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Arts ENCORE

Age-Defying Literature

Author finds ‘the extraordinary’ writing books for young adults Annette Shutty

Before she left, Stamm self-published the first two books of her three-book Lightbringer series — A Gift of Wings (2012) and A Gift of Light (2014). Both tell the story of a late teen exploring a newfound world of half-angels. The Lightbringer series was Stamm’s first foray into YA, self-publishing and novel writing. She had previously contributed to the anthology Into the Storm: Journeys with Alzheimer’s, a collection of true stories about Alzheimer’s and dementia, and Undead of Winter — An Anthology, a collection of wintry horror stories. “I was reading and writing a lot of essays and autobiographical pieces when all of a sudden all I wanted to read Author Stephanie was (young adult) Stamm, left, and the cover of her first fantasy, so I indulged Young Adult novel, A myself,” Stamm says. Gift of Wings. She found that her dive into young adult literature as a reader was also pulling her in as a writer. She kept thinking about how she would write a YA novel and after a while she decided she had enough ideas to start. After asking a close friend who had published both traditionally and independently about the two options, she decided to go it alone. “I thought, ‘Why not? Let’s try this,’ because I’m kind of a control freak so I knew I would like being able to make all the decisions,” Stamm says. “I think if I knew then what I know now, how much self-publishing would entail, I might have been too intimidated.” Learning how to format books for e-publishing and print publishing required Stamm to read up on HTML coding and design formatting

Who could have predicted the rise of young adult literature — the

celebrity status of the authors, the fast-selling pace of popular series or the fact that 55 percent of YA consumers are actually older than 18? Or that, of that 55 percent, 28 percent are between the ages of 28 and 40, according to a recent survey, making YA hardly Y at all? Perhaps Stephanie Stamm, who has written two young adult novels of her own, could have — she understands the attraction to series like Twilight, Hunger Games and Divergent. “I think that part of it is these questions YA answers — who you want to be and who you are — are questions that don’t go away,” Stamm says. “I would say that I hit these questions every decade or so. Even as an adult you can relate to this cycle.” Originally from Kentucky, Stamm moved to Kalamazoo 14 years ago. She’s worked as a press operator, educator, potter and technical writer. It’s that last job that prompted Stamm to move from Kalamazoo to Atlanta in March. “I’m so going to miss Kalamazoo,” she said in an interview before she left for Georgia, “but this opportunity came along and I couldn’t say no.”

32 | Encore MAY 2015

Profile for Encore Magazine

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