Book Nerd Interview
Stacey Jay is a recovering workaholic (or at least working hard at recovering) with two small children, and a passion for playing pretend for a living. She’s been a full time mom-writer since 2005 and can't think of anything she'd rather be doing. Her former careers include theatre performer, professional dancer, poorly paid C-movie actress, bartender, waiter, math tutor, and yoga instructor.
In her very limited spare time, Stacey enjoys cooking elaborate dinners and eating them very slowly, dressing up in costumes with her sons, and drinking wine with her husband. She loves to hear from readers and personally answers every single email she receives.
What was your first introduction to YA literature, the one that made you choose that genre to write?
The first book about teenagers that really touched me was LITTLE WOMEN. I checked it out from the library when I was seven years old (despite the fact that my mom told me it was too long for me to read). It wasn't too long. I read it in three days and then re-read it again. And again. And again. I would dress up in my "old fashioned girl" costume--one of my mom's long, hippie, flower-print dresses from the 70's--and lay on the blue Victorian couch in the living room and imagine I was Amy. (This was before I had the sense to know I'd rather be Jo.)
Ever since then, I've always gravitated to Young Adult stories. It's such a dramatic time in a person's life when important decisions are being made, and so satisfying to write about.
What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
My life is not glamorous. At all. I work almost every day, and only in recent years have I made enough money to comfortably pay for three days of preschool for my youngest son. I get a lot of emails from people who think I don't answer my own emails because I'm famous, and things of that nature, and they always make me laugh. I absolutely answer my own emails, and clean my own toilets, and wash all of my family's laundry, and so on and so forth.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I started my first book in second grade. It was a story about a ten year old girl who cross-dressed in order to apprentice as a blacksmith, set during the Revolutionary war. I never finished it, but maybe...someday...
What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
I learned that I'm responsible for making learning fun. You can't count on a teacher to summon your enthusiasm, you need to bring that to class yourself and find ways to keep your mind engaged. If you do that, you'll keep learning amazing new things your entire life.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Determined. Passionate. Seeker.
Did you learn anything from writing Romeo Redeemed and what was it?
I learned that you can't force a character to be something that he's not. I had to allow Romeo to be a rascal. Only then was I able to write a transformation that rang true for me.
For those who are unfamiliar with Ariel, how would you introduce her?
She's a damaged girl (scars on her skin and emotional scars) who's been a victim all her life. She comes off shy at first meeting, but she's got a lot of anger simmering just below the surface. That anger is her biggest weakness.
What part of Romeo did you enjoy writing the most?
I loved writing the romance. Seeing this bad boy fall deeply and unselfishly in love for the first time was so sweet.
If you could introduce Ariel to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I think she should spend some time with Megan Berry from my YOU ARE SO UNDEAD TO ME series. Megan is such an outgoing person and always ready to make a new friend. I think she'd be good for Ariel.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Patrick Ness. I aspire to write novels as un-put-downable as his KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO trilogy.
How many books have you written?
OF BEAST AND BEAUTY, my next release--a twisted retelling of Beauty and the Beast due out in Fall of 2013--will be my ninth novel published as Stacey Jay.
You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
Life advice? Be kind to yourself, and you will end up being kinder to others. (And what better legacy can you leave than a life lived kindly?)
Writing advice? Read, write every day, revise, and repeat.
Reading advice? Try a little bit of everything, there are good books out there in all genres.
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
I only lie to protect the innocent so I can't really say.
What's the worst summer job you've ever had?
Working at Paco's Mexican Grill when I was a junior in high school. I smelled like salsa and fried onions all summer.
What scares you the most and why?
Losing my children. I don't know how parents survive the death of a child. Parents should go first.
Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
I'd choose love with heartbreak. Love is worth the hurt.
Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?
My husband, and then my friend Julie, who always has hilarious and very Southern words of wisdom to share.
When was the last time you cried?
Last night when I watched E.T. with my boys. That scene where E.T. and Elliot are dying gets me every time. *sniff*
Where can readers stalk you?Lol! Great question.
On Twitter (my favorite form of social media): https://twitter.com/Stacey_Jay
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stacey.jay.ya
At my blog: www.staceyjayya.blogspot.com
Over on my website: www.staceyjay.com
Or email me via my contact page: http://www.staceyjay.com/contact/
Thanks so much for the interview, Jean! And thanks to my readers for their support. It means so much.
Cursed to live out eternity in his rotted corpse, Romeo, known for his ruthless, cutthroat ways, is given the chance to redeem himself by traveling back in time to save the life of Ariel Dragland. Unbeknownst to her, Ariel is important to both the evil Mercenaries and the love-promoting Ambassadors and holds the fate of the world in her hands. Romeo must win her heart and make her believe in love, turning her away from her darker potential before his work is discovered by the Mercenaries. While his seduction begins as yet another lie, it soon becomes his only truth. Romeo vows to protect Ariel from harm, and do whatever it takes to win her heart and soul. But when Ariel is led to believe his love is a deception, she becomes vulnerable to Mercenary manipulation, and her own inner darkness may ultimately rip them apart.
This alternative reality for Romeo is nothing anyone would ever expect from this classic tale. Juliet Immortal was definitely a wild twist and Staceycontinues her creative imagination with this enthralling adventure. This book is highly character driven and readers will learn more about Romeo. The real Ariel is introduced as being vulnerable and easily receptive to getting hurt but readers will see her mature into a stronger person as the story progresses. Their romance reminds us that love is powerful and it is the one thing that will keep pushing you forward even when you think you cannot go on. Romeo Redeemed is a magical love story with epic adventures from a unique take on the Romeo & Juliet tale. Intensely addicting, readers will take nothing but satisfaction from this book.