What is Stephanie Kuhnert's I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone
? How about "an empowering new twist on a girl's coming of age" (Los Angeles Times), "irresistible" and "acidly incisive and full-out entertaining" (Booklist), or "raw and gritty" (Publisher's Weekly).
The Clash. Social Distortion. Dead Kennedys. Patti Smith. The Ramones. [Full disclosure: I'm old enough this is MY era.]
Punk rock is in Emily Black's blood. Her mother, Louisa, hit the road to follow the incendiary music scene when Emily was four months old and never came back.
Now Emily's all grown up with a punk band of her own, determined to find the tune that will bring her mother home. Because if Louisa really is following the music, shouldn't it lead her right back to Emily?
I asked, Stephanie answered
A. What's the scariest thing that's ever happened to you? Bonus question: have you used it, in any way, in a book?
S. I was a goth kid so I usually don't get scared by graveyards and haunted houses because um, well I hung out in them a lot. Although I don't have the stomach for horror movies anymore. After I saw the Ring, *shakes head.* I just can't do it.
The scariest thing that happened to me happened in broad daylight and isn't horror scary at all, but it is the reason I still can't drive on the highway. I was stuck in awful Chicago traffic the day after Christmas, coming home from Wisconsin and a semi truck merged into my little Honda Civic. Traffic was stopped when he did it. I don't know how he didn't see me. I saw him and there was literally nothing I could do other than drive into another car. So I just had to sit there as the car began to be crushed, thinking, "Please realize you are hitting me, please stop before the windows start breaking." It probably happened in 15 seconds, but it felt like time was moving in slow motion. Miraculously no one was hurt except my car. I haven't used it in a book, but I certainly reserve the right to do so!
A. Mystery writers often give their characters an unreasoning fear - and then make them face it. Do you have any phobias, like fear of spiders or enclosed spaces?
S. I am petrified of spiders (though I loved spider accessories when I was goth!) and pretty much anything with more than 4 legs. That's just not right. Even worse than spiders are these big, brown, fuzzy millipedes we get in the Midwest. Ugh! I can't help but scream when I see those.
A. Do you have a favorite mystery book, author, or movie?
S. I read a lot more mysteries as a kid. I adored Nancy Drew books and the Cat Who mystery series. I need to get back into reading mysteries now that I think about it. My favorite adult mystery book (and movie) is Mystic River by Dennis Lehane. I saw him speak at a writing festival and was not only did he give amazing writing advice, he told about how inspired by Shakespeare his work is, how Macbeth was a big inspiration for Mystic River. That made me love it even more!
A. At its heart, every story is a mystery. It asks why someone acts the way they did - or maybe what will
happen next. What question does your book ask?
S. The big mystery in my book surround Emily's mother Louisa. It's a mystery for part of the book as to why she left her family and the book centers around the question of if she will ever come back or Emily will ever find her. Can Emily's music bring her home?
A. Is there a mystery in life that you are still trying to figure out?
S. Most of the mysteries I ponder are about human nature. I'm constantly wondering why people act the way they do. One of the main reasons I write is to explore those mysteries and I think that at the center of any mystery novel or thriller is that questions as well!