welcomes as our guest award-winning author Stacy Juba. Stacy
is the author of the adult mystery/romantic suspense
novels Twenty-Five Years Ago Today and Sink or Swim,
the chick lit/sweet contemporary romance novel Fooling Around
With Cinderella, which is the first in her Storybook Valley chick lit
series, the mystery short story Laundry Day, the acclaimed
patriotic children’s picture book, The Flag Keeper, the
children’s e-book the Teddy Bear Town Children’s Bundle
(Three Complete Picture Books), and the young adult paranormal
thriller Dark Before Dawn.
She is also the editor of the inspiring essay anthology 25 Years in the Rearview Mirror: 52 Authors Look Back, a tie-in to her novel Twenty-Five Years Ago Today and a free gift to her readers. Stacy’s young adult novel Face-Off, about twin brothers competing on the hockey rink for their father’s approval, was originally published when she was 18 years old under her maiden name, Stacy Drumtra, and has been re-issued for a new generation of readers.
Stacy specializes in adult
mysteries and chick lit and has also written books for children and
young adults. She has authored books about reality TV contestants
targeted by a killer, an obit writer investigating a cold case, teen
psychics who control minds, a theme park Cinderella finding her
Prince Charming, twin high school hockey stars battling on the ice,
and teddy bears learning to raise the U.S. flag: she pursues whatever
story ideas won’t leave her alone.
She has made bestseller lists
including GalleyCat’s Barnes & Noble Bestsellers, GalleyCat’s
Mystery and Thriller Bestsellers, and multiple Amazon Top 100 lists,
and she has also been ranked as one of the Most Popular Authors in
Mysteries on Amazon. She has had a book ranked as #5 in the Nook
Store and #30 on the Amazon Kindle Paid List.
In addition, Stacy has written more than 3,000 articles and won over a dozen writing awards, including recognition from the New England Press Association, Parenting Publications of America, Suburban Newspapers of America and the Stuttering Foundation of America. She is also a winner of the American Cancer Society New England Chapter’s Sword of Hope Media Award.
Norm: How did you get started in writing? What kept you going when you probably, like most authors, received rejection slips?
Stacy; I started submitting stories to magazines in high school. I’ve been writing since third grade. As a child, I was introverted and writing brought me out of my shell. The first thing that kept me going was getting a publishing contract from Avon Books when I was 18.
I had entered my YA novel Face-Off into a competition for teen writers and it won. That book was a special book as it was filled with conflict and hockey action, but years of rejection followed while I tried to find my genres and my voice, as well as develop my writing skills. It was tough, but the encouragement from editors and agents kept me going. I had an agent for a couple years. Then after a certain point, even though I was tempted because of some setbacks, I just couldn’t quit. I had worked so hard for so many years. I think it is much easier for newer writers today, with the growth of self-publishing platforms. There are more choices.
Norm: How have you used the Internet to boost your writing career? What process did you go through to get your books published? As a follow up, do you use any unique ways in marketing your books that is different from how others authors market their books?
I use Twitter a great deal, as well as Pinterest and Facebook. I also
have a blog where I showcase other authors and do a great deal of
guest blogging and blog tours for my own books.
My first two adult
mystery novels were published by a small mystery press. Then with the
growth of e-books and audiobooks, I began self-publishing. I
am very much an entrepreneur so that works well for me.
I like to
think out of the box for marketing. For example, when I published my
new novel Fooling Around With Cinderella, I found fourteen other
authors of Cinderella-themed romance novels. I created a group called
the Glass Slipper Sisters. We are publishing a free book of excerpts
and Cinderella-themed recipes and party tips called The
Cinderella Treasure Trove. That book, and a huge princess giveaway,
are going live at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s
We also have a professionally produced trailer of all our books, are working with a blog tour company in December, have a Facebook group open to the public, and have an ad campaign in place for both our individual titles and our sampler book. I’m also working with a consultant with SWAROVSKI’s Touchstone Crystal, because SWAROVSKI created the glass slippers, tiaras, and decorated the dresses in Disney’s Cinderella movie. We are doing a lot of online promotion together as well as having a books and bling launch party event at a local library.
Norm: In the last few years or so have you seen any changes in the way publishers publish and/or distribute books? Are there any emerging trends developing?
Stacy: I’ve seen traditional publishers lowering their prices on ebooks and a lot more indie authors offering books free. The competition has gotten tougher than it was a few years ago, because of the sheer amount of free books. I think that promoting a series is much easier than promoting a standalone book, and that creative out-of-the box marketing and a strong social media presence are important to stand out from the crowd.
Norm: What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was least useful or most destructive?
Stacy: I used to get comments from editors that my characters weren’t fleshed out. That was the biggest thing that held me back when I was in my twenties. Learning how to do character charts, develop conflict, and seamlessly blend internal thought into the story, were important for me. When I mastered three act structure, that was another turning point. Least useful was the advice editors would give that a story was “too slight” and “not edgy enough.” Too slight doesn’t give you anything to go on, and some books aren’t really meant to be edgy.
Norm: What do you think most characterizes your writing?
Stacy: I write in so many genres, but the one common thread I’ve found is that all my characters are at a crossroads, or a turning point, where they can keep going in the same unfulfilling direction or make a big change. My new Storybook Valley series will also be characterized by playful fairy tale references, sweet romance, and humor.
Norm: How much real-life do you put into your fiction? Is there much “you” in there?
Stacy: I don’t know if there is much of “me” per se, but I am inspired by the things around me. For my mystery Twenty-Five Years Ago Today, I drew upon my previous experience as an editorial assistant, obit writer, and reporter for a daily newspaper. My character Cassidy in my reality TV mystery Sink or Swim is a personal trainer and works in a health club, because my college major was exercise science and I worked briefly in a gym. Dark Before Dawn, my YA paranormal thriller, conveys my interest in psychics and the metaphysical. And Fooling Around With Cinderella, my latest, reflects my sense of humor and playful side. I’ve always loved theme parks and the Storybook Valley series is set at a theme park. In fact, I got engaged at Epcot.
Norm: What do you want your work to do? Amuse people? Provoke thinking?
Stacy: I want my novels to entertain and take people away from the stresses of their daily lives. I’d like Twenty-Five Years Ago Today to provoke some thinking. There are a lot of themes running through that book. With Fooling Around With Cinderella, I want to amuse people and take them on a mental vacation to a place where they can return from time to time as I release more books in the series.
Norm: Is your work improvisational or do you have a set plan?
Stacy: I have a set plan. I outline everything although I might make changes now and then as the storyline evolves. I have a plan for the first few books and short stories in the Storybook Valley series, and then I will see where it takes me.
Norm: Why have you been drawn to adult mysteries and chick lit? As a follow up, are there aesthetic advantages and disadvantages peculiar to these genre? Do they have a particular form?
Stacy: When I was growing up, I loved reading Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden. I was addicted to mysteries. I liked the puzzle of trying to figure out whodunit. There is a form to them – you have to throw in red herrings and keep the suspense building. The challenge is inserting the clues. You don’t want to make the puzzle too easy, but the solution can’t come out of left field, either. More recently, I have found myself reading chick lit. I guess as I get older, I want to laugh more and write about something lighter than murder. Chick lit and romance novels have some tropes that readers expect. Some might call it predictable, because readers know there will be a happy ending. The challenge is putting your own unique spin on those tropes and making it believable yet suspenseful so that readers keep turning the pages.
Norm: Could you briefly tell our readers about your most recent work?
Stacy: Fooling Around With Cinderella is a chick lit sweet romance novel and is the first in my Storybook Valley series. This is the blurb: When Jaine Andersen proposes a new marketing role to the local amusement park, general manager Dylan Callahan charms her into filling Cinderella’s glass slippers for the summer. Her reign transforms Jaine’s ordinary life into chaos that would bewilder a fairy godmother. Secretly dating her bad boy boss, running wedding errands for her ungrateful sisters, and defending herself from the park’s resident villain means Jaine needs lots more than a comfy pair of shoes to restore order in her kingdom.
Norm: Where can our readers find out more about you and your books?
Stacy: They can visit my WEB SITE
Also they can find me on:
Norm: What is next for Stacy Juba?
Stacy: I’m working on Prancing Around with Sleeping Beauty, the second book in the Storybook Valley series. It follows Dylan’s sister, Rory (Aurora), a dance instructor. I also plan to write a short story prequel to the series. I balance my writing schedule with my Crossroads Editing business and teaching online classes for writers’ groups.
Norm: As this interview draws to a close what one question would you have liked me to ask you? Please share your answer.
Stacy: I’d like to be asked why I was so drawn to Cinderella. When I first started in the writing business, and got all those years of rejection, I felt like an underdog. A dark horse. I even considered making my publishing important Dark Horse Press, but there is already a Dark Horse Comics. I love that Cinderella is an underdog and that by staying positive and allowing some magic into her life, she becomes a star.
Norm: Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors