Please Welcome Author Stephanie Judice!

| Thursday, August 16, 2012
As part of Never Too Old for YA Books and my Indie month celebration, I would like to welcome author (and friend!) Stephanie Judice to my blog today. Stephanie is author of:

Title: Rising (Saga of the Setti Book One)
Author: Stephanie Judice
Publication Date: June 28, 2011

You can purchase Stephanie's book at the following locations:

Blurb from Goodreads:
Having waited a millennium to return to the fertile feeding ground of earth, the dark giants break through a portal and storm out into the world in the guise of a massive hurricane—famished and fierce. Across the ocean, seventeen-year-old Gabriel Goddard is being plagued by terrifying nightmares about creatures that singe and burn the flesh then absorb the life energy of humans and devour the ashes. A chance meeting with Clara Dunaway immediately distracts Gabe from bad dreams. He has always had a sort of sixth sense—to feel the emotions of others around him. Clara’s presence numbs his other sense, nearly knocking him into a hypnotic state. Bewildered and fascinated, he is lured in by her. When Clara finally confesses that she has a similar gift to see auras around people, a spark flames between them, ignited by a paranormal force. Fate soon reveals that there is a higher purpose for their attraction. Along with Jeremy, the head-bangin’ metal head; Ben, the air-headed golden boy; Melanie, the kind- hearted Creole; and the old hermit named Homer, they must face this enemy as one. Discovering that they are descended from an ancient clan of Norse warriors, they awaken their dormant powers, preparing for the dark giants' imminent invasion of their home. A shadow of darkness veils the land. Will the Setti rise to fulfill their long-awaited destiny?

And a little about the author:

Having waited a millennium to return to the fertile feeding ground of earth, the dark giants break through a portal and storm out into the world in the guise of a massive hurricane—famished and fierce. Across the ocean, seventeen-year-old Gabriel Goddard is being plagued by terrifying nightmares about creatures that singe and burn the flesh then absorb the life energy of humans and devour the ashes. A chance meeting with Clara Dunaway immediately distracts Gabe from bad dreams. He has always had a sort of sixth sense—to feel the emotions of others around him. Clara’s presence numbs his other sense, nearly knocking him into a hypnotic state. Bewildered and fascinated, he is lured in by her. When Clara finally confesses that she has a similar gift to see auras around people, a spark flames between them, ignited by a paranormal force. Fate soon reveals that there is a higher purpose for their attraction. Along with Jeremy, the head-bangin’ metal head; Ben, the air-headed golden boy; Melanie, the kind- hearted Creole; and the old hermit named Homer, they must face this enemy as one. Discovering that they are descended from an ancient clan of Norse warriors, they awaken their dormant powers, preparing for the dark giants' imminent invasion of their home. A shadow of darkness veils the land. Will the Setti rise to fulfill their long-awaited destiny?

You can visit Stephanie at the following sites:

1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? 
In Ms. Anderson’s 10th grade English class. I’d written a few poems and published in school anthologies, but I’d never written fiction until Ms. Anderson asked us to write a short story. It was like stepping into a beautiful world I never knew existed. All she’d done was ask me to use my imagination and tell a story, but it was the first stepping stone. I will always be grateful to her for opening that door.

2. How long does it take you to write a book? 
This is such a difficult thing to gauge as my writing schedule is very erratic. Being a full-time educator during the year and mother of four, I snatch time when I can to write. That being said, it takes approximately 9 months from beginning to end, give or take time for editing. 

3. What do you think makes a great story?
I think first and foremost, the characters must be compelling and engaging so that we want to follow their journey. The reader must be able to feel some empathy for the hero/heroine and definitely some loathing for the villain. I’m also drawn into a story with alluring imagery that sets the tone and creates a visual image in my mind so that I feel like I could actually be in the author’s world.

4. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
Schedule is an interesting word. That implies there’s a specific routine. As I mentioned before, I’m a time-thief, stealing moments when I can to write. If I have ten minutes before a faculty meeting, fifteen waiting for my kids in car line, or thirty minutes at lunch, then I’m writing a scene for my new novel or organizing plot sequence. I also tend to write late at night when everyone has gone to bed. Something about that heavy silence inspires me.

5. How do you balance family and writing?
Hmmmmm . . . very, very carefully. I actually wrote a blog post on this issue, because it had become such a concern for me. Writing is my passion, but my family is my life. 

6. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
My ideas come from many places—nature and beauty, artwork that moves me, longings in my heart, and some otherworldly place that exists in my head.

7. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books? 

That indescribable moment of holding my first book for the first time. Even better was when I met readers who yearned to talk to me about my characters and seemed to be as immersed in their lives as I was. That feeling of affirmation and the joy of sharing your stories with those who appreciate them was an extremely surprising and wonderfully rewarding moment.

8. How many books have you written? Which is your favourite? 
Well, I’ve written four books, but only published one so far. Soon to be two. I suppose the others were warm-ups in my opinion, but I was also trying to find my genre and what suited my style of writing best. RISING is my favorite as I’ve invested countless hours really getting to know Gabe and Clara and their friends, agonizing over their losses and internal conflicts and discovering what brings them joy. They’ve become like friends to me.

9. Are your characters based on anyone you know?
Well, if you ask my students, they think they’re all based on them. Not true though. I may have one or two characters who resemble some people in my life, but mostly they’re completely fiction, built on what I needed that character to be in order to accelerate the plot and story line and illustrate the theme.

10. Do you have a favourite place you love to write?
My super-comfy chair with ottoman and fleecy blanket. My laptop’s power cord is permanently plugged into the wall behind this chair as I rarely move it. 

11. How hard is it to get published?
Traditional publishing is still a difficult route. However, in this new age of print-on-demand and e-book publishing, the door has opened wide for adventurous authors who dare to take a chance on themselves. This does not mean the road will be easy. In many ways, it will be more difficult if you choose the indie path. You may feel a bit lonely at times navigating the waters. My advice is to keep your head up, stay abreast of marketing trends, be kind and courteous to all those you encounter in the book world, and just like Churchill once said, “Never, never, never give up.”

12. What do your family and friends think about your books?
I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that my husband and friends are quite proud. My kids think it’s cool (especially my 15-year-old, Justin, because the next book will be dedicated to him). But, it’s the reactions of my students that I find so heartwarming. I think when they see me, their not-as-young-as-she-used-to-be teacher, pursuing my lifelong dream and passion, they feel a little inspired themselves. This makes my heart smile.

13. What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I love family movie nights with my husband and four children. (My husband makes amazing, super-buttery home-popped popcorn.) I definitely enjoy reading and hanging out on Goodreads, where I’ve met some fabulous people this summer. I enjoy traveling and meeting new people, seeing new places. I relish quiet moments at home with my husband and a good glass of wine.

14. Do you have any suggestions to help aspiring writers better themselves and their craft? If so, what are they? 
The one thing that has been invaluable for me is my writing group. We meet on a regular basis every two weeks, which keeps me committed to my writing timeline. I recommend that all aspiring writers seek out at least one writing partner who has an understanding of good characterization, plot and pacing, effective dialogue, and realistic world-building. Also, you should find someone you trust and you know will give you honest feedback to help you hone your craft. We all need praise to know what we’re doing well, but we also need to know our weaknesses if we are ever going to strengthen them.

Another recommendation is to read in the same genre you are writing in. Writers must be readers, too, to learn the subtleties of the craft.

Last advice: keep writing. There have been times when I wanted to stop writing, because I always feared I would be the only one to ever read it (besides a few close friends). Just remember that tenacity is key. Writers, and all artists, are driven by the compulsion to create. So, my advice is to follow that impulse and keep writing.

15. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? 
I hate to be the cliché, but I did want to be a writer—a journalist or an author. I remember I started to write a book about a girl and her horse when I was around 8 years old, but I didn’t get past the cover page illustration. (It was a cute cover though.)

16. What are your favourite books and which authors inspire you?
My favorites are:
• Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, because Jane is a strong, unassuming heroine who ignores class barriers and Victorian society to follow her heart. The happily-ever-after is wonderfully surprising after all she endures. Now, that is a good story.
• J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, because the fate of the world lies in the hands of one small, seemingly insignificant person. (You might see a pattern; I’m a fan of the underdog.)
• J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, specifically the last two books. Rowling inspires me, because she emerged from humble beginnings. To me, she represents all those unknowns who write to express emotions and ideas in a fictional world to reach out to the hearts of readers. However, I don’t believe one needs to achieve nearly her level of success to be considered successful. If you’re a writer, you’ll write no matter what, and good things will come.

17. For an aspiring writer what do you feel are certain do's and don’ts for getting their material published?
Do’s:
• Listen to advice from those with experience.
• Edit, revise, then edit again.
• Be sure to have someone with experience in editing to proofread your final manuscript before you send to anyone.
• Read articles on market trends in publishing and publicity, whether you’re going the traditional or the indie route.
• Be positive.
• Be tenacious.
• Have patience.

*I think I covered the Don’ts in my Do-list. I’m a glass half-full kind of girl.

18. What are you working on now?
I’m finishing up the second book in the Setti series, RESISTANCE, which will be released this October. I’ve also started a new novel, a demon hunter paranormal romance, set in New Orleans. I’m looking forward to working on this new novel, because it has a raw, edgy feel that will be fun to write. It’s also very different than the Setti series, which gives my kooky brain new things to conjure up. Such fun!


Thanks so much for stopping by, Stephanie!

6 comments:

  1. Thanks for the interview! The author and girl on her cover could be twins! :) The book sounds great, too! Thanks for highlighting it, Brooke! :)

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  2. Great interview, although I am now obsessing about that popcorn! (You do look about 19 in that photo!)

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  3. Holy cow! Thank you for the compliments. There's just a wee bit of an age difference. *Wink, wink.*
    Seriously, she could be my daughter. Thank you for taking the time to read the interview. Much appreciated!

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  4. Awesome interview!! Can't wait till October!!!

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