Today, our visiting author is Stephanie Kuehnert.
Stephanie Kuehnert got her start writing bad poetry about unrequited love and razor blades in eighth grade. In high school, she discovered punk rock and produced several D.I.Y. feminist 'zines. Stephanie received her MFA in creative writing from Columbia College Chicago. Her debut novel, I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone—a raw, edgy emotional tale about growing up punk and living to tell—will be published by MTV Books in July 2008. You can visit her at http://www.stephaniekuehnert.com/ or www.myspace.com/theblacknotebooks.
My debut YA novel I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone officially comes out on July 8th. That’s less than one week away. People keep asking me if I’m excited, which, duh, of course I am, but I’m also totally freaked.
I had a lot of different hobbies when I was younger. I couldn’t seem to settle on one particular thing to stick with (besides writing, which I’ve been doing since I learned how). I played clarinet for a couple years, then I was in Chorus, and I’ve taken guitar lessons on three separate occasions. I had a painting phase, a drawing phase, and a ceramic phase. I quit ballet for gymnastics, quit gymnastics for stage crew, and quit stage crew to act.
Eighth grade was my actress year. I was in three plays that year. I loved trying out, I loved rehearsing, and then performance time came… My stomach twisted in knots. I couldn’t sleep. I wondered why in the world did I do this to myself? I hate addressing large groups of people. I’m a shy person by nature. I’m much happier hanging out with one or two friends or in my room by myself listening to music and reading. Why, oh why, did I sign up to go out and perform in front of all these people?
Yeah, that’s exactly how I’m feeling right now. I’ve lined up this whole slew of events to celebrate the release of my book and now I realize that I have to *do* them. I’ve gotta read in front of people, many of them strangers in other cities. I’ve gotta worry if people are even going to show up. In fact, it’s kind of even worse because with plays at least I didn’t write the dialogue I was speaking or the action I was performing. I wasn’t responsible for the whole story, just a small piece of it. Now I wrote the thing and I have to perform it. And yes, I’ve been rehearsing by doing open mics and appearing at reading events with friendly familiar audiences for awhile now, but it hasn’t made it any less scary. Seriously, can we just call the whole thing off???
No. No, I can’t. In fact, Amazon.com is already selling the book before the official release date, so it’s out there right now for the masses to judge. And plane tickets have been bought and commitments have been made, so I’ve gotta do the events like I promised. *Sigh* So now I have to remember the rest of the eighth grade actress experience, which is that once I got onstage and got into my role, I loved it. It was a great rush. I enjoyed the applause and I never majorly screwed up and when I got criticism it made me a better actress. Besides, unlike acting, which was just a phase, writing is my life and is the only thing I never quit to try something else. So I really have no choice, but to step on the stage and enjoy my moment. If I’m in a town near you, I hope you will come enjoy it with me.