Stacey is originally from a tiny Illinois town called Farmer City (she promised me she was not kidding about the name). The population was about 2,000 people so they all knew each other.
"That was the best part about growing up in a small town. It was safe, and we were all neighbors. I rode my bike all over town without my mom worrying. I used to spend hours in our small local library reading. I’d walk to the Spud-Nut shop for fresh donuts every Saturday morning, and spend my allowance at Minnie’s Five and Dime store," she told me. "I was the first girl to have a paper route in our town. When I was in high school and of driving age, the big thing to do on Friday and Saturday nights was cruise Main Street. Back in those days, we could find anything we needed on Main Street—restaurants, a pharmacy, shoe store, movie theatre, flower shop, jewelry and clothing stores, the bank, hardware store…you name it, we had it. Now, like so many others across the U.S., my hometown is practically a ghost town. There are only a handful of storefronts left. It’s sad. But the best thing about my hometown is that so many of my good friends still live there, so I get to see them when I go home for a visit."
Stacey's been writing ever since she can remember being able to put words on paper—staring off writing short stories, plays, and poems. When her children were young, she wrote two children's books that were published in the 1980s.
"It was always my dream to write a novel, but there wasn’t time between working and raising kids," she said. "Plus, I didn’t have the foggiest idea of how to write one. I was inspired to try my hand at my first novel, a western romance, in 2006 after my husband gifted me with a week at Cowgirl Camp in New Mexico for having earned a master’s degree. When I got home, I was so motivated by that experience, I penned my first book. Feeling proud and elated that I’d actually written a full-length novel, I immediately began writing a second. Then a third, and… the rest, as they say, is history."
I asked her to tell us about Big Sky.
"It’s set on a ranch in Montana. Two of my own animals are featured in this story: Bill, our paint horse, and Caesar, my gray cat. My heroine experiences two things that actually happened to me. One involves a riding a horse riding accident. The other has to do with a mechanical bull. You’ll have to read the book if you want to know more."
She did, however, share a little more with us about writing the mechanical bull.
"It was the bravest thing I've done in the name of research," she assured me. "I was in Florida along with six of my high school girlfriends. We were visiting another friend for a week, and she and her husband took us to a western bar in Jacksonville, Florida called Mavericks, where I rode a mechanical bull for the first time! I was 52 years old at the time, which is the reason I say it was brave of me. I held on for about 6 seconds, and amazingly didn’t hurt my back (or my pride) when I was flung off. It was a blast, and a fictionalized account of that experience shows up in Big Sky."
Stacey is currently working on a romantic suspense set in a fictional beach town in Maryland, called Secrets of Seacliff House.
For the past twenty-seven years, Kayla Grayson’s mother has refused to discuss Kayla’s absent father or explain why the two of them have been alone in the world without relatives. A mysterious email sends Kayla to a Maryland beach town and her grandmother’s home, Seacliff House. There, Kayla hopes to discover who she is and why her past has been shrouded in mystery.
When Tanner Bishop discovers an old diary among his grandfather’s possessions, his interest is piqued. Some of the entries speak of Pearl, a young woman who abandoned her son and fled Maine for Maryland in 1958. The journalist in Tanner wants to know what became of Pearl once she found her way to Seacliff House. But as the woman’s great-grandson, he needs to know.
Kayla quickly learns the whereabouts of her father and meets her formidable grandmother, while Tanner investigates his own connection to Seacliff House. Through a mutual interest in searching out their roots, romance blossoms. But events that cannot be stopped are quickly set in motion—including murder—to reveal secrets of the past that threaten the couple’s hopeful future.
Stacey doesn't read much while she's writing a book, but she does read in between projects. Before starting Secrets of Seacliff House, Stacey told me she read The Tale of Halcyon Crane by Wendy Webb, Ghost on Black Mountain by Ann Hite, The Woman in Black by Susan Hill, Séance in Sepia by Michelle Black, Her Rodeo Man by Donna Dalton, Quiver by Holly Luhning, and The Winslow Incident by Elizabeth Voss.
"Most I read on my Kindle," she explained. "I would recommend all of these tales if you like the subjects of ghosts, suspense and cowboys."
One thing that sets Stacey's work apart from other romance writers is that she doesn't write strictly romance.
"I like to throw in suspense, a mystery, murder, action and adventure, and humor into each of my stories," she explained. "Many readers have commented on my wit. Plus, I’ve been told I’m good at descriptive writing. Apparently, I can describe settings in a way that makes the reader feel she or he are really there. Those are the kinds of stories I like to read, so they are the stories I write."
Finally, I asked, "If you were stranded on a desert island and were only allowed to have five modern conveniences with you, what would they be?"
"Assuming there is no electricity since it’s a deserted island, I’d choose: Stacks of notebook paper and pens, a toothbrush and toothpaste, sunblock (I burn easily), a few of my favorite books to read over and over, and my husband. Is he a modern convenience? I’m including him, whether he is or not," she said with a laugh.
About the Author:
Find her online at:
The Wild Rose Press
Photographer Taylor Young fled to L.A. following her sister’s betrayal six years ago. Now Jamie’s dead, Mama has broken a hip in a drunken fall, and Taylor’s stepfather begs her to return to her family’s Montana ranch to make amends.
After a bitter divorce, Brett Austin, foreman of the Slash Y Ranch, believes horses are more of a sure thing than women. But the boss's daughter changes all that when she sets his heart bucking like a wild bronc.
When Taylor’s mother insists Jamie’s death was not suicide—a theory confirmed by Jamie’s ghost—Taylor wonders who could have wanted her sister dead. With a list of suspects as long as her camera strap, Taylor needs an ally. Could that person be a tall drink of water in a cowboy hat?