Interview with Stefani Chaney

Published 2019-04-30.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a very small town before the internet became a common thing. There were no busy streets or nearby neighbors. My siblings were too old to want to play with the baby of the family. Our house was surrounded by trees and wildlife. This led to the perfect environment to exercise my imagination. I spent most of my childhood coming up with imaginary worlds and thinking up stories to occupy myself during those boring summers. With all that time alone, I started focusing on details from early on— details of the stories I made, or details of the stories I read over and over. There is a heavy sense of seclusion when I think back on that time and that might be why my stories focus so much on introspection and human connection.
Describe your desk
The desk where I write is a scene of various chaos. At any given point there is a stack of post-it notes, index cards, pens, journals, and a cat who is stretched out the entire length of the desk. If there was ever order to the stack of notes, the cat made sure to remove it and send everything into disarray. But I can't get mad at that floof, and, usually, end up working with my computer in my lap so I don't disturb him. But the mess isn't entirely blamed on the cat— my brain loves to come up with plot lines and pieces of dialogue but refuses to remember them. There's a cork board, a white board, and a massive clipboard hanging above, housing all the things I need to remember for whatever project I'm working on (or for future projects). I think my favorite part of my workspace​ is something every writer should have... the drawer filled with candy bars for when writer's block hits and you need some chocolate to help you contemplate.
When did you first start writing?
Really young. I think I was eight when I wrote a story about my family and ten when I tried to write a fictional story. I started and stopped on a lot of ideas and didn't actually finish an entire story until I was seventeen. After that, I kept anything I wrote to myself, far away from other's eyes. I was in college before I felt comfortable enough to share my work in creative writing classes.
What is your writing process?
Imagine a tornado. Now add coffee, a curated playlist, and lots of second-guessing yourself.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
So much of writing— honestly, nearly ALL of writing— is a solitary process. So, the greatest part is the part that involves the others who read my books and feel a connection to my characters as strongly as I did. To know that my stories helped them pass a boring hour, or a distracted them from a stressful day, or warded off some loneliness makes it all worth the countless hours that I spend working on making the best story I possibly can.
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