"Being an author is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum." Graycie Harmon
Friday, February 18, 2011
Stacy Lynn Carroll author of The Princess Sisters -- BOOK GIVEAWAY!
Stacy Lynn Carroll has always loved telling stories. She started out at Utah State University where she pursued a degree in English, learned how to western swing, and watched as many of her fellow students became ‘True Aggies’. She then finished her BA at the University of Utah where she got an emphasis in creative writing. After college she worked as an administrative assistant, where she continued to write stories for the amusement of her co-workers. When her daughter was born, and with the encouragement of a fortune cookie, she quit her job and became a full-time mommy and writer. She and her husband have one daughter and are expecting their second in April. They currently reside in Layton, Utah (which was the inspiration for the setting of this novel). Stacy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What happens when you mix five modern teenagers with five fairytale princesses? Belle, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, and Snow White Princess are cousins (and best friends) stuck with names they're not too fond of...and now together they must face the challenge of getting ready for high school--a world where fitting in is definitely a must. But how will they ever fit in when they're destined to stand out? Or, perhaps more importantly, how will their friendship ever survive when the five Princesses all set their minds on one Prince?
“The Princess Sisters” is a fun, young adult fiction novel about friendship, finding yourself, and learning how to tell apart a prince from a frog. It's geared toward tween and teenage girls, but the pop culture references and themes of boys and friendship can be enjoyed by women of all ages! The book is available through Ecko Books, Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com
Here is my interview with Stacy:
M.B.: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?
Stacy: I always enjoyed writing, English was always one of my favorite subjects in school. Then when I was in ninth grade, I entered a writing contest for some extra credit. Not only did I win at my school and district level, but then my piece went on to state. That’s when I realized this was something I could do.
M.B.: What is your writing and educational background?
Stacy: I’ve won several writing contests from middle school on through college, but this is my first published book. I went to both Utah State and the University of Utah where I got my degree in creative writing.
M.B.: What makes you passionate about writing?
Stacy: I love watching a story come to life! When I get an idea for a book and begin writing, it never ends up where I think it’s going to go. Once I start writing, the characters really come to life for me and I feel like they control the story. I’m merely the messenger, chosen to write it down for them.
M.B.: What was the pathway like for you to get your first book published?
Stacy: Not easy. But then again, it never is. I looked into many publishing companies, but none of them were the right fit. I wanted to be able to keep control over my book, but there were companies who wanted to add inappropriate scenes or language that I felt wasn’t needed in my story. I also was working with a friend on cover design. I knew exactly what I wanted for the cover and wasn’t willing to relinquish that right to a publisher. So after many frustrations, I came across a company called Ecko House Publishing. I had to pay my own printing costs, but I was able to keep the control over my book that I wanted. Ecko has also helped get my book on major distribution lists and in many stores.
M.B.: Were you ever discouraged along the way? If so, how did you deal with it?
Stacy: Yes. The first major edit with my editor was discouraging as she pointed out many things that needed to change. But when I realized she was trying to help make my book the best it possibly could be, I was able to move forward and my book is much better because of it. I was also discouraged with the publishers I was coming across, but I kept pushing myself forward. It may sound silly, but a fortune cookie helped me keep going. When I was in the middle of my book, we had Chinese for dinner one night. My fortune read: “The world will soon be ready to receive your talents.” I taped that fortune to my computer and whenever I was feeling discouraged, I would look at the fortune and remind myself to be patient. The world is almost ready for me, I just need to wait.
M.B.: What is your writing schedule like?
Stacy: Oh boy, that is a good question. Being pregnant, I don’t have a lot of energy right now and don’t write as much as I was. But when my first daughter was born, I would write during naptime and after she went to bed. I try and fit in time to write whenever possible, but don’t keep to a strict schedule. At least not at this time.
M.B.: Where do your ideas come from? How do you know the idea is good enough to write a book about it?
Stacy: Most of my ideas for stories and books have actually come from dreams I’ve had. I usually know it’s good enough for a book if I start writing it and the story carries itself. Sometimes you start writing, and realize the story just doesn’t go anywhere.
M.B.: When did the idea for this book first come to you?
Stacy: My husband and I were driving in the car one day and we got on the topic of baby names. I remembered when I was little, I always wanted to name a daughter Aurora after my favorite princess (Sleeping Beauty). As I got older, I really liked the name Belle, but that doesn’t go well with my last name. Then the idea hit me. What would happen if a mom named all her daughters after fairy tale princesses? How would those girls feel, and how would their names affect their lives? I went home that night and wrote the prologue.
M.B.: What do you hope readers will get from this book?
Stacy: First and foremost, I hope readers will find it entertaining! But I also want readers to know it’s okay to be different and we need to embrace our differences. That’s what makes us individuals. I also talk a lot about dating in my book. I think there are too many girls nowadays who don’t know how they should be treated and they end up settling for complete jerks. I want all girls to know they deserve a prince, who will treat them like a princess.
M.B.: What is your process of brainstorming a story? Do you just sit down and write, waiting to see what happens next? Or do you outline first?
Stacy: I always just dive in and start writing. If I spend time outlining, I end up making lots of changes anyway. I think the characters drive a story more than anything else. I do take notes as I write though, so when ideas for the future chapters come to me, I don’t forget to include them.
M.B.: Do you ever experience a snag in a story, a form of writer's block? If so, how do you deal with it?
Stacy: I definitely do! Most of the time when I hit a block, I step back from the story for a couple days and just take a break. Usually when I come back to it, I find my mind is ready to move forward. If that doesn’t work, I have a friend or some other outsider read a little bit and then I discuss it with them. Usually discussing the story with another person, and having a set of fresh eyes, helps get ideas flowing again.
M.B.: Do you need absolute quiet to write? Do you listen to music when you are writing?
Stacy: It honestly depends on the scene I am working on. If I feel pretty confident in the scene I am writing, I like some music playing quietly in the background. But more difficult scenes or intense moments in the story require silence, otherwise I tend to find myself distracted.
M.B.: What kinds of inspiration do you use during your story creation periods?
Stacy: I find myself people watching more. I watch how people talk to and interact with each other and think how my own characters would react in those same situations. I also draw inspiration from movies. I am an avid movie watcher and like to wonder if my story were made into a movie, who would play each of my characters?
M.B.: Who has made the greatest difference for you as a writer?
Stacy: I can’t pinpoint one specific person, but I have had some writing teachers who helped and inspired me to pursue writing. My husband has also been a great support. He always encourages me and pushes me to work on my books.
M.B.: What’s your secret to making the character’s in your books come to life?
Stacy: I compare my characters to people in my life, or actors in movies and figure out how my characters would react in similar situations. Once the story gets going, I feel like the characters come to life a little on their own. By my telling their story, it makes them come to life.
M.B.: Do you use a critique group during the writing process? Why or why not?
Stacy: I don’t have a group, but I do use individuals who are good at writing and/or editing throughout my writing process to give opinions and help make corrections.
M.B.: What is something about yourself people don’t know?
Stacy: I’m obsessed with the color Pink. I even used to drive a hot pink Nissan Sentra (not a car you would typically find in that color).
M.B.: What is your favorite snack to have while you are writing?
Stacy: It changes daily. But I do enjoy an occasional Coke to sip on while I’m working.
M.B.: What words of advice do you have for other writers who desire to have their manuscripts become books in print?
Stacy: Don’t ever give up! The world will soon be ready to receive your talents too!
M.B.: What are you working on now?
Stacy: Currently I am working on “Frogs and Toads”. That’s the working title for the sequel to “The Princess Sisters”. I am also working on something completely different from YA fiction. I am also writing my father-in-law’s biography. He was in a diving accident at age 18 and became quadriplegic. After the accident, he met his wife, got married, had two kids, graduated from college, and got a steady job. All without the use of his hands or feet. It’s really an inspiring story!
M.B.: Any final words you would like to share
Stacy: Write every day. No matter if it’s one sentence or several chapters. But the consistency will help you in your writing and no matter how long it takes, you will eventually have a completed book.
M.B.: Where can our readers go to find your books and order them?
My greatest claim to fame is my family. I am married to my prince charming and have four awesome children. This year I experienced the joy of becoming a grandmother to my sweet baby girl Halle. I love to travel and I love to write books.