hooked:
There are so many ballads. Achy breaky country songs. Mournful pop songs. Then there’s the rare punk ballad, the ballad of suburbia: louder, faster, angrier . . . till it drowns out the silence.
Kara hasn’t been back to Oak Park since the end of junior year, when a heroin overdose nearly killed her and sirens heralded her exit. Four years later, she returns to face the music. Her life changed forever back in high school: her family disintegrated, she ran around with a whole new crowd of friends, she partied a little too hard, and she fell in love with gorgeous bad boy Adrian, who left her to die that day in Scoville Park. . . .
Amidst the music, the booze, the drugs, and the drama, her friends filled a notebook with heartbreakingly honest confessions of the moments that defined and shattered their young lives.
Now, finally, Kara is ready to write her own.
Here’s what Stephanie had to say:
Q: In AMOR AND SUMMER SECRETS, Mariana discovers a hidden family secret. Are you a good secret keeper?
Stephanie: Yes. Well mostly. Unless it’s a really, really personal, important secret, I usually do end up slipping and telling either my fiancé or my best friend.
Q: What is the favorite place you ever traveled to, and what was the coolest thing you saw/did there?
Stephanie: I haven’t done any overseas travel, so my favorite place to travel to is Seattle. There is not really a glamorous reason that I love Seattle so much and there isn’t even a particular cool thing that I’ve seen or done while there. Though I did because I’m nerdily obsessed with the band Nirvana track down lots of places they played and stuff. Mostly I just like to go to the Pike Place Market or sit in one of the many beautiful parks or by one of many waterfronts in Seattle.
The coolest thing I ever did traveling wise was probably that I went to New Orleans for Halloween and they had a huge parade on Bourbon street, not quite to Mardi Gras level, but close!
Q: I often tell the story of how a psychic once predicted that I would go on to write children’s books. Have you ever visited a psychic?
Stephanie: I’ve never gone to a psychic, but I have had tarot card readings that have come true and I used to do a lot of tarot. A friend of mine’s mom goes to a certain psychic and trusts her immensely, so if I had money to burn I’d go to her. I believe in that stuff for sure, but I also believe there are a lot of frauds out there.
Q: My character Mariana spends her summer in Puerto Rico connecting with her father’s heritage. Have you ever researched your family tree?
Stephanie: I haven’t done much family research. My dad’s side of the family is from Germany, but came over here like around the civil war. One great-great-great uncle got shot for cheating at poker, which I think is pretty Old West and cool. My mom’s side of the family came over from Poland and much more recently. I would love to go to Poland some time and see where my family came from.
Q: Where were you when you found out that your book was going to be published?
Stephanie: With my first book, I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone, I was at work. I got an email from my agent asking me to call her so I went into a vacant office (I was in a cube with no privacy) and called her. We’d been trying to sell the book for a year and had so many almosts that I didn’t believe this was an actual offer. Obviously I didn’t get much work done that day. With my second book, Ballads of Suburbia, I was in St Louis for my brother’s graduation from law school, so it was really fun because we had two big things to celebrate!
Thank you, Stephanie! Now, everyone go out and buy books, lots and lots of books!