Our next featured author for NaNoWriMo is local author Stacey Horan. Stacey is no stranger to the Jacksonville Public Library; she has held many writers' workshops at various library branches, has attended Jax Book Fest for the past three years and has been a guest on our podcast, Completely Booked. Today she joins us as part of our NaNoWriMo series talking about how she uses the library to help her write her books.
#1. When did you decide to become a writer? How long have you been writing?
I came to writing later in life, and I wish I had started sooner. I began writing about sixteen years ago. I needed a creative outlet as a counterbalance to my job, so I started writing stories. I wrote whenever I had a few minutes of free time, which wasn’t very often. The first book I started writing took me twelve years to finish. When I published my first book, I decided to keep going. I currently have five books published with more on the way.
#2. What is your writing style?
My writing relies heavily on imagery and dialogue. I’ve written stories in first-person and third-person, depending on what fits the story better, but my preference is for first-person. Also, I tend to write about things that scare me. Some of those things may frighten lots of people. Others may scare only me. Either way, I find that writing about those things makes them a little less scary for me—and hopefully for my readers as well. I write young adult thrillers set in modern day, albeit with some sort of twist (such as ghosts, a parallel universe or magical objects), and I find inspiration in the places I’ve lived and the books I loved to read as a kid.
#3. How have you used the library for your writing?
Participating in the Jax Book Fest for the past three years has been great fun. I have hosted two author panels for the JPL, given two author talks and been a guest on the JPL Completely Booked podcast. Last February, I had the honor of accompanying Chris Boivin, Assistant Director of Community Relations and Marketing, on the local morning news shows to promote the Jax Book Fest and their support of local authors.
#3. Do you have a muse or something that inspires you to write?
It is easy enough to find inspiration for stories, but I never start writing as soon as I get an idea. I don’t even bother to write down those early ideas. I’ve learned that, if an idea is good and worth my investment of time and energy, it will stick around in my head and continue to grow and develop. Once the story begins to play out in my head, much like a movie, then I know it’s time to start writing. Usually, the first words of my stories don’t get written until several years have passed since the spark of an idea first came to me.
#4. What is one thing you like about writing, one thing you hate about writing, and an author you follow?
There is a lot to love about writing (so I can’t pick just one thing): I love when readers tell me they’ve enjoyed my books; I love when teachers tell me they’ve discussed my books in their classes; I love talking to other authors (both aspiring and published) about craft; and I love the magic of taking something that only exists in my mind and putting it on the page so that it can exist for others. On the flip side, there isn’t much I hate about writing. But, I confess that I do get nervous talking about my books. I am not very good at marketing and self-promotion, but I am trying to get better. I follow a number of authors who I think do a wonderful job of connecting with their readers (again, I couldn’t pick just one): Leigh Bardugo, Sandhya Menon and Karin Slaughter are some of my favorites.
Stacey Horan left her career as a corporate lawyer to become an award-winning author of young adult novels. Her works include Sycamore Lane, Inland and The Elixir Vitae Adventures series. She also hosts a podcast called The Bookshop at the End of the Internet, which is dedicated to helping book lovers discover new authors. Visit Stacey at her website at www.staceyhoran.com or on social media at @staceyleehoran.