Award-winning writer Stacy Juba is the author of the mystery novel Twenty-Five Years Ago Today and the brand new reality TV show-themed mystery novel Sink or Swim, as well as the patriotic children’s picture book, The Flag Keeper. Her young adult paranormal thriller Dark Before Dawn will be released by Mainly Murder Press in January 2012. You can find out more about her novels on her web site.
Recently, I visited a second grade classroom and spent an hour helping groups of children to write their own adjective booklets. Now and then as an author, I have the opportunity to work with kids, and I always find it an eye-opener.
At first, when I rapped on the table and asked the students to describe the surface, they looked at me as if I were crazy. Then they ventured tentative answers such as “Hard?” “Smooth?” Next, I asked them to describe each other’s shirts, and by this time, they were getting the hang of it. “Pink! Striped! Glittery! Sparkly! Has words on it!” (Okay the last one wasn’t an adjective, but at least they were being descriptive.)
I pointed to the carpet and instantly two girls bellowed “Rough!” We talked about their pets and the kids shared adjectives like playful, gray, lazy and curious. Meanwhile, their classmates completing seatwork kept darting envious glances our way. I felt a little embarrassed that my group was so loud, but I also enjoyed my small role in helping the children to discover the joy and power of language.
My new reality show mystery novel Sink or Swim just came out from Mainly Murder Press and I’m also actively promoting my first mystery book Twenty-Five Years Ago Today and my patriotic children’s picture book The Flag Keeper. I have a young adult paranormal crossover novel due out in 2012 and I’ll be bringing back my out-of print young adult novel Face-Off in the near future.
My to-do list of marketing and promotion tasks is five pages long, and those are just the top priorities. Once I complete those tasks, I’ll make up a new list. What adjectives describe my feelings about being an author? Happy. Exciting. Exhilarating. Overwhelming. Hard. Nerve-wracking. Stressful. Frustrating. Grateful. Determined. Focused.
I haven’t had time to write fiction in awhile as I’m also a wife, mom, and freelance newsletter editor, in addition to being an author. My priority with my novels at this time in my life is to gain as many readers as possible, so that financially I can continue to write more books. Once I catch up on my to-do list, I’ll get back to a regular fiction- writing schedule, but I have a great deal of legwork to do in the meantime.
I’ve been so focused on marketing and selling since publishing my first mystery novel in late 2009 that I had almost forgotten what attracted me to the writing field – a love of words. Working with those children reminded me about the joy and satisfaction of weaving words together into something unique and creative, a sentence, paragraph or novel that only I could write.
To get paid for putting words together on paper and making up stories is remarkable. As a new author, I work hard for those royalties, but it’s worth it. Elementary school kids have two favorite adjectives – awesome and cool. Seeing the excitement on the students’ faces as they created their adjective books made me remember that when I’m in the middle of writing a scene, I feel that exact same energy charge. Promoting myself as an author may be hard work, but it’s also awesome and cool.