Hello everyone! This week I’m thrilled to bring you an Amazon Best Selling Author, Staci Trolio. I asked her to pick three or four questions from my huge list HERE. We all aspire to be successful authors and the best way to learn some of the tricks of the trade is to ask questions.
First, please meet my guest, Staci Trolio:
Author, Staci Trolio
Staci Troilo grew up in Western Pennsylvania writing stories and poetry in her free time, so it was no surprise that she studied writing in college. After receiving creative and professional writing degrees from Carnegie Mellon University, she went on to get her Master’s Degree in Professional Writing, and she worked in corporate communications until she had her children. When they had grown, she went on to become a writing professor, and now she is a freelance writer and editor living in Arkansas with her husband, son, daughter, and two dogs.
Staci is a multi-genre author and an Amazon bestseller. Her fiction combines dark, dangerous heroes and strong, capable heroines woven together into a contemporary tapestry of tantalizing romance. Compelling villains and gripping mysteries engage the reader from page one of her novels and her short stories feature ordinary characters conquering the odds in extraordinary situations.
When she isn’t reading or writing, she’s probably playing with her dogs, relaxing poolside, or working in the kitchen. She loves to cook and bake and is an award-winning recipe developer.
Hi, Colleen. Thanks so much for this interview. I’m really looking forward to our chat.
I’m so glad you’re here. Are you ready? So Staci… You are an accomplished author. How long on average does it take you to write a book?
I’ve always found it difficult to answer questions that ask for averages. Probably because I don’t have “average” work days. If I have a month where I have several editing projects to complete (I’m an editor as well as an author), I might not get to spend much time on my WIP. If I get to a point in the plot that requires intricate maneuvering, I’ll write slower. In those cases, I’m probably doing more thinking and less writing. But in general, I try to write 5,000 words a day on my writing days, more if I really hit a groove. And if I don’t stop for editing projects (or if I move those to the weekends), I can write a novel in just under a month.
That’s astounding! I haven’t found that groove yet. Have you ever written a story you wish you hadn’t?
I’m sad to say I have. My first published novel was an experiment, mostly to get a title under my belt. I was one of many authors writing in a world created by the publisher. The plot was mine, and the outline had to be approved by the publisher in advance of them offering me a contract. The rest was theirs, though—main characters, setting, even the type of crime.
I hated giving up control, but I really wanted the experience of completing a work and having it published, so I went with it. Once my outline was accepted, I thought I’d be fine.
Here’s where that lack-of-control thing comes into play. My book was the fifth or sixth to be published in the series. Due to lack of planning on the publisher’s part, my outline had a number of plot points (and two crucial characters) that didn’t work because a book published before mine impacted these things.
Okay, I’ll just go ahead and say it. Characters that were necessary for my story had been killed in an earlier book. You’d think the publishers/editors would have caught that in the planning stages, but they didn’t. And now I was under contract. So I had to revise my outline, restructure my plot, and make it work.
When I read the final draft, it was a disjointed mess. Ultimately, I got my first published novel, but it was nowhere near as satisfying as I’d hoped it would be. I refused to write anything else in that world. From then on, I wanted full control over my stories.
What an awful experience. You know, I love fantasy whether I’m reading it or writing it. Here’s a question I bet you haven’t been asked before. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
I’d have to pick the otter. When they go to sleep, they all link arms so they don’t drift away from each other. I think authors are a lot like that. We need the support of our colleagues, or we’ll get lost.
But otters also have a ruthless side to their personalities. They can be vicious, cut-throat. Pursue something with a single-minded determination and not give up. And I think writers need a little of that resolve and fortitude if they want to complete one, let alone several, stories. We need to be callous and merciless when we revise our work, or we’ll let sentiment stand in the way of deleting useless drivel that might sound pretty but adds nothing to the plot. We need a thick skin to deal with rejection.
It doesn’t hurt to be cute and playful, though, too.
(CLICK HERE to learn more about the symbolism of the otter as a spirit animal).
Which literary character do you most resonate with on a personal level?
I tend to relate to the main characters in every book I read. A well-written story makes you find a way to empathize with the hero. But if I were to pick just one, I’d choose Dorothy Gale. She was a bored girl looking for adventure, wanting to get away and see the world. But when she traveled over the rainbow, she realized just how wonderful home was. I took my hometown for granted until I had to move away. I’m 1,000 miles from home now, and if I could click my heels together to return there, I’d do it in a heartbeat. Travel is fun, and other cities are what you make of them, but to me, there’s no place like home.
You must be busy writing all the time, Staci. Can you tell us about your current projects?
I just finished the Medici Protectorate series, but I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the Brothers just yet.
So I’ve started writing a spinoff called the Nightforce Security series. The series follows former Navy SEALs who form a security firm.
The first book’s hero (Danny Caruso) is a secondary character from the Medici Protectorate series. My new series doesn’t have any of the supernatural elements the original series did, but I’m happy to say the brothers, and sometimes even the Notaro sisters, make cameo appearances.
NOTE: (The Medici Protectorate series is written under the name Staci Troilo, but the Nightforce Security series is written under the name Keira Beck.)
I’m well on my way through the series. I have an introductory story (One Ugly Mug) and two titles (Hideaway and Gamble) already published. The next (Overboard) is scheduled to be released on September 27, and the rest will follow roughly one month apart.
Thanks, Staci. It’s great to learn more about your writing. I do want to share your newest release, “Tortured Soul,” Book 4 in the Medici Protectorate Series. I hope everyone will enjoy a sneak peek!
Staci Troilo writes because she has hundreds of stories in her head. She publishes because people told her she should share them. She’s a multi-genre author whose love for writing is only surpassed by her love for family and friends, and that relationship-centric focus is featured in her work.
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Thanks for stopping by to meet Staci! ❤
“A good poem is a contribution to reality. The world is never the same once a good poem has been added to it. A good poem helps to change the shape of the universe, helps to extend everyone’s knowledge of himself and the world around him.”
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Colleen M. Chesebro is an American Poet who loves crafting paranormal fantasy and magical realism, cross-genre flash fiction, syllabic poetry, and creative nonfiction. Colleen sponsors a weekly syllabic poetry challenge, called Tanka Tuesday, on wordcraftpoetry.com where participants learn how to write traditional and current forms of haiku, senryu, haiga, tanka, gogyohka, tanka prose, renga, solo-renga, haibun, cinquain, Etheree, nonet, and shadorma poetry. Colleen's syllabic poetry has appeared in the Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal, and in “Hedgerow, a journal of small poems.” She’s won numerous awards from participating in the Carrot Ranch Rodeo, a yearly flash fiction contest sponsored by carrotranch.com. In 2020, she won first place in the Carrot Ranch Folk Tale or Fable category, with her story called “Why Wolf Howls at the Moon.” Colleen is a Sister of the Fey, where she pursues a pagan path through her writing. When she is not writing, she is reading. She also loves gardening and crocheting old-fashioned doilies into works of art.