Monday, 30 January 2012

Introducing... Stephanie Judice

I'm thrilled to be able to introduce you to talented author, Stephanie Judice. Stephanie resides in Louisiana, USA, and is the author of the YA novel, RISING (Saga of the Setti).

On a personal note, Rising is one of the first books I read on my Kindle, and I can't recommend it highly enough.

The book's video trailer is included after the interview below.
BOOK EXCERPTI stepped steadily through an endless field of sugar cane in a haze of night fog.  I’d been here before in this eternal nightmare.  Knowing I wouldn’t wake up until I saw them, I walked on.  I gripped the cold, black stone in my palm, disturbed by its familiar presence.  The stone was always there in this nightmare, freezing my palm till it burned.  I never knew what it was or why I held it, but there was deep power in it.  Something compelled me to move on.  The thin blades of cane sliced my exposed skin.  The row of green stalks lashed at my arms and bare chest as I pushed my way farther into the field ahead.  Abruptly, the cane field ended.  I found myself standing alone at the edge of a brackish swamp.  Pain seared through every vein in my body, pulsating from the burning stone in my hand.  I stood still, staring into the darkness.  A storm was brewing.  Lightning flashed, revealing cypress trees bending in the wind and waves of rippling black water.  I held the stone tightly in my fist.  A sudden gust of wind swept across the water.  I stood firm although the gale threatened to topple me.  A whispering, rustling sound began to build.  A streak of purple lightening split the sky.  To my horror, hundreds of ghastly shapes flew toward me.  The whispering was not the wind, but the movement of these creatures drawing closer.  I was frozen to the spot, doomed to watch them advance.  Another flash of lightening.  One of the creatures hovered right in front of me.  At first, I thought it wore a sleek, gray cloak, then realized instantly that it was not cloth, but wings that fluttered with every breath of wind.  A sheet of ashen skin hung in tatters over its skeletal body.  Its cloak-like wings were dry, cracked and frayed at the edges.  What horrified me most about the monster was the lack of any facial features at all, except for a black, gaping hole for a mouth.  It hissed once then inhaled deeply.  I felt excruciating pain, like needles pricking along every surface of my skin.  I looked down at my chest, which began to break like glass.  My skin literally shattered into tiny shards and pulled away from my body. The creature inhaled again, sucking the pieces toward its mouth.  Instinctually, I pressed the black stone to its head.  Piercingly, the creature screamed as smoke rose from seared ghastly flesh, then—


What/who inspired you to write?
From as early as I can remember, I’ve been in love with stories and lost in my own imagination. I even remember my 1st grade teacher Ms. Newman writing on every report card that I “daydreamed too much.” Little did I know this “flaw” would eventually flourish into writing my own stories.

It was not until 10th grade when my English teacher asked the class to write a creative short story where I first realized my deep love for this craft.  I have been writing ever since.

What is your writing process/when do you find the time?
Well, Ms. Newman was right. I daydream too much. Any spare moment I have to wander away inside my own in my head, while driving to work or fetching kids, I think about my characters and things they will do.  I spend countless hours just thinking about things they would say or just observing nature and considering how it would fit into the imagery of my stories.

Because I’m a teacher, wife, and mother of four, I have to snatch any moment I can to put the words down that float around in my head during daytime.  Usually, it’s late at night when the house is quiet and still that I get my best writing done.

Any triumphs/eureka moments?
I’m not sure if this counts as a “eureka” moment, but there’s one thing that has helped me in the process of writing this series. I’ve given myself permission to write any part of the story when the inspiration comes upon me, no matter that it may not fit into the series until later on.  Inspired pieces shouldn’t be ignored because you’re not chronologically there yet.  For example, I have a rather bewitching scene for Book Two that was written nearly two years ago. And, on the way to work last week, I watched a rather magnificent sunrise pushing back gray clouds to reveal pinks and purples illuminating the landscape. I wrote the final page of the final book (Book Five) for my Saga of the Setti series that very day. Sometimes, it’s important to get the words down and make them fit into a sequential pattern later. I’ve discovered that the inspiration must not be ignored and put off until later. Snatch the words from your mind and keep them for when they’re needed.

What advice would you give someone wanting to write their first book?
Be patient.  The process is long and requires patience in every stage. Be patient with your writing, your editing, the publishing process, and the marketing process. I’ve discovered that being an author isn’t about finishing and producing a product then wiping your hands with a glorious, “It’s finished. I did it.” While there are moments of pride in your work and what you’ve accomplished, being an author is a never-ending process that requires patience all along the way. Just enjoy the ride. 

Thanks for stopping by, Stephanie. And don't take too long with that next book, I can't wait...

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