Interview With Shay Stone

Where do you get your inspiration?

Sometimes things just pop into my head. Other times I’ll here a song or see something on TV that spurs a whole thought process for me.

Can you tell me a little about each book?

The Rise to Fame and The Cost of Fame are a duet. After Colin scares off Alex’s male lead, she ropes him into starring alongside her in a play. He falls hard not knowing she is the daughter of the man that tried to destroy his life. In the midst of dealing with that, they get discovered by a huge Hollywood agent named Richard. It soon becomes clear Richard’s interest lie in more than just Alex’s talent. The books follow Alex and Colin’s struggle to make it in Hollywood while contending with her powerful father and an obsessive agent that wants to thwart their careers and tear them apart.

What inspires you to write?

Music, a walk outside, a nice smile. I look at people or listen to a song and wonder what made them get to that point. Why are they fighting? What lead to that song being written? How did they fall in love? Or out of love? Next thing I know, I have a whole story. I also couldn’t read or write for a long time due to a car accident. Now that I can, I don’t take it for granted. I try to get my ideas out knowing the ability could be taken away. Writing is a privilege some people don’t get. 

Tell me about how you got started as a writer.

The first time, I started writing because I wanted to help people learn how to deal with chronic pain. It was suggested by a popular clinic that I write a self-help book. I did and it ended up getting published. I wrote another book after that that was also a self-help book. Both are currently out of print because the publishing company closed.

The second story is more fun. I didn’t write for years after my first books were published. Then one Valentine’s Day, I decided to write these sexy stories in a journal and give it to the guy I was dating at the time as part of his present. He flipped out over it and told me I needed to be a writer. I decided to give it a shot and here I am. I feel like I’ve found my calling in Contemporary Romance/ Romantic Suspense. I have tons of stories in my head waiting to get out.

When did you first publish? How did publishing make you feel?

My self-help books were published around 2009, I think. And it was liberating. I felt like I had taken control of my life again. My contemporary romances were published last summer. I was still under contract with my publisher, but they gave me permission to self-publish my books because they knew they would be closing. Holy crap! Was I nervous! I had no idea what I was doing. lol  I studied every traditionally published book and read everything I could on publishing because I wanted to do it right. When I finally got to hold The Rise to Fame in my hand for the first time, it was exhilarating.

What advice can you give future authors?

Everyone’s first draft sucks. I say that for two reasons. One because some people finish a story and are so excited to publish it, they don’t take the time to tweak it and edit it properly. Those little things – reframing sentences, catching plot holes, etc, are the difference between something decent and something extraordinary.

Two, a lot of people, write it, judge it too harshly, and give up. The first draft is you telling yourself the story. You can go back in and add the flowery details and perfect sentences later. That’s what editing is for.

What was the easiest book for you to write?

The Cost of Fame – it was the second book in The Fame Series so the characters were developed, and I could just write. The words were coming so fast I could hardly keep up.

What was the hardest?

The one I’m currently writing. It is very intricate and takes so much brain power. Sometimes more than I have! Haha But I think it’s going to be worth it.

What is your biggest challenge as you’re writing?

Time and focus. With the head injury, I work almost like a person with ADHD. I’m usually doing 5 things at once. With writing, you are forced to focus on one task. It takes tremendous concentration. Some days it’s all I can do just to get down a paragraph. Other days, I’ll bust out a chapter with ease.

What do you think of promoting your work? Do you find it easy or hard?

It’s something you have to do, but it’s so hard. There’s a lot of competition and I feel like crap sharing and asking other people to share, which is why I don’t ask often. You try to come up with new innovative things to grab people’s interest. But after a few times, everyone catches on and starts doing the same thing. Look at takeovers for example. For a while they were the big thing. They were fun and didn’t happen that often. Now there’s at least one every day. Less people attend because they figure they’ll just catch the next one.

How would you describe your writing style to people who have never read your work?

Hmmm… My last books were descriptive and written in third person omniscient. My next book is in first person and is more narrative. I want the reader to feel like they are a part of the story and that’s what determines my style and perspective. If you read me, be prepared to get drawn in and emotionally invested in the characters. I’ve been told I write great dialogue and my books are extremely realistic. Fans tell me they feel like they are standing in the room watching the scene take place. That’s pretty damn cool to me. And I don’t use big words just to show off my vocabulary. To me, if a reader needs to stop to look something up, it’s taking them out of the story. I want you in the story, laughing, crying, occasionally cursing my name for making you stay up to late reading because you need to know what’s going to happen next.

How supportive is your family of your books?

My dad keeps asking if I’m ever going to make money off these things. Haha Like a lot of people, he doesn’t understand the business and thinks I should have an agent and publisher just because I wrote a book. But he is supportive. As for the rest, some people are very supportive; others have never picked up one of my books and scoff behind my back. I use both to push me to succeed. I want to prove the ones that believe in me right and the ones that don’t wrong.

Have you ever had anybody in your life ever try to discourage you from writing? How did you cope?

(See above) You have to push through and find it in you. Only you have the power to make your dreams come true. At the end of the day, you’re the one that has to live with knowing you did or didn’t go for it. Do you want your dreams to remain dreams, or do you want them to become a reality? Yes, there may be a million people out there trying to do what you do. It’s your job to show them why you’re special.

Do you have a team that helps with your writing process and promotions?

I wish! I do have a network of authors that I work with and we share things and swap newsletters. I also have some awesome friends and fans that share my stuff every time I post it. I’ve tried to put together a street team but haven’t had much luck. I’d love one… and a P.A. someday.

I only have one person I bounce stories off of because I’ve had some of my writing copied. An author even copied part of my bio. Unfortunately, that made me extremely nervous about sharing anything before it’s published.

How many drafts do you write before you are pleased enough to publish?

I could spend the rest of my life writing drafts and editing my books. I don’t remember who it was, but someone once said [paraphrasing], “A great writer is never finished with their book. They just get tired of editing.” There’s always something I want to tweak. But at some point, you have to release your book baby out into the world and hope it flies high.  But if I had to give a number, I’d say probably about 70. haha

Are any of your books in audio? If not, is it something you eventually want?

Not yet, but I hope to in the future. It’s a cost thing and I’m also scared because I bought an audiobook version of a book I loved. When I heard it, I was so thankful I read the book before I listened to it because the narrator was awful. It made me really cautious about finding the right people to do it when I’m ready.

What are some of your favorite books and authors?

Tiffany Riesz – Original Sinner Series

Sylvia Day – Crossfire Series

Jackie Collins – Chances

Danica Raimz _Awaken My Heart Series

Can you tell us about some of your upcoming books?

I’ll tell you the title: The Redemption of Memphis Drake
(I’ll also tell you I’m so freaking excited about it I can hardly see straight!)

Where can we find you on social media?

Ugh! I’m on too much social media, but you have to be if you want to succeed. Here is the crazy long list. Please stalk away!

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