An old author photo and a possibility for a new one (Stephanie Kuehnert)

I was unbelievably excited to take my first author photo and because I always want everything to be symbolic, I decided to have it taken at a place that had a lot of meaning for me and also related to my first book, I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE.

The book I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE is inspired by my own teenage obsession with punk rock (who am I kidding, the obsession continues to this day!) and female bands in particular. The title even pays homage to the band Sleater-Kinney, who wrote an awesome song called "I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone," that I listened to constantly while writing the book. I first saw Sleater-Kinney at The Fireside Bowl, a Chicago bowling alley that was used mainly as a punk venue in the 90's. (I guess they still have the occasional show there, but apparently it's all cleaned up and nice inside. I haven't been back and I kind of prefer it all grungy and grafittied and sticky and smelly like it is in my memories.) The band in my book, She Laughs, plays their first Chicago show at the Fireside and I decided to take my little tribute to my own teenage punk rock days even further and have my author photo taken in front of it.

Fortunately, I have a lot of talented friends and my friend Jessie is actually both a photographer and writer, so I asked her to take the picture for me. My husband (who was only my boyfriend back then, awww!) and I drove over to the Fireside and Jessie rode over on her bike. It was drizzling a little bit, but Jessie took a bunch of pictures quick.

I really loved these which really showed the building:

But obviously my publisher wanted me to be more of the focus in the picture, so I went with this one:

It has served me well for two books (and it tied into BALLADS OF SUBURBIA really well because there is a big scene that takes place at the Fireside Bowl since my characters hang out there like I did as a teenager) as well as lots of posters for readings, etc, but it doesn't really look like me anymore. I have a lot more tattoos now and honestly the hair I have in that photo is probably the most boring hair I've had since I was 14. I had to dye it a somewhat normal color because I was working this office job. Right before I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE came out, I dyed my bangs pink. I took three weeks off from work (that was the only perk of that job, great benefits and loads of vacation time) to do events for the book and my best friend who knows me all too well, especially by my hair habits, said, "Now that you dyed your bangs, I know you aren't going back to that job." Sure enough, the owner of the bar I'd worked at in college asked me to come back to work for him and I decided that would be a more flexible (and way more fun!) job to have as writer, so I went back to the office with my pink bangs and gave my two weeks' notice. I've had fun hair ever since and think I need an author photo that reflects that. I've been writing for this awesome online magazine for teen girls, ROOKIE, and have been using this pic. My husband took it on our honeymoon. What do you think?


  1. Thumbs up for the new photo! Nothing wrong with the previous ones. It's good to change things up.

  2. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your pink bangs, you have no idea how much.

  3. Thanks guys! And currently my bangs are blue so this is already like three different colors out of date, but keeping up with my current bang color is impossible!

  4. You look fiercely cool. And the tattoo on your flat belly makes me jealous.

  5. I always think that pics taken by people who know and love us somehow turn out the best...

  6. I also love the pink-bangs picture. It's adorable.


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