I am happy to introduce my third Author, Stacy Allen. Stacy’s debut Romantic Suspense novel, EXPEDITION INDIGO, will be out August 18, 2014 by Entranced Publishing. I am very proud of Stacy and honored to share her interview answers with you here.
CL: This has been a long road towards publication. What kept you motivated? Encouraged?
SA: There are so many things that kept me motivated! I continued to go to conferences, writing retreats, and talking with other writers about their long journey and struggles. My mother told me over and over again “Can’t never did anything” She really disliked when someone said something “can’t” be done, or to hear “I can’t do it.” She would always correct me and say, “Do you mean you won’t do it? Because you’re making a choice. Don’t roll over and play dead. Get up and do something!” It gave me the determination and will that I have had throughout my life to get up and make things happen. I don’t always hit my goals, but I do most of the time, because I refuse to give up. Seriously, I was rejected by so many literary agents, and so many publishers. It was amazing how many people in publishing told me that a female protagonist could never carry a Thriller, much less a series of Thrillers. I was always encouraged or told to make Riley a secondary, supporting character and to put a man in charge. It was unbelievable!
I kept going, kept believing, kept trying because I believe that everything happens in the right time. In other words, when the world was ready to hear my story, I knew that is when something would happen. I figured as long as I was still breathing, there was a chance that some agent would love the book, and there was a chance some publisher would offer a contract on Expedition Indigo.
CL: Tell me a little something about your novel…what can we expect when it’s released?
SA: The launch date is August 18, 2014, and my publisher is Entranced Publishing. They have just been so wonderful! I love my publisher. I am also planning a book tour, which is a gigantic undertaking. Now a little about the first in my series: Expedition Indigo introduces Dr. Riley Cooper, an archaeology professor who joins the world of wreck diving and treasure hunting when she travels to Italy with a team to find and salvage The Indigo, a cargo ship built by the Emperor Charlemagne, that sank off the coast of Sorrento in 808 A.D. UWSA, or Under Water Sea Adventures, is a research team committed to discovering shipwrecks all over the globe. She meets the Dive Master, Stefano Abruzzi, and they are immediately attracted to one another. That being said, this isn’t a typical romance. There are complications. Riley is perfect for the job because of her background in Mediterranean Trade and History, though she isn’t convinced she has what it takes.
CL: What kind of research did you do for the book? What was the most exciting thing you learned from writing it?
SA: Well, I have traveled to the Mediterranean, and to Italy in particular, many times. Many times! I am an AOW diver (Advanced Open Water), and I have specialties in wreck diving, night diving and cave diving. I also am certified for Nitrox. I love diving shipwrecks. I have read so many books on lost ships, or ship wrecks, salvage operations, and of course am fascinated by that period of time (the Dark Ages and the Middle Ages). I love history. And I have studied ships, and ship building, for decades. I learned a ton about indigo. Way more information than what is in the book. I have been fascinated with Charlemagne my entire life.
CL: What is the next book we can expect from you?
SA: My next book is set on Cyprus, where Riley is working on a dig in the Tombs of Kings. She discovers a black market antiquities ring and ends up fighting for her life. She isn’t sure who to trust, the friendly and helpful work colleague, or the gorgeous Greek undercover agent who seems to show up at weird times with warnings and questions that make her uneasy. The working title of that book is Caveat Emptor but I am also considering a few other titles.
CL: You and your husband travel a lot and I love this. Tell me one of the most fascinating places you’ve been to and did it have an effect on your writing?
SA: Wow, we have been to so many fascinating places! 56 countries and counting. I think Delphi (Greece) is fascinating because though there are some historical accounts and writings, mostly we just have to guess and ponder what really happened up on that mountain. Did the Oracle(s) really inhale sulphur gas while in their trance and while giving their warnings and predictions, OR were they really visionaries who could predict the future?
Two interesting locations in Southern Italy are Pompeii and also Herculaneum. I decided when I was 5 years old that I would one day go to Pompeii. I have no idea why but I knew one day I would get there. And I have been many times now. I am so interested in why the majority of residents disregarded the warnings by the few people who fled. It really puzzles me. People get brainwashed so easily and behave like cattle. Very few people in Pompeii or Herculaneum relied on their own instincts, they simply did what everyone else did and ignored the small eruptions of the days preceding the gigantic explosion. You can see Mt. Vesuvius from a very long distance away. There is no way they could not have seen it coming. The volcano was angry for days before the huge blow up. The reality is that even on foot or donkey, most people had enough time to flee and be spared. History is full of stories just like that.
All of my travel has affected my writing. Seeing another place through another cultures eyes changes me. Everywhere you look there are new things to discover. Belief systems, foods, beverages, social norms, language nuances, clothing. It is very eye opening. Everyone should travel. Even just once. Get away from the only place you know, and the only belief systems you have. It is taking the song “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” to the extreme. Traveling is very good for opening up your heart and filling it with compassion, love, understanding and friendship. I have made life-long friends all over the globe. I am so thankful for that.
CL: My own novel, The Feathers, features a Venetian bird mask. In a previous conversation you told me that you collect these. I love that! Tell me more about this.
SA: I love Venice! The very first time I went, I had done a ton of reading and heard about a little shop tucked in the back streets that made authentic masks, as they were done in centuries past. All handmade paper maché, all hand designed and painted. Intricate. Complicated. I found this shop and had a custom mask designed. It was my first trip to Venice, and though I spoke Italian, I had no hope that the mask would show up after I returned home. Sure enough, a month or so after getting back from that trip, the box came and the mask was flawlessly protected, packaged well, and incredibly beautiful. Since then, nearly every time I go to Venice, I return to that same shop. The work is unbelievable. I have 8 masks now. I have only missed getting a mask on a few trips.
Venetian masks, or carnival masks anywhere in the world are magical. They came along during a time of immense persecution and repression. They allowed, for a short time, people to discard their everyday persona. They allowed people who would normally never mingle in society – say a maid and a duchess – to speak to one another as equals. I think that lesson is a good metaphor. We all need to see, consider and respect one another as equals, rather than as symbols of something. A duchess would be a symbol of a lifestyle a maid would never even dream to aspire to. To sit at a dinner table with a duchess, much less engage in conversation about politics, or art, or life in general.
CL: Stacy, I’m so thrilled for you and your upcoming debut. How do you plan on celebrating?
SA: I haven’t really decided, but I think for sure I will at the very least open a bottle of Cristal Champagne! I am taking my time in trying to find just the right venue for my Atlanta Book Launch celebration. I am having a second launch party in Nashville on the day before Killer Nashville, a fantastic annual writing conference (www.killernashville.com) I met my agent, Jill Marr (of Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency) there, and I have met so many amazing writers there. I want to celebrate with all of my dear friends who have been so supportive of me, and who have believed in me every step of the way.
For more information about Stacy, you can contact her here and stayed turned for her Pre-Order links!