Today we welcome OnFour KidLit author Stefanie Gaither to the Fearless Fifteeners blog. Here’s the summary of her book, FALLS THE SHADOW, which is out today!

ftsWhen Cate Benson was a kid, her sister, Violet, died. Two hours after the funeral, Cate’s family picked up Violet’s replacement. Like nothing had happened. Because Cate’s parents are among those who decided to give their children a sort of immortality—by cloning them at birth—which means this new Violet has the same smile. The same perfect face. Thanks to advancements in mind-uploading technology, she even has all of the same memories as the girl she replaced.

She also might have murdered the most popular girl in school.

At least, that’s what the paparazzi and the anti-cloning protestors want everyone to think: that clones are violent, unpredictable monsters. Cate is used to hearing all that. She’s used to defending her sister, too. But Violet has vanished, and when Cate sets out to find her, she ends up in the line of fire instead. Because Cate is getting dangerously close to secrets that will rock the foundation of everything she thought was true.

In a thrilling debut, Stefanie Gaither takes readers on a nail-biting ride through a future that looks frighteningly similar to our own time and asks: how far are you willing to go to keep your family together?


  1. Congratulations on the release of FALLS THE SHADOW! Is this the first book you’ve written? What was the inspiration for this story?

Thanks for the congrats!  And nope, FALLS is actually the fourth book I wrote. It grew out of a lifelong fascination with sci-fi, and a love of stories that center around families and all the different ways they fall apart and come together.

  1. World-building is a huge part of writing a science fiction book. What kind of research did this story require?

If you were to check my browser’s search history, you’d find a lot of really strange things, and some things that could possibly be really incriminating (my searches about biological warfare were all hypothetical, I swear!). FALLS was especially interesting because, when it came to cloning–which is obviously a big focus of the book–there’s an absolute ton of stuff out there to read. And I started off interested in the science behind it with most researching ventures, but I ended up spending just as much (if not more) time reading all of the different opinion pieces on both sides of the ethical debate. I thought I had the pros and cons of it all figured out before I started, but a lot of what I read helped me shape the characters and their world in what was hopefully a more realistic way, complete with shades of gray between those “pros” and “cons”.

  1. What are some of your favorite science fiction books or films?

THE GIVER and ENDER’S GAME were two of my favorites growing up. As for films, I guess I can’t not mention Star Wars, since I grew up quoting episodes 4, 5, and 6. The Matrix renewed my love of sci-fi when I was a teenager, and a more recent sci-fi film that I really liked (and am still thinking about a few weeks after watching it) is Mr. Nobody, which was a random good Netflix find.

  1. Can you tell us a little about what you’re working on now?

I’ve got a few projects bouncing around at the moment; working on some edits for an epic fantasy I finished a while back, as well as dabbling into a few new possible sci-fi projects and seeing if they go anywhere (including a possible second book set in the same world as FALLS). I know that’s super vague, sorry! I guess I’m sort of in between definite projects at the moment. I am definitely working on growing a baby, though, and she will be debuting in December. Does that count? 🙂

  1. Finally, since this is a Fearless Fifteeners interview, we’d like to know something you’re afraid of and something you’re not afraid of.

Something I’m not afraid of: trying new things. New places, new foods, new experiences– I’ll try just about anything once. Skydiving, zip lining, whitewater rafting, whatever. But I’m terrified of anything creepy-crawly. Moths freak me out especially (seriously, look closely at the next one you see. So. FREAKY). And last week the sight of a giant spider in my bathroom reduced me to tears while I screamed for my husband (he’ll tell you it wasn’t that big, but I assure you he’s lying).


sgaither_author_photoAfter owning and co-managing a coffee shop for several years while simultaneously earning her BA in English, Stefanie Gaither left the small-business world behind to focus on her author career instead. Now, in addition to penning YA novels, she also works part-time as a copywriter for an advertising agency. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and an incredibly spoiled Shih Tzu. Visit her at

Melissa Hurst lives in the southern US with her husband and three kids. She writes YA science fiction and fantasy, which means she considers watching Star Trek and Firefly as research. She dreams of traveling around the world and maybe finding Atlantis one day. Her debut YA novel, THE EDGE OF FOREVER, will be out from Sky Pony Press in 2015. To learn more, visit or follow her on Twitter.

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