Interview with Steven Verrier: ‘We’ve all had to come back from being down’
“Life was good to fifteen-year-old Danny Roberts. He was a model student, playing violin in his high school orchestra and earning straight A’s on the fast track to university. But then things went very wrong very fast. The problems started when a teacher wouldn’t let Danny out of class to go to the bathroom – even though he said “I’ve really got to go!”
Danny responded by defying authority for the first time in his life. That shocking act of defiance earned him a suspension, and Danny’s troubles snowballed from there. But Danny isn’t your typical student, and he doesn’t take his lumps lying down. He fights back on his terms as he plots a course through uncharted waters.”
Young adult fiction has always been something I’d love to write. Steven Verrier, author of Plan B, does a magnificent job with it and we’re privileged to interview him for today’s post at Literarily Speaking. Enjoy!
Thank you for this interview, Steven. Your latest book, Plan B, draws on your many observations in US public schools. What personal observations that you saw ended up in the book?
Steven: I’ve seen plenty of students fall victim to a school system that may have meant well but was flawed to the point it couldn’t possibly have provided a particularly effective or meaningful education. And with so much tolerance given to the students causing most of the problems, it’s usually the innocent ones who are served worst.
Tell us something about the main character that will make us fall in love with him.
Steven: Danny is an innocent boy … a good kid and a great student … who gets lumped together with kids who are legitimate troublemakers. This happens pretty much out of nowhere. He reacts as anyone in his situation would – he’s confused and angry – but he sees far beyond his current predicament and finds an alternate way to get to where he wants to go. And for the most part he makes sure he stays on the high road.
If you had to pick out the most exciting part of your book, what would that be?
Steven: I’d say the very beginning, where the unravelling of Danny’s comfortable life begins to take place. I made sure to lay that out in accelerated mode.
What would tear at our emotions?
Steven: The injustice. We’ve all been mistreated. We’ve all had to come back from being down. And we’ve all had to allow anger a little running space now and then.
Do you see a little of yourself in your main character? Can you relate personally to anything that happens to him in the book?
Steven: Recently I wrote a piece for a blog and titled it Chip Off the Old Block. In that piece I listed ten similarities between Danny and me. It didn’t take any time at all to come up with those ten similarities – similar experiences, tastes, circumstances, and so on. I easily could have written a much longer list. As I pointed out, I didn’t set out to make Danny like myself in any way; it just so happens we have a lot in common. But I think with Danny staring down injustice as he does and refusing to stay down, a lot of other people could say the same thing.
What’s next for you?
Steven: I’m putting the finishing touches to a nonfiction project chronicling a year in the life of a teacher – me – at what’s often regarded as one of the more challenging public schools in San Antonio. The title is Class Struggle: Journal of a Teacher In Up to His Ears. Information about this book should be up on my website (www.stevenverrier.com) this fall.
Thank you for this interview, Steven. We wish you much success!
Steven: Thanks so much. It’s been a pleasure.
You can visit Steven’s website at StevenVerrier.com