Christina can often be found singing the praises of
Faking Normal and The Blue-Haired Boy by Courtney Stevens.
Today we are so privileged to welcome the lovely Court and her gentle hero from her books, Bodee Lennox, for a sit-down with us.
Christina: Is this the first time you’ve done a joint interview together?
Courtney and Bodee: Yep, but we’re both looking forward to it.
Christina: Well, to work our way into things further, Courtney, I’d like to start with you.Can you tell us briefly about what drove you to write Faking Normal?
Courtney: I paid for a critique at the SCBWI conference in Los Angeles and a veteran editor asked me, “What is the story only you can write?” I left that meeting with the spark for Faking Normal.
Christina: Was it more or less difficult emotionally to write than you thought it would be?
Courtney: The most challenging emotions were wrapped up in whether or not I could actually write this. I didn’t want to, but a friend kept saying, “Court, you have to write this book.” I trusted her opinion enough to attempt the first four pages, and from there, I knew I was doing the right thing. That first night is the only night I cried while writing it.
Christina: Are you working on anything new? (If so, can you share anything about it?)
Courtney: Yes. I’m always working on something new. I’m polishing book two of my contract, currently titled The Lies About Truth, and drafting two other stories. (Christina starts squealing because ZOMG, NEW WORDS!)
Christina: Bodee, thanks for being so patient. We were first introduced to you in Faking Normal, but we later got a more in-depth peek inside your head in the companion novella, The Blue-Haired Boy. For you, how did that feel to have a little more of your story out there?
Bodee: I spent so much of my life not telling anyone anything that it felt unusual at first. For most of Faking Normal, keeping my eyes on Alexi and her condition helped me to better understand my own circumstances. Her courage inspired some of my own healing. All I really knew was I didn’t want to be like my dad. In every day of Faking Normal, I pushed to be the opposite of him—understanding, gentle, a listener, a guy who made a girl feel safe. The Blue-Haired Boy gave me the opportunity to explain to readers a little bit of where I learned some of those traits. Meeting Gerry wasn’t just another morning of my life; she taught me how to love someone who was hurting. If I hadn’t spent the morning on the bus, I’m not sure I would have known how to handle Alexi. I know
Christina: Courtney, I’m a music lover myself, so I was thrilled to discover new artists and see a few that I already loved spread throughout your book. How much of a role does music play as part of your writing process?
Courtney: Music plays a huge part of my writing process. When I first started writing, I worked two other jobs (I still do, but they’ve changed) and my writing time was incredibly precious. I discovered I could not write at my house because there was always so much to do: laundry, cooking, mandatory stuff that keeps a house going. So, I would drive over to the café at Barnes and Noble and write. Originally, music was my distraction that kept out the noise of the store. The headphones went in; the world went away. Now, it’s a cue to my brain that it’s time to create. Art yields art, and I’m so thankful for the many talented musicians and songwriters who have contributed to this safe place in my brain.
Christina: Bodee, what about you?
Bodee: Even though I couldn’t completely block out the world, music was my safe place. My volume was always low so I could keep an ear to the ground at my house. I really like the singer/songwriter stuff. There was something about discovering someone before everyone else seemed to. I went looking for those people. Maybe … because I hoped someone would come looking for me.
Christina: Do you have a go-to track or artist/band?
Bodee: Ben Howard. Always Ben Howard. I like Keep Your Head Up and The Fear. Sometimes I listen to them all day.
Christina: Is there anything about Faking Normal or The Blue-Haired Boy that either of you wished you could change?
Courtney: I don’t know that I would change this, because I firmly believe Faking Normal is Alexi’s story, but I do wish we’d gotten a little bit more of Bodee’s POV and healing process. He has such difficult circumstances, and he comes a long way in how he handles his pain. But it certainly happens in the background.
Bodee: Oh, thank God, Court didn’t put me through that. I’m quiet. That’s who I am. Why would my pain be loud even when it was deep?
Christina: I’m just going to cast this out in the blogisphere in hopes that it’ll spark something… I’m still waiting to hear news about Gerry getting her own book. Even from what little bit when get of her in The Blue-Haired Boy, her character left me with a lasting impression.
Courtney: I’ve definitely toyed around with this. We’ll see.
Christina: Lastly, because we love getting a bit of the inside scoop, Bodee, can you tell us about the first time you saw Alexi and what your initial thoughts were?
Bodee: Well, the very first time was in kindergarten. It had to be the first or second day. Our teacher wanted to see if we knew how to write our name. Alexi did, but I didn’t know the alphabet yet. I could barely hold my pencil. She was at my table, and when she saw I wasn’t writing, asked if I needed help. I nodded. She put the pencil in my hand the correct way and then tried to wrap her hand around mine (I’m sure her mom did that to her.) She guided me in making the letters. We had rotten handwriting, but we did it before the teacher realized I didn’t know how to write. I’ll never forget how she saved me from embarrassment, although, I’m pretty sure we spelled my name wrong. I like that first memory because she held my hand and she asked if I needed help. That was a pretty sensitive thing to do for a five year old. Even then, that set her apart for me.
Christina: *sighs and looks dreamily at Bodee* That has to be the most adorable response ever. Okay, now for a bit of silliness!
1. Favorite Summer Drink:
• Courtney– Milkshake
• Bodee– Sweet Tea (Not Kool-Aid)
2. Favorite Snack:
• Courtney – Homemade Chex mix
• Bodee – Grapes
3. Favorite Childhood Game:
• Courtney– Dodge ball
• Bodee– Swinging on the playground (Does that count as a game?)
4. Cake or pie person?
• Courtney– cold cake
• Bodee– Mom’s pie
5. Beach or mountain person?
• Courtney– Both, with slightly more beach.
• Bodee– Both, with slightly more mountains.
Christina: Thank you both so so much for stopping by The Book Hookup today and helping us continue our blogiversary celebration. We hope you’ll both come back and see us again soon!
For more on the author and a giveaway opportunity, continue reading…
Courtney C. Stevens grew up in Kentucky and lives in Nashville, Tennessee. She is an adjunct professor and a former youth minister. Her other skills include playing hide-and-seek, climbing trees, and being an Olympic torch bearer. Faking Normal is her first novel.
For more on the author and her books, find her here:
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