FAQ

Bloggers and members of the media are welcome to reprint the following interview, all or in part.

What inspired you to start writing?
I was an avid reader as a child and was hooked on mystery series such as Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and Trixie Belden. By fifth grade, I was writing my own mystery stories. You can read some excerpts from a few of those stories here. The flowery writing will give you a good laugh. (Remember, I was just 10!) I enjoyed writing and seemed to have a knack for it so I wrote more and more. I was very introverted so writing became a way for me to express myself.

Has your muse always known what genre you would write and be published in?
I loved reading mysteries in elementary school so writing them was a natural progression. When I was a young adult myself, I got interested in writing YA and wrote Face-Off, then I started an early draft of Dark Before Dawn in college. My muse really surprised me with my upcoming release, the romantic comedy Fooling Around With Cinderella. I never would have dreamed that I’d write a romantic comedy, with no mystery elements to it, even though I enjoy reading that genre. But who am I to question the muse!

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How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?
I inject my interests or knowledge into various books. For example, I once had the same job as Kris Langley from Twenty-Five Years Ago Today – a newspaper editorial assistant who compiled the 25 Years Ago Today column. Cassidy from Sink or Swim is a personal trainer and fitness expert. I have a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology and briefly worked in a health club. Dark Before Dawn reflects my interest in psychics and the metaphysical and Face-Off reflects the passion I had for hockey back in high school. My latest venture into romantic comedy reflects my desire not to take things so seriously and to be more playful with my writing.

You’re having a dinner party. What character from your novel do you hope doesn’t show up? Why?
Spike, Cassidy’s weasly boss from the health club Spike’s Muscle Madness in Sink or Swim. He’s just annoying. And he has tanning beds in his club, and those are unhealthy as they significantly raise the risk of skin cancer. We’d get in an argument over the ethics of putting a tanning bed in a club that’s supposed to be devoted to improving health. Cassidy has that argument with him all the time.

Do you outline your books or wing it?
I’m definitely a planner. I do an extensive outline, generally about 10-15 pages typed. It’s not written in stone and does evolve as I get deeper into the story, but it keeps me on track. I also sit down and fill out character sketches for the most important characters and determine their strengths, weaknesses, and how they need to grow and change by the end of the book. This helps me to keep my characters well-rounded.

What fuels you as an author to continue to write?
I like to challenge myself both creatively and professionally. By creatively, I mean that I like to experiment with different genres, characters, and storylines. It’s rewarding to spread my wings and delve into the stories that I want to tell. Professionally, it fuels my ambition to set goals and reach different milestones. Recent goals that I met were having my books available as audiobooks, making the Amazon Kindle Top 100 Paid List, and making the Nook Top 5 list. Now I’ve set additional goals, such as making the USA Today list and Audible bestseller lists.

What is your writing environment like?
I have a home office with a big desk and a vision board hanging on the wall, which outlines my personal and professional goals. I use a binder that keeps track of my monthly goals, blog posts, and book tour schedule. My desk tends to get cluttered fast and papers that I’m done with wind up on the floor for a while. Former co-workers used to describe my work area as organized chaos.

What sort of book promotion do you do?
I’ve developed campaigns such as the Who Killed Diana Ferguson campaign for my mystery novel Twenty-Five Years Ago Today. I had a series of paid ads and supplemented the ads with blog posts revolving around my murder victim Diana Ferguson as well as a lot of tweeting. I participate on tweet teams with other authors and am active on the blogger community Triberr, in which tribe members share each other’s posts on Twitter. I focus on giving different books center stage at different times. For example, I do a lot of promotion for my children’s book The Flag Keeper, and my Teddy Bear Town Children’s Bundle (which includes The Flag Keeper) in June leading up to Flag Day and July 4th. The start of the NHL hockey season and the Stanley Cup playoffs is all about Face-Off. My paranormal young adult thriller Dark Before Dawn gets an extra push around Halloween.

What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
I recommend joining a critique group or finding critique partners, taking writing and editing classes, networking with other authors on Yahoo groups and message board forums, and educating yourself about marketing. Read books about social networking as a marketing tool, branding yourself, blogging, and how to promote yourself as an author.

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Stacy Juba