A stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from. Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again. Every title is a new adventure! That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading. Although she lives in Amarillo, Texas and her main career right now is her family, Staci touches the lives of people across the globe every week with her various Internet endeavors including:
Books In Print, Kindle, & FREE on Spirit Light Works:
Connect with Staci on her blog
Spirit Light Books--The Blog
Follow Staci on Twitter @StaciStallings
Come on over for a visit…
You’ll feel better for the experience!
Where do you turn when the watching eyes are everywhere? Where do you go when no place is safe? Who do you turn to when saying anything could get someone killed? Who can you trust when “they” could be anyone?
Robyn Lockhart liked her simple but predictable life in the small Iowa town she grew up in. But when her mother moves them to the big city, Robyn has no choice but to brave the tumultuous high school she’s thrust into. Then, with barely a blink and as an outsider looking in, Robyn begins asking questions that no one seems willing to face. Is it possible to stay silent while simultaneously shouting from the rooftops that something is deadly wrong? And if you shout, beyond those watching every move you make, who will even hear?
99 cents at: Purchase Link for The Price of Silence on Kindle
99 cents at: Purchase Link for The Price of Silence on Nook
Staci, thank you for sharing. Sounds like a very intriguing book!
My second grade teacher, who I adored, told me I was a great writer after I finished a story about Rudolph the Red Nosed-Reindeer. Since I thought she hung the moon, of course, I decided I was going to be a writer. I’m sure there was some natural talent and enjoyment there already, but that was when I knew writing was for me. And I never looked back. In high school, I did writing contests—ready writing and two types of journalism. I thought I would be a journalist, but in college, I realized that wasn’t for me.
So I taught English for three years and then quit to have my family. At home with a baby and thousands of hours on my hands, I turned back to writing—this time doing novels. That was in ’96, and I’ve been at it ever since.
What was the inspiration for your latest work of fiction?
My newest book is called “The Price of Silence.” When I was student teaching, a student brought a gun to the classroom right next to me and threatened two other students during class by showing it to them. It was only in talking with the other student teacher that I found out about it. That made me wonder how many other guns and dangers there were at school that I didn’t know about. Then when I was teaching for real, I had a gun brought to my own class though I didn’t know about it until later. It was hidden in a backpack, and the student showed it to another student during the following class.
In the second incident, a student of mine saw the gun during the next class and told the administration. The handling of it from there forward was pitiful. It was as if no one had any kind of plan. The student who alerted authorities was threatened and eventually left school. Two years later the student who brought the gun was on trial for murder. I just always thought, “What happens to kids in that situation? What do you do when you know something bad is happening? Who do you tell? And what if you tell but they don’t do anything about it? Where does that leave the student?”
That’s where “The Price of Silence” started.
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
For the most part, my characters come from my imagination. I do use real actors and actresses though. I find it easier if I have someone to watch and look at. When I start a book, I pull a bunch of photos off of the ‘net. I will put together ProShow “trailers” combining music with those photos. These jog things in my mind like the actor’s fashion sense. What does he wear? What does he look good in? T-shirts? Pin-stripes? Of course, this has to fit the character, but most of the time the two are a mesh.
Further, with an anchor character (the dominant of the hero or heroine), I will watch movies with that person in it or concerts if it’s a musician. I watch for mannerisms and little things—a favorite piece of jewelry, a particular color, the way they smile—things like that. Then I try to incorporate those into the story. For example, one musician I followed would “roll” his wristband during interviews. I realized it was his “tell” that he was nervous. So I put that into his character.
I try not to use too many real people from my real life. If I do and it’s obvious, I get their permission because I’d hate for them to realize it was them and then see their character get smashed in a car wreck or something. They might think I was wishing that on them.
How do you go from an idea for a book to the birth of the story? Is the process the same for every book you write? How long does it take you to write a book?
I have written 30 novels. No two of them have been just alike. Some sit in my brain and “stew” for months, sometimes even years. Others I get the idea or have a dream, and the next morning I’ve written 12 pages. I used to stress out about that lack of consistency, but I don’t any more. Now I just know that every book is going to be God asking me to trust Him again. Every book, like every person, will have its own personality. If I had a method, I would try to force everything into that method. For me, that just doesn’t work. I have to let God do it the way He wants to and trust that it’s going to work.
Every book is also different in how long it takes me to write it. The fastest I’ve ever written one was 30 days. That was like lightning. There was one I wrote in 7 years. That was like molasses, but when I got to the end of that one, I knew why God had me wait. I didn’t know the pieces God gave me along the way. Had I forced it, it would not have been the same book and it would not have led right into the 2nd and 3rd book the way it naturally did.
I have one right now that I’ve been working on for about 10 years. Will it ever be done? Good question. I hope so. But I just keep taking the steps God asks me to take trusting He’s going to get me where I’m supposed to be going.
Very inspirational outlook. I totally agree about trusting God to give you the stories and help inspire you. Are you currently working on any new book projects?
I’m usually working on around six new books at a time. But the one I’m most into at the moment is about a writer who falls for a coffee waitress. When we first meet Jake McCoy, he is stashed in the corner of a coffeehouse working on his newest book. I knew immediately that this guy was a loner. He lives in New York City but has no friends. He wears a dark, woolen coat and talks to no one. The waitress and her co-worker have been fascinated with him. Liz takes the first step by trying to strike up a conversation. It is very slow going from there.
However, as I wrote this book, I began to realize there was more to Jake’s reticence than just being a loner. There was a reason he was a loner. It was when he refused to let me see what was on his laptop that I began to know there was more to the story. About the same time I was working on the beginning of this story, my son was diagnosed with dyslexia. When I got back to my story, it hit me. Jake was dyslexic! Sure enough, I had written about 50 pages that only made sense with this piece that I hadn’t even known when I started.
This story has been fun and challenging because I’m writing the story Jake is writing inside of writing the story I’m writing. That’s been interesting.
Sounds very interesting. What is your favorite work of literary fiction and why? Do you have a favorite literary author?
I am not going to say I’m a big fan of the wording and writing of Shakespeare, but his grasp of human proclivities is spot on. The problem with Shakespeare is that teachers don’t always understand it and those that do love to get into the poetry of the words. That’s okay, but for me, I love the stories. I love the understanding of how “insane” a person can look when they are trying to make sense of a life that doesn’t make sense like in Hamlet. Or a “friend” who is using the friendship against you like in Othello. Or how when you go with ambition, you can be led to become a destructive person which then imbeds in your soul so that you can’t “get it out” like in Macbeth.
Shakespeare understood people. He got how people act and react based on what they know rather than on what’s actually real. This causes so much tragedy sometime devolving into madness. He wrote about broken people, people who were trying to make sense of life but failing miserably. The only thing I wish he would have added in is where God would fit into all of this human tragedy. That’s what I try to do with those same broken people.
What’s your writing schedule like? When do you find time to write?
Chaos ordered by God. I don’t have a schedule at all. With three kids, a husband, two businesses, a house, two large extended families, two schools, friends, and a church, my life to anyone looking in would amount to complete chaos. Add to all of that, I help other authors with editing and learning. Plus I do marketing for the books that are out, and I write a blog twice a week... So there are no two days that are the same. I may write 30 pages in a day and then not write again for a month. I have six books going, so I don’t always even work on the same one consecutively.
For me, I write when I write, and I write what God leads me to write at any one time. I have found that God will all of a sudden give me an hour or so to write, and I do. But it’s all on His timing not mine. You would think this would be impossible, that it would make me crazy, but I’ve found it much more peaceful than trying to force anything to work. When I tried to schedule, I was stressed out all the time because my schedule never worked. So now, I go where God is working, knowing He’s working there because that’s where He leads me.
Great plan to go where God leads. Always trying to do the same. How have your friends and family received your career as an author? Are they supportive?
My friends are extremely supportive. I also have several young readers—in my daughter’s high school class—who are beyond supportive. In fact, they read the last book I wrote as I wrote it! That’s what I’ve found… my friends who are readers push me. They want to read the next book. They have their favorites, and they will die on a hill for those favorites. My latest book “The Price of Silence” is one of those. I have a friend who has bugged me for five years to put this one out. It was her that made sure this one got out.
I have another friend who read the very first book I wrote back in ’96. Every time she sees me, she asks when I’m going to put that one out!
My oldest daughter just started reading my books in January, and she devoured one a week for about two months. While she and her friends were then reading the book I was writing as I was writing it, she came home one day. I had written 20 pages that day. She said, “What?! Only 20 pages? Come on, Mom. Can’t you write any faster than that?” I guess you would call that supportive.
Love it! Staci, thanks so much for stopping by today. I enjoyed chatting with you and learning more about you and your books.