Friday, July 19, 2013

Feature Friday: Stacey Jay

Stacey Jay is the author of numerous books for teens and adults, including "Juliet Immortal" and "Romeo Redeemed." Her latest, "Of Beast and Beauty" will release on July 23rd, 2013. Stacey lives in Northern California with her winemaker husband, two boys, and her beloved sewing machine. Learn more at www.staceyjay.com

Interview: 

A.L.:
What piece of advice would you give to a budding author?

Stacy:
Write because you love writing, write because the day feels incomplete until you've got something down on the page, write because you have stories floating around in your head and you NEED to get them out. Don't write because you want to be famous (even famous writers aren't famous, and from what I can glean from the famous people I know, fame is pretty lame). Don't write because you think it will make you happy to be published (being published will introduce neurosis into your life like you wouldn't believe, almost all the published writers I'm close with are on the verge of a nervous breakdown at least once a year). Don't write because you think you'll get rich doing it (almost NONE of we published writers are rich. Seriously. Even my most successful year is a year when I make less money than my friends who chose to use their brains in more conventional ways). So yeah--write because you are compelled to write and it gives you joy. Other assorted advice: Write every day. Read everything you can get your hands on. Pay attention to the world around you--engaged people make better writers (in my humble opinion).

A.L.:
What's your favorite book and why?

Stacy:
I can't pick a favorite, there are just too many amazing books in the world. But today I'm wishing I could pick up my old copy of "Anne of Green Gables" by Lucy Maude Montgomery and spend the afternoon rereading it. It's one of my favorites because it reminds me that even the most down and out and lonesome among us can still find love/family, and I identify with Anne's overabundance of sass. I also suffer from sass-overabundance at times.

A.L.:
Where did you get the idea for Of Beast and Beauty?

Stacy:
I had a "Beauty and the Beast" themed dream where the roles of Beast and Beauty were reversed (Beauty took the Beast captive) on a terrifying foreign planet. The rest of the story grew from there.

A.L.:
Did you hit any snags while writing Of Beast and Beauty?  What were they and how did you fix them?

Stacy:
There was one chapter near the end that I really didn't want to write. I knew it was coming and that I was going to have to do something terrible to one of my characters and I was dreading it, so I kept procrastinating, re-writing the chapters before it. For that entire week, I was a cranky, miserable wreck. So I finally made myself write the chapter in one afternoon, crying on and off the entire time. Aside from that, however, it was a pretty smooth drafting and revising process. I did a lot of brainstorming about the characters and story before I started, so I had a good idea where I was going.

A.L.:
Which one of the characters in Of Beast and Beauty is your favorite and why?

Stacy:
I love Gem and Isra, Beast and Beauty, equally. They are two sides of the same coin, and both very loyal, fierce, and loving people (though in different ways).

A.L.:
What are you working on now?  Sequel?  Something new?

Stacy:
I'm working on copyedits for my 2014 Young Adult book with Delacorte. It's a different spin on the twisted fairy tale, featuring the daughter of a famous fairy tale princess, but I can't say much more about that story at this time. After that, I'm hoping to have a chance to finish a Middle Grade book that's very close to my heart and am drafting a proposal for something scandalous that may get me in trouble if I'm allowed to write it. It's all very exciting stuff, and I'm feeling invigorated about writing in a way I haven't in awhile now!

A.L.:
Out of all the books you've written so far, which was easiest for you to write and why?

Stacy:
"Undead Much?", the second in the Megan Berry, Zombie Settler, series was a really quick write. I already knew the characters well at that point, I had a solid outline before I started, and I was still full of "beginning of career" fire. At that point in my writer's life I could draft an 80,000 word novel in a little over four weeks. I'm much, much slower now. "Of Beast and Beauty" took four months to draft and another two months to revise. It's the only book I wrote last year, which is strange for me. I usually write at least two full length novels a year.

A.L.:
Would you consider Of Beast and Beauty to be a retelling of Beauty and the Beast?  Why or why not?

Stacy:
Yes, I would. It contains all the elements of the original fairy tale. You may have to squint hard to see them, but they are there. There are other story lines weaved into the traditional story, but at it's core it is a retelling. (In contrast to my other recent books, "Juliet Immortal" and "Romeo Redeemed," which I consider re-imaginings using familiar characters, not retellings.)

A.L.:
You're written both adult and young adult literature -- which do you prefer?  Why?

Stacy:
Most of the time I prefer writing for young adults because I think that's such an exciting time in life, when a person is figuring out who they are, who they want to be, and who they might like to share all their big adventures with. And from a romance angle, while love is amazing at any age, there's nothing like falling in love for the very first time. It's pretty magical. Still, there are times when I enjoy writing for adults. I especially love writing adult books where jaded/downtrodden/damaged people get a second chance. I love redemption stories.

The Giveaway:
Stacey is giving away one winner's choice of JULIET IMMORTAL or ROMEO REDEEMED signed, plus some fun R&J temporary tattoos.  This giveaway is national only.

Of Beast and Beauty (not the giveaway):  In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret...

In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.

Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.

As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.


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How to Enter:
Enter the giveaway using Rafflecopter. Hit the arrow buttons, follow the prompts, and hit the enter buttons when you're done. (You may have to log in using Facebook to do this). There will be one winner (selected by Rafflecopter). I will contact the winner via email. This contest is open to national entrants. 

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