The Compulsive Reader: Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Keuhnert

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Keuhnert

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....

Amid 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.

5 Questions With Stephanie Keuhnert:

What three words would you use to describe your books?

Honest, Raw, Eye-opening (well, at least I hope they are eye-opening and voice-giving)

If you could meet any artist, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

Kurt Cobain. Because his music had an impact on me at such a crucial time. I was 12, a nerdy/dorky/misfit girl, who clammed up and didn't have any confidence to express herself because I thought there was no way anyone would listen. But then here was this misfit boy, Kurt, who howled at the top of his lungs and the world paid attention. His music made me feel stronger and it helped me find my own voice. I would just love the opportunity to say thank you.

What do you have in the works for readers now?

A few things. Not entirely sure yet what will get written when. I have another realistic fiction book in the same vein of Ballads and IWBYJR, dealing with a girl's search for her real home, a boy's battle with bi-polar disorder, and a Peter-Pan-type mom who must finally grow up. But I also have this kind of crazy post-apocalyptic book idea spawned from a dream I had on my 30th birthday. And this other idea using tragic female archetypes (Persephone, Ophelia, Juliet, etc), but making them into strong survivor types that is probably going to have elements of Urban Fantasy or Magical Realism. Nervous about these forays into genre fiction though. May take awhile.

What's one thing you want readers to get from reading your books?

I just hope my books will give people the strength to speak up about what matters to them. Too many teens suffer in silence and hurt themselves instead of talking to trusted people. I was the same way. But now I want to break the silence and create dialogue about the hard issues: why we cut, why we do drugs, why we feel the need to run away. I just hope readers come away wanting to talk about these things.

What are you reading now?
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Thanks so much, Stephanie!


Unknown said...

Stephanie is such a phenomenal person and author--and she gave ME the courage to talk about something from my teen years, twenty years later. I will never stop thanking her for that. There are so many powerful messages in her books, and I hope readers discover and take them to heart. Great interview! xo

wdebo said...

Wow that looks like such a good book! [tho the cover scares me =] ]


ohh sounds too dark for me. But it looks like an interesting read.