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“While the story itself is fun and light, it addresses some serious issues” | Q&A with writer Danika Stone on her upcoming novel “Internet Famous”

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Cover image linked from Danika Stone’s website

Although Danika Stone is quite a busy writer,  her talent does shine through in her works. As 2017 starts to produce a new batch of books, fans of Danika’s are no doubt eager to read her new work Internet Famous. Danika answered a few questions for me, giving some insight to her new book, due out in June.

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1) First off, could you give a bit of an outline for Internet Famous?

Absolutely! Internet Famous tells the story of a successful teen blogger, Madi Nakama, whose internet fame from her pop-culture blog attracts the unwanted attention of a troll. Much like any thriller, Internet Famous lets readers play ‘whodunnit’ with the various characters, as Madi and her friends track down her harasser. While the story itself is fun and light, it addresses some serious issues. It also has an interesting text and multi-media narrative that readers of All the Feels will appreciate.

2) How long did it take you to write the book? What inspired you (if anything) to write it?

Most my YA books take me about six months, start to finish, to complete. Broken down that’s about two months for the rough draft, then a couple months of editing back and forth, followed by a couple more of copy-edits. I’m really lucky in that the rough draft process down pat. It saves so much time!
My inspiration for Internet Famous came from two sources. The first was MarkDoesStuff, a truly fantastic pop-culture blogger. (Link to his website.) I remember watching some of the backlash after one of his posts hit a few readers the wrong way. Another source of inspiration was my RL (Real Life) friend ‘M’, who is truly one of the most positive and outgoing people I know. Her personality became the cornerstone of the fictional Madi.

3) I know the book is being released this June, but are there details on any book tour yet? If yes, are there dates/events you are looking forward to?

I have a number of online blog tours set up. They’ll kick off as we near the June release date, so check my Danika_Stone Twitter for details! (Link to Danika Stone’s profile page on Twitter)

As for in-person tours, it’s still early days, but I do have a few solid dates. I’ll be promoting in Alberta (Canada) at the (Southern Alberta Library Conference)  on March 3rd, 2017 (Link here) , in Atlanta at RT Convention May 4th through the 7th, 2017 (Link here), and (hopefully!) at Comic-Con in San Diego, July 20th through the 23rd, 2017. (I’m still waiting for my CC badge.) (Link here) I also have an as-yet undated interview with CBC Daybreak, with Russell Bowers, arranged for later this spring. (Link to the show’s website here) Truthfully, I’m looking forward to ALL of them!

4) It has been a little while since All The Feels came out. How did you find the reaction to it? Was there any memorable reactions to it you care to share?

I was overwhelmed by the positivity that fans showed the book. When I went to Dragon Con last summer, All the Feels had been out for only a month, and yet there were people waiting for me in the signing room. It was an amazing feeling to realize that the book had connected to them this much!
I was also honored when All the Feels was nominated for the CYBILS Award (Link to the Childrens and Young Adults Bloggers Literary Awards website here), and for YALSA’s Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers.  (Link to the Young Adult Library Service Association’s website here) While it didn’t win either category, it was great to be nominated. I hope Internet Famous gets as warm a reception!

5) You mentioned in a previous Q&A that you are always writing. Is that still true? If yes, are you working on a new book?

It’s absolutely true! I honestly don’t know what I’d do if I wasn’t writing. In the time since we last talked, I wrote a sequel to my contemporary Canadian thriller, Edge of Wild. This new book, The Dark Divide, is now in the editing phase. And my most recent WIP (Work in Progress) is another as-yet-untitled YA, that I’ve been working on for Swoon Reads. Check in with me next year and at least one of those should be on shelves!

6) Have you read any books in the last little while that you enjoyed? What are you reading right now?

I always have a pile of books next to my bed, and I tend to be reading two or three of them at a time. My favorite YA in the last few months was These Vicious Masks, by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas. It’s such an incredibly inventive Victorian Superhero story. (Yes! Those elements CAN go together!) I keep forcing everyone to read it.
My most recent poetry collection is The Princess Saves Herself in this One by Amanda Lovelace. I read an early version last year just prior to its debut, and I knew I needed a hard copy. It’s just as lovely as I remembered.
As to contemporary fiction, I always get “into the mood” with thrillers when I’m revising my own mysteries. I loved The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I’m nervously waiting to see what direction the movie version of it takes.

7) Are you still living in Alberta? How do you like living there as a writer? Do you do a bit of traveling with your publisher being so far away?

Yes, I’m happily settled in Alberta. I really love it! First off, my family is here. Secondly, it’s a beautiful, relatively-untouched part of Canada. The mountains are an hour away, and there are unblemished prairie landscapes preserved just minutes from my door. In fact, the only challenge I’ve ever encountered is that I have to make a concerted effort to actually get out to conventions and do book tours. I am lucky enough, however, that travelling is an option and I love it! It leaves me with the best of both worlds.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog again, Steven. I enjoyed talking to you!

The pleasure is mine! My followers are eager to know about your work!

Danika’s Biography

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Image provided by Danika Stone.

Danika Stone is an author, artist, and educator who discovered a passion for writing fiction while in the throes of her Masters thesis. A self-declared bibliophile, Danika now writes novels for both adults (Edge of Wild, The Intaglio Series and Ctrl Z) and teens (Internet Famous, All the Feels and Icarus). When not writing, Danika can be found hiking in the Rockies, planning grand adventures, and spending far too much time online. She lives with her husband, three sons, and a houseful of imaginary characters in a windy corner of Alberta, Canada.
Ms. Stone is represented by Morty Mint of Mint Literary Agency. (Link to their website)

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Link to Swoon Reads’ website for Internet Famous

Link to Danika Stone’s website

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All the Emotions of Youth and Fandom | Review of “All The Feels” by Danika Stone (2016) Swoon Reads

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The relationships that younger people have today are complex and far-reaching. They spend a lot of their time in the realms of digital media and popular culture, hence some of the terms they use – like fandom – are odd and confusing to us. But Danika Stone has written a novel that not only allows many of us some insight into the world of fandom culture, but gives younger readers some groundwork to start a discussion about their obsessions. So readers can explore All The Feels on a multitude of levels.

Page 15

If she’d been feeling ambitious, Liv might have picked up groceries and persuaded Xander to teach her another of his “soon to be famous” recipes. With three little brothers and a mom who worked nights, he had taught himself how to cook. As Xander always said, “it was that or starve,” but Liv had been proctoring in the audio lab all afternoon – adjusting audio levels for amateur musical performances – and by the time she made it back, she was wiped. Besides, Liv reasoned, whenever Xander cooked, he talked . . . And tonight she wasn’t in the mood to hear about his latest cosplay ideas, or – worse yet – his last date with Arden, his bubbly girlfriend. The duo make a striking couple. (Liv could see that as much as anyone.) Arden was light and laughter to Xander’s brooding looks, but Liv wasn’t in the mood to hear about their evident happiness.

She was grieving.

Liv flopped onto the couch and pulled out her phone to scroll through the latest postings on the various Spartan websites. Almost a week after the Christmas Eve release, there were spoilers everywhere. The entire Starveil fandom was in an uproar over Spartan’s death. Liv’s throat grew thick and painful, and she searched until she found a fix-it AU, posted just today. She was halfway through reading it when she heard the garage door open. Katherine swirled through the doorway, coat flapping like the sails of a ship.

“Dinner’s on!” she called, dropping a moisture-soaked bag onto the floor of the entrance.

Stone has brilliantly wrapped up so many concepts and issues in her story about college freshman Liv. We do read about Liv’s obsession about the “Starveil” movie franchise but we also get to experience Liv’s anxiety about: friends, relationships, her mother, death, school, money, and so forth. But Stone has managed to keep all those issues flowing through the story, making the plot easy to read.

Page 112

“If you wanted to go out to a movie sometime,” she gasped. “Like  . . . Like a date or something.”

The bomb dropped.

She waited, but Hank didn’t move. He stared at her for a long time. Live felt like she was caught in a movie, and everyone else had switched into slow motion, but she hadn’t. She was certain at least thirty seconds passed before he blinked, like the film he was in had been on pause and he had abruptly caught up to her.

Hank smiled, but his time it was a different sort of smile. A weaker one. “Liv, I  . . . I don’t know what to say.” He beamed down at her, but it wasn’t the toothy grin she knew. This was something else. Something that hurt the inside of her chest. “I’m flattered. Really, I am. But I have to say no.”

“What?” The word was the sound of someone kicked in the gut.

Hank’s smile faltered. “I can’t. I mean, I’d love to, if I didn’t have a girlfriend.” He winced. “And I felt that way about you.”

Liv turned away from him. Her stomach roiled. The only possible way this situation could get worse was if she did throw up. “Oh my God.” She pushed past a gaggle of girls lingering outside the doorway and headed down the hall. She needed to get away!

“Liv wait!”

She waled faster, vision tunneling down. Now she felt like she might pass out. Oh God, her mind screamed. What have I done?

Not only has Stone kept the language clear and concise here but uses phrases and terms appropriate to the age. Many of my followers have stated they have had problems finding books for younger readers because much of the  language used in today’s selections seem stilted and dated. This book uses terms and phrases that are common usage today. Stone has not only come up with an interesting story line here but also must have researched terms and technology well.

Page 160-161

Liv glared at the laptop screen, the cursor pulsing in time to her thoughts. There was footage on her hard drive: used segments from the bonus features of various Starveil films and twice as many outtakes with Xander, music and audio clips. It was all there, ready to make and #SpartanSurvived vid.

She just needed to break her promise to do it.

“Liv?” her mother called from outside her bedroom “Can we talk?”

“No.”

Liv slid her chair over to the door and locked it.

“Liv, sweetie,” her mother pleaded, “I know you’re angry I talked to Gary, but if you’d listen you’ll-”

Liv put on her headphones and hit Play.

The well-known trill of the Starveil theme flooded her ears, and she let out a sobbing laugh, overwhelmed by emotion. This was it. This was where she felt at home. Not at the dinner table with Gary! Not doing stupid school projects that didn’t matter. The sound of her mother’s knocking faded, and Liv sighed in relief. She needed this the same way she needed air. The last few weeks, she’d felt trapped, but now she was free.

Decision made, Live opened the video editor and smiled.

It was time to bring that passion back to fandom.

Danika Stone has written a great and modern book with All The Feels. The story line is easy to read yet covers a multitude of issues that concerns younger readers. In short a great and enlightening read for any age.

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Link to Danika Stone’s website

Link to Swoon Reads’ website for All The Feels

Link to my Q&A with Danika Stone -“I was eager to find a Canadian press for Edge of Wild, since it’s a Canada-focused story.”