An Interview with Stacy Juba

Please help me welcome Stacy Juba to my blog today. Stacy has given me a great interview and I hope you all like it, too. As part of her visit today she is giving away one Smashwords download of Twenty-Five Years Ago Today to one lucky commentor.

SinkOrSwim_ebook_cover (1)_2 Have you had other careers before becoming a writer? After college, I worked as an obit writer and newspaper editorial assistant, much like my heroine Kris Langley in Twenty-Five Years Ago Today. Like her, one of my tasks was preparing the 25 and 50 Years Ago Today column. I later became a reporter, specializing in features and health. In college, my major was exercise science and I worked briefly as a trainer in a health club and as an intern in a hospital cardiac rehabilitation program. However, I didn’t enjoy working in a club or a hospital as much as I thought I would. I decided to apply for a job at the local newspaper and have been writing articles for various publications ever since.

What genre(s) do you write in and why? I specialize in adult mystery and romantic suspense, however I have also published a couple of young adult novels, children’s picture books, an essay anthology, and short stories. I revamped my website to One Stop Reading: Books for Adults, Teens and Children. I wanted to make it easy for my adult readers to also find books for their kids or grandkids. My work-in-progress is a romantic comedy without a mystery element to it, so I basically pursue the story ideas that excite me the most at the time.

What inspired your latest book? Sink or Swim was inspired by the reality TV show craze. I wanted to write a book about what happens to a character once the series is over and she returns to her normal life. In the novel, Cassidy Novak attracts a stalker after returning to her job as a personal trainer in a small town. I set much of the book at a health club since I had experience working at one in my early twenties.

What is your favorite part of writing? My favorite part of writing is getting so engrossed in the process that two hours passes like twenty minutes. It’s almost meditative how focused and “in the zone” that I get when the writing process is going well. Working on my novel puts me in a better mood.

What is your least favorite part of writing? My least favorite part is when I get writer’s block or run into a plot hole that needs fixing. Then I have trouble moving forward. To combat writer’s block, I’ll take a few days away from the story and then go to the library with my word processor and force myself to sit there until I’ve written for a couple hours. When I need to fix a plot hole, I’ll brainstorm with my husband or a writer friend.

How much time do you spend promoting your books? What works best for you? I spend a great deal of time on promotion. It has been trial and error experimenting with different marketing strategies to see what works and what doesn’t. What works best for me is a combination of strategically placed ads, a strong Twitter presence, having my blog syndicated through Triberr, and participating in some author marketing groups where we exchange leads and support one another on social networking sites.

Do you have a view in your writing space? What does your space look like? There is no view as my desk faces the wall, but I have a vision board hanging to my right which has pictures and words focusing on my personal and professional goals. It is a memo board with a blue background and yellow stars, not that you can see much of the background due to all of the cards and photos. I also have a picture of a butterfly over my desk with the words Believe in the Magic You Can Create, and a picture of a flower with the Chinese proverb, Those Who Say It Cannot Be Done Should Not Interrupt the Person Doing It. Basically, I find it inspiring to be surrounded by positive phrases and images.

Tell us about your heroine. Give us one of her strengths and one of her weaknesses. Cassidy Novak, the heroine of Sink or Swim, is a personal trainer who goes on a reality show as she hopes to win enough money to launch a chain of fitness centers. She is ambitious and has worked hard to put herself through school, yet doesn’t have the finances to follow her dream of being an entrepreneur. Her strength is her mental toughness and her weakness is her stubbornness.

Has your muse always known what genre you would write and be published in? I started writing mystery stories in elementary school so my muse always knew that genre would be important to me, and when I was a young adult myself, I got interested in writing YA. My muse really surprised me with the sweet romantic comedy that I’m currently finishing up – 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!

Do you or have you belonged to a writing organization? Which one? Have they helped you with your writing? How? The most beneficial writing organization that I’ve ever belonged to is Sisters in Crime. I’ve learned a lot through their newsletters and workshops, have found critique partners through the organization, and have appeared as a panelist at local conferences and libraries as a direct result of my membership. It has also been a wonderful networking opportunity for me to meet authors, booksellers, and others in the publishing industry.

Where can readers find you? They can find me on my website , on Twitter, and Facebook

Do you have any upcoming FREE promotions you would like to tell us about? Readers can download my free 23 minute murder mystery audiobook Laundry Day, performed by award-winning narrator Nicole Poole, who also did Jodi Picoult’s House Rules and Change of Heart. It’s a mystery set in a suburban neighborhood reminiscent of Desperate Housewives. It’s also available as an e-book. I recommend the audio version because of Nicole’s great performance, but the e-book has some excerpts of my novels if readers would like to have those also. In addition, I have an anthology that is free for the time being at many retailers: 25 Years in the Rearview Mirror: 52 Authors Look Back. It is a companion book to my bestseller Twenty-Five Years Ago Today and features 52 authors looking back at their own pasts or the pasts of their characters. It’s an interesting book that will inspire readers to reflect on their own lives, as well as introduce them to new authors. Download links are on my Free Reads page:

Excerpt from Sink or Swim:

Cassidy sat poised in her chair as former contestants filed onto the soundstage at WBC in New York. Together, the studio audience and television viewers had watched the recorded footage of her walking the plank. Gabriel would now interview the competitors from the inaugural season one final time.

More importantly, he would announce her prize. If it erased most of her debts, then it would at least make this whole embarrassing experience worthwhile. Cassidy’s heart kicked in her chest and sweat moistened her brow.

As one of her old teammates entered, her heart rate skyrocketed for a different reason. Josh Sanchioni slid into a bucket seat, carrying himself stiffer than normal in his sharp gray suit. Studio lights caught his sunbleached strawberry blonde waves, brightening the reddish gold tints.

Cassidy slipped her gaze to his leather shoes. If Josh hadn’t been engaged, they could have been an item. Instead, they’d been good friends until that one evening when the cameras were off and they almost kissed. They’d both realized their mistake and backed away. Things were strained until Josh walked the plank a week later.
Tonight, not only did Cassidy have to face Josh, she would probably meet his fiancée.
Her cheeks heating, Cassidy focused on the competitor beside Josh as a distraction. Adam Horton sat erect, hands folded in the lap of his olive green khakis. He wasn’t military, but he dressed like an Army wannabe. His reptilian eyes drilled into Cassidy, his angular face revealing the shape of bones underneath. A blond goatee darkened his pointy chin.

Cassidy shuddered involuntarily. Adam never said much, but he made her uncomfortable just the same. She’d sense someone watching her on the ship and Adam would be lurking in the hatches. Luckily, he only lasted on the show two weeks.

Butch AdamsBio:

Stacy Juba has made numerous 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. Stacy has written about reality TV contestants targeted by a killer, an obit writer investigating a cold case, teen psychics who control minds, 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. Her titles include the adult mystery novels Sink or Swim and Twenty-Five Years Ago Today, the children’s picture books The Flag Keeper and the Teddy Bear Town Children’s Bundle (Three Complete Picture Books), and the young adult novels Face-Off and Dark Before Dawn.

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