Interview with Staci Bailey

Posted on September 12, 2013

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Tonight I am so pleased to bring to you the amazing Staci Bailey! She has been so supportive of me throughout my journey and I am so thankful that the literary world introduced me to her!

Today is her son’s 8th birthday!!!

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Do you write under any other names? No. Darn, maybe I should’ve come up with an exotic pen name. Hmmm….

What are you currently working on? I am working on a couple of different projects. The details aren’t final yet, but the title of one of them is Good and Wild. I am working on a series, as well, called the D.U.F.F. Diaries. I have a tendency to have writing ADD. I can’t make up my mind which story to finish first.

How many (if any) books do you have published and what are their titles? I haven’t published anything yet. I hope I can soon, though!

What inspired you to write your first book?  Whew, this one is hard to answer. I’ve had a life filled with a lot of heartache, death and craziness. For many years, I wondered why all of these bad things kept happening to me. Rather than be depressed, or give up, I decided to use my life as inspiration for my books. I’ve known since I was a child that I wanted to write. All throughout school, I wrote plays, short stories and poems. Every teacher I ever had, along with all of my friends and family, always told me that I should write a book. However, life got in the way. I was busy taking care of family members, being a wife and raising my son. One day, I decided it was time to fulfill my dreams.  To be honest, Jasinda Wilder, one of my favorite authors, inspired me to start writing again. I read her book, Big Girls Do It Better, and loved it. I proceeded to read the entire series (in two days, might I add). Then I read Falling Into you. I had to let her know how much I loved her books, so I contacted her on Twitter. It led into a conversation in which I found out she, too, had a busy life but she has five children. I only have one. At that moment, I thought “What the hell have I been doing with my life?” I asked her how she did it. I said “How did you manage to come out with so many books, with everything else you have going on?” Then I asked her what advice she could give to me, to which she replied “My best suggestion is to write. Write every day”. Those nine little words truly changed my life. I followed her advice. I’ve been writing ever since. Don’t get me wrong, my life is still getting in the way; but now, I make time for me. It’s time for MY stories to be shared with the world.

Do you have a specific writing style or one that you prefer? If I had to name my writing style, I would call it “Staci Style” because as with everything else in my life, it is chaotic. I have started six different books. Every time an idea, or a character, comes to me, I write it down. So my writing folder looks chaotic.

How did you come up with the title of your book(s)?  The title Good and Wild is a reflection of the two main characters, Jackson Good and Hannah Wild. It’s a spin on their names, and a reflection of who they are. At different times in my life, I came across those two last names and though they were interesting. Years later, the names just kind of attached themselves to my characters. For the D.U.F.F. Diaries, it’s a slang term that means “Designated Ugly Fat Friend”. All of the main characters  have been a D.U.F.F. at some point. I am hoping that girls/women can read these and see that just because you’re big, that doesn’t mean you’re not beautiful and awesome in your own way!

Is there a message in your writing that you want readers to grasp? No matter who you are, be yourself. Too many people try to be someone, or something, they’re not, just to impress someone else. You can’t be happy with anyone, until you are happy with yourself! Look at me-I’m doing everything I want to do. I am a wife, a mom, a student, a substitute teacher AND a writer. I’m making all my dreams come true, I don’t care HOW long it takes. Life is too short not to do the things you love. I want to help people, change lives, inspire people, teach kids…I LOVE LIFE and everything in it!!!!!!

How much of the book is realistic/true?  None of it is true. It’s all just the product of my crazy imagination, based a little on things I may or may not have experienced, but with a twist.

Are the experiences in your writing based on someone you know, or events in your own life? I’ll never teeeeeelll.. Maybe.  Like I stated before, I’ve had a CRAZY life. I should probably write a book completely about my life, but we’ll save that for AFTER I become a NY Times Best Seller!!! (I’m not conceited, I swear. Just like to think positive!)

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a “mentor”? The only author that has ever really held a conversation with me is Jasinda Wilder. Even though I’ve never met her, she’s helped me with a lot of questions I’ve had, as well as inspiring me to self-publish. You want to know my ultimate dream? To be at a dinner table with Jasinda Wilder, Tara Sivec and Colleen Hoover. I have so many questions I would love to ask them face to face, possibly while drinking girly cocktails. I hope one day that will come true. A girl can dream, right?

What book are you reading now? I am currently reading Losing Hope by Colleen Hoover. Money is tight in our household right now. REALLY TIGHT. So that will be my last purchased book for a long time. I just couldn’t resist. I read Hopeless earlier this year and could not put it down. I don’t even think I made dinner that night. I read it from start to finish and I might’ve used two boxes of tissues to clean up all my tears that night. So I’m torturing myself again and reading the story from Holder’s point of view. I’m a glutton for punishment, I know! This time, I made myself take a break to cook dinner and play outside with my son.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.   Everyone, really. My teachers in every grade encouraged me to write. My Creative Writing Professor, Rick Alley, told me many times this past few years that my writing was great. He encouraged me to keep writing, no matter what.

Do you see writing as a career or a hobby? I used to feel like it was just a hobby. Now, I would like for it to be my career. It is the one thing I can truly see myself doing for the rest of my life. I have plenty of stories to tell, that’s for sure! I just hope everyone likes them.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? This one doesn’t really apply to me, as I’m still changing it 🙂

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? In second grade, my teacher challenged us to rewrite stories we loved. I did my own version of “The Purple People Eater” and it was so much fun. I loved writing essays (I’m a nerd) and I was actually good at it. In middle school, my English teacher told us to write a poem  or a play. I did both. I wrote two poems, one of which got published. I also wrote a play based on Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart”. I knew then that I wanted to be a writer. I was also an anonymous Advice person. People put their questions in a box and I answered them. My teacher handled the delivery. Then, in high school, my English teacher put some of my poetry into the school’s Literary Magazine without even asking me, because I didn’t have the courage to do it myself.. I’ll never forget what she said “One day, Staci, you’ll realize how amazing you are. You have been through more than any teenager I know and I know that you will make something of yourself. From now on, only you can make your dreams come true.” As I said, though, life got in the way. I continued to write poetry, but I never had the time to sit down and right stories. UNTIL NOW 🙂

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

This is an excerpt from Good And Wild:

Somewhere in this massive, terrifying, yet beautiful world, I have a son. I, Jackson Goode, have a son. WE have a son. And today, I have to tell her. Today, everything will change. Why today? Well, it is our first official date and I can’t wait anymore. She has to hear it from me first.  I know…that doesn’t make any sense. Nothing we do makes sense. After about ten years of hot sex, heartache, death and destruction, we’re finally going to go on a date. Some first date, right?

This one is from Not So Sexy Lexi:

“Um, Pumpkin, I should probably tell you that that was a compliment. See, my mom just died. That’s why I’m here. Had to move to Virginia to live with my old man. And my mom was beautiful. She was the best cook and my favorite dish was her Pumpkin Pie. So yeah, Pumpkin, that’s a good thing. And I’m sorry, but did you just call me Stick? Because I know I’m no Channing Tatum but I didn’t think I looked like a stick” He grinned again. I swear that boy’s grin makes my lady parts quiver. And they have NEVER quivered. NEVER. I’m dead serious. Now that I’m a D.U.F.F.,  I do not get looks that make me quiver. And honestly, I know people do it, but I’ve never, you know, made myself quiver. Ever.

“Uh, no. You DO NOT look like I stick. I, uh, well, you see…when I first saw you…” I paused, “I’m sorry. I can’t tell you. It’s embarrassing.” I am blushing. I know I am. I can feel it.

“Pumpkin, you can tell me. Anything. Really, I just talked to you about my mom. I haven’t talked to ANYONE about her since she died. Anyone. Not even my dad. So please tell me. Come on, my mom just died. Tell me something to make me laugh!”

Now I feel bad. “It’s, uh, not funny. I’m, I mean, you…when I saw you in class, I thought about how you looked like sex on a stick. So I started thinking of you as Stick, since I didn’t know your name. It felt wrong to think of you and sex, so Stick just kind of well, stuck. I’m sorry. I swear, I don’t normally think about sex, er, I mean, guys, I mean. Oh, GOD. What is wrong with me? I’m sorry. I swear I can talk. I really can. I am NOT an idiot.” I shut up because talking was just making me look dumb at this point.

He leaned in and said, “Pumpkin, don’t ever apologize for thinking about me. Especially if it involves sex. I’ve been thinking about how I’d like to spread whip cream over you and eat you like a pumpkin pie ever since I smelled you. When I saw you sitting at this table, I actually considered taking you into the darkroom and bending you over the sink right then. But I didn’t. Because that’s not who I am anymore and correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think you’ve ever even thought about being bent over.”

HOLY CRAP. He just compared me to food. I thought only I compared everything to food. Wait…Did he just say that he wanted to bend me over a sink? I think I just wet myself. Did I just pee on myself? Why are my panties wet?

He began laughing so hard, he fell off of his chair, still laughing. What is so funny? Oh god, please tell me I didn’t say any of that aloud

“You…ahahahaha, did you just ask me why your panties were wet? AHAHAHAHA, I’m sorry. Oh shit. You really did just ask me that, didn’t you?” He jumped up, and grabbed me by my shoulders. “Shit, Pumpkin, you really are innocent.”

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Yes. Some parts of my stories are based on things in my own life. Reliving those memories and writing them down is hard for me. Also, I have a tendency to question myself. I wonder if my writing is good enough. Will people like it? Will I like it? For now, though, I’m just writing. And writing. And writing.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work? This is a hard question. I have many favorites. Jane Austen is my favorite classical author. Her writing reflects so much knowledge of how people are; she showed us the good, the bad and the ugly. I love reading her books. They transport me back in time when society was better. People actually had morals, religion was sacred, love was just that; Love. I could go on and on about her. However, I would like to name my favorite authors that are still alive:

1. Jasinda Wilder- I can relate to her stories. They remind me of myself and the things I’ve struggled with. Mostly, I love her because she is just plain Awesomesauce. Her stories are SEXXXXY!!!!  I can’t say enough good things about her.

2. Tara Sivec- I would LOVE to meet this woman and have dinner with her. She is the first author that made me laugh so hard I probably peed on myself. I hope that one day, people can say the same about me. Her Chocolate Lovers series was sexy and freaking hilarious! Her newest book, Watch Over Me, hit close to home. I’ve dealt with a lot of death and I related to her characters SO much.

3. R.L. Stine- He was my childhood obsession. I have him to thank for turning me from loving books to fiending for them. As a child, I couldn’t get enough of the Fear Street books. I have a love for mysteries, ghost stories and just plain WEIRDNESS.

4. Colleen Hoover- This woman is incredible. I love poetry, so when I read Slammed, I was in Heaven. The story was just incredible and I envy how she was able to come up with things like “Suck and Sweet”. Genius. Just GENIUS. Also, Thank you, Colleen, for showing me the greatness that is The Avett Brothers!!!! Hopeless is one of my favorite books EVER. I really felt like I was in that book. I won’t go into detail, but I related to Sky in many ways. That book shook me to the CORE. I don’t just LIVE it, I freaking LOVE it!!!!

Who designed the covers of you books? I am currently looking for someone to do it. I’m new to this, so I’ve been researching different people and hoping one of them answers my messages!

What was the hardest part of writing your any of your works? Actually sitting down and writing them! Also, some parts of my stories are based on things in my own life. Reliving those memories and writing them down is hard for me. Also, I have a tendency to question myself. I wonder if my writing is good enough. Will people like it? Will I like it? For now, though, I’m just writing. And writing. And writing.

Do you have any advice for other writers? Keep writing. No matter how bad you think your stories are, write them down. You never know when your “aha” moment will come.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? Since I haven’t published yet, I just hope that they like my stories. Somewhere in my books is a piece of everyone.

What character from your writing is your favorite and why? So far, my favorite would have to be Lexi Ledbetter. She’s the main character in one of The D.U.F.F. Diaries, tentatively titled “Not So Sexy Lexi”. Lexi is A LOT of me. The struggles with weight gain, the desire to finally get to meet our Inner Skinny Girl, being torn between guys..all of it.

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