(M.M. Roethig) You can tell a lot about a person by their favorites so I always love to ask . . . What ‘s your favorite type of ice-cream?
(Stephanie Pitman) Vanilla Bean, or sometimes Blue Bunny’s Banana Split. Simply delicious!
(MM) I love vanilla too. You can add so many things to vanilla. :)
(MM) What’s your favorite writing beverage?
(SP) I drink water mostly. Every now and then, my sweet husband will surprise me with a cup of Bengal Spice Herbal Tea, and that is definitely the best beverage ever.
(MM) Do you have any favorite writing snacks you like to have on hand?
(SP) No. If I have anything to munch on, I do more munching than typing and that really puts a damper on getting in my word count.
(MM) How did you discover your love for writing?
(SP) I wrote my first book in 1st grade, completely illustrated by myself as well I might add J I still have it somewhere, but I couldn’t tell you what it was about. But I loved seeing my name on that front cover.
(MM) When did you begin writing and was your intention to become an author at that time?
(SP) It wasn’t until I was pregnant with my first child when I came across a writing aptitude test that I really started to think about writing. It’s been 14 years since my son was born and though I’ve written many books and started many others, my first book was only published this past February. (Happy note: February was the month I became a mother for the first time. That month is kind a special for me)
(MM) Tell us about Honorable Disgrace. This was a personal experience you endured. How hard was this to get out on paper?
(SP) It took me 5 years to write this. Part of that was because it brought up so many hard memories. But I began writing it because I started having nightmares. It had been fifteen years since I had been raped and I thought I’d overcome the horror of it, but those nightmares told me different. After several weeks of them tormenting me, I began to journal about it. That turned into trying to rewrite the ending. What if I had told someone about it sooner? Would my attacker have been brought to justice? Would I have gotten the help I needed then? Going at it from that angle helped me to put some closure on my feelings about the attack, my hatred for the attacker and my grief over my sister’s part in it, my feelings of betrayal.
And then the big question. If I wrote this with the intention of it being read, becoming a book, would it help someone else who’d gone through a similar experience? I am grateful to know that after only a few months out, a lady approached me, someone I didn’t know, and told me she was taking my book along with her to her counselor and using it to help her with her past.
So, yes, it was really hard at first deciding to write Honorable Disgrace. But all the remembered pain and anguish has been worth it. First, it helped me. I can talk about it and I no longer feel it was my fault. I have forgiven my sister and my attacker, which has helped to leach poison out of my life, and move on from it. Second, I know already it’s helped at least one person. And that’s enough.
(MM) That is so amazing! I truly commend you on taking that step. To know it helped not only you, but a stranger--what a gift!
(MM) Do you have any rituals?
(SP) Not really. I seem to do my best writing at night after the kids have gone to bed, but it’s hard to pull myself away from my husband time to write. Once I get going, I can write for hours. Except when I am writing my initial first draft. That’s rough. I guess that’s why it’s called a rough draft. Ha, ha. I do find that when I first begin a new story, its easier for me to write in a notebook. Something about the blank white page and that cursed cursor flashing gives me writer’s block something fierce.
I do have one thing I love to do, but I don’t always do it. I like to wrap myself up in a blanket from my chest down like a burrito, hobble over to my desk and tuck my 5 lb Chihuahua in the folds over my chest and write while she nestles down to sleep.
(MM) Awww, that sounds like a wonderful way to write!
(MM) How many hours a day to you devote to writing?
(SP) Do you write every day? I wish I had time to write every day. But I think the key is “making” time. Extra time doesn’t just fall in your lap. You have to make the effort to it. Winter time is much easier, less outside distractions, plus I get some puppy snuggle time.
(MM) How did you come up with the title and was this the original working title?
(SP) Honorable Disgrace was always the title. I’m not quite sure how I came up with it. It just came to me when I was thinking about how I wasn’t really disgraced by what happened to me, even though I felt so ashamed and that even though horrible things happen to someone out of their control, doesn’t mean they don’t have worth. I was also thinking about how when people are discharged from the military that sometimes they are honorably discharged and sometimes not.
(MM) Very thoughtful title. I loved it, but knowing the story behind the words makes a greater impact on me.
(MM) What authors do you like to read? What book or books have had a strong influence on you and your writing?
(SP) I read anything, but I really love Julie Kagawa’s writing. She’s written quite an array of series, all fantasy, that grabs my attention and doesn’t let me go. Other’s authors who I love and have an influence on my writing are Brandon Mull, JK Rowling, Andrea Cremer, Stephen King, Jennifer Fallon, Rick Riordan, and Cassandra Clare. Fantasy and paranormal are is my favorite genre to read and is what I write. Honorable Disgrace is the exception. It was the book I never intended to write, but I feel the one that was screaming the loudest to be written. I actually put aside a trilogy I’d been working on to get it done.
(MM) What are you reading now?
(SP) I’ve taken a break away from YA (but not fantasy. I just can’t get enough) and I am reading Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series. They are huge thick novels with such tiny writing I am only on the second book and that’s taken me a month. I do have the excuse of moving to put in there, plus training for a long distance relay race, lol.
(MM) Tell me more about Honorable Disgrace. What was the hardest part to write? Is there a message you want your readers to grasp? Is there one scene that stood out to you the most?
(SP) The hardest part was definitely the rape scene. Angie endures a much more violent experience than I did, but my sister was in the next room like Angie’s and I felt completely helpless and forsaken being able to hear her, but her not coming to my rescue.
My main message would be for readers, especially those who’ve gone through rape, to know that no matter what happens to us, even if we are not in control of that moment, we are in control of our lives. We can choose how we react to things and what we are going to do about them. Don’t give the power to our attackers (or negative influences) to dictate who or what you are going to be in life. You are valuable.
And I’d have to say my favorite scene was when Cory came to the rescue, and in close second is when Cory refused to let Angie push him away. He stood up for what he wanted.
(MM) What’s next for Stephanie Pitman?
(SP) Next is to get my butt back to the computer and get writing, ha, ha. I haven’t written in several months and I am feeling wholly unauthor-ly. Before the move, I started working on a paranormal romance set in Paris. Andrea finds herself in the midst of a 100+ year old murder, haunted by ghosts and a certain dark haired hunky historian, only to realize it’s her reincarnated self’s murder. My hope is to get it through the rough draft by the end of September and get a few revisions under my belt by the end of the year. There, I’ve said it. It’s out there, now people keep me accountable. J
I also plan to get the first book in my trilogy, Tlaloc, done by the mid to end of February. I can do it. I just have to do like I said and sit my butt down to write.
(MM) Do you have any advice for other writer?
(SP) Write. That’s the only way it will get done. And don’t doubt yourself or compare yourself to other authors. You are completely unique. Believe in what you can do, and write.
(MM) Where can we follow you?
(SP) Lots of places J My website, www.literarypitstop.com has links to my social network, but here’s a few. Twitter @stephpitman11 Facebook under Stephanie N. Pitman and you can purchase my book at this link http://tinyurl.com/p5gzr2k on Amazon.
Also, if you find yourself running in Southeast Idaho, you may come across me out on the road. You can follow behind there if you like, but please don’t pass me. I don’t like to feel slow.
(MM) Last question: Flip flops or tennis shoes?
(SP)This is a tough one. Is bare feet an option? I definitely prefer flip flops, but I love my tennie’s. You can’t run in flip flops.
Thank you again, Stephanie, for guesting on my blog today! You've got an amazing story to share.
Thank you, my friends and fans, for stopping by today!
Stephanie N. Pitman has taught preschool for over 12 years and is a motivated entrepreneur, currently operating two successful businesses with her husband, Travis. She is a writer of fiction and nonfiction. Her first novel, a YA Contemporary, Honorable Disgrace, is based on her own story of overcoming the ugly side of life, betrayal and rape. She is a graduate of the Institute of Children's Literature and an active member of the SCBWI. Stephanie enjoys spending time with her husband of 16 years, and their two boys, visiting the beautiful splendor and diversity of their home state of Montana. Along with being an avid reader and dedicated writer, she enjoys pushing herself to her best by competing in triathlons, relay races, and half marathons along with being a Zumba and Yoga Instructor.