Author Spotlight Interview: Stacey Wilk
Today’s interview is with author Stacey Wilk. She writes novels about true family, steamy love, and second chances. It was an absolute pleasure to get to know more about her writing style, life outside of writing and upcoming projects!
HG: How would you describe yourself to somebody who isn’t familiar with your writing yet?
SW: If someone is finding my books for the first time, they should know I write broken characters. I like to make things complicated for the people in my stories. Personally, I love a good thriller or mystery, so when I can, I add those elements to my books as well. I would categorize my novels as commercial women’s fiction or romantic suspense.
HG: Where does the inspiration for your writing come from?
SW: Such a great question. I believe all stories are character driven. If an author doesn’t have complex characters making choices under pressure, it doesn’t matter how great the plot is. So, to answer the question, my inspiration comes from my characters. I start asking questions like, what kind of a person would do this or that? Or what kind of a person would have this kind of job, or live in this kind of place, etc. When I know them, then the story can begin.
HG: That’s awesome. You tend to write books where family is a major element. Tell us more about that and why it’s important to you.
SW: I believe everyone is looking for the place where they belong. We all want to be accepted for who we are and family is usually the place where that happens. But many times, we have to make our own family. For my characters, family is made up of the people they meet along the way. I always give a character or two a difficult—to put it nicely—parent. That parent has caused some of my character’s wounds. As my characters heal those wounds, they allow me to create a complete person by the end of the story who has found the place where they belong.
HG: Ah, I love that. Your latest book, Raising Winter, released earlier this month. Tell us a little bit about that novel and what readers will love about it.
SW: Raising Winter is about learning that love shows up when you’re least prepared for it. It’s the second book in my Hometown Series which is part of the Candlewood Falls world. Myself, and two other authors share characters and events in our books. It’s our very own literary soap opera. I think readers enjoy the dynamic between Brad and Lyra and how they help each other grow. Readers also enjoy being able to see characters they’ve connected to show up in other books.
HG: Sounds great! How do you come up with character names?
SW: I love names that have a unique ring to them. At least to my ears. In Raising Winter, Brad is the hero. Though Brad isn’t unique, it’s short for Bradford not Bradley. Bradford had the different twist. After I choose a name, I try to imagine what that name would sound like coming from the lips of the other character during sex. (Yes, I actually just said that. Ha!) If I can’t picture it, the name goes.
HG: If Raising Winter was made into a movie, who would you cast?
SW: If I were lucky enough to pick actors for an adaptation of my book I would choose either Bradley Cooper or Andrew Lincoln for Brad. It’s so hard to decide! Ha! And for Lyra, I can totally see Anne Hathaway as her.
HG: Ahh, perfect. Switching gears, tell us a little bit about your actual writing process. Did it change during the pandemic? When and where do you write?
SW: I start with characters. I develop a heroine and a hero. Then I plot out the book. I like to do that on paper. I’m old—I mean old-fashioned—that way. After I think I have a good idea of the plot, I write an outline. The outline allows me to see plot holes. I don’t always follow the outline to the letter. It’s more of a guideline so I don’t write myself into a hole. I’ve done that. It’s not fun. And now that I have multiple projects going in a year, I don’t have the time to waste spinning my wheels. The thing that changed the most during the pandemic was not writing at my desk anymore. I moved all around the house. Then went outside when the weather got nice. Now I write in an extra bedroom at a table I put in there. I love going to coffee houses to write too. I’ve been trying to do that more often now that the world is opening up again.
HG: Do you have any interesting writing quirks?
SW: Well, I would say writing itself is an interesting quirk. Ha! I do like to make playlists for books. However, Raising Winter doesn’t have one. I just borrowed another book’s this time. I also have a playlist titled “Baby Making Music” for when I write the love scenes.
HG: Haha, love the playlist title. You often lead workshops for writers. Tell us more about those. What led you to doing that?
SW: I have had the privilege of being an adjunct professor for a short period. I love teaching. But when my daughter was in the first grade, some years ago, she mentioned to her school principal I was an author. He asked me to participate in an author day being held by the middle school. I was hooked instantly. From then on, I started teaching creative writing workshops to students of all ages.
HG: That’s really cool! What do you like to do when not writing?
SW: Besides reading? Ha! I am passionate about fitness. I like to practice yoga, hike, take long walks, cardio, and even some light weight lifting. Now that my kids are older, I soak up any time I can get with them.
HG: Wonderful. If you could ask your author idol one question about their writing, writing process, or books, what would it be?
SW: My biggest idols are Agatha Christie, Mary Higgins Clark, and Stephen King. I would want to know how they continue(d) to make their characters uncomfortable throughout the book. I would have loved to have been able to ask MHC how she juggled five kids, a full-time job, and writing when she first started out. She was my inspiration to finally take my writing seriously.
HG: Before we wrap up, what can you tell us about any projects you have in the works?
SW: I am working on the book to follow Raising Winter. Book three in my series and part of the Candlewood Falls world is Defining Chances, and it will be out April 6th. I’m also getting ready to release Stay Awhile which is book two in my Big Sky Country series with The Wild Rose Press.
HG: Great! We’ll keep an eye out. For readers that want to find out more about your stories and keep up with you, where should they go to connect or learn more?
SW: I love connecting with readers and am so humbled when they spend their free time with me. Please find me at my Facebook Readers’ Group—Stacey’s Novel Family. We have a lot of fun there. Or follow my newsletter. (If you sign up, I have a special scene from one of my books only available to newsletter subscribers.)
If you love to read and leave reviews on Amazon, and would like to get books from authors like Stacey Wilk for free every day, then sign up for the Hidden Gems ARC program. We don’t just have great romances, either – each day we send out emails with offers of free books in over 15 different genres, and you’ll only be sent the genres you’re interested in and the books you want to read. Sign up for as many or as few as you have time and interest for, we’ll keep the eBooks flowing as long as you want to keep on reading and reviewing!