Friday, May 18, 2018

Blog Tour + #Giveaway: Stanley & Hazel by Jo Schaffer @AuthorJSchaffer @chapterxchapter @Month9Books

Stanley and Hazel by Jo Schaffer
Release Date: May 15, 2018
Publisher: Month9Books


A great depression has gripped the city of St. Louis in 1934. Stanley, an orphaned newsy, lives in a poor part of town hit especially hard by the economic downturn. One night, Stanley runs into Hazel, a restless debutante in waiting who has begun to question her posh lifestyle in the midst of the suffering she sees. She’s out and about without an escort and against her father’s wishes.

When they discover the body of a girl with her head bashed in by a baseball bat, the very different and separate realities of the two teens inform their decision. Together they will figure out what happened to her and bring those responsible to justice.

But getting involved with each other and digging into the secrets behind this murder earns them some powerful enemies, including a secret group seeking to rid society of all they deem “undesirable.” They’ve put into motion “The Winnowing,” a plan seeking to take over the city and enforce their will.

As Stanley and Hazel’s forbidden feelings for one another grow, their investigation turns deadly. Now, it is up to Stanley and his gang of street kids to stop Hazel from becoming the next victim.


Interview with Jo Schaffer

Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Stanley and Hazel?
Stanley is a tough kid being raised by his uncle, a cop and alcoholic. He is a newsie with dreams of being a journalist one day. He reads a lot and is educated and bright despite his social disadvantages. Stanley has a good heart, but he struggles with the bitterness that comes with his poverty and life on the streets. He and his gang of Knights keep an eye on the neighborhood and scavenge food for families in need. He is conflicted about his own imperfections and wants to be a somebody.

Hazel lives in a mansion with her business tycoon father and wild, glamorous mother who was a flapper in her younger days. She is a socialite who feels out of step with the other debutantes. Hazel has moxie. She is spoiled but kind and when she begins to understand her privileged place and the suffering of others she wants to make a difference. I think above all Hazel wants to be authentic and to be loved for who she is—just as soon as she figures that out herself!

Can you tell us a little bit about your next books or what you have planned for the future?
Currently, I am working on the sequel to Stanley and Hazel where things really heat up! My publisher picked it up as a trilogy. I also have a few other books that I have been tinkering with for years and a couple new YA concepts that I am beginning to develop.

How long would you say it takes you to write a book?
I have written a first draft novel in as little as a month and as much as two years. Every project is different. But average writing time, depending on my schedule, is four to six months.

What is your favorite childhood book?
The Secret Garden. My second grade teacher read it to the class and it transported me. It inspired my love of books.

If you could spend the day with one of the characters from Stanley and Hazel who would it be? Please tell us why you chose this particular character, where you would go and what you would do.
Arthur. Although I would love to hang with either Stanley or Hazel, I want to know Arthur’s world. He is Stanley’s “sidekick” but there is so much going on with him. He is the bad boy, with loyalties and layers that interest me. I imagine him as good-looking, scary in a fight, and unpredictable, but I suspect his heart is full. He may or may not self-destruct. I have a few questions for that kid.
Maybe I’d catch a Cardinals ballgame with him. Or just follow him around on the streets of 1934 St. Louis and see what he does with his time when he isn’t with Stanley. But I have a feeling I would have to go into witness protection afterward…

What was the hardest scene from Stanley and Hazel to write?
Other than some scenes that were technically difficult as plot points etc., the hardest thing to write was when Hazel’s best friend, Sandy, is grieving her sister. Having someone close to you die is one of the hardest parts of life. I have five sisters and the thought of losing any of them fills me with dread. Writing that scene brought up all kinds of uncomfortable feels.

What made you want to become a writer?

I love being immersed in story. From the time I was young and would entertain the kids I babysat with stories, I have enjoyed sharing stories with others. It is a way to communicate creativity and make emotional connections with others as well as with myself. Stories help us understand ourselves and one another.

Just for fun:

(a Favorite song: Any song by Cole Porter

(b Favorite book: The Great Gatsby

(c Favorite movie: It Happened One Night

(d Favorite tv show: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

(e Favorite Food: Mmm… So many foods. I do love Thai food in general.

(f Favorite drink: Crio Bru or Kombucha

(g Favorite website:

Thanks so much for visiting with us today!

Jo Schaffer was born and raised in the California Bay Area in a huge, creative family. She is a YA novelist, speaker, writer at, works in film production and is a Taekwondo black belt.

She's a founding member of Writers Cubed and co-founder of the Teen Author Boot Camp, one of the largest conferences in the nation for youth ages 13-19. She and a crew of local and international bestselling authors present writing workshops to hundreds of attendees at the Utah-based conference as well as hundreds of others worldwide who view the conference online.

Jo loves being involved in anything that promotes literacy and family. She is passionate about community, travel, books, music, healthy eating, classic films and martial arts. Her brain is always spinning new ideas for books and sometimes she even gets around to blogging.

Jo is a mom of 3 strapping sons living in the beautiful mountains of Utah with a neurotic cat named Hero.