To celebrate the release of Within These Lines, we have a special “Author Spotlight” with Stephanie Morrill on this week’s #BlinkBlog! Stay tuned for Part II next week…
Get your copy of Within These Lines HERE!
What was your inspiration behind WTL?
I’m obsessed with podcasts, especially Stuff You Missed in History Class. They did a two-part episode on Executive Order 9066, which is the order Franklin D. Roosevelt signed that gave the US government permission to evacuate Japanese Americans and put them in concentration camps.
I found these episodes fascinating, and because I’ve always written for teenagers the idea popped into my head, “What would’ve happened if there was a Caucasian teenage girl who was in love with a Japanese American teenage boy, and his family was taken away?” As I researched a little bit, I realized the story could be even more interesting if my Caucasian teenage girl was actually an Italian American teenage girl, since Italy was aligned with Germany and Japan, yet Japanese Americans were the only people group targeted as a whole with the incarceration.
Why is this period of history a good launch pad for this book?
Aside from the obvious answer, that the story is about the incarceration of Japanese Americans and this is the only time in history that the U.S. Government has done this, I was shocked to learn that interracial marriage was illegal in California during WWII. I have several close friends in interracial marriages and to think that their relationship would’ve been unlawful not so long ago sickened me.
What do you hope readers take away from WTL?
My greatest hope for every story I write is just that readers will enjoy it. That’s always in the front of my mind when I’m writing. But if in addition to enjoying Within These Lines, if the book causes readers to awaken to social injustices around them, that would be fantastic too.