22 February 2012

Author Answers with Stacey Jay

So thrilled to be back with an author interview this week and also super thrilled that our special guest is Stacey Jay.

If you missed it on Monday, I posted a review of her newest book -- Blood on the Bayou -- and I'm going back to catch the first book and get myself fully entrenched as a fan of this series.

Stacey Jay at the Voodoo Museum
But now, Stacey herself taking on some questions about writing, books and loving words.

Word Nerd:  Where did the idea for the Annabelle Lee series come from?

 Jay: When I first started brainstorming this concept three years ago, I was living in Arkansas where the mosquitoes are horrendous. You can barely go outside after sundown without getting swarmed. And, of course, being a horror-leaning writer, swatting bloodsuckers made my story-wheels start turning. The original premise was that mosquitoes were biting fairies and then biting people, therefore infecting people with magic and connecting the Fey and human worlds. I was going to call it the Catching Magic series, and it was going to be a young adult project.

But over time--as I continued to brainstorm character and plot--I decided it would be better if the fairies were the creatures doing the infecting. The story got progressively darker from there, and I decided it would be best for series to be written for adults. That gave me the freedom to explore themes I wasn't comfortable exploring in a young adult book. (At least not at that time.)

Word Nerd: What's different about writing for adults than writing for young adults (other than content?)

Jay: For me I'd say it's all about perspective. As adults we feel things deeply, but I think most of us have a sense of our life as journey, with road reaching out in front and back behind. We have good times and bad, but we know that the place where we are right now is only a small part of the journey, and I think that helps adults remain a bit more grounded. As teens, emotions are so immediate and all-consuming, and a dream deferred for a moment can feel like a lifetime. When I'm writing YA, I really try to connect to that part of being a teenager. The stakes are high, and the players are oftentimes not in control of their own destiny (because they are still legally children) and that can whip up some intense feelings.

But I think all of my characters are "coming of age," even the adults. They're just coming to different ages, growing and changing and learning about themselves as the stories progress. I don't ever want to stop growing and I don't want that for my characters, either.

Word Nerd: On your blog, you mention that you're getting back into ballet. How does a hobby like that inspire you as a writer?

Jay: I think art always feeds art. (Adventure feeds art too. I love adventures.) I can't paint or draw to save my life, but going to a museum always inspires me. It makes the words come easier and energizes my creativity. For me, ballet was my first love. I danced from age three until I became pregnant with my first son at twenty-four. Ballet is the first place where I experienced the way discipline and practice (building technique) can lead to increased freedom and creativity (being able to trust the technique and funnel your entire soul into a performance). Ballet was my drug of choice for a lot of years. The high I get from dancing definitely inspires me. My only problem is getting my butt in the chair when I'd rather be off taking another barre class!

Word Nerd: YA has exploded in the past few years. When you were a teen, what were your favorites?

Jay: I loved scary reads from Stephen King (and R.L. Stein when I was younger). I also loved romance and the classics and poetry and plays.

Word Nerd: What's your favorite word and why?

Jay: Maybe. (It leaves room for possibility and I like possibility.)

Word Nerd: What's next for you as a writer?

Jay: Well, after BLOOD ON THE BAYOU, my next young adult book, ROMEO REDEEMED, will be releasing from Delacorte Press in October of 2012. I'm really excited to get that in the hands of readers and see what they think.

Thank you so much for the interview!

You can find Stacey at her website with all kinds of other good stuff and a list of all her books.

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