Reviews and Interviews welcomes mystery author Stacy Juba today.
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.
Stacy, please tell us about your current release.
Sink or Swim was published in trade paperback by Mainly Murder Press and is also available in multiple e-book formats. It’s a fun beach read about Cassidy Novak, a personal trainer who appears on a hit reality show called Sink or Swim. (nicknamed SOS) After she returns to her normal life in a small New England town, Cassidy discovers that she has attracted a stalker. Soon Cassidy will need to call SOS for real. I like to describe it as a cross between a cozy mystery and a romantic suspense novel.
What inspired you to write this book?
With reality shows being so popular, I wanted to explore why a normal person might want to appear on one of those shows, how this brief stint with fame might affect her life, and whether fame was all she expected it to be. Since I love writing mystery novels, I injected this theme into a suspense story. Although fans of reality shows should appreciate the premise, you don’t need to be a reality show lover to enjoy the novel as the show is just the hook that sets the story into motion. The reality show’s season ends at the end of chapter one and then Cassidy returns to her normal life, working for a health club. I was an exercise science major in college and worked briefly in a health club, which is why I chose the health and fitness field for Cassidy.
What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m preparing for the release of my paranormal thriller Dark Before Dawn, which is scheduled to come out from Mainly Murder Press in January. It’s a young adult novel, but adults who enjoy Twilight-type books should enjoy it also. This summer, I’m working on re-releasing my 1992 Avon Flare young adult novel Face-Off as an e-book and I’m also revising its previously unpublished sequel.
Once all of those novels are published, which should be by early next year, I’ll be finishing up my adult mystery Sign of the Messenger, which was a recipient of the William F. Deeck Malice Domestic Grant awarded annually at the Malice Domestic convention. That’s about Deirdre Sheridan, a psychic healer who co-owns a metaphysical shop. It’s the first in a series, and in this book, she’s trying to predict a serial killer’s next move.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I was in fifth grade. I was fortunate that my elementary school teachers recognized and nourished my talent with words. I was very introverted and writing was a way for me to express myself. I wrote dozens and dozens of stories back then, mostly mysteries. By high school, I was submitting to magazines and I got my first book, Face-Off, published at age 18. There were many years of rejection after that, though, but while I was pursuing publication for my novels, I was also writing for newspapers, newsletters, and magazines as my “day job.” I was always writing in some capacity.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I write full-time, working around my family’s schedule, so I do a lot of chipping away at my work in the early morning, at night, and on weekends. Right now, I’m mostly working on marketing my published books and editing the ones that will be going into production. I also write wellness newsletters for a couple of wonderful clients that I’ve had for several years, about five newsletters per year. I used to do a lot of freelance writing for magazines and other publications, but as my novel-writing career has taken off, I’ve eliminated all of that to focus on writing fiction and promoting my published books.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
That no one can read my writing – my handwriting, that is! I’ve interviewed hundreds of people over the years, either for newspaper and magazine articles or to research my novels, and I can’t even begin to estimate how many interview subjects have looked at my handwriting and nervously asked me, “Is that shorthand? You can actually read that?” I can read it, but no one else can. It’s like a secret code. That’s just when I’m doing an interview though, when I have to write fast to keep up with what the person is saying. My “every day” handwriting is acceptable. Not great, but acceptable.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I loved to write stories as a child, but I dreamed about being a private detective like the women on Charlie’s Angels. I didn’t seriously think I’d become a detective, but it was my fantasy to go undercover and then surprise everyone by revealing my true identity. In high school, I daydreamed about being a Hollywood scriptwriter.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Feel free to connect with me on Twitter or visit my web site. I have lots of book trailers, excerpts, reviews, book club discussion questions, and blog posts. If you browse my past blog posts, there are numerous columns and interviews featuring guest authors from various genres.
You can also download my free short story “Laundry Day” and the Stacy Juba Mystery Sampler via my web site at http://stacyjuba.com/blog/short-stories/. It is available as a free download from Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and other retailers. In addition to the short story, the download also contains an interview and sample chapters from Twenty-Five Years Ago Today and Sink or Swim.
Stacy, thank you for stopping by and talking about your writing with us. It’s been a pleasure. See you at Crime Bake!