Author Interview: Tara St. Pierre (Just a Few Inches)

Hello guys !
Lately I reviewed a book called Just a Few Inches, the unique premise and the way body image issues were approached had me really intrigued. I wanted to know the woman behind the book a little bit more, add to that the fact that she seemed really cool through the few emails we exchanged, I just had to chat with her a bit more.
Tara St. Pierre
Tara St. Pierre has been writing for over two decades, but her muse only sporadically provides inspiration. Her laptop is filled with incomplete manuscripts and other plot outlines, and she feels blessed when one finally pushes its way through to completion–no matter how long it takes!

She enjoys classic science fiction movies and television shows. When driving, she sings along with the radio loudly and off key. She prefers tea over coffee, spring over autumn, vanilla ice cream over chocolate, and caramel over hot fudge. Though she lives by herself, one of her two cats enjoys cuddling with her.

– Hello, Tara! Thank you for joining me on the blog today! Tell us a bit about yourself, what do you like to do when not writing?
When not writing, I enjoy baking, reading, and going to the theater. I wanted to get back into bike riding this past summer, but it didn’t happen. There’s still a little time left before it gets too cold or dark too early, or maybe I’ll try again next spring.
– Has writing always been part of your life?
Creating stories has definitely been part of my life for a long time. I first started keep track of (really short) stories I wrote back in high school. I laugh when I look back at how silly and one-dimensional they are now. As I grew older, I was able to write longer, more complex pieces. I have more than a handful of partially written manuscripts and even more story outlines. It’s all about finding the time to site down and write without being distracted by television and the internet. Oh look, a cat video… 😉
– So, what finally made you take a leap of faith and publish this particular work?
First off, it was something that I finished. But more importantly, it had a message I wanted to tell in a unique way of telling it. I probably could have attempted the traditional publishing route and queried literary agents (which I had done for about a year, with no success, with another manuscript several years ago), but many of the benefits of self-publishing appealed to me. Writing is more of a fun activity for me to destress from my actual career, and I’m not expecting to sell millions of copies (though that would be cool), so it’s more about the accomplishment of having a book published than anything else. Also, I get to tell the story I want to tell in the way I want to tell it.
– “Just a few Inches” is your first published book and it is about a girl shrinking, what sparked this idea?

A few different pieces of inspiration sparked the idea. I was in the checkout line at a supermarket or drugstore sometime in the mid-1990s. On one of the magazines, there was a cover story about a new diet that could “shrink” your waistline. The usage of the word shrink intrigued me, and my mind jumped to the 1980s movie The Incredible Shrinking Woman (loosely based on the 1950s classic The Incredible Shrinking Man). Why couldn’t there be a similar young adult story? Though the idea of someone shrinking is the same–and is nothing new, since that goes back beyond Lewis Carroll and Alice in Wonderland–I would be tackling a very different theme with it than those movies.

I started twenty years ago, but after six or so chapters, it really wasn’t coming together. I was a less experienced writer and didn’t have a plot outline. A few years ago, however, I picked back up the manuscript and went with it, incorporate social media and blogging into the story. And my reason for conceiving the story back then still holds true today. Those stories are still on the covers of magazines in checkout lines, and I fear the messages they send to young women aren’t the right messages.

– With the story heavily based on scientific theories, tell us a bit about your research process. And how much time did it take?
Science was one of my favorite subjects in high school, and I was blessed to have some exceptional, dynamic teachers. I actually didn’t do much research on the scientific theories presented in the story, instead using my basic science knowledge. I didn’t want Carrie’s shrinking to be magical because that would undermine the real-world issue being tackled. On the flip side, I didn’t want to go too deep into scientific explanations because as far as we know, no one can shrink the way Carrie did. I think I found a happy medium where there’s enough factual science mentioned to make it sound plausible enough–with a willing dose of the reader’s suspension of disbelief. But I did run it by a few friends in the medical field just to make sure the believability was there.
Where I did more research is trying to imagine what the world looked like to Carrie as she got smaller. This involved kneeling, crouching, and even lying down on the ground to understand her perspective.
– “Just a Few Inches” is kind of a mixture between contemporary and fantasy, does that make these two genres your favorites to read?
Absolutely! I find that my favorite stories to read are ones that are set in our world but with one speculative (either fantasy or sci-fi) element. Books that tackle their message with a simple “What if?” kind of question. In my book, it would be “What if a diet pill made a girl shrink?” In a book like Jurassic Park, which is contemporarily set, the question is “What if dinosaurs could be cloned?” There’s less time in the book dedicated to world-building because it’s a familiar world, so the reader can jump right into the plot. I have a lot of respect for authors who create really intricate fantasy worlds, but I fear if I tried, there’d be big holes.
– Are you working on something new at the moment? Is it a mix between these two genres too?
I’ve got a few different projects in various stages of incompleteness. 😉 One of them is contemporary with no fantasy elements at all. Another is contemporary, but with a character who often imagines herself in a fantasy world. And the third–which I only recently conceived–is definitely a genre mix between contemporary and fantasy. I’m excited about all three of them, and I’m waiting for one of them to really jump forward instead of me dabbling a little in each.
– “Just a Few Inches” carries such a strong message about body image issues, did you always want to write about that? And is your next book perhaps tackling another problem our society faces?
Once I came up with the idea for Just a Few Inches, I knew body image issues was going to be the underlying theme. Because the idea was with me for twenty years, I don’t really remember if I was specifically looking to write a book on that topic or if the topic/plot were a package deal.
As for what topics my other projects tackle, they’re kind of all over the place, but they do deal with. One of them is about a girl coping with her parents’ divorce. Another is about dealing with an undeserved bad reputation. And another is about facing your own guilt–the consequences of poor decisions. They may not all be problems that “society” as a whole face, but they certainly are topics that readers can relate to.
– Family and friends are a big part of the story, are any of them inspired by people in your life?
Oh, definitely! I won’t name any names to protect the innocent…or not-so-innocent. I really tried to make the characters relatable, and the way to do that is base them off real people. Interestingly, Carrie is the character least based on any one person from my real life. I tried to make her an “every-girl” kind of character. Meanwhile, the two characters based closely on myself are Carrie’s mother and Evan (he’s my sweet, nerdy side).
– To finish off, what are 3 things you’d like to advise your readers?
1. Take care of yourself
2. Be true to yourself
3. Always look up!

Tara St. Pierre - Just a Few Inches.jpg

Title : Just a Few Inches

Author : Tara St. Pierre

Publication date : May 31st 2015

Publisher : Createspace Independent Publishing Platform

Genre : Young Adult | Contemporary/Fantasy

Synopsis : All Carrie Roberts wants is to be a little bit smaller.

To fit into the perfect dress for the Valentine’s Day Dance. To look beautiful for her boyfriend, the school’s star basketball player. To keep his jealous ex-girlfriend, a rival cheerleader, away from him. And to be noticed by her classmates.
Exercising and dieting don’t work, but an advertisement for weight loss pills promises a quicker solution to her problem. As time runs out, she takes more than the recommended dose until she’s just a few inches slimmer. Heads turn when she arrives at the dance, and the wonderful night with her boyfriend is beyond what she dreamed it would be.
Days later, Carrie discovers that her body is changing in ways that should be impossible. While her doctor searches for a cure, she desperately turns to her friends and family for support. Everyone is noticing her now whether she likes it or not, and even the media is intrigued by her incredible story. Getting everything she once wanted has created new problems—problems that are growing more terrifying every day.
Because Carrie Roberts is shrinking.
“Just a Few Inches” is a Young Adult novel that deals with issues of body image, self-esteem, and teenage relationships. It is intended for readers age 13 and up.  

That’s it until next time.

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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5 thoughts on “Author Interview: Tara St. Pierre (Just a Few Inches)

  1. Oooohhh this is cool I’ve never interviewed any authors! ❤ I haven't read this book either but it sounds cool and I'm definitely gonna check it out! Fantasy & contemporary are also my favorite genres 😀 What is most interesting for me is that she's been working on this book for 20 years before eventually publishing. I'm also, secretly, a writer haha I write short stories and I have these great ideas I want to develop but I don't have the commitment. Reading this interview gave some push I need to get back in writing again. Thanks for sharing Fadwa!

    Liked by 1 person

    • This was actually my first one 😄 I just asked and she accepted right away !
      Yeah you really should, it has a really good concept !
      OH MINE TOO!!
      Well! I will be patiently waiting to read anything you write whenever you’re ready to share ! Oh I’m glad, and you’re welcome ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Little Peek #9: September 2016 | Word Wonders

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