Ask the Author: Erin Stewart
What would you like readers to know about you?
Here are some “unofficial” bio facts about me:
- My personality type is a neurotic extravert. It’s a thing, I swear.
· I firmly believe Hot Tamales should be a recognized food group.
· I’m a heart failure survivor.
· I have zero sense of personal space.
· My mom thought I needed a therapist in kindergarten because everyone always exploded at the end of my stories. Good news: My characters now have a slightly higher survival rate.
· I believe people are put in our path for a reason. Always.
What is your book about for those who haven’t read it?
SCARS LIKE WINGS is about 16-year-old Ava Lee, who has lost everything there is to lose: Her parents. Her best friend. Her home. Even her face. She doesn’t need a mirror to know what she looks like—she can see her reflection in the eyes of everyone around her.
A year after the fire that destroyed her world, her aunt and uncle have decided she should go back to high school. Be “normal” again. Whatever that is. Ava knows better. There is no normal for someone like her. And forget making friends—no one wants to be seen with the Burned Girl, now or ever.
But when Ava meets a fellow survivor named Piper, she begins to feel like maybe she doesn’t have to face the nightmare alone. Sarcastic and blunt, Piper isn’t afraid to push Ava out of her comfort zone. Piper introduces Ava to Asad, a boy who loves theater just as much as she does, and slowly, Ava tries to create a life again. Yet Piper is fighting her own battle, and soon Ava must decide if she’s going to fade back into her scars . . . or let the people by her side help her fly.
What has been your inspiration for writing it?
Marius, a friend of mine, was burned and severely scarred by a a house fire as a child in Romania. Now 20, Marius’ story has always inspired and intrigued me, not only because of the power of his tragedy, but because he chooses every single day not to let it define him. He has had children run screaming from him. He has had bullies call him Freddy Krueger. I wanted to write a story that would go to these dark, lonely parts of tragedies like his, but also to the beautiful, hopeful parts. As Marius has told me, the only way he survived was because every time he wanted to give up, someone was there, helping him choose to live. I hope Ava’s story can show readers that we all have a choice after a life-changing event: We can choose to be alone, isolated and angry that our normal is gone, or we can let people in and find a new normal, together.
What was your favorite scene or part of your book to write?
Definitely the relationship between my main character, Ava, and her friend Piper. They meet at a burn survivor therapy group, and they both have a very dark sense of humor that I loved writing. The scenes of them together came out so naturally because they play off each other and just get each other’s point of view and humor. It was super important to me that their friendship be the most important relationship in the book, and the thing that helps both of them find their new normal again.
What books or authors inspired you to become a writer?
I love contemporary YA so books like SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson influenced me a ton. That book was actually the reason I decided to get into this genre! I want to write books that resonate with teens and feel real, while also giving them hope that they can get through these tough years.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book?
Keep writing! I know everyone says it but it’s because it’s really the only tried-and-true piece of advice that works every single time. If you’re feeling anxious, keep writing. Feeling depressed, write! If you’re feeling like you’ve just written the greatest masterpiece of all time, that’s great, but keep writing!
I can be reached on Twitter and Insta at erin_n_stewart and my website is www.erinstewartbooks.com. Goodreads link for SCARS LIKE WINGS is https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39353216-scars-like-wings and pre-order link is https://www.getunderlined.com/books/600225/scars-like-wings-by-erin-stewart/.
Erin is also running a super near pre-order campaign. Check it out here: https://erinstewartbooks.com/pre-order-campaign/