Interview with Stacy Juba author of Sink or Swim, participating in the 99 cent group Book Buffet blowout sale from June 8-22.
Stacy Juba 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: she pursues whatever story ideas won’t leave her alone. Stacy’s titles include the mystery novels Sink or Swim and Twenty-Five Years Ago Today, the mystery short story Laundry Day, the children’s picture books The Flag Keeper and the Teddy Bear Town Children’s E-Book Bundle (Three Complete Picture Books), and the young adult novels Face-Off and Dark Before Dawn.
She is a former journalist with more than a dozen writing awards to her credit and is currently working on a contemporary fiction/romantic comedy novel inspired by the Cinderella story, as well as a new mystery novel. Many of her titles have appeared as #1 on various Amazon Kindle Top 100 lists.
How long have you been writing for?
I’ve been writing since third grade, when I wrote my first thriller. By fifth grade, I was writing a mystery series, and when I was 16, I wrote my first novel, Face-Off, which was published my freshman year in college. There were a lot of years of rejection after that, before I really launched my career, but I got an early start.
What would you say is the most difficult part of writing a book?
The hardest part is finding the focus to sit down and write every day. It’s easy to get distracted by other tasks, such as book promotion.
What genre do you generally write?
I’ve written in several genres such as young adult, adult mystery/romantic suspense, children’s books, and I’m currently writing a romantic comedy. I expect to stick with mystery/romantic suspense and romantic comedy for the most part in the future, as those are the easiest for me to write.
Do you have a favourite author and why?
I’ve had a lot of favorite authors over the years, but I guess JK Rowling is my absolute favorite, as I bought every one of her Harry Potter books. I think it was amazing how she was able to carry out that saga over so many books, writing under tremendous public pressure, and have each book even stronger than the last.
What is your book called and how did you choose this title?
My most recent adult novel is Sink or Swim. The title, Sink or Swim, refers to the name of a fictional reality TV show in which contestants serve as crew members aboard a Tall Ship and have to walk the plank if they get voted off. It also has a double meaning, as the protagonist will either sink or swim as she deals with her stalker.
It’s about Cassidy Novak, a personal trainer who appears on a reality TV show and comes in second. After she returns to her normal life working at a New England health club, she realizes that she has attracted a stalker. Meanwhile, her former competitors are being killed off, and she has a growing attraction to a sexy newspaper photographer who might have some secrets of his own.
Has your book been published and how did you go about this?
The paperback version was published by Mainly Murder Press, and I independently published the e-book versions. Mainly Murder Press accepted the book after publishing my previous adult mystery/romantic suspense novel, Twenty-Five Years Ago Today.
Approximately how long did it take you to finish your book?
It took me about a year to finish writing it, then as I submitted it to different publishers, I received feedback which I used to rewrite and revise. All in all, it took me about four years to find a publisher.
What advice would you give aspiring authors?
I’d advise taking writing classes, either in-person or on-line, participating in a critique group, and if you write in a specific genre such as mystery or romance, join a professional organization that revolves around that genre – for example, Sisters in Crime or Romance Writers of America. I’d also recommend learning about the self-publishing opportunities available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and other retailers.
Do you use social media to promote your book, if yes then which social networks do you like the most?
I use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Goodreads. I think Twitter is the most effective, as retweets can really spread the word about a book. Facebook is my second favorite, but often people will read a post without liking or sharing it, and then less of your followers will see it.
What books do you like to read in your spare time?
I like reading mysteries and light romance. I have over 300 of them on my Kindle! I also take out a lot of print books from the library.
What do you feel is the most important stage of writing a book?
I feel that it’s important to write a thorough outline. Some authors don’t use one, but personally, if I skipped this stage, I’d be doing a ton of rewrites later. Mapping out all the plot points, and tracking subplots and character growth, helps me to stay focused. I also like referring to my outline so I know what scene I’m going to be writing the next day.
How did you go about designing the cover for your book?
In this case, my paperback publisher, Mainly Murder Press, designed the cover. My husband, a graphic designer, has designed covers for some of my other books.
Do you have a day job (if so, what do you do?) or do you write full-time?
I have a few freelance clients that I write newsletter articles for, but for the most part, I’m focusing on writing novels. I balance the writing with raising my family.
Where is your book available to buy?
Sink or Swim is available in trade paperback and multiple e-book formats.
From June 8-22, the Kindle and Nook versions will be on sale for 99 cents as part of the Book Lovers Vacation Getaway Buffet.