Grab your coffee mugs and join my chat with author Stacy Juba, who writes both YA and adult fiction and has brought us examples of both.
Since some of you may not know Stacy, let's start with her bio.
Stacy Juba loves to write stories about Characters at a Crossroads: individuals who are finding themselves and getting on the right life path after overcoming obstacles. Her goals are to entertain readers of all ages as well as inspire them. Stacy has written about reality TV contestants targeted by a killer, an obit writer investigating a cold case, teen psychics who control minds, twin high school hockey stars battling on the ice, and teddy bears learning to raise the U.S. flag.
She has made numerous bestseller lists including GalleyCat’s Barnes & Noble Bestsellers and GalleyCat’s Mystery and Thriller Bestsellers.
STACY: I am a huge Star Wars fan (original trilogy.) My all-time favorite movie is Return of the Jedi.
Ally: I'd like to talk about your Young Adult writing, since that's includes your paranormal book, Dark Before Dawn. What made you decide to write YA?
STACY: I wrote my first YA book, Face-Off, when I was still a teenager myself. I wrote it in study halls when I was 16, back in the early 1990s. I was a huge hockey fan at that time and an avid reader. I couldn’t find any hockey novels to read so decided to write my own. I started writing my second YA novel, Dark Before Dawn, in my early twenties as I still related to that YA age group. The manuscript wound up in my drawer for several years and I finally revised it in my thirties. It was as if I had never set it aside as it was so easy for me to get back into the story. I think we all remember the awkwardness of being a teenager, that pressure of trying to find yourself and fit in. I wanted to get the book into the hands of young readers as I thought it had a strong message about being true to yourself.
Ally: Other than the age of your main character, what makes a YA book different than adult fiction?
STACY: Whether it’s an adult novel or a YA novel, I write about characters at a crossroads in their lives. A fork in the road. My adult characters are more set in their ways and often need to change old patterns or habits before they can move forward. My YA characters are still forming their identities and trying out different personality traits. They are more impressionable and vulnerable to influence from their peers. I think one big difference is that YA authors need to convey the awkwardness and vulnerabilities of adolescence and they need to do it in a way that isn’t condescending. That means the dialogue, narrative and internal thoughts in the book need to be written in a way that teens can relate to. YA authors need to stay on top of trends and have an ear for how teens talk so that the book has a sense of authenticity.
Ally: Tell us about the other types of books you write.
STACY: I have published two adult mystery/romantic suspense novels titled Twenty-Five Years Ago Today and Sink or Swim, and I am finishing up a sweet romance/romantic comedy called Fooling Around With Cinderella. I have also published a couple of children’s picture books illustrated by my father: The Flag Keeper, a patriotic story about flag etiquette, and The Teddy Bear Town Children’s Bundle, a collection of children’s stories. Although I get a lot of ideas for books and stories, there is always one idea that excites me the most. It might be for an adult book, a YA book, or a children’s book. I can’t focus on anything else until I get that idea out of my system.
Ally: How do you choose your main characters and what type of qualities should they have?
STACY: It varies. Kate Langley, the main character in my adult novel, Twenty-Five Years Ago Today, is an obit writer and editorial assistant for a daily newspaper. She is haunted by events from her past and is guilt-ridden until she starts investigating a 25 year old cold case. Kris wants to solve the case and bring justice to the family as a way of redeeming herself from her past mistakes. Along the way, she falls for the victim’s nephew and uncovers long buried secrets. I wanted to write about a newspaper editorial assistant as I once had that job myself. One of my tasks, which Kris shares, was compiling the 25 Years Ago Today column from the microfilm. As I got to know Kris, I found myself intrigued by her and I wanted to tell her story. She is a sympathetic, likable character, but her family is very critical of her and as a result, Kris is extremely critical of herself. I wanted to explore how meeting this other family, the family of murder victim Diana Ferguson, impacts her life and her character growth.
Ally: Before we show readers your books, I have a few quick answer questions:
a. your favorite place to shop: Amazon
b. pantser or plotter – Plotter
c. an item on your bucket list – Spending more time in Europe
d. supernatural ability you'd most like to have – To heal people
e. last movie that made you cry – Toy Story 3
Ally: Thanks so much for visiting, Stacy! Now for the books...
Dark Before Dawn:
Psychic chills and thrills in a deserted Maine beach town. Dawn Christian has been psychic since she was seven years old and has always considered herself an outcast. Even her own mother discourages her talent, so Dawn has kept her abilities quiet and feared a lifetime of loneliness. When she gets involved with a fortuneteller and two teenage girls who share her mysterious perception, Dawn finally belongs to a group. As her intuition strengthens, so does Dawn's self esteem. However, when she learns her new friends may be tied to two freak "accidents" in town, she has an important choice to make....continue developing the talent that makes her special or challenge the only people who have ever accepted her.
This novel is appropriate for 12 and up.
Barnes & Noble
Twenty-Five Years Ago Today:
Should we dig for the truth when Pandora's Box is a coffin of buried secrets? 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, not only does she fall in love with Diana's sexy nephew, but she must also fight to stay off the obituary page herself. A unique blend of literary mystery, cozy mystery, and romantic suspense.
Barnes & Noble
Sony Reader Store