Good morning, Stacy and welcome to Coffee Time Romance. Please grab a seat in our cozy recliner, and be sure to get some delicious baked Christmas treats off the table. They are all calorie free. Karenne took all the fattening stuff out. Oh, and don't forget to slip on the relaxing fuzzy pink slippers. The readers are very eager to learn more about Stacy Juba.
Your latest book, entitled, Twenty-Five Years Ago Today, is strong and suspenseful. You always instill strong characters into your stories. Can you tell the readers a bit about this mystery alone with a few lines about Kris and Eric?
Kris Langley is an editorial assistant for a small daily newspaper and one of her responsibilities is compiling the 25 and 50 Years Ago Today column from the microfilm. While researching her column, she stumbles across the 25-year-old unsolved murder of Diana Ferguson, a young artist who was obsessed with Greek mythology. Kris decides to investigate as a way of redeeming herself from a tragedy in her own past. She meets Diana's family and falls in love with Diana's sexy nephew, Eric Soares. Initially though, Kris and Eric are at odds as he is skeptical about her solving the case and doesn't want to raise his family's hopes, but the chemistry wins out!
Was there anything in particular that drew you into composing this story?
I once worked as an editorial assistant and reporter for a small daily newspaper. I compiled the obits, weddings and births, and used the microfilm to research the 25 and 50 Years Ago Today column. I thought the 25 Years Ago Today column would make an unique angle for a book. I started thinking, what if an editorial assistant came across an unsolved murder? What if she feels terribly guilty about a mistake in her past and becomes obsessed with solving this microfilm case as a way of redeeming herself? What if some secrets are better left buried?
Do you ever find it difficult coming up with a title for your book?
Never, luckily! The titles always come to me first. My mystery novel with a touch of romance Sink or Swim is named after the reality TV show in the book, and also has the double meaning of will the heroine prevail (swim) or succumb to her stalker. (sink) Even the initials of the book have special meaning - SOS. My young adult paranormal thriller Dark Before Dawn is named after the protagonist in the book, Dawn, a teenage psychic who gets involved with a fortuneteller who may be leading her down a dark path. My young adult family hockey novel Face-Off refers to a hockey face-off, as well as to the central conflict between twin brothers who compete on the same hockey team. I don't think I've ever had trouble coming up with a title. Coming up with the plot, on the other hand, is a bit tougher!
Can you recall the first story that you ever wrote?
It was called The Curse of the White Witch and I wrote it in third grade. It was about a young girl who has special powers, but was perceived as a witch by the townspeople. There are some vague similarities to Dark Before Dawn. By fifth grade, I was writing a mystery series about a detective named Cathy Summers and her sidekick Katie, very much inspired by the Nancy Drew series.
Do you have any bad writing habits?
My handwriting is terrible. When I was a reporter, my sources would nervously peer over my shoulder and ask if it was shorthand. I'd say, "Don't worry, I can read it." It always worked out okay for articles as I'd type up the story quickly and would remember what the words said, however, nowadays if I'm handwriting pages of a novel, it might take me a few weeks to type up the pages. I sometimes have trouble deciphering my handwriting and waste time scrutinizing the word from all angles.
What would you say has been the greatest story, so far, that you have composed, that is close to your heart?
Twenty-Five Years Ago Today is special to me as it was my first mystery novel. I've always loved reading mysteries and writing a full-length adult mystery novel was an exciting feeling. It has a twist ending that surprises most readers. I love it when a reader e-mails me and says "I just finished Twenty-Five Years Ago Today and can't stop thinking about it!"
Do you have a favorite character that is close to your heart?
I think Dawn from my young adult paranormal thriller Dark Before Dawn is especially close to my heart. Like most teenage girls, she needs to develop the confidence to be herself and to stop caring so much about what the other kids think. She is also always picked last in gym class and gym is just a nightmare for her. I was always chosen last in gym, from elementary school through high school, and my classmates would make fun of me. It hurt, so I can really identify with Dawn. Since Dawn learns "mind control" in the book, there's a great scene where she gets even with her classmates in gym. I suppose that in the scene, I was releasing some pent-up resentment!
Have you ever completely finished one book then suddenly decided you wanted to change the ending?
I know the ending early in the writing process as I do a detailed plot outline, so by the time the book is finished, I'm pretty comfortable with it. I might tweak my outline as I'm writing the first few drafts, but I usually work out plot problems before I finish the book.
Is there anything special you use to get you in the mood for writing, music, candles, sitting by a lake?
That sounds nice! But no, I have a hectic home life and when I have free time to write, I just have to buckle down and do it. I turn on my computer, check my email, and then ban myself from checking email again or going online until I reach my page count for the day.
You are trapped inside an elevator with a woman with a screaming baby, a toddler who wants to try to push every button and a teenager who is complaining because he is bored out of his wits; how would you handle the situation?
Well, as a mother, I can relate to that woman so I'd give her a sympathetic smile, hope she stops the toddler from pushing every button as I'm not too keen on crowded elevators, and I would watch with curiosity to see how she handles the situation. I'd also eavesdrop on the complaining teen and take note of what he's wearing in case I need to put a complaining teenager in one of my books! If my husband was in the elevator with me, we'd probably share a chuckle once we were alone.
If you were given a choice to spend a day at the spa, or have a maid for a day, which would you choose?
This is a tough question as I love going for massages and I'm always talking about how I need a maid, so I asked my husband for advice on this one. He said that our house is such a mess that having a maid for a day wouldn't even make a dent in it, so that I'm better off choosing the spa. So I'll go with the spa, but if it was a maid for a week, then I'd go with the maid!
You are on a picnic, which do you go for first, hot dog or hamburgers?
Hamburgers, definitely. I'd have half of the hotdog also, but I'd grab the burger first before they ran out.
If you were to label yourself in a mood type, of all the seven dwarfs which one would share your title?
Well, I like to think I'm Snow White... but I'd say I'm a cross between Happy and Bashful. I was very bashful growing up and have overcome it for the most part, though I'm still introverted. But the bashfulness doesn't rule my personality the way it once did, so Happy would be the most accurate title. Except for my allergy seasons, and then you can call me Sneezy!
Stacy, thanks for joining us at Coffee Time Romance. We look forward to reading more of your splendid works.