October 18, 2013

Interview with Stephanie Kuehnert

Very Superstitious I hosted Stephanie Kuehnert on In Bed With Books back in 2009, and it's a pleasure to interview her now!  She's the author of I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE and BALLADS OF SUBURBIA, and she recently relocated to Seattle with her husband.  You might be familiar with her writing through Rookie, the mag run by wunderkind Tavi Gevinson.

Read on for more about Stephanie and VERY SUPERSTITIOUS!


1. VERY SUPERSTITIOUS is a charity anthology to support the SPCA. What does supporting this charity mean to you? 

Animals have been a huge part of my life since I was a kid. Both of my cats are rescues and I regularly donate to local animal shelters. When I was still living in the Chicago area, I was part of a community group who cared for feral cats, rescuing the kittens and finding them homes, and neutering the adult cats, getting them medical treatment and keeping them feed. I feel very strongly about protecting our furry friends, so I was honored to donate my story to this cause.

2. You're known for your gritty, realistic novels. How did it feel to write something more fantastical? Do you think your fans will enjoy this story? 

Yes, I generally write contemporary realistic fiction. However, I am a huge fan of shows like Buffy, Supernatural, and The X-Files as well as urban fantasy authors like Melissa Marr, Jeri Smith-Ready, and my amazing VERY SUPERSTITIOUS contributors, and magical realism by people like Nova Ren Suma and Francesca Lia Block. I’ve always wanted to try my hand at writing something fantastical, ghostly, or with a little twist on reality. Also, I really loved the lore in my hometown, Forest Park, Illinois, which is home to more dead folks than living! I enjoyed playing with all of this and probably will do some more dabbling. In fact, the characters in my ghostly VERY SUPERSTITIOUS contribution do make a cameo in my next contemporary YA project. I think my fans will still love this story because it is edgy and music-driven like I know they expect from me.

3. In addition to your novels, you're also a staff writer at Rookie, a columnist for Forest Park Review, and a contributor to Ms. Fit. How do you regularly come up with interesting topics to write about?

Well, I moved to Seattle this summer, so I no longer writer for the Forest Park Review, though I have been trying to document my Seattle journey on Tumblr (seattleboundwritergrl.tumblr.com). But with that and with FPR, those were very much about place, and if you’ve read my fiction, you know I adore writing about place, so writing about the real spots I love is natural for me. I write personal essay for both Rookie and Ms. Fit, and that is something I’ve been doing since I was a teenager. It’s like a natural extension of journaling or making ‘zines for me. Plus, Rookie gives me so much room to write about everything I love from soap operas to Star Trek: The Next Generation to the Savages along with my personal essays on things like self-injury, so really I’m never running out of ideas. I love reflecting on what I’ve been through and writing about stuff that gets me excited.

4. Do you believe in any superstitions? 

I was born on Friday the 13th (which I consider lucky, same for black cats), so yes, I am very superstitious. I probably can’t even name all of my superstitions. One of my writing superstitions is not publically speaking of my WIP’s titles until they are officially going to be published, like it might jinx them or something.

5. What would you say to someone to convince them to read VERY SUPERSTITIOUS? 

 It’s almost Halloween (my absolute favorite holiday, by the way). Isn’t it the perfect time of year to read some spooky tales by some of YA’s best writers (I am seriously *honored* to be included among them!) AND the proceeds benefit animals. It’s a win-win!


  1. Yay for supporting animal rescues! My husband and are supporters as well and had the chance to foster a rescue puppy a couple years back. We will forever rescue after that experience! And I would be really superstitious about my WIPs as well (if I had any), I completely understand not wanting to put the titles out their in the world just in case! Fun interview ladies, thank you!

    1. I've had a bad rescue experience (really bad), but I still do it! It's so worth it.

  2. Wonderful interview! I just love Stephanie, and I know I'm going to adore her story. This is such a fantastic anthology, with the proceeds and everything. :)

  3. What a great interview! Can I say that I LOVE that you are giving the proceeds to the kitties (well, the SPCA)? Oh and 13 is supposed to be lucky in several cultures!

    1. It is amazing how superstitions vary between cultures.

  4. Great interview! I haven't read Kuehnert's writing yet, and as her novels are contemporary I'll probably give them a wide berth for now (in a contemporary slump!), but I'm interested in this anthology - I am a somewhat recent convert to the short story form, and anything fantastical is good. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks! (And if you're exploring short stories, I highly recommend Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling's YA anthologies.)


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