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Earlier this month, Stephanie Hoina of the Morris Park neighborhood of The Bronx achieved one of her dreams in life:  To publish a book.

On August 2nd, Whimsical Publications, LLC released Hoina’s first book, ‘Kissing Atticus Primble’, a coming of age story about a young high school girl named Kathleen who is suddenly confronted with love, romance and all the decisions and consequences that come along with them.

Here’s a brief Q&A we did with Stephanie so take a few minutes to get to know about this awesome Bronx resident and why she embarked on this journey of publishing a book!

How long have you been writing for?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. But I think I wrote my first real story when I was about 8 or 9. It was a fantasy story that I illustrated with markers and wrote in a very small “pleather”-bound dark green notebook. I can still see it very clearly, but unfortunately no longer have it. As a teenager I wrote mostly poetry (lots of sappy, angst-ridden love poems) but it was also during those years that I started my first romance novel. I still have most of the handwritten pages, an assortment of looseleaf and green scrap paper. I love the story so much that I plan to complete it these 30-plus years later.

Stephanie Hoina / Image Courtesy, Stephanie Hoina
Stephanie Hoina / Image Courtesy, Stephanie Hoina

Why did you decide to write a story in this particular genre?

Because I loved being a 16-year old girl! She’s still inside of me and I find it easy to tap into her. Granted, much has changed since I was that age….but so much has stayed the same. And it’s a fun genre to write in.

Is the story influenced by any real life events?

Not really, other than the fact that I was once a 16-year old girl who had my share of puppy love and heartache.

Where in the Bronx did you grow up and which schools did you attend? Where do you live now?

I grew up in the Wakefield section of the Bronx and attended PS 87 for kindergarten, St. Frances of Rome grammar school, Cardinal Spellman High School, Iona College and Fordham University. I currently live in Morris Park, on the street where my husband grew up, and his mother before him. My son is the 4th generation of my husband’s family to live on our block and I am incredibly proud of that. We could have moved elsewhere but chose to raise our son here because we wanted our son to experience a childhood similar to our own happy Bronx upbringings and we’ve never regretted that decision.

If you have one message to the young girls of the Bronx what would it be?

I’m really not a message kind of person, but I think I’d say be proud of who you are and where you are from.

What were some of the challenges in writing Kissing Atticus Primble? What did you enjoy most about it?

I didn’t always know where the story was going to go, so the biggest challenge was letting the story come to me in its own time. I actually started it about 7 years ago and in the beginning the words came easily. But then I’d get stuck and months, sometimes years, would go by before I revisited it. I don’t think that’s typical, in terms of the timeframe, but sometimes you have to let the story develop in its own time, not yours. So just putting ‘pen to paper’ was probably the biggest challenge. And then little things like making sure the dialogue seemed authentic, the details meshed throughout the story, or that I portrayed one of the character’s challenges in a realistic but respectful way. The thing I enjoyed most was going back in time! I love that reading and writing can take you anywhere you want to go, and writing this book took me back to my adolescence, a time I remember fondly. Plus, as a writer, I simply enjoyed the act of writing, which is especially gratifying when you have a story inside of you that is jumping at the chance to come out.

Do you have any more works in the pipeline?

I’ve already started the sequel to Atticus and I have two adult romance novels that are works in progress, one of which I mentioned previously that I started when I was 16. The other is a few years in the making and an offshoot of an earlier novel I lost (always back up your work!) so I am trying to recreate it. And of course, as is the case with most writers, there are a zillion story ideas floating around in my head waiting for their day in the sun.

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There you have it folks, now what are you waiting for!  Go support a Bronx writer and purchase her book whether it’s for the young adults in your life or the one in you!  I can’t wait to get my copy and dig in! You can purchase the book by visiting the publisher’s website here: http://www.whimsicalpublications.com/stephanie_hoina/Kissing_Atticus_Primble.html

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