Interview with Robin Stephen, author of Another Year or Two

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by author, Robin Stephen, asking me if I would be interested in reading and reviewing her novel, Another Year or Two. Of course I said yes and I am glad that I did. Robin was a pleasure to work with and talk to and I can’t wait to read more of her Turnpost stories as well as The Pegasus Trilogy. Make sure to read both pages of our interview and check Robin out on her social media sites!robinstephen

Amanda: Hi Robin, I really would like to thank you for contacting me! I loved reading Another Year or Two and was excited to see that it was such a multi-layered, realistic story.  Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Robin: I’m in my early 30s and live in Iowa City with my husband. My ‘day job’ is running a small web design and front-end development firm, and my husband and I also ride and train horses.

I grew up in rural Southwestern Arizona, living on a few acres of land tucked up against the foothills of the Catalina mountains. My dad is an archaeologist, and he was born in England. We were lucky as kids to get to travel internationally quite a bit in conjunction with projects he was working on. We spent five summers in France. In college, I lived in Wales for a year. Until I was in my late 20s, I’d been to more foreign countries than states in the US. I like to write about the different cultures and environments I’ve spent time in. The second book in my upcoming trilogy is set in England.

Amanda:  What is your writing process like? Where do you get the inspiration for your novels?

Robin: I write first thing every morning. Typically I write a rough draft in one big chunk, usually with very little planning or mapping of the story. Then I leave the story and write something else. I make sure to take at least six months away from a work. Then I rewrite, sometimes ending up using none of my original writing, sometimes using a lot of it. I rewrite books until they feel they are in their ideal form (or as close to that as I can manage. :)) Sometimes this takes several rewritings.

My inspiration comes from all over. My Turnpost stories draw heavily on my life with horses and the ranching tradition my husband and I aspire to emulate. My fantasy works are just my imagination going haywire. I actually dreamed the prologue of The Teardrop Game. The next morning I woke up and realized it was a great story and I should write it down.

Review: Another Year or Two by Robin Stephen

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Synopsis:

Lara lives in the small town of Turnpost, South Dakota. She’s not sure why she started writing a blog. In 2002, it’s just the thing to do. She’s not the only one blogging. Follow five characters in different walks of life as their paths overlap (or just miss each other) in a variety of ways. A story about unexpected connections and the difficulty of change, “Another Year or Two” is a charming, multilayered glimpse into the thoughts of people who have no idea who is reading what they post.

Review:

Another Year or Two is a very unique novel with an interesting premise and format. The author Robin Stephen chose to write this novel in the form of blog posts by 5 different characters. When I first started reading the novel, the constant change in perspective took me out of the story and made it difficult for me to get to know the characters. However, I soon began to see many the layers of connections between each character in the story. Once the novel began to flow and the pace began to pick up I really enjoyed that it was told in multiple perspectives. This format made it easy to see how characters can see and experience the same event differently and see how each character relates to the others.

The thing that I liked the most about Another Year or Two was that it was very character-driven. Since there were 5 main characters whose point of view we saw throughout the novel, I was able to see each character as they grew and developed throughout the story. Each character was extremely realistic. I could even see a little bit of my high school self in Lara, my least favorite character through the majority of the novel. My favorite character, Madison, like me was a twenty-something substitute teacher who was unsure where to go with her life. Robin Stephen has successfully developed a novel where both teenage and adult characters share stories that overlap with each other.

While this is not the type of novel that I would usually pick up and read, I enjoyed reading it and it went very quickly for me. I look forward to reading more by Robin and hope that some of her future stories contain some of the same characters as Another Year or Two.

Rating: 4/5 stars. I recommend this novel to both adults and teens as they both can find a character or characters they they can relate to.

Stay tuned for my interview with author, Robin Stephen- coming soon!!!