Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: S.E. Hinton

Author Interview ~ Stacy Juba

Stacy, when did you begin writing and can you remember how it felt inside, back then?

I wrote my first story, a paranormal thriller, The Curse of the White Witch, in third grade. I remember the excitement of asking my parents to bind it into a folder. I started a mystery series in fifth grade about an amateur sleuth named Cathy Summers. I remember sitting in my bedroom, filling up lined notebook paper. Every sentence had to be perfect. If I made a mistake on the page and it looked messy when erased, I recopied the page.

Such devotion at such a young age

Was there any certain date or time you remember when you began to either think of yourself as or call yourself a “writer”?

My teachers and classmates started labeling me as a writer in fifth grade, and by high school, there were even rumors going around school that I had published a book. I actually hadn’t—my first book was accepted for publication shortly after graduating from high school. Back then, I resented the label as it made me seem different from the other kids. It’s ironic, as now, I work hard at branding myself as an author. That’s a big part of who I am. It’s interesting how we get more comfortable with ourselves as we get older.

Well, some of us do :-)

What are your hopes, or dreams, or goals for your writing?

My main hopes are to entertain people, and to make a steady income each year from my books.

Have you had any “formal” training in the art of writing?

A little bit, but not at first. I majored in exercise science in college as I didn’t know what kind of job I could get with a creative writing degree. I took one creative writing class in college and enrolled in an adult education class in creative writing. I participated in an intensive online mystery writers class through UCLA Extension and have taken about a half-dozen online classes offered through various professional organizations that I belong to, classes in the criminal mind, romantic suspense, pacing, character development, and synopsis-writing. I’ve also taken workshops at conferences over the years and have read multiple books about the craft of writing. Working as a reporter for a daily newspaper also honed my writing skills.

I’m sure it certainly would!

What do you feel has taught you the most about “how to write”?

I think just being in the business for so long and having received so many rejection letters. Many editors saw potential in my work and gave me ideas on how to rewrite to make various books stronger. I also had an agent for a couple of years who gave me similar feedback. For me, it wasn’t about learning how to write. It was about learning how to edit and fill in the gaps.

I hope a reader or two asks you more about your last two ideas in the comments :-)

Who are your favorite writers and why are they favorites?

My favorite author growing up was S.E. Hinton, the author of The Outsiders. I was inspired by her as she published her first book when she was a teenager and her books had a unique voice. As an adult, I admire J.K. Rowling because of the depth of her imagination and how she was able to carry on this huge series under a lot of pressure.

Where and/or how do you get your ideas for your writing?

I got the idea for Twenty-Five Years Ago Today because of my newspaper background. When I first started out in journalism, I was an obit writer/editorial assistant and one of my tasks was compiling the 25 years ago today column from the microfilm. I got the idea, what if an editorial assistant stumbled across an unsolved murder on the microfilm? For Sink or Swim, I didn’t really understand why reality shows were so popular. I wanted to explore why a regular person might go on a reality show and then weave a mystery story around what might happen after this normal person is thrust into the limelight. Ideas just pop into my head–some ideas keep persisting until I start writing, while other ideas just sit on the backburner as they don’t feel ready yet. I learned from my former agent to follow up on the ideas that have the most marketing potential.


So, what is your normal revision or editing routine?

I outline each book and refer to the outline as I write each chapter. I tend to write a handful of chapters, then go back and edit. Once I finish the manuscript, I use different colored highlighters to highlight description, dialogue, internal thought, action, etc. That way I can focus on tightening up or embellishing one aspect of the story at a time.

Please tell us about your published work.

My first book, the young adult novel, Face-Off, was published by Avon when I was 18 under Stacy Drumtra. It is long out of print as it was published in 1992, but I will be bringing it back in the next year or two and will also publish its never-before seen sequel Offsides. More recently, my mystery novel, Twenty-Five Years Ago Today, was published by Mainly Murder Press in late 2009 and Sink or Swim was published by Mainly Murder Press in January 2011. My children’s picture book, The Flag Keeper, was independently published last fall. My paranormal young adult thriller, Dark Before Dawn, is scheduled for release by Mainly Murder Press in January 2012.

Very impressive line-up of books, Stacy!

Tell us about your blog: its purpose, how you go about deciding what to post, and what you want to do with it in the future?

My blog ties in to my books. As a tie-in to Twenty-Five Years Ago Today, I invite guest authors to answer the question: What were you (or your character) doing 25 Years Ago? I also started a new feature called the Sink or Swim 6, where authors fill out a six-question “contestant application” interview from the perspective of one of their characters. The authors are encouraged to solicit comments from their friends and readers. At the end of the year, the three posts that drew in the highest number of unique commenters will be declared the winners of the fictional reality show, Sink or Swim. The features have been so popular that I’ve had to close submissions until mid-May. My blog can be found at

Wonderfully inventive idea, Stacy!!

Please tell us about the availability of your titles.

The mysteries are available in paperback and multiple $2.99 e-book formats. The picture book is available in paperback and will be released in multiple e-book formats in the near future.

And, synopses?

Sink or Swim: After starring on a hit game show set aboard a Tall Ship, personal trainer Cassidy Novak discovers that she has attracted a stalker. Soon, she will need to call SOS for real…

Twenty-Five Years Ago Today: For twenty-five years, Diana Ferguson’s killer has gotten away with murder. When rookie obit writer and newsroom editorial assistant Kris Langley investigates the cold case of the artistic young cocktail waitress who was obsessed with Greek and Roman mythology, she must fight to stay off the obituary page herself.

The Flag Keeper: This illustrated picture book teaches children about U.S. flag etiquette through a fiction story, flag facts, activity idea, and discussion questions.

Excerpts, books trailers and reviews of my books can be found at

And, where can we get the books?

Buy links to different retailers are available in my store:

Stacy, thanks, so much, for taking the time to stop by and share all this information about your writing career!

And, here come the questions in the comments :-)

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