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About Courtney

Courtney C. Stevens grew up in Kentucky and lives in Nashville, Tennessee. She is an adjunct professor and a former youth minister. Her other skills include playing hide-and-seek, climbing trees, and being an Olympic torch bearer.

Title: Faking Normal
Author: Courtney Stevens
Publishing Date: 25th Febuary 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books

Alexi Littrell hasn't told anyone what happened to her over the summer. Ashamed and embarrassed, she hides in her closet and compulsively scratches the back of her neck, trying to make the outside hurt more than the inside does.

When Bodee Lennox, the quiet and awkward boy next door, comes to live with the Littrells, Alexi discovers an unlikely friend in "the Kool-Aid Kid," who has secrets of his own. As they lean on each other for support, Alexi gives him the strength to deal with his past, and Bodee helps her find the courage to finally face the truth.

A searing, poignant book, Faking Normal is the extraordinary debut novel from an exciting new author-Courtney C. Stevens.

1. How did you get into writing?

It's more like writing got into me. I've been writing/storytelling most of my life. I got serious about writing a novel after a really cool dream. I woke up with a strong image and wanted to know what happened before and what happened afterward. That was my first book. I love it for what it taught me and for being the spark that led to my dream career.

2. When starting a book how much of it comes straight from your imagination and how much is research?

Great question. Research is an important part of any book as is imagination. For me, my research is based in my education. My undergraduate and graduate degrees are in counseling and human services. I was lucky enough to study a field where healing and hope and listening are a priority. I believe these themes show up in the worlds I create in fiction.

3. Who is your favourite character you have written and why?

Bodee is my favorite character.

He was the best gift I could give to a girl who had been through Alexi's circumstances. She needed a boy who would love her any way, teach her that not everyone is a taker, and believe that everything broken in her had redemptive possibilities. You gotta a love a guy like that. 

4. Do you go into a book knowing how you want it to end?

I go into a book hoping I will leave a character better than I found her/him.

5. What 5 books would you recommend for your readers?

This list changes all the time as I love to read and recommend books. For right now, I would recommend:

1. Winger by Andrew Smith
2. I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
3. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
4. Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

5. Panic by Lauren Oliver

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