CentreStage with Stephanie Keyes: Finding Magic in Everywhere

Welcome to CentreStageCentreStage showcases fantastic authors from around the world, introducing in particular fellow featured authors at loveahappyending.com as well as fellow authors in the Sapphire Star Publishing family.  In this new, exciting feature, these authors might write for you about their lives, or their writing journey, or anything else that matters to them.  Every feature will be different in format and flavour, so watch out for a variety of stories and tales.

Today, it is my tremendous pleasure to welcome loveahappyending.com featured author Stephanie Keyes to this fifth edition of CentreStage!

CentreStage:  Please give it up for…. STEPHANIE KEYES!

Hi, Stephanie!  Thanks for visiting CentreStage today, it is really exciting to have you here.  Tell us about yourself… Who are you, and what makes you tick?

I am a gadget freak, a GLEEK, a Harry Potter addict, a full-time working mom of two, a wife, a lover of banana and Nutella crepes, and thunderstorms. When I’m working, I talk to so many people all the time, every day, that when I’m home I prefer to stay in and order a pizza over going out and celebrating. I travel regularly, about twenty-five per cent of the time for work, and spend a great deal of my time coaching people on how to communicate more effectively. I self-published my first novel, The Star Child, on December 15, 2011.”

Stephanie Keyes is my pen name. So most of the time I feel like I have this alter ego that I’m maintaining. However, our personalities are identical so maybe we’re twins? Who knows!

Stephanie Keyes’ photo courtesy of
Kristina Serafini Photo

Tell us about your debut novel, The Star Child

The Star Child is a Young Adult fantasy novel about Kellen St. James, who isn’t just your average seventeen-year-old prodigy. This kid has a Yale degree, a photographic memory, and is addicted to everything 80s. Plus there’s the girl who’s been haunting his dreams for the last eleven years. When the sudden death of his grandmother, takes him from the East Coast to the Irish Coast, Kellen suddenly finds himself face to face with his own personal ghost. Plus, she’s come spinning a tale about a prophecy in which Kellen will save the world from darkness. Together they will travel through an underworld of faeries and ghosts, angels and demons, not to mention a pack of really ticked off wild dogs, all to save the world from darkness. But will they make it in time? That’s the question.

What inspired you to write The Star Child?

Kids have to grow up so early today, much earlier than I had to. So when I got the idea for The Star Child, I didn’t hesitate, but immediately started writing it with the YA Genre in mind. Why not encourage imagination a little longer? Plus, I just love the idea of magic and reality co-existing. I always look for magic in everywhere, I believe that we all start out with magic inside of us – we just make a personal decision about whether or not to keep it alive. The Star Child is Stephanie Keyes doing just that.

It sounds like Stephanie Keyes, author, is full of surprises.  Would you like to tell us some of the wild and wacky things you have done in your life?

Wild and wacky…

Well, like my character, Kellen St. James, I too lied to my parents about my college major. I didn’t go as far as to photoshop my grade reports, however, I did keep them from them. When I graduated from high school, I wanted to study Music Education and they wanted me to study Accounting. Now, I have never had a gift for numbers. They don’t interest me. So you can imagine how well that would have gone down as a profession for me. I tried it for one term, before I changed my major to music without telling anyone. It’s a good thing that I did, too, because that was where I met my husband, who was a trumpet performance major.

Anyhow, my parents refused to provide any type of financial support for this little “escapade” of mine. So I subsidized my college expenses by playing in a bar on the weekend in a small jazz band. I played saxophone and sang. In order to make our stage show a little more interesting to the ten or so blatantly intoxicated individuals that showed up, I would walk the bar playing the saxophone while people added tips to the jar. While I am certain that Ella Fitzgerald was cringing at this blatantly disrespectful forum that I’d chosen in which to render covers of her classics, the patrons, while conscious, seemed to enjoy it.

Ooooh, I bet there’s more! What’s the most fantastical experience of your life so far?

For the past fifteen years or so, I’ve been a total workaholic. I’d be glued to my blackberry or whatever smartphone happened to be available. Whenever a work e-mail came, I’d respond, even if it was 2 a.m. My life was structured, organized, and boring. Needless to say that was pre-kids, but that’s another post. Anyway, one day in 2006 a co-worker came and told me that she was planning a vacation to Ireland and I was jealous. I’d always wanted to go to Europe.

My husband and I had planned a trip to London and Paris for our honeymoon in 2001, but tragically, September 11th occurred one month before, and we cancelled our European trip for a honeymoon in New England. So this enticing carrot, dangled directly in front of me by my co-worker, was almost too much to take. When I told my husband about it, he said, “Why, why don’t we just go? What are we waiting for?”

So we planned the trip for the weekend of our fifth wedding anniversary, not knowing that I would be five months pregnant when we actually go to go! What was so fantastic about the trip was certainly the people and the culture, but also the fact that I completely disconnected from everything during that experience and I just lived in the present. There were times when I didn’t remember the last day I worked, breathed air so clean that my lungs burned from taking a shallow breath, and moments when I knew that there must be a better version of me, a better life for me out there.

Though I’m absolutely certain that my fantastical experience might seem boring to some, to me, it was the start of a new life. One that’s been changing every day ever since. Oh and that workaholic? The one who checked her phone in the middle of night? She just turned in her notice.

Whoop whooop and congratulations, that is so exciting for you!  And not at all a boring experience, I think it takes a lot of courage to step out of your life so completely and take a long trip abroad.  Speaking of exciting: I hear you have some very exciting news about The Star Child!

What’s really exciting about The Star Child is that I just signed a contract with Inkspell Publishing for The Star Child.  While I self-published it in December 2011, after signing with Inkspell, the publisher and I agreed that The Star child would benefit from some extra TLC. So it’s gone off of the market for the time being while it gets edited and a new cover. I am thrilled to see how Kellen will turn out! So, although the book isn’t available right now, it will be on September 21st! Look for more information to come on my website or on Inkspell’s website.

Thanks so much for sharing your background, inspiration and fantastic news:  congratulations! That is so exciting, I can’t wait to see how it all develops.  And of course, having read The Star Child, I am anxiously awaiting the sequel!  Rock on, Stephanie Keyes!! X

More about Stephanie Keyes

Stephanie Keyes was born in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania and has worked for the past twelve years as a corporate educator and curriculum designer in the Telecommunications industry. A seasoned, facilitator, Stephanie Keyes is no stranger to presenting. She’s worked in Training and Development for an international telecommunications corporation for the past twelve years; spending the first eight years of her career as a Software Trainer and Technical Writer and the last four working in Human Resources and Employee Development.

Stephanie holds an undergraduate degree in Management Information Systems and a Master’s in Education. She’s also created and delivered several courses on winning and retaining customer business, including Powerful Presentations: Conversations That Drive Results©. In addition, Stephanie has worked extensively as a personal coach and mentor. In her spare time, Keyes also operates a freelance graphic and instructional design business, Sycamore Road Design. She holds a Master’s degree in Education with a specialization in Instructional Technology from Duquesne University and a B.S. in Management Information Systems from Robert Morris University. She is a classically trained clarinetist, but also plays the saxophone and sings. When she’s not writing, she is a wife to a wonderfully supportive husband and mother to two little boys whom she cites as her inspiration for all things writing. The Star Child is Mrs. Keyes’ debut novel.

Visit Stephanie’s website or blog to find out more about her work in progress.  You can follow Stephanie on Twitter or Facebook as well as Goodreads and LinkedIn.  Stephanie has a presence on YouTube and is a featured author with the innovative and interactive author/reader project, loveahappyending.com.

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35 responses to “CentreStage with Stephanie Keyes: Finding Magic in Everywhere

  1. Stephanie is certainly full of surprises! So great to see two fab writers together in one interview. Rock meets YA fantasy – what a result! Lovin’ Centre Stage!

  2. I just thundestorms too but bet we don’t get nearly such good ones as Stephanie sees. She’s sure one dark horse. Looking forward to meeting the the new Star Child too.
    Loving the feature, Nicky. Rock on!

  3. What a great interview, Nicky. I so enjoyed reading about your life changing trip to Europe, Steph, and how inspired you were to change your life around by it. It’s so important to find a balance in life and strive for happiness!

  4. Excellent job with the interview, Nicky. I love to see authors helping each other out. Please consider posting this on Griffin’s Quill as well. I’ve been in the hunt for another interviewer for the site. Wish you a wonderful week.

    • Thanks so much, Ryan, that means a lot. We’re a pretty supportive bunch over here, and it’s getting comments like yours that shows how important our support is to each other. Can we talk about posting on Griffin’s Quill offline? 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and wishing you a wonderful week as well. XX

  5. It was thanks to Stephanie that I read one of my first YA fantasy novels, The Star Child. Really interesting interview, thank you ladies.
    Sue x

  6. What a talented lady you are, Stephanie. All the best with your Star Child.

  7. Love, love, LOVE this feature and really enjoyed finding out more about Stephanie. Fab questions and honest answers. Thank you ladies x

  8. Nice to meet you, Stephanie. Best of luck with Star Child. Sounds fabulous!

  9. Wow, Stephanie, you are one multi-talented and clever lady! Thank God you followed your heart and changed you major to music. Must have been written in the ‘stars’ if you met your hubby! 🙂 I’ve jut blogged about taking the plunge and changing our lives. It takes courage. Well done you! Great post, Nicky! 🙂 xx

    • Well said, Sheryl! It’s always the things that appear most difficult, most outrageous at the time that turn out to have been the best decisions in your life. So glad you could stop by today and party with us! X

    • Thanks Sheryl! I think it was. It’s funny how life works out. I just left you a comment on your blog. I am so excited for you. Good luck!

  10. Stephanie Keyes

    So this is what happens when a girl comes late to the party! Here I am working away until my lunch break and you all have had such lovely things to say about me! Thank you for stopping by. I’m not that mysteriously, I just have a problem sitting still!

    Nicky,
    Thanks very much for having me over for a visit! It was much appreciated! 🙂

  11. Great interview, ladies! The saxophone is my favorite instrument but I’d never attempt to play it myself. Kudos to you, Stephanie! That overseas trip sounds great, and congrats on The Star Child’s new home. Love this feature, Nicky!

    • Stephanie Keyes

      So glad you could drop by Bonnie!

    • Thanks so much for stopping by, Bonnie. The saxophone is great, I’ve always wanted to play myself but got stuck with the clarinet–which, I believe, also ranks amongst Steph’s many talents! Glad you enoyed the feature!

      • Stephanie Keyes

        Thanks for stopping by Bonnie! I’ve always enjoyed the sax but my principal instrument was clarinet, you’re right, Nicky!

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