LAURIE: Stephanie, I'm so glad you could join us today to talk about your new book and your writing journey. First of all, can you tell us a bit about Unanchored and what inspired you to write this story?
STEPHANIE: Hi Laurie! Thanks so much for having me! Unanchored is the story of Cecily Hastings, a young woman who desperately longs for her freedom after being forced into servitude by her adoptive family. Her escape is thwarted when she's gambled away in a game of dice and finds herself captive on a pirate ship. The captain of these miscreants doesn't quite live up to his infamous name. Cecily even catches him in the act of aiding the poor and forgotten when they make port unexpectedly. With the Royal Navy hot on their trail in an effort to rid the seas of piracy, Cecily has to figure out if she's willing to fight beside her captain to continue his benevolent efforts or turn him over to the government in exchange for her freedom.
My inspiration for this story came from many places. I would say this book happened to appease my younger self who once had her college dorm decorated in all things pirate-y. I was obsessed with Pirates of the Caribbean and even decorated my home economics senior project cake with a skull and crossbones. But ultimately, I just wanted to have some fun playing with a band of antiheroes. I started to get visions of different scenes I wanted to write, and they all fell so nicely into place as I began writing.
LAURIE: So, is this the first book you have coming out with Anaiah Press?
STEPHANIE: First of many, I hope! I have been so impressed with Anaiah. I've adored working with my editor, Laura Maisano. And Kara, Eden, and Melinda have been so great with answering my questions and showing their support! I'm also loving the chance to get to connect with the other lovely Anaiah authors! My TBR pile is growing so much because of this wonderful family!
But yes, this is my very first published book. I wrote two in a fantasy series prior to this but couldn't get it quite right. These pirates seemed to come a lot easier for me, and I'm so proud to have them be the first ones out in the world under my name!
LAURIE: And how did you get together with Anaiah Press?
STEPHANIE: You know, I really can't tell you how I first heard about Anaiah Press. Truly, it seemed to just pop up! (Coincidence? I think not!) I researched each of the editors through Anaiah's website and really thought I'd be a good fit with Laura. When I submitted to her, I added my query and sample chapters per Anaiah's guidelines and, shortly after, Laura emailed asking for the full manuscript. That was definitely a nice boost, because I'd had a really rough few months prior on my writing journey and felt pretty defeated.
One afternoon, I plopped on the couch to eat a sandwich with my hubby. My phone told me I had two emails waiting, and I could see one was from Laura. I kind of grumbled, just not wanting to deal with a rejection on top of an already crummy day. I also made the terrible mistake of taking a big bite of my sandwich right as I opened the email. Laura announced that Anaiah Press would be happy to publish my pirates! And wouldn't you know? I started choking on my sandwich from the sudden sobbing that overtook me. I may have given my husband a bit of a heart attack with that one.
It took about a week to read and discuss the publication contract and make sure I understood everything (since it was all new to me). Then, Laura and I began working on our multi-round edits. It's been a lot of hard work, but she has been nothing but encouraging through the entire process! I've got to say, though, I'm so relieved Unanchored is out in the world and I don't have to comb through it for grammar anymore.
LAURIE: I have to tell you, this is one of the most gorgeous covers I've seen on a YA book recently. What do you think about it?
STEPHANIE: Oh goodness, I love it! I kind of had it in my head it would be all dark colors, and I didn't know if I wanted it to include characters or just be a simple pirate-y symbol on the front. When I got my cover package, I held my breath as I clicked it. It was such a huge moment that I'd dreamt about for so long! When the image popped up on my screen, I think my jaw hit the floor. It wasn't anything like I'd expected, but rather so much better than what I could have come up with! Danielle Doolittle did the art and she is just fantastic! I told my husband I want to redo our entire house in those colors!
LAURIE: What draws you to writing Young Adult?
STEPHANIE: I think I will always be young at heart. I love writing and reading in young adult because that age group has the entire world at their feet. Everything feels fresh and new, and there's still so much to figure out and work through.
LAURIE: Are there any authors who've influenced your writing? And who are your favourite authors?
STEPHANIE: I always feel bad admitting this, since books/words are my job. (I'm also a book editor) But I didn't enjoy reading until I was in my mid-twenties. There were definitely certain books I read during that time that really pushed me toward pursuing my dream of being an author. I loved the historical aspects and tortured souls in Cassandra Clare's Infernal Devices. I wanted to write fast-paced stories that readers couldn't put down like Suzanne Collin's Hunger Games. And I fell really hard for the witty banter and sarcastic cast of Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles.
LAURIE: How long has it taken you to get published?
STEPHANIE: I officially began my writing journey in March of 2014. My first attempts (two books in YA fantasy series) didn't take off. I began writing Unanchored on March 23, 2015. So, from the first words to its release, it has taken me 3 years and 25 days. I think...I'm terrible at math.
LAURIE: What advice would you give to other writers trying to break in to the Christian market?
STEPHANIE: For one, don't give up. Getting published is one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life. There's a lot of rejection out there and sometimes you just have to cry, eat too much chocolate, and pray for strength to keep going. I've certainly done my share of all that! I always tell writers to get as many beta readers as possible and offer to read for other new writers. It's one of the best ways to grow your craft! Read in the genre/market you want to write in and never be afraid to reach out to your fellow writers if you need help. The writing community is so wonderfully supportive!
LAURIE: What hobbies do you like to do when you're not writing? And is there anything else you'd like our readers to know about you and your work?
STEPHANIE: I truly am rather boring. I find great joy in organizing. We often spend our evenings watching sitcoms (currently working our way through Seinfeld), and I'll sort through paperwork or clean out some bin while we watch. I'm a foody who loathes cooking, so I'm always happiest at a restaurant were I can enjoy a delicious meal without having to do any of the work. And I can't get motivated to do much of anything unless there is music on very loudly. My tastes are a bit eclectic here, but my current favourite artist is Lindsey Stirling.
As for my future works and what my readers should know: there's a chance I may write under various pen names in the future. Alas, my ideas absolutely will not stick to the same age range or genre, so I'm a bit all over the place. Everything will be listed together on my website at www.stephanieeding.com in case it gets confusing. Who knows what the future holds? I'm ready!
LAURIE: And finally, how long do we have to wait for your next book?
STEPHANIE: For my pirate sequel, I'm hoping to have that written and polished within the next six months. At least, that's my goal. Hopefully, that'll be ready to join Unanchored this time next year!
Stephanie will be around all day to answer any questions you may have about her book, pirates and their lore, or to talk about your favourite Young Adult books in general, so please leave a comment and she'll reply. To buy her book, check out the links below and thanks for joining us today!
Unanchored by Stephanie Eding
Publisher: Anaiah Press
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: April 17, 2018
Cecily Hastings fails to escape her captor when he gambles her away in a game of dice. Now, instead of getting her first taste of freedom, she’s rotting in a cell on the Hellbound, a pirate ship under the command of Captain Finnigan Worley. Cecily, however, has no plans of sticking around with a captain known for his heartless deeds.
As soon as they make port, Cecily attempts to alert the Royal Navy. While trying to get away, she stumbles upon Captain Worley liberating people from a life of abuse and servitude, which makes her question everything she thought she knew about the infamous buccaneer.
Soon she’s recaptured and taken back to the ship, and Cecily vows to figure out the captain’s humanitarian angle. The more she learns, the more she believes in his benevolent mission. With the Royal Navy closing in, she must decide if she’s willing to fight beside Captain Worley or turn him over to the gallows for a chance at her own freedom.
Stephanie Eding lives in Ohio with her husband Matt and child comedians Ross and Lizzie. She spends her days drinking coffee, working as an editor, and snuggling her three wild-eyed cats. Stephanie always wanted to be a pirate, but settled for writing about them to keep out of prison.
You can find Stephanie at:
I'm a military wife who's raised two wonderful special needs children to adulthood. We've lived all over Canada and are still on that journey. When I'm not writing, I can be found spinning, knitting, and hanging out with my dogs.