We don’t clamor for the spotlight or trash hotel rooms during book tours. All we want, is for readers to give our books a good home where they’ll be read and shared.
It’s because of this quiet nature, that now and again, an author remains a hidden gem – cherished by their readers but not rock star famous among the masses.
Stephanie Perry Moore is one of children’s lits hidden gems. The Meg Cabot of African American kiddie lit, Perry Moore has five children’s lit series, ranging from Middle Grade to Young Adult. And she’s sold one hundred thousand plus within those series.
So how can someone be best selling and still be under the radar? We here at the Brown Bookshelf wondered the same thing.
BBS: You can tell me, does it hurt your ego, even a little, that after selling so many books you’re still not a “household” name among influencers and gatekeepers like librarians?
Stephanie: I’m in this game because God put me here. I want to do more to win folks for Him, but in His time.
I’m certainly not bitter. Just happy that I still have very loyal readers. I’m getting more and more each day. Now, being a bigger author would certainly be great though.:-) But I do feel blessed that I’m impacting people.
BBS: Back in 2000, you released the Payton Skky series to fill a void. How has the literary landscape changed in the last eight years?
Stephanie: There is more material for African-American teens. Back then there wasn’t a lot at all. The industry felt black kids didn’t read, which was not true. Now the sales in that market has grown and thankfully more material is now available for the kids.
BBS: What voids do you see that you’d like to fill with your stories, now?
Stephanie: I’m writing a series about a girl from the projects. I’ve found from my readers that they find it hard to seek God when they don’t see Him making their circumstances better.
This series hopefully will help them understand that He is there even when their life seems bleak. This is a bridge series from middle school to high school. At this tough time, I know teens need to know they can overcome.
BBS: The Laurel Shadrach series and the Faith Thomas novelzines are not revolved around an African American character. Tell us how they came about?
Stephanie: Laurel books came about because many readers loved Payton’s roommate and wanted to know more about her. It didn’t matter that she was white.
Black kids and white kids have the same struggles. The Laurel book points out that my position is, the only race that matters is the one that is saved.
BBS: Did you ever face any resistance – from readers or your publisher – about being African American writing about a non-African American character?
Stephanie: No. I went to a predominately white university. I live in a predominately white world. Telling stories from this point of view is extremely natural for me. This concern I have to minister to all folks has been well received by publishers.
BBS: Tell us a little bit about the novelzine format of Faith Thomas. I’ve never seen that before. Was that your idea or the publishers?
I work on a biblezine with another publisher called, REAL. It is the complete New Testament mixed with fun call outs that help people get a better understanding of the gospel.
As I spoke to different groups, I found that many young people would have questions about some of the messages in the novels. So the vision came for a novelzine. The format is mostly a novel, but all these other great articles, characters breakdowns, prayers, etc. help the reader truly get the message of the book. It is entertainment mixed with teaching.
I love that each chapter has a full-color picture of the character in the scene where the story is.
BBS: Your books are shelved Christian YA. Is the label too specific when describing your novels or just perfect?
Stephanie: Just perfect.
BBS: Would you rather have your books shelved with and blend in with other YA or does the Christian YA shelving ensure the book finds the right reader?
Stephanie: In different stores my books are placed in different sections. All of the sections work. YA, Christian, and African-American. If I’d have it my way, I’d love to be in multiple places in stores so when someone is looking there, my books can be available.
BBS: What hurdles do you think you face as a christian fiction author that your counterparts who write genreral fiction may not?
Stephanie: I have to answer to God. Though my books are juicy, He has to get a message in there that reigns about all else.
There may be other stuff, but that’s not for me to worry with. I have to stay in my lane as an author and write the stuff God gives me. What other people do, is their path.
BBS: Your series’ have covered MG on up to YA and your latest, Perry Skky, Jr. adds to the inventory of boy-centric books. What’s next on the horizon?
Stephanie: My newest adult title, Wearing My Halo Tilted just hit stores this month.
I’m writing a college sorority series and I’m so excited to deal with the issues that make and break community service organizations.
Also, I’ve had some doors open in the tv/film world. Since that was my desire since 7th grade, I’m so thankful to bring my books to that medium soon. Even though it has been a tough writing journey for me, I can look back and say God has me just where I’m supposed to be.
The Buzz on Stephanie Perry Moore’s Books
Laurel Shadrach Series
“Stephanie Perry Moore reinforces important lessons, such as that we can do all things through Christ which strengthens us and to have faith in God no matter what may come our way.” OOSA Bookclub Teen Reviewer
Perry Skky, Jr.
“The author has managed to authenticate Perry and his friends based on their backgrounds and she demonstrates that while you may be a product of your environment, you can always change the course of your life and not use that as a crutch.” – RAWSISTAZ Reviewers
“SWEETEST GIFT is a satisfying, thought-provoking read. ” – TeenReads