This week the ABSW Friday Author Spotlight blog is happy to host Stacy Juba, one of our authors who presented at our Journey Into An Author’s Imagination panel. She has made numerous bestseller lists including GalleyCat’s Mystery and Thriller Bestsellers.
Thank you very much for joining us, Stacy! For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from Twenty-Five Years Ago Today?
Regardless of the genre and age group, all of my books feature characters at a crossroads. The characters are at a fork in the road where they can either continue down the same unfulfilling path or take a risk. In Twenty-Five Years Ago Today, my character Kris Langley is an obit writer who feels guilty about a childhood prank that led to tragedy. She discovers a 25-year-old unsolved murder on the microfilm and becomes obsessed with solving it as a way of redeeming herself from her past mistakes. As she ventures on this journey, Kris discovers that she has a knack for journalism and she finds unexpected romance, but before she can truly commit to these new paths, she needs to forgive herself. The book is a whodunit, but it also explores the character growth that Kris undergoes as a result of her decision to investigate this murder.
What was the inspiration for Twenty-Five Years Ago Today? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?
Several years ago, I worked as an obit writer and editorial assistant for a local newspaper, and later I became a reporter. One of my early tasks as the editorial assistant was using the microfilm to research the 25 and 50 Years Ago Today column. One day I had an idea: what if an editorial assistant stumbles across a cold case while flipping through the microfilm? The storyline and characters came to me almost immediately. I did some research for my Greek mythology subplot and I also interviewed a local police officer to find out how police detectives approach cold cases and what kind of penalty the killer would face 25 years later. I went through a lot of drafts and rewriting, but I am proud of this finished product.
How important has the New England setting been to your writing?
All of my books so far have had a New England setting. Living in a small New England town is what I know so writing about these settings comes naturally to me. I also use the seasons as a way to evoke mood. For example, my young adult thriller Dark Before Dawn is set in a Maine beach town during the fall, when all the tourists are gone. Twenty-Five Years Ago Today takes place in a Massachusetts town during the winter, and my reality TV-themed mystery beach read Sink or Swim is set in a Massachusetts town during the summer. My upcoming book Fooling Around With Cinderella isn’t set in New England, but it takes place in the Catskills. I’ve been there a couple times and have been to the White Mountains in New Hampshire loads of times, so I drew upon those experiences to describe a small Northeastern town in the mountains.
My home office used to be disorganized but this year I found that I had so many projects in the works, including starting a freelance editing business, that my office needed a makeover. I hung up two dry erase boards: one is a monthly calendar where I write all my writing goals, appointments, blog posts and guest blogs, and family events, and the other is a weekly calendar where I write my daily goals. I have hanging filing pockets on my wall with folders for projects such as my book-in-progress, backlist marketing plans, marketing ideas for the Cinderella book, my editing clients, and tasks and handouts for my high school intern who helps me with social networking and various promotion projects. My desk has a shelf on the side with my favorite writing books and I have a thick binder with notes and research for my Storybook Valley series. I have motivational posters and pictures on the walls, such as a big mountain range that says Perseverance underneath it. I need to have my plot outline around me while I’m writing and notes for the scene I’m writing. For example, if I’m working on a scene at a bridal shop I’ll have a list in front of me with several description details that I want to weave into the scene.
What else can we expect from you in the near future?
My upcoming release is a romantic comedy called Fooling Around With Cinderella, about a marketing coordinator who gets stuck dressing up as Cinderella for the summer at a children’s fairy tale theme park. This will be the first in my new Storybook Valley series. Each book will feature different lead characters, but readers will revisit with familiar recurring characters in the same theme park setting.
Where can people find your work? (Besides ABSW ;)–though they should totally check here first!)
My books are all available on Amazon, Barnes& Noble.com, Kobo, the iBookstore, and Smashwords. They are available in print as well as in e-book and Audible audiobook formats.
How can we follow your work, share your awesomeness, or otherwise stalk you in a totally non-creepy way?
Be sure to visit me on my website and blog: http://stacyjuba.com/blog/ Also check out my free downloads on this page of my site: http://stacyjuba.com/blog/short-stories/ and sign up for my newsletter: http://stacyjuba.com/blog/newsletter-subscription/
You can also follow me on:
Thank you so much for joining us, Stacy!!