Welcome, Carol! What’s your book about?
Star in the Middle is a story about Star Peters, a sixteen-year-old teen mother who is desperately trying to keep up with the demands of her infant son. Star’s grandmother, who raised her, encourages her to give the baby up for adoption and to go back school. But Star has no intention of giving her baby away. She plans to enroll in the GED program at the parenting center she attends. She finds help and support at the center, and from friends, especially Todd, a teen father caring for his baby daughter.
Wilson Fletcher, the baby’s seventeen-year-old father, won’t even acknowledge that the baby is his. He just wants to get on with his own life. But Wilson, a popular star athlete, can’t seem to forget about Star. As family members and friends encourage Wil to accept his responsibilities, he discovers some important truths about himself, and painful secrets about Star.
What inspired you to write this book?
I worked with teen parents through family centers for several years and found that they all had stories to tell. I wanted to explore some of the issues they faced through my fictional characters. It is gratifying to talk to teens during school visits and hear the dialogue the book has generated about the consequences of an unplanned pregnancy.
When did it release?
Star in the Middle was published by WestSide Books in October, 2009.
Has the reality of being published been different than you thought it would be?
To be honest, I’m not sure what I expected. I have definitely learned so much from the experience—and since it has always been my dream to be published, it is gratifying in more ways than I imagined. I look forward to sending my latest project, Changing Colors, out into the world.
What is the best part of being published?
The best part of being published is my contact with teen groups. Young adults are such savvy readers and bring so much to discussions about issues facing teens. It is good to hear the thoughts and ideas they share, and I am often struck by their genuine empathy for others. I’ve also enjoyed talking to adult groups and hearing their perspective on teen pregnancy and parenting issues. I wanted to raise awareness about the importance of teen pregnancy prevention programs and hope that Star in the Middle does that.
Find Carol online!
Star in the Middle Fanpage on Facebook
Amazon Author Page
I signed up for a critique session at a SCBWI conference several years ago. I was so fortunate that Beckie Weinheimer, author of Converting Kate (Viking Juvenile/March 2007), did my critique. We kept in touch, and when Beckie heard about a publisher who was looking for submissions, she suggested I send my manuscript. WestSide Books didn’t publish that submission, but they did publish my next novel, Star in the Middle.
The SCBWI is a wonderful organization for writers.
Do you write and outline, or are you a “pantser”?
I start out with an outline, but I find that writing detailed character sketches works well for me, and that’s what ultimately keeps me on track and drives the story.
Who is your favorite author? What is it about his or her writing that has made you a fan?
There are so many authors that I admire. Anne Tyler has remained my favorite author for many years. Ms. Tyler’s characters are quirky and entertaining and she tells their stories with so much heart. She is a skilled writer, a unique storyteller, and a beloved author. I am so inspired to write after reading one of her books.
Why YA as opposed to some other genre?
First came teen writing. When I tested and tutored GED students, I was drawn to their practice essays. The issues they addressed were so interesting. They seemed to, at least through their writings, grab at the world with a fierce enthusiasm.
I write picture book manuscripts as well, but I love teen voices.
Buy STAR IN THE MIDDLE!
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