Sink or Swim
Stacy Juba Interview!
Deanna: Tell us a bit about yourself that our readers might not know.
Stacy: I’ve been writing stories since elementary school and had my first book, my young adult hockey novel Face-Off, published when I was 18. I wrote it in high school. Later, I worked as a journalist for several years.
Deanna: What do you do to relax?
Stacy: I do Zumba, yoga, and I love to read. I have a special recliner chair in my living room (so comfy as it has memory foam!) and I will sit there to read and meditate. My husband and I also enjoy watching Once Upon a Time.
Deanna: As authors, we’ve sometimes been accused of being several people. How many personalities live in your mind?
Stacy: A lot! There’s the Nancy Drew personality that enjoys writing mystery stories and whodunits. There’s the romantic personality that likes to add an element of romance to my books. There’s the sassy chick lit girl who likes to inject humor into books. (She is a new “personality” for me as I am finishing up my first romantic comedy.) There’s the mom who writes books for kids from time to time. And there’s the journalist who wants to inform people about important subjects through my blog and through writing articles.
Deanna: What type of hero do you like best?
Stacy: I like a hero who is good-looking, funny, smart, and treats his lady with respect.
Deanna: How many plots do you include in one of your books?
Stacy: I usually have a main plot, a romance subplot, and a couple of other subplots that either advance the main storyline or help with character development.
Deanna: Tell us about a typical day in your life as a writer
Stacy: On a typical day, I do a lot of book promotion tasks such as doing interviews, setting up posts on my blog, scheduling tweets, working with my intern on various marketing projects, corresponding with book reviewers and book bloggers, and networking on Twitter. I also spend time either writing or editing my book in progress.
Deanna: Do your books have a common theme or are they all different?
Stacy: They are all different in one sense, as I’ve published mystery/romantic suspense novels for adults, young adult paranormal and sports books, and children’s books. But the one common theme is that all the characters are at a crossroads, or a fork in the road, where they can either remain on the same stale path or take a risk and venture into a new direction. I branded my website as Characters at a Crossroads.
Deanna: Where does your inspiration come from?
Stacy: I am inspired by places I’ve been and things that I’ve done over the years. For example, my mystery novel Twenty-Five Years Ago Today was inspired by my previous job as a newspaper editorial assistant and the Greek mythology subplot was inspired by my interest in mythology. My work in progress, Fooling Around With Cinderella, was inspired by a family trip to a theme park.
Deanna: What attracts you to your genre?
Stacy: In the past, I primarily wrote mystery novels with a romance subplot. I am attracted to that genre as I’m a lifelong mystery fan who loves a good puzzle or whodunit. Lately, I have also been attracted to both reading and writing in the sweet romance/romantic comedy genre. Sometimes I’m in the mood for a lighter book where no one gets killed off and the suspense comes from the relationships.
Deanna: What was the first novel/short story/poem you wrote? Did you ever publish it?
Stacy: My first story was The Curse of the White Witch, and I didn’t publish it because I was in third grade. However, I recently reread it and I was very surprised at the underlying similarities to my published teen novel Dark Before Dawn, about a 16-year-old psychic girl who feels like a misfit. My childhood story was about a girl with special powers who tried to use them for good, but people were mean to her because of her differences. I was startled by the similar themes when I reread my childhood story.
Deanna: How did you come up with the title of your latest book?
Stacy: Sink or Swim was named after the fictional reality TV show in the book. My character Cassidy goes on a show where she has to serve as a crew member about a Tall Ship, and those voted off must walk the plank. After she returns to her normal life, Cassidy attracts a stalker and must “sink or swim” once again in this new struggle.
Deanna: you have a specific writing style?
Stacy: Several editors have described my style as evocative and clear, easy reading. I’m not one to write pages and pages of description without dialogue. I’m very aware of pacing when I write and I don’t want to write long blocky passages that readers will skim over. I blend in descriptions and narrative in smaller chunks and write a lot of dialogue.
Deanna: Is there a message in your novel you want your readers to grasp?
Stacy: One of the messages in Sink or Swim is about going for it and not being afraid to take chances. Cassidy takes a chance by going on a reality show, as she hopes to win money to start her own fitness center. When that doesn’t pan out, she is afraid to take the plunge into entrepreneurship. She is also commitment-shy and needs to take a chance in a romantic relationship. She grows in the book as a result of her experiences on the show and with her stalker.
Deanna: How much of the book is realistic?
Stacy: Cassidy works in a health club as a personal trainer. My college major was exercise physiology and I worked in a health club during college, so that setting was derived from my personal experience. The book was inspired by the reality TV show craze, so I did some research into what it’s like to be on a reality show. However, the plot is all fiction – thankfully, since some reality contestants get killed off!
Deanna: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Stacy: I find it hard to carve out regular time for writing, as there is so much book promotion to do. That is probably my biggest challenge.
Deanna: What kind of research do you do for your novels?
Stacy: For Sink or Swim, I audited a firearms class as I thought it was realistic that Cassidy might want to get a gun to protect herself from her stalker. I’ve also interviewed police officers for my books and I once took a Citizens Police Academy with my husband. That was fun as we got to go on a ride-a-long in a cruiser and we also received a tour of a prison.
Deanna: What do you hope readers gain from reading your books?
Stacy: I hope they are entertained and that my books distract them from the stress of their daily lives. I hope that even when they’re not reading it, that they might be thinking about it and wondering what happens next. I also hope that they learn something new. For example, in Sink or Swim, readers get a behind the scenes glimpse into reality TV. In Twenty-Five Years Ago Today, they learn about the newspaper industry and about Greek mythology, and in my young adult thriller Dark Before Dawn, they learn about chakras and crystals.