This is the blog tour for Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn, hosted by Itching for Books. Today Stephanie has written a guest post with a little bit of her inspiration for this title.
Guest Post from Stephanie Kuehn
The inspiration behind Charm & Strange
It’s not easy for me to define, in hindsight, exactly what sparked the inspiration for CHARM & STRANGE. There are a few obvious plot-related things that inspired me, ones that are probably too spoilery to mention, but which are all very close to my heart.
But beyond that, “why did you write this book?” is sort of a puzzling question. It’s not unlike, “why did you fall in love?” or “why do you like chocolate cake?” I believe there are people who are able to answer such questions with both authority and authenticity. They know why. I, however, am not one of those people. My whys are here, somewhere inside of me, but they’re not always accessible by my conscious mind.
Yet when I go to deconstruct some of the broader themes of the book, there are a few specific concepts that jump out at me. I think that these ideas and questions were all sources of personal conflict at the time I decided to write the novel. That’s how they became sources of conflict within the story.
Here they are:
- The language of violence: What exactly does childhood violence express? How is it (or is it not) understood?
- Resilience: What are the components of resilience?
- The relationship between safety and change: What does one need to feel safe? Can healing happen in the absence of safety?
- Empathy: Can empathy be felt for those who do not have empathy for themselves?
I should note that the answers to these questions aren’t in the book. I don’t know where the answers are. I do, however, have many, many more questions. That’s what keeps me writing. That’s what inspires me.
About Charm & Strange
Release: 11 June 2013
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
When you’ve been kept caged in the dark, it’s impossible to see the forest for the trees. It’s impossible to see anything, really. Not without bars . . .
Andrew Winston Winters is at war with himself.
He’s part Win, the lonely teenager exiled to a remote Vermont boarding school in the wake of a family tragedy. The guy who shuts all his classmates out, no matter the cost.
He’s part Drew, the angry young boy with violent impulses that control him. The boy who spent a fateful, long-ago summer with his brother and teenage cousins, only to endure a secret so monstrous it led three children to do the unthinkable.
Over the course of one night, while stuck at a party deep in the New England woods, Andrew battles both the pain of his past and the isolation of his present.
Before the sun rises, he’ll either surrender his sanity to the wild darkness inside his mind or make peace with the most elemental of truths—that choosing to live can mean so much more than not dying.
About Stephanie Kuehn:
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Stephanie Kuehn is a YA writer who grew up in Berkeley, California, which is a quirky sort of a place with a ton of wonderful bookstores. Her very first job was working in one of those bookstores, and she’s been a freakishly avid reader for as long as she can remember.
Stephanie’s other passions include mental health advocacy, social justice, and sports of all kinds. She’s currently living in Northern California with her family and their wild menagerie of pets.