I'm so excited to have Staci Stallings back for a visit. We're going to be chatting and we'd love to have you join us. So grab a cuppa' your favorite beverage and sit a spell. You're in for a real treat. Let's get started.....
Besides writing, what is something you love to do?
I love music. In fact, I make a soundtrack for every book I write. Music can capture life in a way that words just can't. It can make you feel just by being present--no work on your part needed. My favorite kinds of music are usually Christian soft rock and country, but I'll go just about any direction for a soundtrack. I had one book that was set in New York, so I used songs from movies that were set in New York with kind of a bluesy or jazzy feel. When a friend of mine read that story, he commented that it sounded just like being in New York, which is interesting because I've never actually been there. I think the music helps that.
I also play several instruments including piano and guitar. I started to play drums, but I'm not very good at them. Mostly I just make noise when I play on them, which is also fun.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
I have many, but my favorites all revolve around family. With two large extended families all living close to us growing up, there was never a shortage of cousins to play with and aunts and uncles to learn about life from. I think my best memories would have to be: my grandma reading to me when I was very young, singing around my grandpa's piano with my whole family, and the time I spent watching movies and TV with my immediate family. We loved comedies and to this day, nothing is as funny as watching things with them. They can have you rolling in the floor because they just enjoy it so much.
What is your biggest challenge in writing?
Everything. Hahaha! You would think with 30 full-length novels finished, I would have a great handle on how to write, but the fact is for me, every book is a new challenge. Sometimes the plot is difficult or a plot point is tough to figure out and make it fit with the things revolving around it. Sometimes I'll have a character who doesn't want to cooperate. Sometimes it's that the setting is foreign to me and I have to immerse myself in it to get a feel for the place. What I've found is that as I'm faithful to letting God iron out the details, He will be faithful to giving me the story the way it was meant to be written. That doesn't mean it's easy--far from it! In fact, every book requires huge amounts of trust on my part and a whole lot of patience on His because all-too-often MY agenda gets in the way. The good news is He is faithful, kind, patient, and forgiving, and He shows me that repeatedly on every single book.
What is the hardest thing you ever had to learn?
To let go. When I was younger, friends were very important to me, and to me, a friend should be for forever. Now I see that was an error in my thinking because in reality it meant I couldn't let go. I couldn't let friends come into my life and leave. They could come in, but I wouldn't let them go. That led to a lot of very bad "break-ups" with numerous friends before I finally got the message of Jesus on the cross. See, His hands were nailed open so He could not grasp for things on this earth, nor could He close Himself to those who would hurt Him. He was simply open to whatever came in and He let go of whatever came out. Since I've learned that lesson, I have had many friends come into and then leave my life, but they are all still friends. If they showed up tomorrow, we could pick up right where we left off, no hard feelings to deal with at all. Letting go is still hard, but with God right here at my side, it has gotten a lot easier.
If you could take a month vacation, how would you spend it?
First, I would get take out Chinese food--Pad Thai, Chicken Cashew, and Chicken Fried Rice. Then I would come home (and this would require also having no laundry to do or beds to make or things to feel like I had to clean). I would dig out all of my movies and start watching them. I would completely veg for about four days. Then when the inspiration hit, I would grab my computer and write and write and write. Not blogs or marketing or anything like that. I would just write my stories until I was completely empty. Then I would start all back over again. Maybe that's how I'll spend my first eternity once I get to Heaven. I wonder if they have that much Chinese food up there. :)
If you could share one piece of advice not writing-related, what would it be?
God loves you. Period. Not when you get it all together. Not if you could accomplish this or that. Not if you're the perfect Sunday School teacher or mother or if you could just get off drugs. God loves you. Right now. Exactly the way you are. You need do nothing else. Nothing you do will add to His love for you and nothing you do can subtract from His love for you. Once you really get that and KNOW that in the deepest recesses of your being, everything else will change. You will no longer hold grudges because you will know God does not withhold His forgiveness from you even if you've been completely stupid in your decisions. You will open your arms in love to others because you will feel His great love for you and for them and just want to share it with everyone. It's the only way to truly live rather than just exist.
What is one word others would use to describe you?
Loving. There was a time in my life that I would have preferred the word perfect, but I gave that up long ago in favor of just loving to the best of my ability in all situations with everyone I meet.
If you weren't writing, what would you be doing?
Probably teaching. I still teach--helping my kids with homework, tutoring in English, blogging and teaching about marketing, and teaching Sunday School. I can't help it. It's who I am. I want to help others get to the next level in their understanding so they can live life better, happier, and more prosperous. I guess you could say it's the legacy I want to leave here long after I'm gone.
Describe your new book.
Deep in the Heart is the story of Maggie Montgomery who is just out of college and down to her last two dollars. In fact, about all she has going for her is her unshakable faith. She gets a job being the nanny for a billionaire's children, and life does a 180. She suddenly finds herself in a world she never imagined with two cute but way over-scheduled children. To make matters worse, there is a hired hand at the mansion who makes her lose what little grace she has managed to accumulate within herself. Then she finds out who he really is, and things really get interesting!
What is something about the new book that you hope others take away from it?
That life is going to do horrible things to you. It's definitely not a cakewalk through the park. It will try to knock you down, take your toys, and destroy you. In fact, that's kind of Satan's M.O., and he wants nothing more than to take you out of the game. For Maggie, she's pretty much lost everything, but she clings to her faith even as life swirls around her. I think that's what I want people to get out of it--that faith may someday be all you have to hang onto, so cultivate it now and let it change not just you but those around you as well.
Where can readers find you on the 'net?
April 18th & 19th Kindle owners can get "Deep in the Heart" FREE by going here: http://www.amazon.com/Deep-in-the-Heart-ebook/dp/B005LVVIIG/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1334244899&sr=8-5
Otherwise, feel free to visit my Christian living blog, Spirit Light Books here:
And if you're a big fan of Christian romance, you can read all about my books here (including first chapters of every book as well as excerpts and reviews):
Thanks so much for having me!
Thanks for stopping by, Staci. I love company and I'm thrilled that you came by for a visit.
Staci Stallings, the author in this interview, is a Contemporary Christian author and the founder of Grace & Faith Author Connection. Staci has a special surprise for you today and tomorrow only...
FREE ON KINDLE TWO DAYS ONLY!
April 18 & 19, Staci's novel:
Deep in the Heart"This is more than a romance. The author cuts straight to the heart of God–love. God is love. Even through unexpected tragedies. And we can overcome evil with good–by His love."
--Betty Anne Bantz
Can Keith defy the most powerful men in Texas to follow his heart?
Available as a free download from Amazon!