It’s been a while, my savvy readers, but I’m back with a new interview and you’re in luck because this book is already out and ready for you to devour. So, grab yourself a cup of your favorite beverage, get a snack, because we’re about to learn more about Faydra and her book!
1. What do you believe are some challenges that are faced while writing Contemporary Young Adult books?
Devil Springs is a contemporary YA as is Denali Summer the novel I’m back to revising at the moment. I think YA contemporaries that aren’t straight forward romances have a tendency to be labeled “quiet” and I worry that’s the polite way of saying boring. I’m a person who likes to read emotional drama, so I’m a person who likes to write emotional drama, but obviously keeping that engaging for the reader is tricky. The writer has to maintain the external plot (I mean isn’t plot overrated?!) while working on the internal emotions for the character arc perhaps simply over dinner or some other daily activity.
2. What character do you relate to the most in Devil Springs?
I can be nurturing and helpful like Cindy, Drew’s Mom, and I am also the parent of a child with Fragile X so this is the character I’m most obviously like — though I have never made crepes. I can be moody like Mesa. Banks is my maiden name, so I gave the “strictest teacher” this name as a joke since I am also a teacher.
3. Do you have a playlist for the book that we can listen to?
I always make a playlist when I write, usually on Spotify. My Spotify username is faydramarie and the title of that playlist is Devil Springs. Matisayu’s Live Like a Warrior and Joe Cocker’s Have a Little Faith in Me were songs that made me think of Mesa. Ellie Holcomb’s As Sure as the Sun album was one I listened to a lot while writing this too.
4. If you could have any celebrity play as the characters who would they be and why?
just finished watching Sanditon and I now have a celebrity crush on Leo Suter so I’d like to see him in everything. Unfortunately I think he’s little old to play Cody. Does he have a little brother who acts?
5. What book do you think has influenced your writing?
Reading Flannery O’Connor influenced Devil Springs the most, but I think reading a lot of YA helps with banter. I really like Emery Lord books for that as well as for the internal work her main characters do.
6. When do you usually write?
I teach and I have kids so writing comes whenever I can snatch time to do so — usually in the evenings or on weekend afternoons and if I’m under deadline for something, I have to leave the house and work in a coffee shop.
7. What are your top 5 favorite books?
I love Jane Austen. Persuasion is my favorite Austen novel.
I love the The Harry Potter series.
8. Are you currently working on anything else?
I’m editing Denali Summer another contemporary young adult, and I’m brainstorming a new project.
9. What inspired you to write Devil Springs?
Devil Springs was inspired by a very short news blurb about a small-town Florida mayor who actually tried to legally ban the devil from the town. I didn’t do any research beyond that. I just took that premise and wondered what kind of person might do that.
[Sissy: umm… that is pretty awesome though! I am intrigued.]
10. And lastly, book or movie?
Book, but I do love seeing my favorites adapted into movies!
Fantastic answers! Thanks so much, Faydra, where can readers find more about you and your books?
About Faydra Stratton: A writer, English teacher, wife, and mom to three boys. Her youngest son has Fragile X Syndrome, a spectrum disorder similar to autism but with a known genetic cause. Faydra attended the University of Florida (Go, Gators!) for undergrad and UNC Wilmington where she received an MFA in creative writing. Faydra was born and raised in West Palm Beach, FL and now resides with her family a little farther up the coast in Port St Lucie. When not teaching, reading, or writing, she loves all things beach life: sunbathing, kayaking, paddle boarding, boating, and snorkeling. But not scuba diving. She just can’t clear her ears.
The devil has come to Devil Springs. Except he hasn’t. Not at all. But try and tell that to Mesa Crane’s grandmother, Mayor Avis Kneller. This is not the senior year Mesa had pictured for herself. She’s used to her grandmother’s restrictive dress code and no boys rule, but thanks to some skinny-dipping cheerleaders make some questionable social media posts, Avis is ratcheting up her expectations and decreeing spiritual warfare. Mesa is sick of being bullied into fake piety, but defying her grandmother will mean losing the small freedoms she does have, including her spot on the cross country team. Most unfortunate since she’s started training with the school’s best (and okay, admittedly hot) athlete, Cody Howard. But when Mesa won’t get baptized—as Grandma Avis mandates—her isolation begins. The actual devil may not have come to Devil Springs, but judgment sure has. Can Mesa endure until graduation? Or will she find the swell of faith she needs to stand up to her grandmother once and for all?