I write mysteries, romance and contemporary fiction for adults, teens and children. All of my characters, no matter what the genre or audience for the book, are at a crossroads in their lives - a fork in the road. The theme of my website is Characters at a Crossroads. I've been writing stories since childhood and also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. I love to read books as much as I love to write them!
What was your first book?
My first published adult novel was the mystery/romantic suspense book Twenty-Five Years Ago Today, about Kris Langley, an obit writer who stumbles across a 25-year old unsolved murder. She becomes obsessed with solving it and during her investigation, she falls for the victim's nephew. I enjoyed writing this book as it draws upon my newspaper background as well as my interest in Greek mythology. Diana Ferguson, the murder victim, was an artist inspired by mythology and there are clues to the mystery in her paintings.
Describe your first break.
My first break came when I was 17 years old. I had written a young adult novel called Face-Off, about battling teenage brothers who are forced to co-captain the same high school hockey team. I entered it in a contest for teenage writers and it won the contest, so it was published by a major publisher. I recently re-issued it over 20 years later, and it is available in print, e-book and audiobook formats. Hearing the book I wrote as a teenager narrated as an audiobook over two decades later was a really neat experience.
What is your favorite genre to read? To write?
My favorite genres, both to read and write, are cozy mystery, romantic suspense, sweet romance and romantic comedy. I find those genres perfect for entertaining, escape reading.
What makes a protagonist interesting?
I think it's important to have a flawed protagonist. In real life, people aren't perfect, so characters shouldn't be perfect either. They should make mistakes and grow in some way by the end of the book or through the course of a series. I like to place my characters at a fork in the road where they can either continue in the same familiar direction, going nowhere, or find the courage to venture into a new direction. For example, Cassidy in my mystery novel Sink or Swim is a personal trainer who competes on a reality show. Once the reality show ends and she loses, she needs to decide whether she will finally pursue her dream of going into business for herself, and also take a chance on romance, or keep working around the clock for a boss who goes against her values. I think what makes characters interesting is that decisions aren't easy for them. It's nerve-wracking to make big changes in real life, and it's nerve-wracking in my books also.
What is the best thing about being a writer?
It's hard to pick just one as I love the whole experience. The best things are being able to work from home, write the stories that excite me, and hang out online with other authors who are pursuing the same dream.
What is the worst thing?
The worst thing is seeing a bad review. I understand that one book cannot please everyone and I respect when someone takes the time to tell what they liked about the book and what they didn't in a fair way. It is frustrating when someone writes a review in an insulting way where they attack the author. Just because a reader doesn’t like a book doesn’t mean that no one else will or that an author should be ridiculed.
Pantser or plotter?
I am definitely a plotter. I write a thorough outline and refer to it as I write each chapter. It isn't written in stone, though. Sometimes I will change things or expand upon a scene, and if that affects the story line in an upcoming chapter, I'll just make notes in the margin.
What do you see the direction of your future writing taking? What can we expect next? Give us a little taste.
I have been finishing up a romantic comedy/sweet romance novel about a theme park Cinderella, called Fooling Around With Cinderella. It's almost done and I can't wait to share it with readers. I plan to write some short stories and novellas featuring minor characters from the book. I also have a mystery novel in progress, called Sign of the Messenger, about a psychic healer who is tracking a serial killer. I always thought the latter novel would be the start of a series, but lately I have felt like writing something lighter, hence the theme park romances.
Just for fun
Cat or dog person?
Cat! I love my cat.
Chocolate chip cookies with walnuts.
The Harry Potter series.
Return of the Jedi.
Favorite vacation destination (you just have to want to go there)
Disney World. My husband and I have been to the Disney parks in Florida, California and Paris.
Should we dig for the truth when Pandora's Box is a coffin of buried secrets? For twenty-five years, Diana Ferguson's killer has gotten away with murder. When rookie obit writer and newsroom editorial assistant Kris Langley investigates the cold case of the artistic young cocktail waitress who was obsessed with Greek and Roman mythology, not only does she fall in love with Diana's sexy nephew, but she must also fight to stay off the obituary page herself. A unique blend of literary mystery, cozy mystery, and romantic suspense. Get in on the secret - join thousands of readers in discovering who killed Diana Ferguson.
Cheryl came up behind Kris. Her voice sounded sad and tired. "Please don't tell my mother too much, even if you're making progress. I don't want to raise her hopes."
Kris glanced back at Irene, who hunched on the couch, turning the locket over in her hand. "I'll be careful with what I say. My aunt would've been eager, too."
"How was your cousin killed?"
"She was strangled, kidnapped by a neighbor while walking alone. We were twelve."
Cheryl heaved a sigh. "I'm sorry. I remember reading about that. It happened locally, didn't it?"
"I know you're a terrific writer. I couldn't have been happier with the business story. I'm just concerned about my mother."
"I understand," Kris said. "I won't let you down."
She trudged out to her car and brushed off her windshield. She waited behind the steering wheel as the defroster warmed the interior. Not knowing Diana's whereabouts must have tormented Irene. Kris's family had agonized over Nicole's disappearance. As one day blended into the next, Nicole had seemed further and further away.
Finding her was worse.
Kris had learned a new phrase that May, a litany that surged back into her mind, drumming to the beat of the windshield wipers. If only.
If only it hadn't rained the afternoon Nicole had disappeared.
If only she hadn't climbed into the car with Randolph Coltraine.
If only Aunt Susan had been home when Nicole called for a ride.
Kris swallowed the metallic taste in her mouth. If only I didn't trick her.
She chose the long route home, driving fast. She hadn't driven in New York and had forgotten the thrill of a climbing speedometer. Her first week back, she'd landed a speeding ticket.
Kris skidded onto the Fremont State College campus, her tires kicking up tufts of snow. She passed dorms, tennis courts and the library before parking in front of the deserted baseball field. White trees cast shapeless shadows across the broad expanse of snow.
A chunk of ice slid off the roof, hitting the front window. Kris jumped, her hand to her heart.
"No one's out there," she murmured, gazing into the woods. "Not now."
Beyond those trees, Diana had lain dead.
Police had crowded the scene, their search over.
Middle-aged reporter Dex Wagner had scribbled in his notebook.
Twenty-five years ago today.
Social media: Website: http://stacyjuba.com/blog/
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