Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Interview with YA Christian Author, Ronica Stromberg

I am pleased to have with me today Ronica Stromberg, a writer of young adult Christian fiction. She joins me today for the blog's first, honorary interview.

1. Why do you write Christian young adult literature?

I decided I wanted to be an author at age 8. Books were almost magical to me, taking me to another world. I suppose I envisioned myself writing children's books because that's what I was reading. At the same time, my faith was also affecting my life profoundly. I had read the Bible through twice by the time I was in eighth grade. I don't think there's any way my faith couldn't influence what I write. The young adult literature draws me because I can explore more complex problems, such as struggles in faith, than I can in books for younger children.

2. Where did you draw inspiration from for your YA books, A Shadow in
the Dark
and Living It Up And Down?

The idea for the plot of A Shadow in the Dark was triggered by a childhood memory. While I was visiting my grandmother in Minnesota during the summer, she warned me to stay away from a neighbor's house because a girl lived there but never came outside. I couldn't get my grandmother to tell me more, and thus, this girl and the house she lived in became mysterious to me. Years later, when I discovered the truth about the girl and the house she lived in, her story never left me. It served as the starting point for my book.

Living It Up to Live It Down was inspired by the words, "Living it up to live it down." That phrase just popped into my head one day, and I was intrigued by it. I wondered what it might mean. Slowly, I came to realize the phrase was a title for a book about a young teen who is living it up at school and in her community to live down the fact that she's a pastor's daughter. I am not a pastor's daughter, but some of my friends are, and their experiences informed this book.

3. Authors often relate to their characters; in these books, which
character do you relate most to and why?

My characters are an amalgamation of bits and pieces of myself, other people I know, and my imagination. No one character is me or anyone else I know. I think readers sometimes make the mistake of thinking that if an author draws a character well that character must be the author. I don't know how many people who read Living It Up to Live It Down said stuff to me like, "I didn't know you were a pastor's daughter!" I wasn't and never will be. My father is a former Marine and an agnostic. But even though I can't relate perfectly to Sarah, the pastor's daughter, her story interests me. I relate to bits and pieces of her and all of the characters and, honestly, probably like Cal, the son of the tavern owner, best.

4. What is a favorite scene from one of your books?

I like humor, so probably my favorite scene is the one in Living It Up to Live It Down in which Cal tries to worm out of Sarah who her latest crush is.

5. Do you have a favorite place to write?

I prefer to write longhand, when I have the luxury of time. I'll sit either on the couch or my favorite recliner. I like to be alone when I write.

6. Are there any genres you have not written yet but might like to
experiment with?

Not really. While writing for children, I've been able to try so many genres: mystery, adventure, romance, inspirational, humor, multicultural, and literary. I've even written a western and four poems! Most of my writing includes elements of mystery, humor, and inspiration. That's what I come back to most.

7. What are you currently working on?

I have an idea for a nonfiction picture book, but it's going to involve a lot of research, so I'm not saying much about it yet.

8. Is there anything else you'd like to share with readers?

I enjoy hearing from teens who have read my YA books. I also keep a blog for people who are interested in life as a children's author, http://www.ronicastromberg.wordpress.com. This blog answers basic questions about the writing life.

For anyone interested in Ms. Stromberg's books, my readers can order A Shadow in the Dark and Living It Up to Live It Down directly from the publisher, Royal Fireworks Press, at http://rfwp.com/series96.htm#897.

Thanks so much, Ronica, for sharing about yourself and your books!

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