Long time readers of FP may recall that Frangi Faith was once a regular section around these parts, but somehow in the hecticness of my constant fangirling, the only mention of God lately has been in my sidebar description where I throw Him in with my other beliefs (uh, fairytales, happily ever afters and Prince Charming riding along on a white horse to save me, if memory serves me). I definitely have my priorities in order 😐
I was blog jumping a few weeks ago when I ended up on Stephanie Morrill’s site. Stephanie is a twenty-something Chrisitan author who also runs a blog for aspiring teen writers and contributes to Girls, God and the Good Life. Her book series, “The Reinvention of Skylar Holt” has been widely praised both in and outside the Christian book circuit. I decided getting her to answer a few questions would be a perfect way to bring Frangi Faith back to life and she kindly agreed.
Frangipani Princess: Have you always been a Christian?
Stephanie Morrill: I was raised in a Christian home and my faith was always really important to me. Even when I wasn’t a star youth group member or anything, I still believed in what my parents had taught me. My faith didn’t really become my own until I moved away from home when I was 20.
FP: When did you decide to be a writer?
SM: 1st grade. My school had this program where we wrote stories in class, and then they’d type them up and bind them for us. In my drawer, I have about 10 books that I wrote back in elementary school. (Riveting reads too … yawn.) I loved our writing time and from then on decided that’s what I wanted to do with my life.
FP: How did you come up with the concept for your series?
SM: The idea for The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series came from me wanting to write about someone like Skylar. I’d realized that all my main characters were more-or-less me. They were the quiet, behind-the-scenes types. In an effort to bust out of a writing rut, I wanted to write about someone who was comfortable being the center of attention. Who was actually more comfortable in the spotlight than she was in the privacy of her room. And so Skylar was born.
FP: How long did it take you to get your first novel published?
SM: I started writing Me, Just Different in the summer of 2004. Revell made an offer for it in June of 2008, and it hit shelves on July of 2009. Publishing (and writing too) is a very long process.
FP: What has been the highlight of your writing career to date?
SM: I received an e-mail from a girl in Texas telling me that a friend of hers came to know Christ because of reading Me, Just Different and Out with the In Crowd. I don’t think anything will ever top that.
FP: How do you balance writing with being a mum to two young children?
SM: I have a fabulous support system. My parents as well as my husband’s parents live in town and they love hanging out with their grandkids. And if I need to squeeze in some writing time at night or on the weekends, my husband is really understanding. I try to only write when my kids are sleeping. Otherwise we all get frustrated.
FP: What do you aim to accomplish with your writing?
SM: Every story is different. And usually the story comes to me first, and then the theme develops organically. Like Skylar’s story became all about forgiveness, but it wasn’t like I thought, “I want to write about forgiveness.” It was something that came from Skylar’s needs.
FP: Do you have any advice for teens wanting to pursue novel writing as a career?
SM: YES. In fact, I have so much advice that I started a specific blog for it, http://www.GoTeenWriters.com. On there, I answer questions that are e-mailed to me and I also talk about techniques and tips.
FP: What do you believe is the biggest hurdle Christian teens have to overcome today?
SM: Superficiality – and I don’t think that applies just to teens. It’s something I struggle with too. I think there’s a real need in the world for people to think, love, connect, and feel on a deeper level.
FP: You’re one of the many contributors to the Girls, God and the Good Life blog – what message do you try and convey through that platform?
SM: Whatever’s close to my heart at the time. Usually it’s something I’ve learned through my almost-3-year old. I’m amazed by the ways God uses her to teach me.
FP: What is your favourite Bible verse and why?
SM: It’s always changing. Right now it’s, “Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1Corinthians 15:58b
It’s a fabulous verse for a writer to take to heart, particularly one who feels called by God.
FP: Who is your favourite female character in the Bible?
SM: I love the story of Hannah. It always makes me tear up.
FP :Who is your favourite Christian artist and what is your favourite song?
SM: My favourite Christian artists is a tie between Toby Mac and David Crowder. I love J-Train by Toby Mac. I want it to be played at my funeral. Another non-Christian artist I love is Muse. Their lyrics are very powerful to me.
FP: What is the one thing you wish non-believers knew about Christianity?
SM: Yikes, there’s so much! I don’t know if this really answers the question well, but it’s what keeps coming to my mind. Not all Christians are hypocrites. Not all of them are judgmental or uptight or boring. Yes, some of them are, but that’s not the kind of life Jesus wants for us.
I don’t know if that’s the most important thing to stress to non-believers or not, but it’s what keeps coming to my mind.
FP: Do you have any other advice for teen girls?
SM: The adventure gets better. Maybe it’s just me, but that was something I wish I knew in my teens. People who talk about high school being the best time of their life … they’re crazy. Where you are is temporary. Make the most of it, and make good choices.
Thanks a million to Stephanie, and stay tuned for some more Frangi Faith soon (I know you’re not all Chrisitan, so they won’t be too often. Probably weekly or fortnightly, depending on what I’m up to.)
frangipani princess xoxo