This month on Written Voices Blog, we will be highlighting authors who write for young adults or teens. Today, we are talking to Michelle Stimpson about her debut young adult novel, Trouble in My Way. Michelle is the author of Divas of Damascus Road, Boaz Brown and Good Stuff.
Michelle, describe yourself for our visitors.
I’m a wife and mother of two teens. I consider myself a full-time writer and part-time educator. Most of all, I love the Word of God and I love sharing what the Lord gives me to others through various means, including my online ministry website: www.womengrowinginchrist.com.
How do you find time to connect with God?
Most mornings, I get up and have private time alone with the Lord through Bible study and meditation. Connecting with God is a continual thing, I’m learning. It’s not just about the time we spend together in the morning. He wants to be in contact with us throughout the day, so I find myself stopping at several points and asking Him questions, praying for people, listening to what He has to say.
Who were your favorite authors or books as a teen?
I read quite a few authors growing up. I liked the Ramona (Beverly Clearly) books. My favorite as a teen was Judy Blume (Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret). I later got into more "serious" books. I remember being mesmerized by the Autobiography of Malcolm X and being terrorized Roots. Reading has taken me on quite a journey!
Tell us about your current book?
Trouble in My Way is the story of 16-year-old Karis Reed who feels that her mother, a minister, is overprotective. Karis is struggling to define herself for herself and also for her mother. In the meanwhile, Karis has a dispute with her friends, falls in love with a bad guy, has an incident with her father’s new girlfriend, and learns a bit more about the power of prayer. It’s a fun book with a poignant lesson.
How did you come up with ideas for this book?
Coming up with the ideas for this book was not very hard because I’ve been keeping a diary since I was a pre-teen. I read back through those diaries, got a feel for the drama, voice, and line of reasoning, and just had fun with it! (Check out Michelle’s journals in the photo below.)
What are the main themes or lessons in this book?
Karis learns what it means to live with integrity in this book, and that’s what I want readers to take from her struggles. There is also a bit of encouragement for parents who may be wondering if all of their labor is in vain. Karis tries her parents, but the Word of God proves true. Her mother has raised her right, and she does not stray far from the truth.
What advice did someone give you as a teenager that still remains with you today?
What someone told me, which wasn’t actually advice, was a bit of criticism that stuck with me and helped me to make some critical decisions about myself. I was in my late teen years (probably 19) and I had my first "real" boyfriend who was a part of my every-day life. One time we got into this argument, and he said, "You have an excuse for everything." He really knew me, so I knew that he was speaking from experience. His words caused me to re-think my "excuses" and start living with more integrity.
Do you have any embarrassing moments you want to share from your teen years?
Thankfully, I didn’t have many embarrassing moments. The only one that comes to mind now was once when I was at a Texas Rangers game, I saw this really cute guy but I was afraid to approach him. I asked my friend Liz to go over to him and find out if he was interested in me. I stood over against a wall, trying to look like a model so that when he looked my way, he would be impressed. She came back with the news, "He said no." My face was soooo cracked and poor Liz was so embarrassed for me. Rejected! Now I knew how all the little boys I’d rejected must have felt!
What’s next for you?
Right now, I’m working on another adult novel and I’m also working on releasing another set of short stories for teens through my independent publishing company, Right Track Academic Support Services, LLC. Writing keeps me very busy and very happy!
Where can visitors find you online?