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Penguin Teen Author Spotlight: Stephanie Oakes

Some books still elicit a powerful mix of feelings inside of you long after you read them. The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is that book: it’s the tale of young Minnow Bly, who lost everything to a cult – including her hands. Gut-wrenching, vivid, and ultimately hopeful, it’s a story that will linger with you way after you finish. Here to tell us more about herself is the author Stephanie Oakes!


Name: Stephanie Oakes
Novel: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly
Available: June 9


Who’s your favorite author, living or dead? I still think the things that JK Rowling did in the Harry Potter books are pretty much unmatched in any books I’ve read, but since I’m sure that’s a really common answer, I’ll also say Melina Marchetta. She is a genius.


What’s your favorite thing about your book? I really like how fearless it is. That was definitely not the case from the early drafts, but I realized that I couldn’t do this story or these characters justice if I held back.
If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, who would you choose? I might choose Jacky Faber from the Bloody Jack books. She is hilarious and resourceful, and she could entertain us endlessly with her musical abilities.

Where do you write? I sometimes write in coffee shops because it helps me to focus, but I also do a fair amount of writing in my house. Here’s my desk where I write. I like to keep checklists of what I’m working on. I get great pleasure from crossing things off the list (and it’s even more fun with my penguin pen). Nearby, I have a kind of inspiration corkboard with some Minnow Bly swag and various bits of inspiration I’ve printed off of Tumblr. Near my desk is my TBR bookshelf, as well. It’s extremely full! I have a bad book buying habit.

Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history? This is really hard, but I’ll choose Eleanor Roosevelt. She was bright and funny and fearless.

Do you tweet? What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever tweeted? Yes, I tweet. @StephanieEOakes The funniest thing I’ve ever tweeted? That’s hard to pull up from my memory banks—-I think the advantage and disadvantage of Twitter is that I forget about what I write about five seconds after I post it.

What is your favorite season? Probably fall, but after a long winter, springtime can be pretty awesome, too.

If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go? This is so difficult! Can I go back in time? If so, I’d go to Dickensian London in a hot minute. If the past is off limits, I’d really love to build a house right on the edge of some massive nebula (the Rosette Nebula and the Carina Nebula are two of my favorites), and just have that be the view from my front window.

Do you have any writing rituals? Turning off the internet, sometimes getting a cup of coffee or tea, and putting on some instrumental music. It usually takes me at least ten minutes to get into my writing groove, too.

What is your idea of earthly happiness? Feeling busy and productive. I don’t like having endless time on my hands, and I like the feeling of knowing that my actions are helping to bring something positive into the world.

What is the best concert you’ve ever been to? Probably my first concert. I was sixteen and saw Death Cab for Cutie, and it was something like a religious experience.

What are you currently working on? I’m revising my second novel for Dial Books for Young Readers, a YA mystery called The Arsonist.


Thanks Stephanie! We can’t wait to hear more about your next book.

Follow Stephanie on Twitter!

Get your copy of The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly!





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