Wednesday, December 5, 2012

{Writer Wednesday} with Staci Stallings

Staci Stallings, todays featured {Writer Wednesday} author, is a #1 Best Selling Contemporary Christian Romance author and the founder of Grace & Faith Author Connection.  I am so honored to have her on my blog this morning!  

Staci also has a special surprise for you today ...

Her novel Cowboy is FREE on Kindle todayMake sure you head on over to Amazon *click HERE* to get your copy!

  "One of the most gripping contemporary romances I've read in the past three years."  
--Michelle Sutton, Amazon Top 1,000 Reviewer

Author Interview | Staci Stallings

You and Writing
Tell us a little bit about yourself:  How did you start writing?  What has kept you writing?
I'm a stay-at-home mom with a writing addiction. At least that's where it started. In the last year that writing addiction has snowballed me onto the best sellers list which is totally a dream come true.  However, it took 16 years to get here, so there was no "overnight success" to it.  Why did I write for 16 years with no guarantee of anything?  Because writing is like breathing to me.  I love it.  It sustains me.  It gives me something to think about other than laundry and dishes and who has to be where when.  It gives me sanity! 

  Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written?  If so, why?
I love them all for different reasons.  The one that's free right now, Cowboy, is really special to me.  It was the 5th one I wrote (I've now written 31 full length novels), and the one I wrote right before I started pursuing publishing.  There is just something about that story--the down-on-her luck waitress, the handsome country music star who neglects to mention that part when they meet.  It's one I could read again and again and still get that really good feeling of a romance that changes two people for the better.

If published, what was the hardest thing about publishing?  The easiest?
I am a self-published indie, which is cooler now than it used to be.  I think the hardest thing about being indie is just the sheer amount there is to do.  With 20+ books out now, it takes constant effort to keep all the balls in the air--marketing, publishing, covers, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, writing, editing...  There's never a dull moment.  And maybe in a strange way that's the best thing too.  I tend to get bored really easily, so having this massive amount helps keep me very focused and out of trouble. :)

Your Writing
   Tell us a little bit about your book or what you’re working on currently? Why are you/did you write it?
Right now I'm actually editing the first book I ever wrote. A friend of mine wants to read it, so I'm polishing it up and trying to decide if I want to put it out.  It's a really great story, but it's funny now going back because when I wrote it in 1995, there was no such thing as contemporary Christian romance.  So it's really interesting to see how I was trying to be who I was (a Christian who loves romance) while writing what I thought I had to write to be even in the realm of marketable with characters who think nothing of sex before marriage.  Now, with a following and firmly planted in the Christian realm, I'm having to figure out how to rewrite this story to keep the integrity of it but lose some of the less-than-perfect Christian issues.

Do you have a favorite character?  If so, why?
You know, I love all of them, but I've had more people say that I'm a lot like Beth in Cowboy.  I think that's a great compliment because she has such a kind and generous heart.  She so wants to help this bedraggled stranger who shows up in the middle of the night, seeking shelter from a storm.  She is who I aspire to be.

 What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?

You don't know.  You don't know what someone else is going through.  You don't know the whole story.  You don't know how much heartache they are carrying. You don't know how much they need someone to believe in them.  You just don't know... And so treat everyone with great compassion and gentleness.  Because you just don't know.

 Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters?  Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
Most of them come from dreams.  That's where Cowboy came from.  I dreamt I was with this country singer and although it felt like we knew each other, I could tell how reticent I was about being there.  It was like I knew someone different rather than this guy who was sitting there pouring his heart out to me.  When I woke up, I started asking questions about how we got there, how I knew him but didn't really, and the rest of the story started dropping in like pieces in a puzzle.

   When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories?
To tell the story God gives me to tell.  Honestly that is my only goal.  I didn't start out thinking these would be published.  I started out wanting to capture the stories that came to me in dreams, the ones that felt like they were glued to my heart until they slipped off into oblivion because I couldn't remember them anymore.  As it progressed, I really realized that these weren't just my stories, they were stories God was giving me, showing me, and I determined that I would write them to the best of my ability with Him guiding me. 

For the most part, I let the stories be what they are, and when I release them, I believe God will work out who they are supposed to go to and how.  He's done a great job of that so far.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
Write from your heart.  Write what God gives you to write.  When I first started, there was no such thing as Contemporary Christian romance.  It was ALL historical.  But God had a plan.  Had I tried to figure out what to write from the world's perspective, I would have missed all God had in store for me.  So write what's on your heart, and let God work out the details after that.

What is your favorite snack to eat when writing?
Unless I'm in crazy-marketing mode and eat lunch in my office, I don't really snack when I'm writing.  My fingers are too busy trying to keep up with my brain. :)

  What is your favorite Christmas song?
Silent Night.  No question.  It speaks so eloquently to the quietly earth-shattering miracle that happened that night so long ago.

What is your favorite thing about the Christmas season?
Family.  I just love being with my family--my husband, my kids, and my extended families.  Just getting together, hanging out, laughing together, making memories... Now I'm gonna cry... :)

Thank you Staci for such an encouraging interview!  I can tell that you love what you do and the best part is your commitment to do it for God's glory!  

Want to connect with Staci? 

And don't forget to head over to Amazon right now and get your copy of Cowboy

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