Although Stacy Juba specializes in writing adult novels, she has also authored books for children and young adults – she pursues whatever story ideas won’t leave her alone. Stacy’s titles include the mystery novels Twenty-Five Years Ago Today and Sink or Swim, 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, as well as a new mystery novel. Many of her titles have appeared as #1 on various Amazon Kindle Top 100 lists.
Stacy, how and why did you come up with the Friday the 13th free book extravaganza with 13 authors?
My mystery novel Sink or Swim is entered in the Kindle Select program, which means that I've given Amazon a 90-day exclusive for the e-book edition in return for 5 free promotion days designed to boost its visibility on Amazon. I used up my first 3 days, and had great success, with many sales in the U.S. and the United Kingdom - its best performance ever. I had two days remaining before I put it back with other retailers, and I didn't know if I could exceed or match the previous success as many e-book sites had already featured the book. I had already chosen April 13 as a free day, to tie-in with a couple other promotions that I had happening at that time, and I suddenly realized that was Friday the 13th. I thought that would be a good hook for a bunch of mystery authors to get together and host a free Kindle day. I knew it had to be 13 books and 13 authors. I spread the word on some author loops that I was looking for Kindle Select mystery authors to team up with, and had a great response.
How does it work?
On Friday, April 13, we'll have 13 books free in the Kindle store. All books on the list are guaranteed to be free that day only. We've been working aggressively to get the word out. The authors have a publishing history that includes Dutton, William Morrow, Dell, Avon, MIRA Books, St. Martin's Minotaur, and Mainly Murder Press, to name a few. Among the accomplishments of the listed authors are New York Times bestselling, Amazon bestselling, Edgar-nominated, Agatha-nominated, winner of the St. Martin's Press/Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Novel, finalist in the Mary Higgins Clark Mystery Magazine National Short Story Contest, and recipients of the Premier Book Awards Mystery/Thriller of the Year Award, to name just a few accomplishments. So the whole event is quite exciting and Kindle readers will have an opportunity to grab 13 quality books at no cost. Some, like Sink or Swim, will be free for the last time. Readers are invited to save this link to their favorites on their Internet browser, and then visit it on April 13 and go down the list to download the books: http://www.amazon.com/lm/RXUK7UVMTPUOH/ref=cm_lm_pthnk_view?ie=UTF8&lm_bb=
What drives you to write?
I get very, very grumpy if I don't write. I'm in a much better mood if I make time to write, or do something creative. I'm a very driven person, so usually I can force myself to get up early in the morning and put in some time on the keyboard. Writing fiction is fun for me, and it's an escape, almost meditative. I really enjoy immersing myself in a fictional world. It makes time seem to pass much faster. I look at the clock, and can't believe how much time has passed. I've done a lot of article writing also over the years, but I don't enjoy that kind of writing as much as fiction.
What keeps you going when you hit a brick wall, with no solution in sight?
I outline extensively, so I usually work out most of the problems before I start. If I don't have the answer to something that I'll have to deal with later in the story, I'll write the earlier parts, and in the meantime, do some brainstorming with my husband or my critique partners.
Why mysteries? Tell us briefly about your latest?
I grew up reading Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys and Trixie Belden, so mysteries was a natural fit, though I am also branching out into romantic comedy and chick lit. I'm sure I'll write more mystery novels for adults, as I like weaving clues into the story and trying to surprise the reader, but not every book I write will be a mystery. My latest adult mystery novel is Sink or Swim, about Cassidy Novak, a personal trainer who attracts a stalker after appearing on a reality TV show and returning to her normal life working in a health club. My newest book, Dark Before Dawn, is a young adult paranormal mystery/thriller about a teenage girl taking secret psychic classes from the town fortuneteller which may be tied to some mysterious accidents.
When did you decide to write children's and YA novels?
I started writing my two YA books, Face-Off and Dark Before Dawn, when I was a young adult myself and related to that age group more than adults. I was 16 when I originally wrote Face-Off. (I recently re-issued a new edition as it was long out of-print.) I started Dark Before Dawn when I was in my early twenties, and it went in and out of my drawer for years, and underwent lots of rewrites. I had enjoyed reading authors like Christopher Pike, R.L. Stine, and Lois Duncan when I was a teenager, and was inspired by them. As for my children's picture books, I was inspired to write those when I became a mother and was reading a lot of those books aloud. I got the idea for my first children's book, The Flag Keeper, after watching my husband raise the flag every morning and bring it in at night. My picture books were illustrated by my father and were initially done as a family project.
Tell us about your writing background.
I've been writing stories since third grade and had my first mystery "series" in fifth grade. A local newspaper did a story on me when I was about 11, as I won a local book review contest for my review of a Nancy Drew book. I wrote my first novel, Face-Off, when I was 16 years old, in high school study halls, and it was originally published when I was 18 after I entered it in a contest. After college, I worked as a newspaper reporter for several years and later in public relations and marketing, and wrote books on the side. Now I'm mainly focusing on writing and promoting my fiction books, which include the adult mystery/romantic suspense novels Twenty-Five Years Ago Today and Sink or Swim; the YA titles Dark Before Dawn and Face-Off; and the children's books The Flag Keeper and The Teddy Bear Town Children's E-Book Bundle.
Advice for novice writers.
I'd recommend taking creative writing classes, either on-line or in-person, finding critique partners or a writing group, and either taking a few marketing classes or reading a lot of marketing books. Besides writing as much as you can, learn how to rewrite and edit. Also, all writers should know that e-books are outselling print books and be aware of the independent publishing opportunities available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other retail outlets like Smashwords.
Your social networking links?
Anything you'd like to add?
Please visit my web site, http://stacyjuba.com/blog/, for more information on my books. And if you enjoy children's and YA books, or have some kids in your life, then please save the date for Give Your Child a Free Kindle Book (or 15 of Them!) Day on April 19, 2012. This is very similar to the Friday the 13th free Kindle book day, except on April 19, all of the books are picture books, middle grade novels and young adult novels from established and award-winning authors. You can check this list on April 19 and all of the books will be free: http://www.amazon.com/lm/R1UOP8U7FVOU4P/ref=cm_lm_pthnk_view?ie=UTF8&lm_bb= Also, visit my blog post about the event on that day and you'll be able to follow the link to download a free Agatha-winning bonus book from Nancy Means Wright, which can be downloaded on the Belgrave House web site in the email format of your choice.
A list of the free books which will be available: http://www.amazon.com/lm/RXUK7UVMTPUOH/ref=cm_lm_pthnk_view?ie=UTF8&lm_bb=