Interview with Stephanie Fournet, author of Someone Like Me

22 Apr 2019

What can you tell us about your new release, Someone Like Me?

Someone Like Me is my eighth full-length novel. While it’s a standalone, like my other books, it is set in the Saint Streets, a quaint and quirky neighborhood in my hometown. Drew Moroux has just been released from Angola, but even though he’s a free man now, he can’t escape the guilt of what he did eight years ago. His new neighbor Evie Lalonde is as innocent as they come. Gentle, forgiving, and optimistic, Evie is a natural people-pleaser — sometimes to her own detriment. From the beginning, Drew knows she’s too good for him, and Evie knows she can’t stay away.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

Long story, but I’ll try to condense it. I’ve always wanted to be a romance writer, but I listened too long to that little voice that said I wasn’t good enough. Some years ago, I wanted a promotion at work, and I went back to school for additional certification to get it. I busted my butt that year, working my day job, going to classes at night, writing papers and doing research, etc. I got the certification, but I didn’t get the promotion. That year of hard work changed me. I was no longer content with my day-to-day. I had to put all this newfound energy into something I loved, so I picked up an old manuscript I had started years before, and that became my first novel, Fall Semester. I started writing on Dec. 26, 2012, and I’ve written every single day since.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

I hate questions like this. I always feel like this is a test I’m destined to fail or that I’ll pick my top 5 and realize later that I’ve forgotten something crucial, but here goes. In no particular order…

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

Atonement by Ian McEwan

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

My first guest would be Penny Reid, and I’d ask her if we could be best friends.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

Falling in love. I get to fall in love as my characters, and that is absolutely the best thing.

What is a typical day like for you?

I get up criminally early to mediate, exercise, and sometimes write before work. I am a high school administrator (I eventually did get that promotion), so my days are predictable until they are not. Yesterday, a toilet in one of our temporary buildings literally exploded. Ultimately, my job is to help solve problems for students, teachers, and parents. The students are the easiest to deal with. After school, I come home, walk my dogs, and then sit down to write. I try to get at least 500 words, but sometimes I spend that time doing more research or editing. I write until it’s time to make dinner. My husband and I do that together while listening to Spotify. We have a game we play with our daughter who’s in college in New Orleans. One of us will create a playlist with a certain theme, and we all have to put songs on it that match the theme. For example, one playlist is called Names, and it features “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” by Tom Petty, “Me and Mrs. Jones” by Billy Paul, and “Jolene” by Dolly Parton, etc. We might enjoy a glass of wine or something with Bourbon while we cook and sing along. We usually watch something at night. Our latest favorites have been The OA, Big Little Lies, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. If I don’t fall asleep on the couch, it’s an accomplishment.

What scene in Someone Like Me was your favorite to write?

That’s a tough question because I loved writing so much of it — even though writing is hard, and there were times when I also hated it. But I absolutely loved writing the okra canning scene. That was a lot of fun because the attraction between Evie and Drew is allowed to intensify, and what could be more adorable than discovering this gorgeous guy helping his grandmother can okra?

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

Write every day. That may not be a motto, but it is my philosophy and my practice. If I do nothing else, I write. It has become sacred to me, and if I could share that any one piece of advice with aspiring writers, it would be that.

Stephanie Fournet is the author of the new book Someone Like Me.

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