AN INTERVIEW WITH STACY JUBA
Today folks we have Stacy Juba in for a chat. Award-winning writer Stacy Juba loves reading novels as much as writing them and has authored titles ideal for book clubs or the beach. Although she specializes in adult mysteries, Stacy has also written books for children and young adults – she pursues whatever story ideas won’t leave her alone.
GNOH – Hi Stacy, how are youdoing?
I’m fine! Thank you for theinterview!
GNOH – Could you tell us a littlebit about yourself?
I’m a former daily newspaperreporter, and am currently focusing on writing and marketing my books. I’vepublished two adult mystery/romantic suspense novels, a young adult paranormalthriller, a young adult hockey novel, and two children’s picture books.
GNOH – So what made you want tobecome a writer?
I wrote my first story in thirdgrade and by fifth grade, I was writing a mystery series. I was very shygrowing up and writing was a way for me to express myself. My teachers werevery encouraging and kept telling me that I had talent, so I pursued it.
GNOH – Who are some of yourliterary heroes and influences?
I grew up reading the Nancy Drew,Hardy Boys, and Trixie Belden books. As a teenager, I was hooked on S.E.Hinton, Lois Duncan, and VC Andrews. All of those authors helped to influencemy writing style.
GNOH – How would you describeyour writing style?
It has been described as veryfluid, evocative and easy to read. I also use a lot of dialogue in mybooks.
GNOH – What made you decide towrite young adult fiction as well as adult fiction, and do you approach them ina different manner?
I published Face-Off when I was18 years old and started Dark Before Dawn when I was in my early twenties,though it took several years for Dawn to get published. I started writing youngadult fiction because that’s the age I related to at the time, and as I gotolder, I expanded my genres to include adult fiction. The only difference inapproach is that I need to reflect back on my own high school days when I’mwriting a young adult novel, as well as be aware of what today’s trends are.I’ll watch teen shows, and talk to some teenagers that I know, to make surethat I’m using the right slang and lingo.
GNOH – And what made you decideto write supernatural fiction?
I’ve always been a fan ofsupernatural novels. I’ve read a lot of Stephen King and John Saul, and as ateen, I was hooked on R.L. Stine’s Fear Street books and Lois Duncan’s novels. I’ve alwaysbeen interested in psychics and decided to write a novel about a teen psychicwho gets involved with a mysterious fortuneteller, which became Dark Before Dawn.
GNOH – It’s a rather over crowdedmarket, how would you say your stories stand out from the crowd?
I’m a bit unique as I write in somany varied genres. Adults will often read my mystery novels, and then buyFace-Off or my children’s picture books for their kids. I don’t price any of mye-books more than $2.99 and I’ve been fortunate to have received lots ofreviews for my books, so I’m pleased that my books have been standing out fromthe crowd.
GNOH – Even though your bookshave a supernatural theme, you try to maintain a level of reality as well. How do you go about doing this?
In Dark Before Dawn, the girlslearn about mind control, which is obviously a fantasy element, however, Iwanted the book to ring true. I put in a lot of metaphysical information aboutchakras, crystals, psychic senses. and spirit guides and did a great deal ofresearch on these topics. There are many non-fiction books on these topics.Granted, not everyone believes in things like psychics, but there is someinteresting research and many fascinating stories that people claim are true,so I kept an open mind and conveyed what I learned.
GNOH – Why is it important thatthey have a grounding so to speak?
I’m not a science fiction writer,so I’m trying to inject a supernatural theme into a story set in the world aswe know it. I think it’s important to make the supernatural elements asconvincing as possible.
GNOH – As well as your youngadult book, which we will chat about later, you have written a couple of nonsupernatural suspense novels for adults. How do you go about keeping a novel suspenseful?
I try to create a characters thatreaders will care about, and I go over my plot outline to make sure I havepoints of rising action. I might let readers catch their breath for a bit witha lighter moment or to explore the romance, but then I make sure that we seesome more rising action and suspense..
GNOH –How do you go about writingthese books, do you have a chart marking out all the action / suspense scenes,and then thread the narrative into these plot points, or do you just start apoint a and keep writing until the conclusion?
Yes, I do a long outline where Imap out the clues, plot points, subplots, character growth, and other elements.I’m not one to just make it up as I go along.
GNOH – You have written four ofthese books, do you have a favourite?
They’re all special to me indifferent ways, but I relate to Dawn from Dark Before Dawn the most I rememberbeing at that awkward age in high school, and like me, she was always pickedlast in gym class! It’s sort of an underdog story, of this misfit girl who hasto find the strength and the self esteem to save the day, and I’ve always had asoft spot for the underdog.
GNOH – Your novel Face Off isbased around ice hockey, are you a fan,and if so which team to you support?
I was a huge fan when I wrote thebook. I got interested in hockey during the 1988 Olympics, and then I quicklybecame interested in the Boston Bruins as they went to the Stanley Cup finalsthat year. I haven’t followed hockey as closely lately, as I’m so busy withfamily and writing, but it’s still my favorite sport and I’m awfully proud ofthe Bruins!
GNOH – Can you tell us about your young adult book Dark Before Dawn?
It’s about Dawn Christian, a teenpsychic who moves with her mother and new stepfamily into a Maine beach town. She has a premonitionabout a tragedy at school and tries to warn someone, but the other kids labelher a witch. She meets a fortuneteller named Serina, who is teaching secret psychicclasses to two other girls, and for the first time, Dawn has friends whounderstand what it’s like to be psychic. Not only that, but Serina is alsoteaching her how to control her abilities. Meanwhile, freak accidents arehappening around town, and Dawn needs to determine whether her new friendscould be involved, all the while hiding her suspicions from a group ofpsychics.
GNOH – What is the significanceof the title?
Dawn’s father died when she wasyoung and he used to tell her that dawn would break every morning, the oneconstant in life, turning dark into light. In the book, Dawn also walks theline between good and evil, and her choices will decide which path she follows.
GNOH – I’ve always wondered, doyou come up with a title first, or do you think of the title once you havewritten the book?
I almost always come up with thetitle first. I don’t think I’ve ever been stuck on a title.
GNOH – How much research did youdo for the book? Was Chakras andpsychics something that had always been an interest to you, or did the interestdevelop through writing the book?
A little of both. I’ve alwaysbeen interested in chakras and psychics, and even took an online class inwriting about psychics. In the past, I’ve read about these topics for my owninterest, but when I was writing the book, I wanted to make sure that I waspresenting all of the information correctly and didn’t want to rely on mymemory. I did additional research to flesh out my own knowledge.
GNOH – How firmly do you believein these things? For most of my life I trained as a scientist, soI was trained to look upon these things as hokum, yet I always had a hope thatthere was a truth behind it all.
I do believe there are talentedpsychics out there, but I also believe there are many phonies. I’ve used angeloracle cards myself and have had some uncanny results, and I’m certainly notpsychic, so I think we all have the ability to connect with our Higher Self andour guides to some degree. I believe in chakras and the theory that imbalancesin different energy centers can lead to illness, which is something that I putin the book.
GNOH – If you could controlsomeone’s mind, what would you make them do?
Hmmm. I’d make them cook dinnerfor my family every night and clean my house!
GNOH – You also practise Reiki,what exactly is that?
Reiki is a form of hands-onenergy healing. I took three levels of classes in it, but don’t practice itprofessionally, and just perform it on myself, family and friends. Reiki helpsto balance the chakras. When I do Reiki, I feel intense heat in my hands – itoften feels as if my hand is passing over an open flame when I’m working onsomeone. That is why I believe in chakras and why I am so open-minded, as thereis something mysterious at work with Reiki.
GNOH – Other than writing andenergy healing, do you have any other interests?
I love to read, spend time withmy family, take walks, do Tai Chi, and play Space Invaders and Ms.Pac-Man.
GNOH – So what does the futurehold for you? Can you let us in on anysecrets?
I’m working on a light romancenovel for adults, an adult mystery novel featuring a psychic heroine, and the
sequel to Face-Off. It doesn’t take a psychic to see that there are lots morebooks in my future!
You Can buy Stacy’s book by following the links below