Today folks we have Stacy Juba in for a chat. Award-winning writer Stacy Juba loves reading novels as much as writing them and has authored titles ideal for book clubs or the beach. Although she specializes in adult mysteries, Stacy has also written books for children and young adults – she pursues whatever story ideas won’t leave her alone.
GNOH – Hi Stacy, how are you doing?
I'm fine! Thank you for the interview!
GNOH – Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I'm a former daily newspaper reporter, and am currently focusing on writing and marketing my books. I've published two adult mystery/romantic suspense novels, a young adult paranormal thriller, a young adult hockey novel, and two children's picture books.
GNOH – So what made you want to become a writer?
I wrote my first story in third grade and by fifth grade, I was writing a mystery series. I was very shy growing up and writing was a way for me to express myself. My teachers were very encouraging and kept telling me that I had talent, so I pursued it.
GNOH – Who are some of your literary heroes and influences?
I grew up reading the Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and Trixie Belden books. As a teenager, I was hooked on S.E. Hinton, Lois Duncan, and VC Andrews. All of those authors helped to influence my writing style.
GNOH – How would you describe your writing style?
It has been described as very fluid, evocative and easy to read. I also use a lot of dialogue in my books.
GNOH – What made you decide to write young adult fiction as well as adult fiction, and do you approach them in a different manner?
I published Face-Off when I was 18 years old and started Dark Before Dawn when I was in my early twenties, though it took several years for Dawn to get published. I started writing young adult fiction because that's the age I related to at the time, and as I got older, I expanded my genres to include adult fiction. The only difference in approach is that I need to reflect back on my own high school days when I'm writing a young adult novel, as well as be aware of what today's trends are. I'll watch teen shows, and talk to some teenagers that I know, to make sure that I'm using the right slang and lingo.
GNOH – And what made you decide to write supernatural fiction?
I've always been a fan of supernatural novels. I've read a lot of Stephen King and John Saul, and as a teen, I was hooked on R.L. Stine's
Street books and Lois Duncan's novels. I've always
been interested in psychics and decided to write a novel about a teen psychic
who gets involved with a mysterious fortuneteller, which became Dark Before Dawn.
GNOH – It’s a rather over crowded market, how would you say your stories stand out from the crowd?
I'm a bit unique as I write in so many varied genres. Adults will often read my mystery novels, and then buy Face-Off or my children's picture books for their kids. I don't price any of my e-books more than $2.99 and I've been fortunate to have received lots of reviews for my books, so I'm pleased that my books have been standing out from the crowd.
GNOH – Even though your books have a supernatural theme, you try to maintain a level of reality as well. How do you go about doing this?
In Dark Before Dawn, the girls learn about mind control, which is obviously a fantasy element, however, I wanted the book to ring true. I put in a lot of metaphysical information about chakras, crystals, psychic senses. and spirit guides and did a great deal of research on these topics. There are many non-fiction books on these topics. Granted, not everyone believes in things like psychics, but there is some interesting research and many fascinating stories that people claim are true, so I kept an open mind and conveyed what I learned.
GNOH – Why is it important that they have a grounding so to speak?
I'm not a science fiction writer, so I'm trying to inject a supernatural theme into a story set in the world as we know it. I think it's important to make the supernatural elements as convincing as possible.
GNOH – As well as your young adult book, which we will chat about later, you have written a couple of non supernatural suspense novels for adults. How do you go about keeping a novel suspenseful?
I try to create a characters that readers will care about, and I go over my plot outline to make sure I have points of rising action. I might let readers catch their breath for a bit with a lighter moment or to explore the romance, but then I make sure that we see some more rising action and suspense..
GNOH –How do you go about writing these books, do you have a chart marking out all the action / suspense scenes, and then thread the narrative into these plot points, or do you just start a point a and keep writing until the conclusion?
Yes, I do a long outline where I map out the clues, plot points, subplots, character growth, and other elements. I'm not one to just make it up as I go along.
GNOH – You have written four of these books, do you have a favourite?
They're all special to me in different ways, but I relate to Dawn from Dark Before Dawn the most I remember being at that awkward age in high school, and like me, she was always picked last in gym class! It's sort of an underdog story, of this misfit girl who has to find the strength and the self esteem to save the day, and I've always had a soft spot for the underdog.
GNOH – Your novel Face Off is based around ice hockey, are you a fan, and if so which team to you support?
I was a huge fan when I wrote the book. I got interested in hockey during the 1988 Olympics, and then I quickly became interested in the Boston Bruins as they went to the Stanley Cup finals that year. I haven't followed hockey as closely lately, as I'm so busy with family and writing, but it's still my favorite sport and I'm awfully proud of the Bruins!
GNOH – Can you tell us about your young adult book Dark Before Dawn?
It's about Dawn Christian, a teen psychic who moves with her mother and new stepfamily into a
beach town. She has a premonition
about a tragedy at school and tries to warn someone, but the other kids label
her a witch. She meets a fortuneteller named Serina, who is teaching secret psychic
classes to two other girls, and for the first time, Dawn has friends who
understand what it's like to be psychic. Not only that, but Serina is also
teaching her how to control her abilities. Meanwhile, freak accidents are
happening around town, and Dawn needs to determine whether her new friends
could be involved, all the while hiding her suspicions from a group of
GNOH – What is the significance of the title?
Dawn's father died when she was young and he used to tell her that dawn would break every morning, the one constant in life, turning dark into light. In the book, Dawn also walks the line between good and evil, and her choices will decide which path she follows.
GNOH – I’ve always wondered, do you come up with a title first, or do you think of the title once you have written the book?
I almost always come up with the title first. I don't think I've ever been stuck on a title.
GNOH – How much research did you do for the book? Was Chakras and psychics something that had always been an interest to you, or did the interest develop through writing the book?
A little of both. I've always been interested in chakras and psychics, and even took an online class in writing about psychics. In the past, I've read about these topics for my own interest, but when I was writing the book, I wanted to make sure that I was presenting all of the information correctly and didn't want to rely on my memory. I did additional research to flesh out my own knowledge.
GNOH – How firmly do you believe in these things? For most of my life I trained as a scientist, so I was trained to look upon these things as hokum, yet I always had a hope that there was a truth behind it all.
I do believe there are talented psychics out there, but I also believe there are many phonies. I've used angel oracle cards myself and have had some uncanny results, and I'm certainly not psychic, so I think we all have the ability to connect with our Higher Self and our guides to some degree. I believe in chakras and the theory that imbalances in different energy centers can lead to illness, which is something that I put in the book.
GNOH – If you could control someone’s mind, what would you make them do?
Hmmm. I'd make them cook dinner for my family every night and clean my house!
GNOH – You also practise Reiki, what exactly is that?
Reiki is a form of hands-on energy healing. I took three levels of classes in it, but don't practice it professionally, and just perform it on myself, family and friends. Reiki helps to balance the chakras. When I do Reiki, I feel intense heat in my hands - it often feels as if my hand is passing over an open flame when I'm working on someone. That is why I believe in chakras and why I am so open-minded, as there is something mysterious at work with Reiki.
GNOH – Other than writing and energy healing, do you have any other interests?
I love to read, spend time with my family, take walks, do Tai Chi, and play Space Invaders and Ms. Pac-Man.
GNOH – So what does the future hold for you? Can you let us in on any secrets?
I'm working on a light romance novel for adults, an adult mystery novel featuring a psychic heroine, and the
sequel to Face-Off. It doesn't take a psychic to see that there are lots more books in my future!
You Can buy Stacy's book by following the links below