Spring has not quite sprung, at least with constantly warm temperatures. This morning is rainy and cold. No matter, though as author Stacy Juba and I are off in my transporter to Disney World! We're waiting with snacks and drinks in hand along Main Street waiting for the parade to start.
Stacy is the author of the mystery novels Twenty-Five Years Ago Today and Sink or Swim (Mainly Murder Press), as well as the patriotic children’s picture book The Flag Keeper. Her young adult paranormal thriller Dark Before Dawn will be released by Mainly Murder Press in January 2012. She is a former journalist with more than a dozen writing awards to her credit. Let's find out more while we're looking forward to the first float to pass.
1. Who is Stacy Juba and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?
I have a lot of people living in my brain and they talk to me! I've created characters from high school hockey players and patriotic teddy bears, to a crime-solving obit writer, a reality show personality, and a teenage psychic.
2. Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to), what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?
They might be surprised to know that I'm trained in Reiki, a form of hands-on energy healing, and that I'm very holistic.
3. What interested you to be become a writer rather than something else such as becoming a circus lion tamer?
I was very introverted as a child and loved reading. In third grade, I felt motivated to write my first story, and by fifth grade, I was reading college textbooks about writing and working on my first mystery series. I was so introverted that today they call it selective mutism - there were some circumstances where I just could not find my voice. But on paper, I had a strong voice. Writing gave me a powerful way to communicate.
4. Writers are readers. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?
I would love to share dinner with authors Darcia Helle and Maria Savva. We founded a web site together called Bestseller Bound, which brings together indie and small press authors, readers, reviewers and book bloggers. We communicate with each other over email or on the message board forum several times per week, and I consider them wonderful friends, but we have never met in person.
5. If I were stranded on a deserted island (or suffering a four hour layover at the airport), why would your book(s) be great company?
My books Twenty-Five Years Ago Today and Sink or Swim are a great form of escape. They are fast-paced and entertaining, and will leave you trying to figure out whodunnit. Twenty-Five Years Ago Today is thought provoking and leaves many readers thinking about the characters long after they've read it. Sink or Swim is a lighter beach read. (See, I'm very confident putting something like that in writing...however if I was in an airport for four hours, I'd have an incredibly hard time going up to the person reading a Kindle and telling them I was an author and to check out my books.)
6. Share the Juba process of writing in regards to: idea and character development, story outline, research (do you Google, visit places/people or make it up on the spot?), writing schedule, editing, and number of rewrites.
I do character sketches beforehand about the main character, the villain, and important supporting characters, then I do a lengthy outline. The outline isn't written in stone, but I use it as a guide when writing. I'll write a handful of chapters at a time, then go back and edit. Once I finish the manuscript, I use different colored highlighters to help with the editing - for example, I'll highlight all of the description one color, all of the internal thought a second color, all of the dialogue a third color, etc. This helps me work on strengthening different aspects of the story. I use Google to do research, but I also visit places and do interviews. I took a one-day firearms class to research handguns, and I've interviewed police detectives. Sometimes, if it's just a quick question, I'll find an expert on-line and send them an email, explaining that I'm an author researching a book.
7. “I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don’t know where or how to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?”
I'm a very structured writer, but some authors like to make it up as they go along. Just start writing and see what happens. I'd also recommend either joining an in-person critique group or finding critique partners online. It's important to get different perspectives. It might take a little time to find a good match, but there are loads of web sites and organizations where writers can network with one another.
8. I saw an amusing T-shirt the other day which read ‘Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.” What is your philosophy of life?
I got this out of a fortune cookie on New Year's Eve and liked it so much that I taped it onto the vision board in my office: Fear can keep us up all night long, but faith makes one fine pillow.
My philosophy is to stay positive and trust that things will work out okay. Think about the things that you want to attract into your life, and try not to waste your thoughts on what you don't want.
9. Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing? What’s next for you?
My young adult paranormal thriller Dark Before Dawn will be released in early 2012. I'll also be publishing an updated version of my out-of-print young adult novel Face-Off and releasing a new sequel. I'm also working on Sign of the Messenger, the first book in a planned mystery series about a psychic healer who solves crimes.
10. Where can people find more information on you and your projects?
They can visit my web site http://stacyjuba.com/blog/ and my blog http://stacyjuba.com/blog/blog/ as well as my Amazon author page: