MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR STACY OVERBY!
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
My name is Stacy Overby. I would say my poetry collection, Scath Oran: Poetry from the Otherworld, best belongs to the speculative poetry genre.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
My collection started from a couple things. I love myths, fairy tales, and such. The storytelling aspect to the old ways of passing these on is so fascinating to me and fits well with poetry, since there is so much overlap between the two. So, it seemed natural to use poetry to tell my version of stories primarily from Celtic mythology, though there are other cultural myths in the collection as well.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
I grew up with science fiction and fantasy. My dad would buy a book, read it, and pass it on to my brother and I. We fought over who got to read it next (my sister never got in on that). We would watch Star Trek, Star Wars, Dr. Who, and more all the time. Writing in this realm became a natural extension of this love.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
Interestingly, I did do quite a bit of research for this collection. Because I wanted to hit on lesser known myths and creatures, I had to do some sifting through Celtic, Norse, Greek, and other mythologies. Let me tell you, there are some fascinating myths out there from different cultures.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
Oh wow. These are complicated questions to ask. I am the program director for an adolescent substance abuse-mental health treatment program, so I work quite a few hours with my day job. Then I come home to my hubby and a six-year-old son. So, much of my writing is done in short bursts between stuff, such as on my iPad at swimming lessons, running in a program in the background on my work computer, or even scribbled on the back of a receipt while out and about somewhere. I don’t have daily writing goals as much as I do goals for when projects need to be finished. I find I put too much pressure on myself to try to make a daily goal.
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
Scath Oran: Poetry from the Otherworld will be released on September 22, 2018. I am so excited for this because it is my first solo collection hitting print.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Finding the time. Particularly finding the time to balance writing new stuff with doing all the marketing and such to support anything I’ve already put out there. And copy editing, all the technicalities with grammar rules sometimes go over my head. This makes me so glad I have some great editors at Our Write Side who bail me out with that.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
I think book trailers are cool. Everything else has commercials, why not books? I do not currently have a trailer but may learn how to create one. I think this book could lead to a cool trailer.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
I’m not 100% sure on this one. I can tell you about one that means a lot to me. About a year ago, I was invited by an awesome poet friend to be part of an anthology that raises money for suicide prevention. The anthology is called Ambrosia: A Poetry Anthology and is published by Our Write Side as well. Every penny brought in by this anthology goes to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
Getting to tell all the stories in my head! I love the imaginary worlds and people in my mind and being able to see others enjoy them is so cool.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Likely bald with ulcers due to having a sixteen-year-old in the house. Just kidding, my son is wonderful. Honestly, I hope to have a nice list of publishing credits to my name, at least some real income from said publishing credits, and still being a part of this awesome small press/indie author community.
Have you always liked to write?
I have loved to write for as long as I can remember. I even had a kid in my second or third grade class help draw some pictures for a story I wrote back then. I’m not sure if I still have the story, but I remember that.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
You will have times of crippling self-doubt, writer’s block, and imposter syndrome. Keep pushing past them, even if it means writing utter garbage for a while. The publishing world isn’t easy, and the work is only half over when you get that story finished. But it is so worth it to see that baby in print. We all have had our bouts of self-doubt, imposter syndrome, and writer’s block. Most all of us still deal with these things. But, find what helps you push past it, and go for it anyway. The world will never see your story unless you write it.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
Honestly, I love my day job. I enjoy working with the teenagers in my program. So many people think I’m crazy for it, but I see these kids for what they most often are—traumatized, sick, scared, overwhelmed, unsupported, and sometimes unloved. If I can begin changing that for some of them, then I feel like I’ve truly accomplished something.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
I do sometimes read reviews of my books and stories. I never respond to them beyond a thank you or something similar. To me, doing anything more is inviting trouble and bad publicity. When I do get a bad review, which did happen on a short story I’d worked for years on before it hit print, I make a point not to do anything until at least the next day. Then I look at it for what valuable information it could provide. I also know that I will never please everyone with what I write. There will inevitably be reviews that are not favorable. It’s all part of the process.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
Hmm. It used to be the editing parts, but I’m much better with that. I think right now it’s the marketing stuff. I’ve never been one to like spotlights on me, and I really don’t do well talking about myself for the most part. Probably the biggest part of the marketing issue, though, is more inexperience and unfamiliarity. If I felt like I knew what I was doing better, it might not be so bad.
What are you working on now?
I am in the middle of edits for my first novel, Tattoos: A Black Ops Novel. It’s book one of a space opera series I started about seven years ago. The series focuses on specialists from a futuristic para-military/police/spy style branch of the “military”. Book one is about Eli, who discovers not all is as it seems with his orders and the missions they’re carrying out. When he questions the orders, he learns way more than he bargained for and ends up faced with some tough choices to make.
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
Sure. This exchange is from the opening chapter. Eli Thorson is the main character and he’s out on a mission with his friend and fellow specialist, Shawn Russell. Eli is speaking at the beginning here.
“You sure you got everything we need for this mission. I don’t want a repeat of Maroka Three.”
“Lay off, Thorson. I made it work, and it’s not my fault the drop shuttle didn’t drop the second crate as instructed.”
“You’re damn lucky you can make explosives out of bubble gum and boot laces or we’d have had to scrub that mission. And you know how well that goes over with Major Wade.” Eli glanced at Shawn while sorting through his pack, double checking his equipment.
“Then why are you worried this time? You’re working with the best explosives expert around–me.” Shawn grinned.
Eli shook his head. “Why am I worried? Do you even hear yourself, man? And protocol says you’re in command. Gods help us.”
“I got this. As long as you don’t forget your pack or the explosives lessons I gave you, we’ll be fine.”
“That makes me worry even more.”
The indignity in Shawn’s voice made Eli laugh. “Because, man, the last time you said you had this, you de kara near blew us up in the process cuz you got overzealous with the explosives.”
“But the building collapsed as planned.”
“Along with three others.”
Why did you choose to write in your genre? If you write in more than one, how do you balance them?
Like I said before, most of why I write in the speculative realm is because of what I grew up with. I have branched out a little and added some horror to my repertoire—mostly as an outlet to deal with the trauma I listen to and address every day at my day job. Balancing it so far seems to be working out on its own. Whatever I need to write that day is what comes out. Sometimes it gets put aside until later if I need to stay focused on one project, but I keep all of it for some day.
Where did your love of books come from?
My parents. As far back as I can remember, books were important in my house. As little kids, my mom read to us. I remember loving those times, cuddled up with my mom and my siblings, listening to wild adventures. As soon as we were big enough, my parents got us library cards. With a library just a couple miles from our house, we biked up there all the time to get more books. I’m just glad we didn’t have that far to go to get home. A backpack crammed to the top with books gets heavy on a bike!
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
Ooo, tough call! I do love Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books. They are a major foundation for most modern fantasy books. Anne McCaffery’s Dragonriders series is amazing as well, particularly some of the early ones where she blends super-futuristic sci-fi elements with castles and dragons. Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels books are super cool for the way she mixes fantasy, mythology, fringes of horror and politics. Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series is cool for the worldbuilding and interlocking story arcs, though toward the end it got rather more drawn out than I thought needed. Plus, Harry Potter and Kim Harrison’s The Hollows are great urban fantasy series. Last, but not least, I have to add Douglas Addams’ The Hithchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Talk about crazy out there sci-fi that still works and is relatable! Those are just a few of my go to series.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
A little of both, depending on what I’m writing. With some of my poetry, it can be exhausting to work through that much emotion. Same with some of the scenes in my novels I’m working on. In fact, I’m still avoiding writing the ending to Book 3 of my Black Ops series because I don’t want to torture my character that bad and I know it’ll be exhausting to write for that reason. But, I also find a catharsis of sorts at times, which can be energizing and uplifting, especially when my characters and words cooperate to end up on the page how I see them in my head.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Outlines and organization. I am a total pantser and trying to create much of any organization to how I write kills me. Seriously, the first draft of a novel is just one massive Word document. No chapters, few scene breaks, nothing. I have a loose arc in my head of how it all works and I just write. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ended up so far off into left field from what I imagined that I question if I’m playing the right game anymore. And, it doesn’t matter if it’s poetry or prose. I seriously struggle to use any organization at the outset. That has to come later for me.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I try to do both. I think readers do want original, but not so disconnected from reality as to be unrelatable. Future worlds can be imagined when there are underlying pieces that are familiar and relatable. Same goes for mythology. The myths evolved as explanations for the way the world works. Even though we know more today, there’s still so much we don’t. Hence new myths.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I have been so fortunate to be connected to some awesome writing groups. Two in particular have made a difference in my writing career. The people over at Our Write Side have been incredible in their support, patience, and encouragement. They’ve got an amazing goal to create a writing community where we all learn from each other and help each other to achieve our goals.
The other is Rhetoric Askew. They’re another small press with the lofty goal of publishing everything that gets submitted to them. This doesn’t happen fast, or as soon as you submit. Instead, they have an uber-talented team of editors, writing coaches, and others who work with authors to teach them what they need to know to be published.
It’s people from both communities who have taught me so much and helped me along this crazy journey. I wouldn’t be where I am without them.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
“You Have Got to be Kidding Me”. Seriously. That describes my life. Just in one weekend recently I dealt with a van shorting and starting on fire, a kid who ran from my program, a kid who left in handcuffs from my program, my son’s sixth birthday party, and my four-year-old niece sleeping over.
Where can your fans find you and follow??
The easiest place to find me is at my blog www.thisisnothitchhikersguide.com.
There you can find a random collection of writing, book reviews, stuff going on in my life, and a reasonably up to date list of anthologies/books I’m published in.
I’m also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thisisnothitchhikersguide
Twitter at www.twitter.com/dontpanic2011
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview ❤️