Monday, June 27, 2011

Stacy Juba interview

Although Stacy Juba specializes in writing adult mysteries, she has also authored books for children and young adults – she pursues whatever story ideas won’t leave her alone. Stacy’s titles include the Amazon bestselling adult mystery novels Twenty-Five Years Ago Today and Sink or Swim, the mystery short story Laundry Day, the children’s picture books The Flag Keeper and Victoria Rose and the Big Bad Noise, and the upcoming young adult novels Dark Before Dawn, Face-Off and Offsides. She is a former journalist with more than a dozen writing awards to her credit. 

1: What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?
Definitely the early morning, around 6:30-8:30 a.m., when the rest of the house is still asleep. I wake up excited to go on my computer and write. At night, I focus on book promotion tasks - I'm alert enough to do straightforward tasks like marketing, but am too tired to tap into the creativity I need to write fiction. 

2: Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer? When I was younger, I had to write it all on paper. After I started working as a reporter in my early twenties, my editor cured me of that habit pretty fast.  Most of my writing is done on my home computer. A friend also gave me an AlphaSmart word processor and I love using that to write on the go. I have a laptop, but don't use it much as the word processor is much lighter and faster to use on the go.

3: What do you draw inspiration from?  I draw inspiration from my interests and situations that I've been in, although everything I write is fiction. For Twenty-Five Years Ago Today, I was inspired by my old job as a newspaper obit writer and editorial assistant. One of my responsibilities was using the microfilm to research snippets for my daily 25 and 50 years ago today column. One day, I looked back on that experience and got an idea: What if a newspaper editorial assistant stumbled across a murder while researching her 25 years ago today column and was driven to solve it?     
For Sink or Swim, I was inspired by the popularity of reality TV shows. I chose to make my character, Cassidy, a personal trainer as I once worked in a health club and could draw upon that experience. My children's picture book The Flag Keeper was inspired by my husband's respect of the U.S. flag. 

4: Do you set goals for yourself when you sit down to write such as word count?  I try not to worry about page numbers or word counts when I'm writing a first draft, but I do set writing goals. I like to finish at least half of a scene in one sitting. Instead of saying, I'll stop after 5 pages, I'll say, let me try to get to the part where the phone rings. Then the next day, my goal will be to finish the scene.  I like to finish at least one solid chapter per week - "solid" meaning that once I get it down, I might edit it a few times before moving on to the next chapter. 

5: Are you a published or a self published author and how do you come up with your cover art?
Like many authors nowadays, I'm a combination of both. I've been published in print by Avon and Mainly Murder Press. I have the e-book rights to my books and Mainly Murder Press allows me to use their trade paperback covers for the e-book versions, which is wonderful. I've self-published my picture books and short stories. When I do need covers designed, I'm very fortunate as my husband is a graphic designer. 

6: What drives you to choose the career of being a writer? I've been writing stories since elementary school and had my first book published at 18, though there were several years of rejection after that. I majored in exercise science in college, and worked briefly in a health club and a hospital cardiac rehabilitation program, but I wasn't excited about going to work in the morning. In fact, I dreaded it and it felt wrong, despite my interest in health and fitness. I found that writing was the career that excited me and that I was best at. Although publishing novels has always been my main goal, over the years I've also been a newspaper reporter, a newsletter editor, a publicist, and a freelance writer. But, my passion is writing and marketing my books and I love the ability to independently publish my e-books and be in charge of my career.

7: Do you own an e-book reading device? Yes, I own a Sony Touch, which I love. I like it because it can also read Word files and PDFs. I am considering getting a Kindle also, as I feel like I'm missing out on some of the free books that Amazon offers, but it wouldn't replace the Sony - it would complement it! 

8: Who are some of your favorite authors and What are you reading now?
I enjoyed J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series and also enjoy Lisa Gardner, Jodi Picoult and Joy Fielding. I also like to reads books by indie and small press authors that I've developed friendships with. I have about 130 books on my e-reader including books by my friends Darcia Helle, Maria Savva, and Lisa Scott.

9: What do you think of book trailers and do you have any plans to have any? I have created three book trailers, for Twenty-Five Years Ago Today, Sink or Swim, and The Flag Keeper. You can see them on the Screening Room of my web site at  . They were fun and inexpensive to make and I think they do a good job of depicting my books in a visual way. They have catchy music also. Honestly though, I don't think book trailers affect book sales in a significant way.  I'll probably make them for future books as I enjoy doing them, but now I know that it's a project for lower down on the priority list.       

10: How did you come up with the title of your latest book? Sink or Swim is about a young woman who goes on a reality show set aboard a Tall Ship, and the name of the TV show is Sink or Swim as losers are required to walk the plank. The book starts when the show has ended and she is returning to her normal life as the target of a stalker, so the Sink or Swim also has a double meaning - will she rise above this adversity or will she let the stalker control her life?  It was one of those books where the title came to me immediately.

11: What are you working on now that you can talk about? I'm working on editing and formatting e-book editions of my out-of-print young adult book Face-Off and it's previously unpublished sequel Offsides. I'll probably also do a double edition paperback since many kids don't have e-readers. I'll have one more picture book coming out and will be releasing an e-book bundle of all my picture books.  My young adult paranormal thriller Dark Before Dawn is coming out from Mainly Murder Press in January, so I'll be preparing for the book launch and will also be working on the e-book editions. Once all these projects are finished, I'll return to writing my novel-in-progress Sign of the Messenger, the first book in a series, and I also have a novella that I'd like to polish up, called Doll House.   

1 comment:

  1. Wow, you are busy. I really like the premise of an obit writer coming across a murder. Sounds interesting.