Stacy Juba got engaged at Epcot Theme Park and spent part of her honeymoon at Disneyland Paris, where she ate a burger, went on fast rides, and threw up on the train ride to the hotel. In addition to working on her new Storybook Valley chick lit/sweet romance series, Stacy has written books about ice hockey, teen psychics, U.S. flag etiquette for kids, and determined women sleuths. She has had a novel ranked as #5 in the Nook Store and #30 on the Amazon Kindle Paid List. Stacy is also the founder of the Glass Slipper Sisters, a group of authors with Cinderella-themed romance novels. When she’s not visiting theme parks with her family, (avoiding rides that spin and exotic hamburgers) or writing about them, Stacy helps authors to strengthen their manuscripts through her Crossroads Editing Service.
How did you get started writing?
I wrote my first story in third grade, and by fifth grade was writing a mystery series about an amateur sleuth named Cathy Summers. I was an avid reader and very introverted, and writing became a way for me to express myself. I would write the kind of stories that I wanted to read. My first novel, the young adult hockey book Face-Off, was published when I was eighteen years old and written in high school study hall. In addition to writing novels, I worked as a journalist for several years. I still do some freelance marketing writing, am a freelance book editor, and teach online classes for writers. I feel fortunate that I’ve been able to make a career out of something that I loved to do as a child.
Your Storybook Valley series is set in a fairy tale-centered theme park. What inspired you to set a series at an amusement park?
There was one summer where my family and I went on a Disney princess lunch cruise and then a couple weeks later we went to a small amusement park where you could go to Cinderella’s castle. The idea for Fooling Around with Cinderella popped into my head after visiting the castle – what if there was a reluctant Cinderella? And what if she met her Prince Charming while working as Cinderella? I didn’t know it would be a series until I started writing it, but I was excited about the idea from the first moment it popped into my mind. My husband told me I had a gleam in my eye, and I remember scribbling notes on scraps of paper in the hotel at 5 a.m.
Are you an aficionado of fairy tales? What draws you to them?
I’d say I’m more an aficionado of theme parks than fairy tales. My husband and I got engaged at Epcot and went to Disneyland Paris on our honeymoon. We’ve been to Disney World numerous times and to Disneyland once. I find theme parks a happy place, an escape into a fantasy world where the problems of real life seem far away. With that said though, I have always liked Cinderella and rags to riches stories. I’ve always rooted for the underdog, and in essence, that is what Cinderella is. I think fairy tales and theme parks complement each other very nicely as both revolve around happiness and happy endings.
Which is your favorite fairy tale?
My favorite fairy tale movie was always the animated Beauty and the Beast. I could relate to Belle more than the other princesses as she always had her nose stuck in a book. I’m also a big fan of the TV show Once Upon a Time. I think it’s neat how they took these familiar fairy tale characters and created this whole complex history for them.
Your books include ones for adults, young adults, and children. Plus, you have books that span a range of genres, such as mystery, paranormal, romance, sports fiction, and picture books. Most writers seem to stick to the same or similar genres. What has led you to explore the gamut, and which genres do you most enjoy writing?
I think I’ve explored so much because I started writing so young. I wrote Face-Off in high school, and even though it took several years for Dark Before Dawn, my young adult psychic novel, to get published, I wrote the original draft when I was about 20 and still reading some YA novels. I wrote my children’s picture books during a brief period when I had undiagnosed hypothyroidism and couldn’t summon the concentration to write a 250-page novel. I don’t want to imply that writing a children’s story is easy, because I had to work hard on it through critique groups with more experienced children’s writers, but it was easier for me in the sense that I was able to focus on a 5-10 page storyline when I couldn’t keep track of a 250-page storyline with my mind in such a fog. Those were written in a phase of my life when my kids were young and I was reading a lot of picture books out loud.
As for my mystery/romantic suspense books, I grew up reading Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden, so I naturally gravitated toward writing in that genre in my teens and twenties. I didn’t get into writing chick lit/sweet romance until my late thirties. I think, as you get older, life sometimes feels more serious. You’ve gone through more, and the people you care about have gone through more. At this stage of my life, I just felt myself drawn toward reading lighter books, and then when I started working on the first Storybook Valley book, I couldn’t get that theme park and those characters out of my mind. I love that sometimes I crack up laughing while I’m writing because of the humor in the chick lit genre.
What books inspired you as a child, and what authors inspire you now?
As a child, I was inspired by mystery series novels like the Bobbsey Twins, Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, the Dana Girls, and the Hardy Boys. I also enjoyed the books of Beverly Cleary and some of Judy Blume’s novels. Today I’m inspired by Sophie Kinsella. I adore her Shopaholic books. I’m also inspired by Bella Andre and the amazing career she has carved out for herself.
You write a blog about having a child with Type 1 diabetes. What would you like most to tell the general public about this disease? What would you like to tell other parents of children with it?
My blog focuses on books and writing, but from time to time, I will write posts sharing Type 1 Diabetes resources. I want to raise awareness with both the public and with other parents who are struggling with a recent diagnosis. I’d like the public to understand that Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes are very different diseases. They each have their challenges, but Type 1 is an autoimmune disease where the pancreas stops working and therefore the person becomes insulin dependent. It’s not something that can be reversed and it’s not known why it happens. I want people to understand how complex the disease is. Every day is different and so many things have an impact on blood sugar level. The public needs to know the warning signs, because many doctors and emergency rooms miss the signs and send home patients who are in DKA, an acute, major, life-threatening complication of diabetes that mainly occurs in patients with Type 1 Diabetes. It’s mind-boggling how many medical professionals overlook doing a simple finger prick, leading to devastating results. This blog post goes over the warning signs.
And I want parents of newly diagnosed kids to know that it’s going to be okay – that it’s incredibly overwhelming at first, and that most people won’t understand your stress as they don’t realize what a complicated diagnosis this is, but it does get easier and you do get more confident. I want them to know there are support groups, both online and in person; that a Dexcom continuous glucose monitor is a game-changer that can help a lot with peace of mind and blood sugar control; and that if you don’t like your endo team you should keep looking until you find the right fit.
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?
I’d love for readers to join my newsletter. There, they can get behind the scenes information on my books, and I give them many bonuses – sort of like DVD extras. They can start with my free Storybook Valley Sampler, and then they will receive some fun emails relating to fairy tales and Storybook Valley.
They are also welcome to join the Glass Slipper Sisters Facebook group. I like to hang out there and interact with readers.
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Fooling around with Cinderella