Life was good to fifteen-year-old Danny Roberts. He was a model student, playing violin in his high school orchestra and earning straight A’s on the fast track to university. But then things went very wrong very fast. The problems started when a teacher wouldn’t let Danny out of class to go to the bathroom – even though he said “I’ve really got to go!”
Danny responded by defying authority for the first time in his life. That shocking act of defiance earned him a suspension, and Danny’s troubles snowballed from there. But Danny isn’t your typical student, and he doesn’t take his lumps lying down. He fights back on his terms as he plots a course through uncharted waters.
This is the exciting premise of Steven Verrier’s new young adult fiction novel, Plan B (Saga Books March 2010).
We had a chance to interview Steven about his new book. Enjoy!
Thank you for this interview, Steve. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
Well, I’ve worked in a variety of fields and locations, but first and foremost I’m a writer. I’ve been writing seriously most of my life, going back to working on songs as a teenager. I’ve written plays, fiction, and nonfiction. The book that brings us to this interview is a novel titled Plan B.
Can you tell us briefly what your book is about?
It’s about a fifteen-year-old boy named Danny – a good kid who, through no fault of his own, runs into problems at school. The problems don’t concern other kids; it’s school administrators and teachers who are doing him wrong. Danny gets suspended and decides to leave school altogether when he sees a better way to get to where he wants to go in life. Hence, the title Plan B.
Who is your intended audience? Have you been able to crossover into other audiences as well?
This book is aimed at a general readership. There’s a bit of content that probably makes it inappropriate for youth, though I suppose I could write a younger readers’ version of Plan B one day. As it stands, I’d probably get in trouble if I were to direct the high schoolers I teach in San Antonio anywhere near this book.
Why did you choose your particular genre?
I write both fiction and nonfiction. Currently I’m working on a nonfiction project also related to the situation in a Texas public school, but I wanted to present a fictional account of a student’s woes, too.
Do you ever experience self-doubts with your work?
I don’t have time for that.
Where do you write? Do you have a favorite place?
I write wherever I can – on the kitchen table, on the floor, or at my desk at work. I’ll use whatever opportunities I have.
What kind of research did you have to do during the writing process?
As I said, I teach in a Texas high school, so much of my research has been on the job. Having children who attend public schools has helped answer – and raise – a lot of questions, too.
Who is your publisher and how did you get accepted by them? Did you pitch your book yourself or go through an agent?
Plan B was published by Saga Books, a Canadian publisher. They published a previous book of mine, Tough Love, Tender Heart, so we already had a working relationship. No agent was involved.
How are you promoting your book thus far?
Word of mouth, interviews like this one, workshops to take place later in the year … I’ve been so busy that I really won’t be able to focus more heavily on promotion until later this year.
If you could give one book promotion tip to new authors, what would that be?
Every effort, every opportunity, every interview, every event helps. It all adds up. Let people know there’s an author in their midst.
What’s next for you?
I’m a month or two from completing the nonfiction project I mentioned earlier. It’s a year in my life as a teacher at one of the more challenging public schools in the area where I’m living. The working title is Class Struggle: Journal of a Teacher In Up to His Ears. Information about this book should be up on my website in the fall.
Thank you for this interview, Steve. Can you tell us where we can find you on the web?
Readers can find me at www.stevenverrier.com. It’s been a pleasure speaking to you.
Amazon and Barnes and Noble are the best ways to obtain your copy of Steven Verrier’s new book, Plan B, although it will be available to order in most Virginia Beach bookstores.