1. What is your favorite Shakespeare play?
This changes with my mood. Today, I think…Macbeth. I just took a long walk in cold, moody woods, and that makes me feel Macbeth-ish.
2. Out of all of Shakespeare’s characters, who do you relate to most?
I have to confess that I don’t relate to any of Shakespeare’s characters at this point in my life. The men are so male and the women, though feisty, are products of a time in which being a woman was a hard, frustrating, often powerless thing to be. I enjoy the heck out of Shakespeare’s work, but it’s the language, drama, and relationships that draw me in, not an affinity with one particular character.
3. It says on your website that you had a lot of careers before you became a writer. Which was your favorite (and least favorite) and how did working all those jobs affect you as an author?
Favorite—working in a traveling improvisational children’s theater group. Something new happened every day, it was fast moving, we got to perform outside, and there were lots of cute kids and silly laughs. Good times.
Least favorite—telemarketer. I lasted three hours. I was hungry enough to try to make that job work, but in the end I couldn’t bear annoying people while they were trying to eat supper.
Each job taught me something different, but cumulatively, the thing I learned from working all of those jobs was to be darn grateful when I settled into a writing career. It feels so good to do a job that fits my personality and makes me feel useful, while challenging me and fulfilling me and allowing me to wake up excited to get down to my office AND provide an income for my family. A job you love is a priceless gift.
About Juliet Immortal:
4. Where did you get the idea for all the mythology in Juliet Immortal, such as the Mercenaries and the Ambassadors?
I wanted an epic battle between good and evil, but I didn’t want to use a religious tradition. I wanted something entirely new that wouldn’t offend legions of people when I played with the idea that the “good” guys might not be so good. (Going to stop there to avoid spoilers.)
5. Which character was the most fun to write about?
Romeo. He’s a cruel, insane character, but there is the seed of a decent human being inside of him. It was great fun to nurture that seed throughout the course of the two books.
6. What can you tell us about Romeo Redeemed? Is Juliet present in it at all?
Romeo’s and Juliet’s fates are intertwined. The decisions Romeo makes in the second book have an affect on Juliet in the past. The only way for them to find their freedom from the supernatural forces that have controlled them for centuries is for them to find it together. (So, yes, Juliet will make an appearance, thought the story is primarily Romeo’s and Ariel’s.)
7. What advice do you have for writers, especially teen writers?
Read, read, read, everything you can get your hands on. And don’t just read bestsellers. Read those, but then branch out and try something different. Be the one who introduces your friends to great new authors. Someday that new author might be you! Also, try to write something every day. Even if it’s just a journal entry. Every bit of practice will help you get better.
8. After having many books published, what do you consider the best part about being a published author?
The email from my readers. When someone enjoys a book of mine enough to hunt down my website and send an email, that means so much. Also, seeing my book on a shelf is still a HUGE thrill. That never gets old.
9. When writing a new novel, do you like to do outlines or do you like to go in blind?
Well, I like to go in blind, but for the past few years I’ve been writing so many books per year that I haven’t had time to go in blind, make mistakes, and potentially have to rewrite large portions of the book. If I did, I would never have made my deadlines. So I’ve ended up outlining pretty extensively, down to a chapter-by-chapter outline in some cases. This year, however, I’m writing fewer books so…who knows. Maybe I’ll let myself wing it and see how things turn out.
10. Are you a fan of e-readers?
I wasn’t able to afford one until this holiday season. My husband and I bought an ipad to share. So far, I’m enjoyed reading on it, but I’m still too nervous to bring it to the gym (where I do most of my reading). I’m afraid I’ll sweat on it or break it and my husband will strangle me for destroying our expensive new toy.
11. Who are some of your favorite authors? How have they inspired you?
Franny Billingsley and Laini Taylor have been a big inspiration for me this year. After reading their books, I’ve felt inspired to play more with my language and find the magic in the words again. I’m having such an amazing time writing my current work in progress. I can’t wait to share more news about that with my readers.
Thanks again, Ms. Jay! Have you guys read any of Stacey's books?