Southern literature

The Ballad of Taylor Brown

Taylor Brown (original tintype by Harry Taylor)

Taylor Brown (original tintype by Harry Taylor)

By Daniel Ford

So maybe I was destined to fall in love with Taylor Brown’s debut novel Fallen Land. Multiple authors on Twitter suggested I get my hands on an advanced copy as soon as possible, it featured a pair of star-crossed lovers during the Civil War (one of my favorite areas of study), and a hungry aspiring writer like myself wrote it.

However, even with all those promising signs to guide me, I was unprepared for the brutal way I would fall in love with Fallen Land. In the interview you’re about to read, Brown claims he doesn’t have a musical bone in his body, but his lyrical prose says otherwise. This novel will break your heart in all the right ways and leave you weeping and desperate for more by the time you set it down. Judging by the copious praise the book has garnered before its Jan. 12, 2015 release, I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in my assessment. I’m also certain that Fallen Land will undoubtedly be the best book you’ll read in 2016.

Like a true Southern gentleman, Brown took time away from promoting his novel to answer my questions about his early influences, his writing process, and the inspiration for his characters Ava and Callum.

Daniel Ford: Did you grow up wanting to become a writer, or was that something that grew organically over time?

TB: I think I knew from a pretty early age. Of course, at different times, I wanted to be an architect or an aeronautical engineer or a helicopter pilot, but the writing thread ran through these various ideas. It really started in first grade. I don’t know what anyone else did in their first year of elementary school, but my teacher, Mrs. Pruitt, had us write and illustrate stories nearly every day. She gave us these big newsprint papers that were ruled along the bottom half, for writing, and blank across the top half for illustration. I wrote a story about a spider that steals a remote-control car on Christmas, and it won a countywide award, and I think that was the start.

I was always making up stories before that and since. My mother says she sometimes had to lock herself in the bathroom, just to get away from me tailing her around the house, regaling her with stories of how my G.I. Joes had shrunk so much smaller than normal humans, or why my dinosaurs were wielding rocket launchers. 

DF: Who were some of your early influences?

TB: Throughout most of my childhood, I read pretty much anything I could get my hands on. A lot of Hardy Boys, R.L. Stein, and abridged versions of the classics such as The Call of the Wild, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, and stuff like that. And I studied the hell out of these fact books I had on airplanes and cars and various machines.

In middle and high school, I was laid up a good bit with surgeries and injuries associated with club feet. I read a lot of historical novels and sociopolitical thrillers during that time, like Jack Higgins (The Eagle Has Landed), Leon Uris (Trinity), and Tom Clancy. And I read all of Pat Conroy’s books: The Prince of Tides, The Lords of Discipline, etc. 

Then, in college, it was the Modernists: Hemingway, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Virginia Woolf. I read all of Thomas Wolfe’s novels in college, and I delved deep into Walker Percy and Faulkner—still my favorite. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was a very important book to me, and some new age-y stuff from Richard Bach (Jonathan Livingston Seagull). I discovered Cormac McCarthy right after college and tore through his work like wildfire. Later came Flannery O’Connor, Larry Brown, Thomas McGuane, and Barry Hannah—all important to me in various ways.

DF: We’re huge fans of the short story genre here at Writer’s Bone, so I have to ask about your collection In the Season of Blood and Gold. What is it about the format that appeals to you?

TB: It’s the compression, the rigor required, and the intensity it produces. My friend and fellow writer Jason Frye compares a short story to a small gasoline engine—every last component has its use, its absolute necessity, whereas a novel is closer to a nuclear submarine or aircraft carrier.

But as time goes on, I’ve realized there’s another appeal to me: the freedom of the short story. A novel is an investment of years, encapsulating a whole era of your life. A short story is like a single song, and you can really let the subconscious run, riffing and improvising. Padgett Powell once said that Barry Hannah was a full mortal putting his ear to the oracle hole in the ground, with maybe some whiskey softening that earth, and afterwards Barry had to run home and write what he’d heard. I’ve always liked that idea of the story. And it’s a very natural length, isn’t it? 

DF: What inspired your debut novel Fallen Land?

TB: Well, to get back to the music metaphor, it was a song. My friend Cameron Connah introduced me to the old ballads of Appalachia, brought over and evolved from those of Scotland and Ireland, and those old, author-less traditional songs really speak to me. 

Fallen Land began as a short story, “In the Season of Blood and Gold,” which is the title story of my collection from Press 53. I’ve written a number of stories based on old ballads, and this story was inspired by the song “When First Unto This Country, a Stranger I Came” (Library of Congress Archives of American Folk Song #65A2), a haunting frontier ballad of unknown authorship. It was first recorded in 1934, but the first lines appear in Irish ballads nearly two centuries old. It’s been performed by the likes of Joan Baez, Jerry Garcia, and many others. Here's a recording from one of my favorite bands, Crooked Still:

In the song, a young man steals a colonel's horse to pursue the girl he loves. As with many of the old ballads, there’s something so lonesome and timeless in the construction—it just breaks your heart. That became my guiding spirit for Fallen Land—that feeling. And I was truly feeling it at the time. I was living in Asheville, N.C., and I started the book in October—the morning of my 27th birthday, actually. The leaves were fired to their brightest, and I knew they would not last long that way, and so the season was very important to the book.

My friend Matthew Neill Null, author of Honey from the Lion, has said, “books are made of other books.” Ballads are much the same, built and rebuilt from previous versions, ever-evolving like the blues. I like to think that my stories are my own performances of the music, since I have not a single musical bone in my body.

DF: Did your writing process change at all while writing the novel as compared to your short story work?  

TB: Not a hell of a lot, actually. I think, mainly, that I have to be more of the tortoise than the hare when writing a novel. I can’t sustain the breathless, sleepless, almost desperate intensity that often burns through the second half of a short story—not for a whole novel. Sure, there are certainly periods of that in a novel, but I think novels require that daily, unflagging, sustained focus, and a high level of faith. You can write short stories without discipline—one here and one there—and maybe you can write a single book like that, in chunks over a long period of time. But in my experience, it’s showing up to the same desk or table day after day, undaunted by the daily distractions and doubt that brings novels into the world.

DF: I imagine that you could have easily set Fallen Land in the Wild West, the early 1900s, or even colonial times. Why the Civil War?

TB: Good question. I was never that interested in the Civil War growing up. I knew kids who could rattle off the major battles by rote, where they were fought and what year and who won. I was never that interested. But then I found a side of the war that felt highly relevant, even contemporary.

See, we often think of the Civil War as a big, bilateral war with clear sides. Sure, we speak of “houses divided” and “brother against brother,” but we still picture the big battles of gray skirmish lines versus blue. We know about the guerrilla fighting in the border states of Kansas and Missouri, as depicted in Daniel Woodrell’s Woe to Live On, James McBride’s The Good Lord Bird, and Clint Eastwood’s “The Outlaw Josey Wales,” but only later did I realize the extent of partisan fighting in the eastern theaters of the war—especially the mountains of Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina, where loyalties were so fractured. 

There were the Partisan Rangers of the Confederacy, led by men like John S. Mosby (the “Gray Ghost”) and Turner Ashby, who operated much like contemporary special forces, engaging in kidnapping and sabotage and ambush. And there were renegade bands, and pillage and torture and outrages of every kind on both sides.

So that really captured my interest. This idea of a world where sides and loyalties were so muddled they hardly mattered. Everyone was a possible friend, a possible threat. Fear was everywhere.

Besides that, I’m from Georgia, and Sherman’s March to the Sea has always been big in my imagination. Driving between the University of Georgia in Athens, where I went to college, and my hometown on the coast, I was driving the course of Sherman’s March. We are very much obsessed with end times and apocalypse these days—I’m no different—and here was a time in history that must have seemed very much like the end of a certain world to the people of Georgia, no matter their race or creed.

I felt like Ava and Callum were like family members by the time I finished the book. I ached for them, cried for them, held my breath along with them, and didn’t want to let them go when I got to the last page. It’s evident you had a love for not only these two, but also the rest of your characters. How did you go about developing them and how much of yourself ended up in your two leads?

I’ve only realized recently how much of myself and my ex are in those characters. How much of the story is ours. We moved to Asheville in 2009, where I started the book. That first fall, we had no friends, no money, and we were just in bad shape. On the edge. We rented an old bungalow that had once been a “whorehouse”—so said the landlady. We thought she meant in the days of Thomas Wolfe, when such establishments were relatively commonplace.

Not so. It was much more recent than that. It was crawling with mice, ants, and probably ghosts. All of the meth deals in town seemed to go down in front of the place, and the neighbors threatened to poison Waylon, our dog, if he barked too much. We were accosted by bloody-faced men with speedy eyes, and I kept the 16-gauge leaned just inside the front door, loaded.

Later we got out of the house and into a little cottage in Black Mountain, and life was somewhat better, but still we kept the idea of the coast before us. A couple of years later, we moved. That journey from the mountains to the sea must have informed Callum and Ava’s journey, though I had no idea at the time. Funny how the imagination works!

DF: How long did it take you to write the novel and how did you go about publishing it?

TB: I started the book on the morning of my 27th birthday in October 2009. I think I finished the first draft in 2011, and I sent it to an agent with whom I’d been in contact. He rejected it. I’d made a rookie mistake by sending something that wasn’t fully polished. The second half was hardly more than a glorified first draft. For the next three years, the manuscript went through round after round of revision and polishing. My short story collection, In the Season of Blood and Gold, was slated to come out in May 2014, and I undertook another revision early that year, in case the collection brought the attention of any agents. In the end, it did. I met my agent, Christopher Rhodes, that spring, and he loved the book. We worked on some more revisions, and he began shopping it.

Originally, the book had an abrupt, hanging ending. St. Martin’s loved the book, but not that ending. It had always been a point of contention among friends and editors who read the manuscript, so I’d anticipated this to some extent. I rewrote the ending in the Bavarian Mechanic Works in Augusta, Ga., where my $900 1985 BMW had broken down on the way to a wedding in Atlanta. That car didn’t survive—a cracked head—but luckily Fallen Land did! St. Martin’s liked the fleshed-out ending and bought the book!

DF: Fallen Land has already generated rave reviews and it doesn’t even come out until January! What has that experience been like for a first-time novelist?

TB: Thrilling, humbling, scary—the whole gamut. You write this book in private, and you hardly ever think of other people actually reading the thing—especially the public. You want a publisher to buy it so bad,  and then they do, and then you’re like:  holy hell, I hope people don’t hate it! Haha. Obviously, there will be many, many people who don’t like it—who aren’t moved by the characters or the writing or the setting, etc—but I’m so grateful and thrilled by the early reviews and blurbs from some of my heroes: Wiley Cash, Pinckney Benedict, and Kent Wascom. Those mean the world.

DF: What’s your advice to aspiring authors?

TB: Persistence. Persistence and discipline. Nothing replaces those two. Not talent or education or inspiration. If you want it bad enough, and you work long enough and hard enough, and you get up again and again and again after being knocked down, you can do this. I think of Larry Brown, with his hundred-plus rejected stories. Not hundreds of rejections—we all have those—but over a hundred separate stories written and rejected. I think of Tim Gautreaux and others who pasted their rejection slips on the walls like badges of honor. I think you have to see it like that. If you keep at it, you will get better by sheer force of will. Calvin Coolidge said, “Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” I do believe that. There’s no secret but those two.

DF: Can you please name one random fact about yourself?

TB: All my favorite dogs have beards.

To learn more about Taylor Brown, visit his official website, like his Facebook page, or follow him on Twitter @taybrown.


Tumbleweed Tendencies: A Conversation With Author Brian Panowich About His Debut Novel Bull Mountain

Brian Panowich (Photo credit: David Kernaghan)

Brian Panowich (Photo credit: David Kernaghan)

By Daniel Ford

I became friendly with author Brian Panowich after I crashed a Twitter conversation between him, David Joy, and Michael Farris Smith about music, bourbon, and writing. That exchange led to the creation of Writer’s Bone’s “The Writer’s Guide to Music” and an advanced reader copy of Panowich’s debut novel Bull Mountain (which comes out July 7, and will be reviewed in this week’s “Bruce, Bourbon, and Books”).  

Panowich was also nice enough to talk to me about being a comic book kid, how he developed his writing style, and the inspiration for Bull Mountain.

Daniel Ford: When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

Brian Panowich: I think I knew when I was a little kid that I wanted to write. I lived in my head a lot and read books more than I did anything else. I was terrible at sports and I was pretty geeky. But as I got older, my endless string of other interests distracted me from writing and dragged me all over the place. I definitely wasn’t the guy that stayed focused his whole life on one goal and is now living his dream. Once I got my tumbleweed tendencies under control, I returned to writing as a plausible medium for me to create something. So although the seeds were planted when I was a boy, it took nearly thirty years for me to actually nurture them.

DF: Who were some of your early influences?

BP: I was a comic book kid. I still am, to be honest. Frank Miller, George Perez, Chris Claremont, they were the guys that taught me how to tell a story. As I moved forward, Edgar Rice Burroughs became a huge influence via my father’s bookshelf, and of course I went through a Stephen King phase, but then I found Elmore Leonard and Cormac McCarthy and nothing was really the same after that.

DF: What is your writing process like? Do you listen to music? Outline?

BP: I devour music like food. It’s as big a part of my everyday life as breathing, but I need total silence when I write. I can’t even tolerate a television in the background, so writing at home with my wife and four kids is pretty tough. I wrote the entirety of Bull Mountain locked up in a spare room at the fire station where I work. I’m lucky to have the kind of job that afforded me that extra time alone at night to write, or else it would have taken me a lot longer to do it. I applaud the folks that work a nine-to-five job, come home to a family, and still find the time to write.

Nowadays I use the few hours I have to myself while the kids are at school to write and I try to do it everyday, even if it’s just to jot down a few lines. I have to write something everyday or I feel unbalanced, like I wasted daylight. I don’t anyways want to, but once I start I usually end up engrossed with whatever I sit down to accomplish. And I do outline—to a degree. With Bull Mountain, I wrote a sentence or two summarizing each chapter that fit on the front of one sheet of paper. That was my road map. I veered from the map quite a bit, and that’s the point I think, to let the story tell itself, but that road map was there to steer me back on track if it got out of hand.

DF: How did the idea for Bull Mountain originate?

BP: I always liked the idea of everyone thinking they are the heroes of their own story. The bad guy never thinks he’s the bad guy, so I wanted to write something to that end, but didn’t know exactly what about. I like to ride mountain bikes. I’m not very good at it, but I ride a lot and that’s where I do a lot of my plotting and scheming. I was out one day riding and listening to The Band’s “Up on Cripple Creek,” and the first line hit me like a hammer. “When I get off of this mountain.” I know that’s not a lot of lyric, but that line struck me for some reason and within the next few miles, I had the general plot of Bull Mountain fleshed out. I wrote two short stories that night from two opposing points of view, one from my protagonist and one from my antagonist, with the idea in mind of not really knowing which was which. Those two stories got me my agent and became this book.

DF: The crime genre has certain built-in tropes that can deter some writers from taking the plunge. How did you ensure that your tale was original?

BP: I think it helped that the crime aspect of the novel was secondary. I wanted this book to speak more about the family dynamic of these people than the actual crimes they commit. I wanted to build a saga around that idea on par with something like The Godfather, and I didn’t spend a lot of time researching if the angles of the mystery had been used before. In fact I was positive they had been. With the billions of stories that exist in the world, written or spoken, it’s hard to believe any idea can be completely original, but it was still a story I wanted to tell with my own unique perspective, and I think that comes through. I also thought I was on to something by setting it in a part of the country I feel goes unnoticed. There’s a rich history in the North Georgia Mountains that I’m proud to be a part of now.

DF: How much of yourself—and the people you have daily interactions with—did you put into your main characters? How do you develop your characters in general?

BP: I think it’s impossible not to inject yourself into the people you write all the way across the board. Your good guy is the way you’d want to be at your best, and your bad guy is still a product of what you yourself define as bad, but at some point they stop being you and take on lives of their own. Clayton Burroughs started out very similar to me, but as the story became more about him, he became his own person. My villains are the same way. They might start off as bad as I think I could be, but before long I’m shocked at what they can do on their own. The bit players are largely based on people I’ve met over the years. I file away mannerisms and turns of phrase and blend them together to form new composites accordingly, but if a character progresses, I don’t see the person I based them on anymore. Kate Burroughs, Clayton’s wife, is a great example of that. Her character grew and grew as the story developed and before I knew it, she was dictating to me how she would act. I love it when that happens.

DF: What are some of the themes you tackle in Bull Mountain?

BP: Family. Dysfunction. Loyalty. Take those three and crank it up to eleven.

DF: When you finished your first draft, did you know you had something good, or did you have to go through multiple rounds of edits to realize you had something you felt comfortable taking to readers?

BP: I knew I had a pretty good starting point, but it was a good five or six drafts later before I was comfortable sending it to my agent. Even then, I think comfortable is the wrong word. It was more like, at some point I just needed to stand back and let go. That was tough for me to do. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to look at a manuscript and say it’s done. I could revise and revise and revise forever and always find more things I could do to improve it. I think some authors get stuck in that and end up standing in their own way. That sucks, but I can understand how it happens.

DF: How do you balance writing and marketing your work (i.e. book tours, engaging with readers on social media, etc.)?

BP: I’m blessed in that department for two reasons.

1. I love running my mouth. I was born with the gift to gab and in most cases, when not mixed with copious amounts of bourbon, it works out for me in social settings. I enjoy connecting with people and talking about art, music, books, whatever. Social media is fun. It can be a little tedious and makes me feel a bit pretentious sometimes, but over all I enjoy it. I’m finding out that that makes me a touch different than a lot of other authors out there who are generally more secluded that I am.

2. I’m also working with a top-notch team at Putnam who knows exactly what they’re doing. That’s great because it allows me to focus on the fun part—the writing. Knowing I have the best marketing and PR people on the planet in my corner makes that balance incredibly easy.

DF: Now that you have your first novel under your belt, what’s next?

BP: I just turned in a second book in the McFalls County Series that features a lot of the same characters from Bull Mountain. That should be published by Putnam next year. I’m also in the process now of plotting out a third one. I love the idea of writing about different characters, and different eras even, that all share the commonality of place. The fictitious McFalls County is the only guaranteed recurring character. Bull Mountain acts as a springboard into that.

I also just finished a comic book script for a Hawkeye story I want to pitch to Marvel…(Hey Marvel, are you listening?)

DF: What advice would you give aspiring authors?

BP: Mainly, be wary of other author’s advice, especially those that make their money solely by giving it. There really are no rules. I’m not saying don’t ask questions of the writers you admire (I did) or that all “how-to” books are snake oil. Studying your profession and using the bits and pieces that make sense to you are essential, but any book, seminar, or pay-to-play contest that promises the moon can be downright predatory. Only three things are going to help you produce art for a living. Producing art, letting people see it, and doing both of those things with fearless tenacity. And none of that will cost you a dime.

DF: Can you please name one random fact about yourself?

BP: I rub my feet together like a cricket when I sleep. It makes my wife crazy.

To learn more about Brian Panowich, check out his official website, like his Facebook page, or follow him on Twitter @BPanowich.


Championing the Loser: 13 Questions With Grit Lit Author Steph Post

Steph Post

Steph Post

By Sean Tuohy and Daniel Ford

“Grit Lit” author Steph Post reached out to Sean and I recently, and we were immediately intrigued by her brand of literature.

Her novel, A Tree Born Crooked, features a main character with “a tough-as-nails exterior and an aching emptiness inside,” a rural mining town in Florida, a murder/robbery, and a Mafia pursuit. That’s got Writer’s Bone written all over it. Don’t be surprised if you see Post’s byline on our website in the near future.

Post graciously answered our questions about her early influences, how she went about getting her novel published, and her youthful love of fried gator.

Writer’s Bone: When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

Steph Post: Probably before I even knew what being a writer meant. I was a dreamer and a storyteller when I was kid. I’ve just always been telling stories, to myself or to others, and one day when I was around 11 or 12 years old it occurred to me that the stories I was dreaming up weren’t all that different from the stories I was reading in books. Once that revelation hit me, it pretty much took off from there and I’ve been writing ever since.

WB: Who were some of your early influences? Have those influences changed over time?

SP: My first real writing influences were female Southern writers along the lines of Sheri Reynolds and Dorothy Allison. From there, I became enamored by writers such as Daniel Woodrell, Cormac McCarthy, and Jim Harrison. I saw how these writers could make ordinary moments into these beautiful, if disturbing, stories and in many ways that is exactly what I strive for with my own writing.

WB: What is your writing process like?

SP: There are a lot of steps. In the dreaming, planning stages of a novel, the characters always come first. I spend a lot of time developing the characters, getting to know everything I can about them, discovering their secrets, their motives and their vulnerabilities. I also do a lot of research during this stage, which helps with developing the storylines. From there, I just start on the first page and keep at it. I outline as I go along to keep it interesting. I don’t want to know what is going to happen too far in advance, because part of the fun of writing is discovering the story for yourself. Then, of course, comes revisions, re-writes, edits, and all that jazz.

WB: You seem to have a similar appreciation for badass writers as we do. Who are some of your favorite badasses?

SP: As far as authors go, I love people who take risks and aren’t afraid to back down. Recently, I’ve been in the company of some badass short story writers: Taylor Brown, Schuler Benson and Sheldon Lee Compton. In my opinion, short fiction is already difficult and these authors push the envelope as far as it will go. And then they execute the prose perfectly. To me, that’s about as badass as you can get in the literary world.

WB: How did you develop your “Grit Lit” style?

SP: When I was writing A Tree Born Crooked, I had no idea that I was writing in any sort of style. I was just writing the best way I knew how. It wasn’t until I was about halfway into my second novel that I realized there was a name for the style I write in. I’ve just always had the goal to write about the losers, about the people struggling and grappling with just being alive, and to write about them with a lyric sensibility.

WB: How did the idea for your novel, A Tree Born Crooked, originate?

SP: The character of James came first. Once I knew him inside and out, the rest of the story just flowed from there. This is also one of the few instances where I had the title before I even began writing. I was still figuring out who James, Rabbit, and Marlena were when my husband called me and told me he had the title of my novel, A Tree Born Crooked. It’s a reference to a line in a Tom Waits’ song and I knew it was golden. I had no idea how the title would relate to the story until I was about halfway through the first draft. And then it all fell into place perfectly.

WB: How much of yourself—and the people you have daily interactions with—did you put into your main characters? How do you develop your characters in general?

SP: I tend to think that I don’t put much of myself into my characters, but then people are always finding me in them. I suppose that’s natural, because we have to draw inspiration from somewhere, even if we’re not aware of it at the time. I think that many traits from the friends and family I grew up with find their way into my characters. And then, of course, I’m influenced just by watching people. I used to be a bartender and I spent a lot of time just watching people in bars. I’m sure that many of those people have in some way become part of the characters in my books.

WB: How did you go about getting your novel published?

SP: At first, I went the traditional route of finding an agent, but in the end I decided to forgo an agent and go with a small, indie press. I’m glad that I did because, for better or worse, it’s forced me to learn a lot more about the publishing world than I ever would have if I had been working with an agent. Even if I don’t have to, I tend to start from the bottom and claw my way up.

WB: Being from Florida, you have to answer these questions: FSU or UF…and have you eaten gator?

SP: UF. Absolutely UF. Are you kidding? And yes, I have eaten alligator. I’ve been a vegetarian for 17 years, but when I was a kid I was all about some fried gator tail.

WB: Speaking of Florida, what is the strangest thing to happen to you in the Sunshine State?

SP: Wow, okay, this is Florida and so pretty much everything that happens here is strange. If something totally bizarre is going on in the news, you can bet that it’s probably occurring here. As for happening to me personally, well, I grew up in the country in north Florida and as a kid I was chased by a lot of wild animals. We used to get all kinds of crazy animals in our front yard—wild boars, alligators, etc.—and so every day it was an adventure just to get down the road to the bus stop. I think that by now, strange is just normal.

WB: What’s next for Steph Post…besides becoming a contributor to Writer’s Bone (see what we did there)?

SP: I’m currently trying to decide what route I want to take with my second novel—indie press again, literary agent, etc.—and I’m also in the planning stages of my third. I’m right in the heart of researching and character development and I’m so in love with the story. Of course, I’m always in love with what I’m writing. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be writing it.

WB: What advice would you give writers just starting out?

SP: As far as navigating the publishing world, keep your options open and don’t give up. You will be rejected. You will feel like a failure. But if you’re any good, you’ll pick yourself up and keep going. As for craft, make sure that you love your manuscript. You are going to be spending a lot of time with it, you will most likely read it over a hundred times from first draft to final proofing, and so you want to make sure that you believe in it wholeheartedly.

WB: Can you name one random fact about yourself?

SP: I have really, really strange phobias. For example, sea sponges. I can’t even look at them. I can do all sorts of crazy, dangerous, daring things, but don’t put me in a room with a sea sponge. I mean it.

If you want to learn more about Steph Post, check out her official website, like her Facebook page, or follow her on Twitter @StephPostAuthor.

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