2k8: We're back with Stacy A. Nyikos, debut author of the middle grade fantasy DRAGON WISHES. And because we're classmates, we get to ask her pretty much whatever we want. So, here goes.
Stacy, where do you do most of your writing?
Stacy: I do most of my writing in my office. I’ve tried sitting in a comfy chair facing the window, but that was sort of counterproductive, although I was really well rested! Much as I liked that great view, I realized that I’m pretty much a desk person. I guess I need a little bit of discomfort to keep my mind focused. I’m in good company, though. Hemingway wrote standing up. He said that helped him pare down and only write what absolutely needed to be said. I’m glad I don’t have to go to such extremes, but the desk definitely helps me slip into my own imagination and unlock the stories waiting in there to be told.
2k8: What made you begin writing DRAGON WISHES?
Stacy: DRAGON WISHES came to be through a number of factors. The first, and most monumental, was an event. About five years ago, my daughters were in a near fatal sledding accident. When they crashed into the back of a parked horse trailer, my world came to a crashing halt. I stopped writing. I became depressed. My personal life fell apart. Ironically, it was pen and paper that got me through the darkness. The emotions my daughters’ accident left me with had taken on a life of their own. It wasn’t all that productive. I needed to redirect. Turn them into something good, rather than destructive. The heart of Dragon Wishes was born – how do children work through the grief and sadness of loss. Heavy stuff, I know, but that’s where it all started.
2k8: And how did DRAGON WISHES find a publisher? Give us the *real* dirt!
Stacy: I submitted, and submitted, and submitted. I wish I could say there was some real dirt, but it was mostly pure, unadulterated rejection – like high school all over again. Then one day, as I contemplated the ratio of time it would take to burn my manuscript as opposed to the time it took to write it, I got an email from a friend about a regional publisher that was–dare I say it–looking for new works to build its line. It was Blooming Tree Press. I submitted to them. Instead of a rejection letter, I got a call from Miriam Hees shortly before Christmas. Well, okay, it was December 8, and I was actually frantically grocery shopping at Whole Foods (not that I remember exactly what I was doing). Through the clatter of carts, crinkle of plastic and roar of my heart, I heard those words I’d been waiting to hear for soooooooo long – the book had been accepted. It was the best present ever.
2k8: Imagine you have an offer from your dream press to publish your dream book, no matter how insane or unmarketable it might be (though of course it might *not* be). What's the story?
I’m pretty sure I jumped off the deep end a long time ago when I decided to write for a living. I’m a starving artist! I’ve pretty much given in to the insanity of my profession and write whatever I feel most strongly about. I have to have a strong reaction to stay with the labor of creating the story and then the marathon of revisions. So, I’m writing my dream book right now, Pelorus Jack, which is set in late 19th century New Zealand, and is about a boy and a dolphin who become inseparable friends.
What question won't most people know to ask you? What is your answer?
It’s one I’ve heard a few brave–and very wise–children ask. How much do you make? The answer is really easy – less than their teachers. I’d really really really like to make more money at it, don’t get me wrong. If there is an agent out there who can make it happen, please give me a call! But in the end, I write because I am passionate about storytelling. I have the great and elusive gift of being in love with what I do. Without that, I’d go back to my day job tomorrow.
For today, we leave you with a gorgy photo of a two-year-old Stacy. Who knew this cutie patootie would grow up to be a passionate writer!
Click back tomorrow for more on Stacy A. Nyikos and her fantasy middle-grade, DRAGON WISHES!