Friday, October 7

Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe Blog Tour

Today we have a special appearance by Stasia Ward Kehoe. Stasia is the author of Audition! 

I am thrilled that Cindy agreed to be an official Audition Blog Tour stop because I love PRINCESS BOOKIE.  As we were corresponding about interview ideas, I told Cindy I’d like to improvise something.  Sweet as a cupcake, she agreed.  Then, of course, I panicked.  Me and my big ideas!  What could I come up with for the ever-clever princess?  I decided to do a bit of musing on the notion of improvisation itself.  I started looking for inspiration by clicking around the blog where I discovered that Cindy had created over thirty darling buttons for this month’s Contest Craze.  I chose my favorite.  Here it is:

I love the juxtaposition of new crown and old books, but the thing that grabs me most about this image is that the girl’s shoes are too big.  See the way her heels don’t reach the backs?  Is she an imposter, wearing shoes that belong to a real princess?  Is she an orphaned child wearing her late mother’s heels, to try to hold onto a memory?  Why does she seem to be walking away from the books, the crown?

This kind of improvisation--allowing yourself to be drawn to an idea, a word, and image, and then asking “what if” and “how” and “why”—is, for me, an essential element of storytelling.  As I wrote AUDITION, I improvised this way again and again.  I tried to force the rawest, most honest answers for each of my characters.  Improvisation can be scary.  It can take you places you’re not certain you want to be and bring you to conclusions that aren’t always “pretty.”   So, do you push the ugliness away in search of a nice shade of lavender?  Or do you allow the grey, the mottled green, the discordant phrase to stay? 

In various ways, improvisation is also part of choreographing dances and creating sculptures and designing graphic art for websites.  And, I think there’s a place for darkness and for light, for symmetry and jagged angles, in all creative disciplines.  Writers can invoke beauty (or ugliness) on different levels.  There’s writing style and word choice, storyline, and then individual characters and moments.  As I wrote Audition, I wanted to show how beautiful dancing could be even when Sara’s heart was breaking.  I think the counterpoint of joy and pain is a big component of the teen experience and I wanted to try to capture that in my novel.

Whew!   All that from a button!  So, now I have an assignment for you, readers.  Go to Princess Bookie’s button page.  Choose the button that grabs your attention.  And IMPROVISE!!!

AUDITION will be published by Viking/Penguin on 10-13-11
Visit Stasia online at
Or, if you want to see her improvise live and in-person, check out her tour site


Laura S. said...

Hi, Cindy and Stasia! This is a wonderful writing exercise idea, Stasia. :) I like how you improvised with that picture! That's how I do it too, asking constant questions. Why and what if?! It can bring you answers that'll surprise you.

So happy for you that Audition is releasing oh-so-soon!!!

Rebecca (RivkaBelle) said...

Ooooh...Fun post!

My favorite button is the one you picked, but looking at the listing I was also super intrigued by the girl on the picnic blanket in the woods, with balloons. I started wondering: Why is she out there? Is she waiting on someone? Is she having her own private party?

Much, much fun!

LoriStrongin said...

Hey there, new follower here!

Love this interview! Isn't it amazing the places we get inspiration from? It's part of the reason I love retold fairy tales so well--we all know the base of the story, but just what inspires an author to add those breath-stealing twists is the best part.



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