Interview With 2019 Debut Erin Stewart!


In 2019 our goal is to work with as many debut authors as possible and spread the word about their debut novels. Follow us this year as we pick the mind of the 2019 debuts and chat with them. Also stay tuned for news of giveaways, Twitter chats and more!
Last year, we Tweeted about wanting to discover more debut authors and their books. We ended up finding Erin Stewart and her novel SCARS LIKE WINGS, and we have been interested in it ever since. We are so excited to have Erin on the blog today to answer some of our questions! 

About Erin! 
Erin  Stewart
Erin Stewart is the author of SCARS LIKE WINGS, her debut novel. Erin is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern and a BYU undergraduate who works as a freelance writer and editor, as well as a weekly columnist in Salt Lake City.
Keep up with Erin: Website / Twitter / Goodreads / Instagram 

Interview!

The Book Bratz: First of all, congratulations! How does it feel to be a debut author?
Erin: Honestly, it still feels surreal! When you’ve worked on something so long, and then it finally happens, it’s hard to wrap your brain around it. I’m not even sure it will feel real when the book is on the shelf!
The Book Bratz: In your opinion, what is the best part of the writing process? What's the hardest?
Erin: The best part is definitely when you find the heart of your story. I usually think I know what my book is about when I start outlining and write a few chapters, but then inevitably, somewhere around the middle of my first draft, I have an a-ha moment when I realize what the story really is. It’s a very clouds-parting, rays-of-sunshine-straight-from-heaven kind of moment. I wish I could bottle up that feeling and let myself take a whiff every time I have doubts about my writing! 
The Book Bratz: What made you want to write SCARS LIKE WINGS?
Erin: About 10 years ago, I met a boy named Marius, who was burned in a house fire in Romania. The fire left him orphaned, and he was adopted by my friend’s family so he could get treatment in America. Marius was severely, severely burned and has had hundreds of surgeries to reconstruct his face and hands. But even as that little 8-year-old boy in a new country, learning a new language, getting used to a new face, he always has this unwavering belief that he was so much more than his scars. So much more than his tragedy.  He was – and is – truly amazing. I knew the first time I met him that I would write a story about a burn survivor finding the beauty in the ashes. Here’s a short video about Marius!
The Book Bratz: What was the hardest part of this book to write? Why?
Erin: The hardest thing was making sure I represented the burn survivor community in a dignified, but authentic way. I am very aware that I am an outsider writing about a vulnerable community, so I made sure to include survivors in my process from the very beginning. Marius was there from the start, but I also talked with other survivors and doctors and nurses to make sure I was depicting life after a severe burn realistically and respectfully.  
The Book Bratz: Who was your favorite character to write? Who was the hardest?
Erin: Asad [was the favorite]. Hands-down. Asad befriends the main character, Ava, when she returns to school after being out for a year recovering from her injuries. Asad is the friend everybody deserves in their life. He’s sarcastic, witty and just a good guy. Even when he and Ava hit some rough times in their relationship, he is still there for her, quoting Broadway lines and being his hilarious self. The hardest character was probably Kenzie, who has some “mean girl” style run-ins with Ava. The hard part here was that I wanted to steer clear of any stereotypical mean-girl behavior because this whole book is about going beyond those labels. I wanted to make sure Kenzie, even though she wasn’t a main character, was fleshed out well enough that the reader could hate some of her behaviors, but also understand that she’s in pain, too, and has her own scars. 
The Book Bratz: What do you hope readers will take from reading SCARS LIKE WINGS?
Erin:I hope SCARS LIKE WINGS gives readers a glimpse into what someone else might be going through, and that they come away from this book as more empathetic humans. For anyone who has ever felt uncomfortable in their own skin, I want them to know they’re not alone. And for readers who have lived through their own traumas, I hope they see in Ava’s story that finding a new normal after trauma depends so much on the love we are willing to let in—and give out in return. We can’t fix each other’s scars, but we can be stronger together.
The Book Bratz: Do you plan on returning to the world of SCARS LIKE WINGS in the future, or do you have other projects in mind? Can you tell us anything about them?
Erin: I feel good about where I left Ava’s story, so I think I’ve closed the final page on SCARS LIKE WINGS. I am working on a new YA contemporary that I can’t talk about yet, but soon!  

About SCARS LIKE WINGS!

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Title: Scars Like Wings
Author: Erin Stewart
Publisher: Delacorte
Publication Date: October 1st, 2019 

Summary: Ava Lee 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.
Thank you so much to Erin for stopping by and answering our questions! We are super excited about SCARS LIKE WINGS and can't wait for it to be out in the world on October 1st

Also: If you're interested in the SCARS LIKE WINGS pre-order campaign to win some goodies and maybe even a Kindle (!!!!), click HERE!


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1 comment

  1. I've heard awesome things about this emotional book and how much readers loved it. I can't wait to read it too.

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