Interview with YA Writer Stephanie Diaz

Meet Stephanie who, at the time of this interview, was a fellow 19 year old writer and is a college student.  She’s now 20!!! Happy belated birthday.  But for the purpose of Teens Can Write TOO! Week she’s a writer who has some great words of wisdom for us all 🙂


I’m Stephanie, a 19-year-old writer (I’ll be 20 on October 7!) born and raised in Southern California. The book that got me my agent and will be on sub pretty soon is a YA sci-fi called Extraction. It’s about a girl named Clementine who wins an escape from a settlement on a planet where the moon is poisonous and children are killed off when they turn twenty. Only, she has to leave a boy who’s very special to her behind.

UPDATE: EXTRACTION sold to St. Martin’s Griffin and will be published on July 22, 2014. So Stephanie’s going to be a published author, YAY, I can’t wait to read it!!! (you can add it to Goodreads, here!)

Enjoy the interview 🙂

 What is your favorite place to write?

I’m constantly struggling with finding places to write where I won’t be distracted by the internet! My bedroom is nice. But I really wish I had access to an ocean cave or a glass room in the middle of a forest (preferably during a storm). Somewhere far away and pretty.

 What is the first story you remember writing?

A YA fantasy about a girl who discovers a magical world of fairies and elves hidden by the lake in her neighborhood.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I can’t quite remember the first time, but by third grade I was writing stories all the time.

If you could be any character from a book, movie, play, or musical who would it be and why?

I’d be Tris Prior from Divergent, because she’s brave. 

When & why did you start writing?

I’ve been writing since I was so young, it feels like I was born with a need for words and stories ingrained in my brain. I’ve stuck with them because they’re my release and my comfort. 

How do you overcome “writer’s block” ? 

Usually it means there’s something not quite right about what I’ve written recently, or the way the plot is headed. So, I go back to the last point where things were working, and then I try to think of a brand-new, inspiring place to head from there.

Are you a full time writer…why/why not?

I study film production at San Diego State University, so sadly I can’t write full time yet. I hope someday!

Coffee or tea?

Tea! (wild berry and chai are my favorites) 

Fun Fact about yourself most people don’t know?

I sing and play guitar. I have some videos of original songs up on youtube. 😛 

How did you find a literary agent?

I found my lovely agent, Alison Fargis of Stonesong (without whom Extraction would not be anywhere near what it’s become), through the good old querying process. I had a lot of help from writer friends and a few other supportive agents along the way. 

–how long did it take?

I signed with Alison six months to the day after I sent my first query letter for Extraction. But I queried two other manuscripts in previous years—the first when I was 13. All in all, it took me six years of writing/revising/querying.

–what was querying like for you?

With Extraction, I received two revise-and-requests from agents before Alison read my manuscript. So, the six months of querying were fraught with periods of intense revisions. Some days I’d feel like Extraction was “the one,” while on others I was exhausted and ready to turn my attention to a new manuscript. I did garner a number of requests—26 in all, out of about 130 queries—and those kept me going. But I was close to giving up at times, and was never more so than on the day I received a rejection letter for my second R&R. 

The next day I got an email from a different agent asking when a good time would be to talk on the phone. A week later, after four offers of representation and a weekend of hair-pulling/nail-biting, I signed with Alison. 🙂

 What is some advice you would impart to teen writers who wish to be published?

Remember that you’re young and you have lots of years ahead of you. Keep writing, no matter what. And take time to live and enjoy the world. 🙂

 If you had/have an animal spirit which animal(s) would it be…why?

Either a bear or a sea otter.  They’ve always been my favorites.

 What is your favorite childhood book and/or author?

It’s a tie between The Giver by Lois Lowry and The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman.

What is the next book you want to write?

To cope with my impatience/worry about the impending submission process for Extraction, I’m working on a YA fantasy that’s Pirates of the Caribbean meets Shadow and Bone, with dragons. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by Stephanie, best writing wishes to you 🙂 I look forward to seeing your books in stores!

Whimsically Yours,



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