Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
After reading and reviewing ‘Beyond the Stars’ by Stacy Wise, the author was kind enough to get in touch with me and I was cheeky enough to ask if she’d mind being interviewed on my blog – and she agreed! Read on to discover her answers to my questions…
Where did you get the inspiration for the book/series?
I worked as a television casting director for many years, so writing a story set in Hollywood was an easy choice. But as I played around with story ideas, nothing felt quite right. So one night, I sat and stared at my laptop and sort of zoned out. Moments later, the first line, “I try to ignore the pig in the passenger seat,” popped into my head. Once I had that first line, my mind was racing with the story. I had Hollywood’s hottest movie star who hated the fame that came along with the job, his reluctant assistant, and of course, Leo, the pig.
What is your writing process?
I have four school-aged children, so once I get them off to school, I sit down with a cup of coffee (or two!) and begin writing. On a typical day, I’ll write until it’s time to pick them up from school. I’m very influenced by music, so I create playlists that I listen to when writing. For Beyond the Stars, the two most influential songs on my playlist were Enchanted by Taylor Swift and If I Had You by Adam Lambert.
As for the plotting of the story, I like to have a brief outline sketched out before I begin writing. The outline changes throughout my writing process, because I like to follow my characters’ leads, but the bones of it will remain.
I write on my laptop. For many years, I tried writing on yellow legal pads and I never got very far. My laptop goes everywhere with me. I’ve been known to write in my parked car as I wait to pick up my kids!
Did you do extensive research for any part of your book?
Yes! I suddenly had a potbellied pig as an important part of the story, but I knew nothing about them. Thankfully, my niece raised a pet potbellied pig named Sweetie, and she was a fabulous resource. I’m sure she thought some of my questions were strange, but I really wanted to get the feel of what it would be like to own a pig. I also reached out to pig rescue organizations and spoke with a veterinarian. And finally, I watched a lot of YouTube videos and followed some potbellied pigs on Instagram. (And yes, that was fun for the whole family!)
If you were a character in your story, which would you like to be?
Oh! That’s a tough one. But I think I’d have to choose Jessica Beckett, because she gets to hang out with Jack McAlister every day. She‘s also grounded, smart, and able to stand up for herself. And she can bake a mean cake. 🙂
How and why did you choose the names for your main characters?
This is a contemporary story, so I wanted to make sure I was using names that were popular in the years my characters were born. Thank goodness for Google! I had long lists that rivaled those from the days of naming my children.
Jack McAlister was originally Jack Carter, but I read another novel in which Jack Carter was the male protagonist, and decided to change it. I was toying with new names, and as I wrote, “Jack McAlister, an A-list actor,” on my notes, I thought it would be fun to incorporate “A-list” into his last name.
Meg isn’t a very likeable character, so I wanted to give her a name I love. It made it easier to write her.
Once again, many thanks to Stacy for agreeing to answer my interview questions and to agreeing to appear on my blog.
Stacy Wise is the author of BEYOND THE STARS (Entangled Embrace, 2016). She has a B.A. in Communications Studies from UCLA and a Masters in Teaching from Chapman University. She lives in California with her husband and four children.
When she’s not dreaming up stories, you can find her beating up the bag at a kickboxing gym, cheering for her kids at their numerous sporting events, or walking her dogs, Bailey and Rex.
*She worked in casting on shows including The X Files, Married…With Children, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, and Party of Five.
*She married the guy next door.
*If she could steal anyone’s singing voice and make it her own, she’d choose Lauren Alaina’s.
*She became obsessed with Australia as a kid. She’s been there three times, and it always feels like home
*While in Australia, she inadvertently took a shower with a spider the size of a shoe.
*A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle was one of her favorite books as a kid. She still loves it.
*She’d make a great detective or secret agent. (Or maybe she’s just really good at watching Dateline.)
*Taylor Swift plays on repeat when she’s writing.
*She once ran a 10k without training for it to prove to her husband she could.
*Spicy food is her favorite!
Stacy is repped by Beth Miller of Writers House.
Stop by her website, stacywise.com, or visit her on Twitter @stacywisebooks to say hi.