Gail's Book Nook

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Looking Out the Window: Best Selling Author Staci Stallings Talks about Her New Book, True Power & Real Peace, and Her Writing

Welcome, Staci. Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm a stay-at-home mom with three kids, a husband, and a writing addiction. At least that's where it started out.  Then God took it beyond my imagination, and in the last year, I became a #1 Best Selling author! 

Fantastic! Congratulations! Lots of writers were avid readers as children. Were you?
When I was very young (3 and 4), my grandmother kept me during the day.  She had a stack of about 10 books that we cycled through, reading before naptime.  My favorite was always Cinderella.  When I got into junior high, I got hooked on The Sweet Dreams teen romance books.  I read them, collected them, re-read them, and pretty much wore them out.  The first one has the cover hanging on by one little strip of glue.

Ah yes. Those are the best kind. Tell us about your books. What's your latest about?
The very latest book I put out is called True Power & Real Peace.  That book took me by complete surprise.  In fact, I had over half of it written before I knew I was writing it.

How?  Well, I was writing a romance novel called A Light in the Darkness and in it, the hero reads this book about God and His role in a life.  The problem was I knew I was going to have to use extended tracks of this book.  I couldn't take those from an already written book by someone else, so I figured I'd have to write the "book" he was reading myself.

After A Light in the Darkness was written, that little "book" intrigued me, so I wrote it too, never thinking it would be published.  When A Light in the Darkness came out, I had several readers write to ask where they could get a copy of "True Power" because they'd been looking and looking for it and couldn't find it.  That's when I decided to publish it as well.

How interesting, so that's what inspired you to write this particular book?
Yes, like I said, it was more of a practical matter than really deciding to write it.  As to where the inspiration came from for the wording, I really believe this is one of the deepest and most personal pieces I've ever written from a non-fiction standpoint.  In fact, I'm not totally sure some people will "get it," so it was a bit intimidating to put out there.  It really is how I live every day with God as my best friend.

In three words describe your style of writing.

How do you get to know your characters?
Most of the time this is not a problem because they simply won't leave me alone.  They show up when I'm driving to talk to me.  They wake me up in the middle of the night, sure they have to work out this issue right now or they won't have the courage in the morning.  In 30+ novels, there have only been about three characters I had to WORK to get to really know because they were so closed on life that they simply wouldn't open up.  The others... sometimes it would be nice if they didn't want to be known quite so adamantly.

What is your writing schedule and where do you write?
 In a word... chaos.  No writing teacher on the planet would advise a student to try to write the way I do.  I wouldn't even advise it, but somehow it works.  First off, I don't "write" on any schedule.  The last thing I wrote on a romance novel was 8 months ago.  I wrote 80 pages in two days and haven't touched it since.  I will write one book, then a month later, pick up in the middle of another.  Right now I think I have around 8 books in various stages of being written.

Now in my defense, I don't just write novels anymore.  I write blogs and marketing info.  I edit for myself and others, I revise my blog/site and commission and manage cover creation.  I send out formatting of the next book, do free days and advertising.  Not to mention that I have my own writer's group, Grace & Faith and I'm working on an exciting new project with two friends.

As for where I write, it is equally chaotic.  I have a desk that's about to avalanche on me and stacks of "stuff" everywhere.  Again, in my defense, I do all the bookkeeping for my husband's company, our family, and my business.  I have a house, three kids, a dog, and five cats.  I teach Sunday School and direct plays for VBS.  I also do fundraising for my kids' schools.  So life for me is pretty much doing whatever God sets in front of me at the moment and not being worried about what He doesn't--otherwise, I would be completely crazy by now!

Do you have to juggle writing with a job, family responsibilities or other obligations? How do you balance it?
I can't.  God can.

When I really "got" that, my life changed.  Before, I was trying to do everything and feeling like a total failure.  However, when God really took hold of my life and I surrendered to Him leading and doing things through me, I found complete peace in the midst of the storm.  I understood that with God there will be time for everything that HE believes is important.  So I can let go of thinking I have to do it all.  Instead, I do what He tells me to do at a given moment, and put the rest in His very capable hands.

That's how I "balance."

Does your faith affect your writing? How?
Absolutely.  My faith is simply my friendship with God.  When I write, it's less me writing and more Him dictating to me what happens, what the characters say and do, and how the book is to be.  It's often like walking a tightrope because half the time I don't even see what's going on.  I might get glimpses and glimmers of where God is going with this, but ultimately, I just have to give up thinking I'm writing it and let Him go for it through me.

In the writing itself, with most of the books if you took the thread of God out, you wouldn't have much of a story.  In fact, my readers often comment that they learned something that changed their life--they didn't just spend a few hours reading a good book.
That's really cool to me!

If you could interview any character in one of your books which one would it be? What shocking thing might that character say? Why?
Hmm.  I'd love to meet with several of them.  Ashton from Cowboy; Kalin from Lucky; and Keith from Deep in the Heart all come to mind.  What do I think they would say?  "Thank you for helping me work things out and finally be at peace." Because I think that's mostly what I do, give my characters a place to work out what they are struggling with, to find peace, and ultimately to find God Himself.  Through their "lives on paper," they are then able to help the readers do the same thing.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Thanks to all of my readers--new and old!  God must love me a lot to have given me YOU!

About True Power and Real Peace
Why is life so very difficult? Can anything make it any easier? Why do some people get all the breaks, and I'm always struggling?

Now, from #1 Best Selling Christian author, Staci Stallings, learn the secrets to living with True Power and Real Peace-- no matter what storms come up in your life! Stop struggling. Start living.
Learn the importance of taking "this step." Learn how to work with God's Will instead of against it. Learn how to live with the Source as your strength instead of trying to get strength from resources that are bound to fail.

Every page is packed with deep insights and real life solutions to your deepest problems. Be a better parent, a better friend, a better you!

Today can truly be the day to start on your path to True Power & Real Peace!

Buy True Power & Real Peace on Amazon

Visit Staci on her blog
Follow Staci on Twitter @StaciStallings
Visit her facebook page


Jo said...

Looks like I am the first one to sign here. Loved your interview! This book sounds awesome.


Finbar said...

A book from a book... interesting thought. Obviously your daily activities show that writing can be done on a strict schedule or as time permits, a subject of much debate. Keep up the production more good things will happen !

Ada Brownell said...

Love the cover to the new book. I enjoy having Staci as a guest on my blog. Her posts always have a large number of hits because she writes about spiritual problems and challenges everyone faces.
The posts are so helpful her posts continue to have hits months afterward.

Miss Mae said...

Hi Staci,

It's nice to meet you, and to learn that your love of reading/writing came from as a child being read to. I'll always remember curling up with my Mom as she recanted the tales of The Three Little Pigs and Goldlilocks. :) We never forget precious moments like that, do we?

Wishing you much success (and at #1 Best Selling Author, that's awesome!).

Anonymous said...

Thanks to everyone who came to 'meet' me! I pray blessings and peace for all of you in the New Year! Thanks for having me, Gail!

God bless you all!

Gail Pallotta said...

It was my pleasure, Staci.