It’s Monday again, and to cheer us up for the rest of the week, here’s our interview with Stephanie Diaz, author of the EXTRACTION series.
Thanks so much for the interview, Stephanie, it was a pleasure to have you and your book is awesome (:
A fearless girl. A poisonous moon. A deadly secret.
Clementine has spent her whole life preparing for her sixteenth birthday, when she’ll be tested for Extraction in the hopes of being sent from the planet Kiel’s toxic Surface to the much safer Core, where people live without fear or starvation. When she proves promising enough to be “Extracted,” she must leave without Logan, the boy she loves. Torn apart from her only sense of family, Clem promises to come back and save him from brutal Surface life.
What she finds initially in the Core is a utopia compared to the Surface—it’s free of hard labor, gun-wielding officials, and the moon’s lethal acid. But life is anything but safe, and Clementine learns that the planet’s leaders are planning to exterminate Surface dwellers, which means Logan, too. Trapped by the steel walls of the underground and the lies that keep her safe, Clementine must find a way to escape and rescue Logan and the rest of the planet. But the planet leaders don’t want her running—they want her subdued.
With intense action scenes and a cast of unforgettable characters, Extraction is a page-turning, gripping read, sure to entertain lovers of Hunger Games and Ender’s Game, and leave them breathless for more.
1) What is your favorite part about being a writer?
Being able to make up worlds for a living is the absolute best! And getting to meet fans of my stories.
2) How has your cultural background influenced your writing? Do you write many Latinx characters?
My dad’s side of the family is Mexican-American, which makes me half-latina. As a kid growing up, I wasn’t really entrenched in that part of my cultural background except when we visited my grandparents, so I can’t say that it had a whole lot of influence in my writing. But as I’ve gotten older, I have definitely become more aware of that part of my heritage, and it did lead to me including some Latinx-inspired characters in the sci-fi world of the Extraction series. In the future I would like to include more!
3) As someone who comes from a diverse background, did you have any experience in publishing that put that in a negative light?
I’ve been very fortunate not to run into any negativity in publishing regarding my background.
4) How important do you think diversity is in publishing, especially regarding Latinx representation?
Diversity is incredibly important. There are a bazillion books out there with white main characters and only a handful with main characters of other races, which is so damaging for kids who want to see themselves represented in the books they’re reading. There are zero excuses at this point for not having a diverse cast, no matter the genre.
5) As a young writer, what books influenced you? Did any come from your own background?
I have always been drawn to fantasy and sci-fi books (which is why I write them!), so my first influences were series like The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter. I wasn’t aware of any fantasy books back then that included Latinx heroes/heroines.
6) Where do you get inspiration for your books?
My inspiration comes from all sorts of things, from the places I visit to the people I meet. Usually the ideas from a desire to write about a specific kind of conflict in a specific place I’ve pictured in my head—like a planet with a poisonous moon.
7) Any good advice for Latinx and POC writers out there?
Write the stories that matter to you, and write them well. Don’t listen to anyone who says they won’t sell—prove them wrong.
Hogwarts house? Gryffindor
Favorite food? Mac & cheese
Favorite movie? The Lord of the Rings
Favorite TV series? Parks & Recreation
Favorite soap opera? Not a fan of soaps. The closest thing to one I watch is Jane the Virgin.
Favorite place in the world? The forests and lakes of Montana
Favorite superhero? Captain America
Stephanie first decided she was going to be an author when she was in second grade, sitting in a book club drinking tea and devouring books like The Egypt Game. At the ripe age of twelve, she began querying her first novel. Seven years of rejection and re-writes later, as a nineteen-year-old college student she landed a literary agent and a three-book deal for her debut novel.
Now twenty-three years old, she lives in San Diego, CA and writes full-time, working as a freelance editor on the side. She graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in film production. She is the author of Extraction, Rebellion, and Evolution. When she isn’t lost in other worlds, she can be found singing, marveling at the night sky, or fangirling over TV shows.