I canít tell you all what a thrill it is to present Stacy Deanne to you.† I already know youíre going to enjoy her interview. Hopefully you will become new fans of hers, check her out on facebook, her website and many other places she frequents.† Without further ado I give you Stacy Deanne in my Authorís Spotlight.
Dyanne: Stacy Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from, what is your background?
Stacy:† I was born and raised in Houston, Texas. I still live here. My family hails from East Texas. Iím an only child. Iím very tall, six feet actually. Iím single, no kids. I have a lot of interests but I am always researching things about nature and I just love anything about animals. Iím not an animal lover in terms of pets. I donít have pets. I just like to learn about all the different types of animals in the world, LOL. I am also a big mystery and crime fiction buff, the reason I write it. I love anything involving interracial romance, another thing I love to write. Iím also an introvert. I prefer being alone compared to being with people. I love my space.
Dyanne:† Out of all of that Iím thinking six feet tall, Wow!! See Iím only a little over five feet but I feel as tall as 6í- 2Ē.† LOL. When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer, and what was it that inspired you to start writing?
Stacy: I never intended to become a writer honestly. I got my first computer when I was nineteen and I just started writing. Before long I had a story going and I loved how writing made me feel. It just hit like lightening that I wanted to pursue it as a career. It made me so happy and I felt like writing is what I was put on earth for.
Dyanne: Stacy, youíre the first writer I interviewed thatís admitted to just stumbling into it. J When did you write your first book?
Stacy: Well the very first one was at nineteen but it was some years later when I got published. That story wasnít ever published though.
Dyanne: You share company with a lot of writers. From what I understand about 95% of writers do not have their first books published. But it does prove something; you can complete an entire novel. How many books have you written? Do you have a favorite?
Stacy: Iíve written probably close to twenty books. Melody (my crime/thriller/interracial romance novel which came out in Ď08) was always my favorite but the more I write on my new detective/interracial romance series, the quicker itís becoming the most enjoyable thing Iíve written.
Dyanne: Since you didnít grown up wanting to be a writer, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Stacy: I wanted to be all sorts of things. My mom (RIP) was a math teacher so I wanted to be a teacher at one point. Then I wanted to be a singer or actress. Then I wanted to be a beautician, etc.† I have a lot of interests and things I wanted to pursue.
Dyanne: I was thinking the singing and wanting to be an actress would have still kept you in the arts. Then I thought of some of the hair shows and realized that would have done the same. (smile) So, back to writing. How long does it typically take you to write a book?
Stacy: Hmm, it takes me at least four months to finish a story (and thatís writing on it constantly). Thatís also minus editing or revising. Editing and revising takes longer depending on the story. Iím now at the point with my skills that I can edit a story as I go along or I can write it in a way that can be a final draft or close to it so it saves more time than when I first started writing. The longer you write and the more skills you learn, the easier it is to pump out first drafts that might not need much revision. Still it depends on the story. Some stories need heavy tweaking and some might not. Itís extremely difficult writing crime fiction and mysteries because there is so much detail involved in the cases and clues. You always have to check over the little things as well as the research you might have to do. Writing a mystery is like a puzzle. You gotta make sure everything fits along the way and comes together in the end where it makes sense.
LOL. Now for the short version. It takes me at least three to six months to write a novel and it takes longer for it to be complete due to editing and any revisions that might need to be done.† I also sit my novels down for a while so that I can go back and edit effectively. It really does help if you take a break from a project before editing. I try to keep my word count between 80,000-100,000 words.
Dyanne: Thatís a very good explanation. Where do the ideas for your books come from?
Stacy:† Straight from my psychotic, warped mind.
Dyanne: LOL. Shh, you know thatís a secret youíre not supposed to tell. Iíve been trying to convince people that I make up the more crazy things I write. Where is your favorite place to write, where do you feel most creative?
Stacy: I just write at my computer in the den. I feel creative any and everywhere to be honest. My imaginationís never on a break. LOL.
Dyanne:† Spoken like the creative writer that you are. Youíve been an established writer for several years and by now Iím sure your readers think it was an easy road for you. Was it? Please tell us how you got started.
Stacy:I started writing professionally in 1997 right after high school. My road was the same as most. I wrote for years, worked on my craft and researched the industry. I did all I could to get my work to a publishable level and then I started sending it out. I of course got rejected a bunch of times but what writer doesnít? But the key is determination. You gotta want it and love writing enough to keep going. Iím just happy I was one that made it to the role of ďpublished authorĒ. Itís an amazing feeling and I wouldnít go back to being unpublished and struggling to find my place for anything in the world.
Dyanne:† Did you have another career before you began writing?
Stacy: No since I started so young.
Dyanne:†† You were very lucky. I can see now why you say you were put on earth to write. Youíre the first author Iíve interviewed that had not had a paying day job. Congrats. Most aspiring authors have this picture in their minds that theyíre going to sell their first mss, itís going to be made into a block buster movie and theyíre going to live off of the royalty. LOL.† How would you address this?
Stacy: Iíd tell them not to hold their breath and what newbie doesnít think like that in the beginning? Think of your first five or more manuscripts as practice. Iíd written at least ten books, ten before I got published. Some people think a first draft is a book worth publication. No, itís not. Some folks get their first books published but this is very rare and still after years of beating that sucker until it was something worth being published. Most first books DO NOT get published. I donít care if you choose to go after a big press, small press or e-publisher you are NOT ready if youíve just written one book. Thereís too much youíll need to learn. It takes skills and you have to build these skills to be able to write a publishable book. You only build these skills by writing on different stories, books. Anyone can write a first draft and anyone can write one book.† That does not prove you got the chops for publication. Some folks might not wanna accept that, but itís the truth.
Dyanne:† Stacy, Iíll agree with you that itís very hard to get a first book published. And Iíll agree that some writers manage it.† I know a couple that had their first works published. †Like you I believe the more you hone your craft the better you will become at it.
Yet, it seems that Iím hearing more and more established authors complain of getting rejections, especially with so many publishing houses closing.† Have you been hearing the same things?
Stacy: Oh yes. People who wouldíve gotten deals easily a few years ago are being rejected. And these are folks with fan bases and even some that used to have best selling books. A lot of good, previously published authors are finding themselves left without homes and new writers are finding it impossible to get even an agent to look at their work let alone become published. Some folks wanna say that itís no harder now than before but thatís BS. Itís harder for everyone now. Even big name authors arenít selling like they were. Nothing is guaranteed to anyone right now.
Dyanne: Iím in total agreement with you on this. How big of a role do you think the weak economy is having on the buying of books?
Stacy:I donít think book sales are the problem. People are still buying books even more than before. What the economy has hurt is whatís happening inside the industry with authors, editors and agents. Editors are losing jobs. Agents arenít placing manuscripts and a lot are leaving agencies and authors are finding it even harder to get deals.† True bookstores are closing but I donít think thatís hindered people buying books. People have been buying more online for years and now there are people buying more and more ebooks.
Dyanne:† Do you think ebooks are hurting or helping the industry?
Stacy: I think they are helping. I love reading ebooks myself. I also think itís changing the industry to something thatís gonna benefit authors more. For years authors have been getting the short end of the stick and now they actually are taking more control into their hands. You now have authors who are only releasing ebooks and they have no desire to be in print. I think instead of the print lovers and ebook lovers arguing all the time they should come together and realize that whenever a book is bought no matter the form, it helps the book industry.
Dyanne: Hear, hear. A couple of years ago the thought of buying an ereader was akin to my eating sushi. Now I want one. I have 75 books on my Kindle for P.C. Do you still have old mss gathering dust under your bed?
Stacy: LOL! Not under my bed but I definitely have them stashed in other places. I always said Iíd go back and try to submit them for publication but my writingís grown so much since then that I just chalk them up to practice. I think Iím finally gonna throw all of them away, LOL.
Dyanne: The first book you had published, we know now it wasnít your first. Was it your fifth?
Stacy:† Nope. It was at least my twelfth and it wasnít even a novel, LOL.
Dyanne:† Are there days despite what your characters want that you want to just say chuck it all and stop writing?
Stacy:Oh heck no! If I stop writing I might as well be dead. I feel like I was put on earth to write and unless I physically canít, Iíd never stop. To me thereíd be no point to be here if I wasnít writing.
Dyanne: WOW!! Stacy, thatís passion.† In light of that I donít know if I should ask you the next question, but then you and I both know I will. LOL. Does the writing process seem more like a job now than it did when you first started and was unpublished?
Stacy:I always took writing extremely seriously. It was always part pleasure and part profession so it feels the same now after publication as it did before publication. It might be a different type of professionalism now but Iíve always looked at it seriously. Writing has never been anything less than important to me.
Dyanne:† Can you take us through a typical day for you?
Stacy: Usually I am writing but if I am not in the middle of a project I take time to catch up on other activities or just lounge around and search the net. LOL.
Dyanne:† Iíve noticed that youíre on FaceBook a lot and I think you mentioned Twitter. Do you think these social outlets are helpful to authors?
Stacy:I hate Twitter, but yes I am on there. LOL. I think any way an author promotes can help and should be taken advantage of. Online promotion is a must in this day and age and every author should get involved in spreading the word about their work. The days of publishers promoting are dwindling. There are still pubs that promote their authors but they arenít going to put as much into it as the author will themselves so authors need to put in the time for their own books.
Dyanne: what advice would you give to aspiring authors that they need to hear even if they donít want to?
Stacy: Theyíd better be realistic about their goals. They should be aware that not everyone gets published no matter how hard they try or how good they write. Sometimes itís not in the cards so the best thing is to make sure you are writing because you love it and it makes you happy, not just for seeking publication. If you really love it, then it wonít matter if you get published or not. Youíll still be happy doing what you do. The hard truth is everyoneís not gonna get published. The competition is too steep as well as other factors.
Dyanne:† What are your future plans?† What books are coming out next?
Stacy:Right now I am concentrating on my detective/interracial romance series. I am so excited that the first installment, ďGiving Up the GhostĒ will be coming out April next year! I also have some standalone novels Iíve completed as well.† I have a good indication that the next release after ďGiving Up the GhostĒ will be the second one in the series. Gotta wait and see.
Dyanne: Tell me the one question youíve never been asked in an interview that youíre dying to answer.
Stacy: Hmm thatís a good question!† Is all the hard work you put into writing worth it in the end? Iíd answer, yes.
Dyanne:† Stacy, I want to thank you so much for allowing me to interview you.† Itís been a pleasure picking your brains. Where can readers reach you?
Stacy: Thanks so much, Dyanne! I appreciate the opportunity and the support. Readers can find me all over the net but they can reach me through my web site: http://www.stacy-deanne.net††
Once again, everyone out there, if youíre a fan of interracial romance (BW/WM novels), mystery and crime then put ďGiving Up the GhostĒ on your list! It rocks! LOL! Go to my site for a sneak peek!