Please welcome Stacy Juba, author of Sink or Swim and a number of other adult, teen, and children’s books.
What’s your idea of a perfect day?
A perfect day is a day on vacation with my family where we are fully relaxed and having a good time together. I’d start it by waking up to meditate and then reading an engrossing mystery or light romance novel. Throw in an exercise class, some chocolate and a new episode of my favorite show Once Upon A Time and it would be even more perfect!
Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase, or meal?
My favorite color is yellow because of its cheeriness and warmth. I don’t have many clothes with yellow in it, but I use it in my decor. I had my bedroom walls painted yellow and I have a lot of yellow flowers tucked away here and there around the house. I do have a couple of signature bracelets that I wear as a reminder to be positive and if I catch myself being negative, I switch it to the other wrist. Both bracelets, naturally, have yellow in them.
Excluding family, name three people who either inspired you or influenced your creativity.
My fifth grade teacher encouraged my creativity at a young age as he recognized that I had a knack for writing stories. As a teenager, I was inspired by S.E. Hinton, who wrote and published her famous book The Outsiders as a teenager. That inspired me to write my book Face-Off as a teenager and it was published when I was 18. Most recently, I have been inspired by author, educator and spiritual director Janice Lynne Lundy as I find her books and audios full of down-to-earth wisdom.
Do you listen to music when you write?
I don’t as I find it hard to focus on my writing when I am listening to music. I need to tune in to hear my thoughts. Sometimes I will listen to music or listen to a podcast if I am doing marketing tasks such as scheduling tweets.
If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be and why?
It would be a Snickers bar, which has some nuts in it. Sink or Swim has a few oddball characters in it, like Spike the weasly health club owner, Rhonda Sue the obsessed fan, and Pepper, the protagonist’s quirky mom.
What made you interested in writing this particular story?
Sink or Swim was inspired by the reality TV show craze. I wanted to explore what might motivate someone to go on a reality show and how her life changes as a result of the brush with fame. There are some books that take place while a reality show is being taped, however, I wanted to focus on the aftermath once the character returns to her normal life. In this case, the character of Cassidy Novak must deal with a stalker who may or may not be the person killing off former contestants.
What themes do you regularly (re)visit in your writing?
I recently rebranded my website to Characters at a Crossroads as that is the one central theme that goes through all of my books, whether it’s an adult novel, young adult novel or children’s book. My characters are flawed, regular people who are at a crossroads in their life, a fork in the road. They can either stay on the same path and keep repeating the same negative patterns, or they can explore a new and more intimidating path that ultimately can lead them to more fulfillment. On my blog, from time to time I will write blog posts that help my readers to build their own characters, pointing them toward resources that they might find helpful during their own forks in the road.
Tell us about your main character’s psyche or personality. What led her (or him) to be the person s/he is today?
Cassidy from Sink or Swim is driven, stubborn, impulsive and independent. Her father left her when she was a child and her mother had some failed marriages. As a result, she has a hard time trusting others and has a chip on her shoulder. During the book, she meets easygoing photographer Zach Gallagher as a love interest and she starts to let down some of her walls.
Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters.
She’s Nancy Drew meets personal trainer Jillian Michaels meets Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. Cassidy is forced into playing the role of detective and she is a personal trainer associated with a reality show, hence Nancy and Jillian. Like Katniss, she is tough, strong-willed and loyal to her family, but she has a lot of vulnerability beneath that tough exerior.
If you could host a mystery-author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?
I’d love to meet some of my online mystery and suspense writer friends in person such as Darcia Helle, Carmen DeSousa, Libby Fischer Hellman, Jenny Hillborne, and Jen Blood, and I’d also love to meet Mary Higgins Clark.
What’s next for you?
My romantic comedy, a non-mystery, Fooling Around With Cinderella, will be my next book and should be out in 2014. It’s a sweet and sparkly romance about a reluctant theme park Cinderella.
Stacy Juba loves to write stories about Characters at a Crossroads: individuals who are finding themselves and getting on the right life path after overcoming obstacles. Her goals are to entertain readers of all ages as well as inspire them. She has made numerous bestseller lists including GalleyCat’s Barnes & Noble Bestsellers and GalleyCat’s Mystery and Thriller Bestsellers. 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. Browse her website for more information on her mystery, romance, and contemporary fiction books for adults, teens, and children, and resources on how to build your own “character.”
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Stacy-Juba/e/B002OXLSDE/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1