Start Your New Year Off WRITE!

Interview with Author Stephanie Storey by Lily Schultz

Posted by on May 16, 2017 in Author Interviews, Blog, Fresh Ink | Comments Off on Interview with Author Stephanie Storey by Lily Schultz

Stephanie Storey will be giving a talk on June 2 and holding a class on “Serving Story” on June 3.

What inspired you to first start writing?

I wrote (and illustrated) my first story, Horty the Hog Goes to School, when I was seven years old. Since then, I’ve written every day. I have no idea “what inspired” me, because I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t driven to write. It’s simply who I am. I wouldn’t be me if I weren’t making up stories and writing them down.

Why did you choose to write about the rivalry between Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo?

I’ve been obsessed with Michelangelo since college, when I first encountered his work while living in Italy and studying art history at the University of Pisa (through a study abroad program from Vanderbilt University). He’s lived in my imagination ever since—for 20 years. I knew I wanted to write about him. Ever since graduate school, I’ve been frustrated that most people don’t realize Leonardo and Michelangelo lived at the same time—much less were rivals. Plus, this idea that two of the greatest pieces of art were created in the same time, in the same town, by two guys who hated each other? That story deserved to be told.

How have your writing and your art influenced each other?

Well, obviously I write about art history, so the two are inextricably intertwined. But also, studying the visual arts has given me a lot of insight into how to tell better stories and reach people on an emotional level. Artists like Michelangelo and Leonardo are true masters at having emotional impact through their work, and I’ve tried to use their techniques, passions, and skills to reach my audiences, too. Plus, there’s nothing like studying the visual arts to build a very deep understanding of that old cliché: Show, don’t tell.

How has your history as a television producer influenced your writing career?

My TV career has influenced every part of me, in countless ways. First, I wouldn’t know how to promote myself and sell my own story if I hadn’t produced talk television for 15 years. I was a member of the press—I know what sells a story both to the media and to the public. Also, having to fit a story into a finite time frame – a half-hour or hour-long tv slot, leaving time for commercials – is a great way to learn about pacing, editing for time, and how to get someone to keep watching. It’s been invaluable experience in helping to build my storytelling skills. But finally, I spent years as a talk television producer, producing interviews with actors, writers, politicians, thinkers, artists, directors… Name a famous person, I’ve probably met them. All of that access to great artists gave me a real insight into the creative process and the kinds of people artists who change our world… And I tried to use all of that knowledge in my novel.


Lily Schultz is a high school junior volunteering with San Diego Writers, Ink. She enjoys writing, drawing, and video games, and runs a small blog on how to write injuries and fight scenes ( She plans on going to college for interactive media design and turning her writing hobby into a career.


Stephanie Storey’s debut novel, Oil and Marble: a novel of Leonardo and Michelangelo (Arcade Publishing) was released on March 1, 2016 and quickly became a Los Angeles Times bestseller. The New York Times called it “tremendously entertaining,” and Hudson Booksellers named Oil and Marble as one of the Best Books of 2016. Storey is also an award-winning national television producer for shows like Tavis Smiley on PBS, The Arsenio Hall Show for CBS, and The Writers’ Room for the Sundance Channel. She has her degree in Fine Arts from Vanderbilt University and attended a PhD program in Art History—before leaving to get her MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. She has studied art in Italy and been on a pilgrimage to see every Michelangelo on display in Europe. When not writing novels, she can usually be found traveling the world — with her husband, an actor and Emmy-winning comedy writer — in search of her next story.