Today, Stacey will tell you that having Dyslexia was an inspiring challenge that, although a life long struggle, has made her a more creative and determined person; and perhaps a better author.
For forty years, Stacey put her dreams of becoming a writer aside deciding to listen to what others said and not her heart. But after having children of her own, she found that she could no longer look them in the eyes and tell them they could be whatever they wanted to be in life if she didn’t do the same.
Now Stacey cannot stop writing and loves to help children pursue their own dreams. She is the author of the Young Adult books Hush, A Lakeview Novel SERIES and Whisper, A Lakeview novel.
This fall Stacey’s Middle Grade pirate book Arrgh will be released, followed by the third book in the Lakeview Novel Series, Scream.
Stacey will also release of her first picture book, Sock Monster, which will be on shelves Spring 2015 and is currently starting work on Silence, the fourth book in the Lakeview Novel Series.
Stacey Campbell Interview
Scroll down for a complete transcript of the interview or click the Play button below to listen to the interview now. And don’t forget to leave a comment to let us know what you thought of this interview!
Books by Stacy Campbell
Stacey Campbell Transcript
Tim Knox: Stacey Campbell is my guest today. Stacey is the author of the young adult books Hush, Whisper and Silence. That is a series called The Lakeview Novel series. She’s also the author of middle grade children’s book – I love this one — the pirate book, Arrgh! She’s also working on a picture book called Sock Monster. Now Stacey concentrates her talents on the young adult and middle grade market and I think, I don’t want to be all Dr. Phil here, but I think it’s because at the age of seven Stacey had a teacher tell her that she could never be a writer because she was dyslexic.
Then many, many years later she was at a restaurant and a reporter who was working on a series for the newspaper asked the adult Stacey what would you like to be when you grow up? Without thinking, without hesitating, Stacey said a writer. She went home that night, thought about it and started writing the next day and has not looked back.
This was a really fun interview to do, a lot of laughter here. Stacey and I just kind of got giddy on some things but there’s also a lot of great information, a lot of fantastic advice especially if you are dyslexic and you don’t think you can write a book. You need to listen to Stacey Campbell. If you are looking to write in the young adult genre, the middle grade genre, great advice there too. She talks about writing to the audience, respecting the audience and how to be successful in that genre. So let’s get started – a lot of laughter here, a lot of great advice. Stacey Campbell on today’s Interviewing Authors.
Stacey, welcome to the program.
Stacey Campbell: Hi, Tim. I’m happy to be here.
Tim Knox: Happy to have you here. We had so much fun on the pre-call. We should have just been recording that. You and I are both dog lovers. You do have a pet turtle named Todd, which I’m not going to say that’s an odd name for a turtle but it certainly is creative.
Stacey Campbell: Well our middle daughter, I grew up in a house without pets and our middle daughter really wanted a turtle and she loved Fox & a Hound and I believe that the hound’s name is Todd.
Tim Knox: That’s true, yes.
Stacey Campbell: We ended up with Todd the turtle. We’ve had him for like 10 years and he’s half the size of a basketball and he really just walks around the house and on a cold morning you’ll find him snuggled with the dogs. He’s figured out how to get downstairs by sucking in on his legs and arms and pushing and rocking. Every once in a while you hear thud, thud, thud and you have to check to make sure that Todd didn’t land on his back.
Tim Knox: Here comes Todd.
Stacey Campbell: If you have painted toes occasionally he thinks they’re strawberries and he tries to bite you which can really interrupt a good writing bit.
Tim Knox: I have a lot of dogs and they’re always licking and coming around but I’ve never had a turtle snap at my toes. I feel like I’m missing out.
Stacey Campbell: It’s a bit of a lost world on you.
Tim Knox: I appreciate you taking the time away from the menagerie to be on the show today. Before we get started let’s talk a little about your background.
Stacey Campbell: Okay as I kind of talked to you about before we started this whole business of the interview, I am a dyslexic writer and really kind of came into writing by looking at my own children and thinking that I can’t tell them they can be whatever they want to be when they grow up if I didn’t do the same. I think I always wanted to be a writer but in 3rd grade my teacher told me that would never be possible and I did the dumb thing of believing her.
So it wasn’t until the kids were born and really there was a street interviewer and he came to our table. We were eating outside. He was interviewing people for the local paper. The question was what do you want to be when you grow up? He put the microphone in my eldest daughter’s general direction and she said, “I want to be a princess.” She was probably six at the time. My middle daughter said, “I want to be a teacher.” Then our youngest looked at me and she goes, “I want to be a monster!”
Tim Knox: Did you say, “Sweetheart, you are”?
Stacey Campbell: Then he asked me and I just refused to answer. This was about the kids. I got home and started talking to my husband and he said, “You know what, honey, you got to just sit down and do it. You just got to write.” And that’s when I started.
Tim Knox: I find that so interesting because at the age of like seven you said a teacher told you that you could never be a writer because of your dyslexia. Things have progressed and I think we understand it a little better but to be seven years old and kind of have your dream squashed there had to affect you for many years until you finally went hey screw this; I can be a writer.
Stacey Campbell: Well it affected me until I turned 40. How’s that? It really did. I look at the schools and the teachers and dyslexia is so much more accepted these days and really if you look at fellow dyslexics you have everyone from Richard Branson with Virgin Atlantic to I believe I read somewhere Oprah’s dyslexic, Walt Disney, Einstein.
My personal belief kind of analyzing how I became a writer would be I couldn’t read so I had to make up stories and thus I was fundamentally a storyteller. People with dyslexia are fundamentally I imagine, I believe because we’re forced to do things a little differently.
Tim Knox: That’s one thing I was going to ask you about. Just because she said you couldn’t write, that didn’t stop your imagination, did it?
Stacey Campbell: Oh no, I have a very overactive imagination.
Tim Knox: Well you have a turtle named Todd. We have this. So between the time you were seven and the time you did start writing, you were creating stories and characters in your head. Talk about that.
Stacey Campbell: Oh my gosh I truly… one of your questions that you gave us to look over before doing the interview was do you think there’s such a thing as writer’s block? Immediately I said no because life is full of plotlines and literally everywhere I look there’s a plotline. If I’m hiking, you’re looking at different sceneries and different moss groves and you think, oh okay, this looks like a fairy meadow and you could have a whole plotline happening by this babbling brook. You go into a city and you kind of watch a coffee stand from across the street and that’s another plotline. So I mean really my imagination never stops. I’ve actually trained myself to write in the dark so I don’t wake my husband up at 2 AM when I start thinking of another thing.
Tim Knox: That’s hilarious. You need to put him on the couch when you’re creating.
Stacey Campbell: Poor guy. He’s stuck with me for 24 years. Obviously he’s patient.
Tim Knox: Your imagination then took off and you say something very interesting there. I talk to a lot of writers. In fact, Rachel Thompson and I were talking about this the other day. We sit at restaurants and we look at the people and we make up stories about them. I think a lot of authors do that. Do you do that?
Stacey Campbell: I totally do that. Have you ever played the game where you’re just sitting in a restaurant and not necessarily you don’t have anything to talk to with the other person about but you’re sitting there and you’re like, “Oh let’s make up their conversations. I think they’re doing this right now. I bet he just said that. Oh do you think that’s a first date?”
Tim Knox: My wife and I do that and she’s always like, “Would you shut up? They’re not deaf.” According to my wife I lack the ability to whisper. So I’m sitting there going, “Hey look at that guy.”
Stacey Campbell: It’s so true. I just recently started wearing eyeglasses and I still think that they’re sunglasses so I’ll get caught staring at people thinking I wish I had my sunglasses on because then they wouldn’t know I’m making up plotlines.
Tim Knox: Well that is the worst to be making up a story about a guy and then you catch his eye and you’re like oh he is a serial killer. Let’s talk a little about your work. You’re quite the accomplished writer and you work mostly in the young adult and the kid genre, right?
Stacey Campbell: I do. As I told you before my kids really inspired my writing and my first published work is a book called Hush. The idea was thought about during a dinner conversation, because I’m one of those weird moms that makes everyone sit down every night. Our middle daughter has red hair and she asked where the red hair came from. My husband said, “Oh it’s the Tudor side of the family.” My eldest who was 12 at the time said, “Ah, does that mean I can be a princess?” She definitely has a princess thing. We kind of laughed at her and said, “Well honey, several hundred people are going to have to die first,” and she said, “But it could happen. There could be a family reunion and everyone could die.” We thought, oh my God, that’s a great plotline.
So when she went off to boarding school… we live in San Juan so we’re very limited on our schools. There are islands off the coast of Washington state. So when she went off to boarding school I started writing as a way to stay in touch because she wasn’t in our everyday life. I guess she was via texting and Skype and always wanting cash to go do things but I sent her chapters and she’d send them back and she actually ended up writing a lot of the text scenes. That book is Hush and it’s the story of an unknown princess who is discovered by an undercover student journalist and then hunted down by terrorists on a campus of her elite boarding school.
So the second book in the series, Whisper, I used my middle daughter’s name, Lee, and she’s the main character in that one. I focused it. It was my first jaunt at paranormal and I focused it on the real ghost stories on this hundred year old campus. It was really fun to dive into that and research paranormal. Then the middle grade pirate book I have coming out this fall is very loosely based on stories my dad used to make you when we sailed around Vancouver Island in the summers.
Tim Knox: That’s the book, Arrgh! I just love that sound.
Stacey Campbell: Say it without gripping your fist and moving it across your chest.
Tim Knox: What’s funny is when I was doing my research on you I looked at your website and I looked at that and went, “arggh,” and I’m like oh I made the noise. That’s very cool.
Stacey Campbell: We came up with the title… one night we had done a cooking school in Healdsburg, California. We were with good friends and a second bottle of wine and all of a sudden they said, “Well why not arggh”? It stuck and my publisher just laughed. She has twin boys and the boys went crazy over it and now the book is called Arrgh!
Tim Knox: I think it’s really funny you named a kids book based on a drunken dinner but the irony is there. One thing I do find interesting, and I don’t mean to go all Dr. Phil on you but because at a young age you were told you can’t write and now you’re so prolific writing children’s stories – do you think these are stories you would have told or written if you had started at a much younger age?
Stacey Campbell: I don’t know. If I had started at a younger age, had I believed in myself at a younger age I might have tried… I have a couple adult books in my mind that have been kicking around for a long time so I might have tried to go into some different genres. I think because of the situation I really did gravitate towards this YA genre but also for another reason, which is the format. It tends to be a shorter chapter book, which is a huge bonus for a reader like myself who’s often distracted, a little easier format so I really do write for readers like myself who want action, something happening, a short chapter format so you have that feeling of accomplishment.
I guess that goes into am I a reader? Am I not a reader? I was not a reader. I could barely read by grade 5 but now I cannot stop. Someone who says I’m not a reader just has to relook at genre and format because there is no such thing as a bad reader. There is just a reader who hasn’t found their niche.
Tim Knox: How did you eventually overcome the dyslexia or do you still deal with it on a daily basis?
Stacey Campbell: Tim, I can out spell any Spellcheck program.
Tim Knox: I know you have issues with time zones but words are good.
Stacey Campbell: I have lots of issues. Dyslexia, I still deal with it every day. There’s little words that just I can’t spell worth beans. Defiantly – for some reason that word every time. I spell it so poorly that my Spellchecker, and I’m off Word and Apple, neither will catch it. But I’m very blessed because my husband’s a very good speller and my children are very good spellers and oftentimes dyslexia is passed down but my kids have seemed to luck out.
Actually I wouldn’t say luck out because I do believe that dyslexia is a blessing. But I can text them. I actually had one teacher text back and say, “Blakely’s in the middle of a class right now and this is how you spell the word.”
Tim Knox: Well you know, my Autocorrect on my phone makes me sound like an idiot.
Stacey Campbell: Have you seen those Facebook posts – 20 worst?
Tim Knox: I think I started most of those. Let’s talk a little about your process. When you finally decided that you were able to write and you got the idea, you wrote the book and the first book was Hush, right?
Stacey Campbell: No, Hush was my first public work.
Tim Knox: What’s the first thing that you wrote that you thought might be good enough to be published?
Stacey Campbell: That’s a little bit of a double question. Being who I am I still can’t believe I have something out there that’s good enough to be published. Every time I look at my name on a book it just sends kind of chills up my spine because I did it. Not only did I do it but I showed my children that they could do anything that they wanted. That was so important to me. I really second guess it every time something’s published. I’m like is that really me?
Tim Knox: Somebody’s playing an evil prank on me.
Stacey Campbell: It is. I remember getting my first copy of Hush and I’m holding it and my hands are shaking and I actually like pet the cover. Oh my gosh, it’s so soft. I was so thrilled. My first book that I wrote, because I really did start the day after that interview and just kind of sat down and looked at the keyboard and wrote my first page. The red marks, it was ridiculous. I started writing actually the first copy of Arrgh! and it was called Christopher and the Attack Mouse and then it was called Shanghai and it had a bunch of different working names. But I started that and I wrote it without an outline, which I think is a mistake but that’s another subject. It took me four years to write and it was an 80,000 word book.
I hired an outside editor to take a look at it and then I sent it in and I thought I was going to be the next J.K. Rowling. This was a great book and I got nothing but rejection letters.
Tim Knox: How did you deal with those?
Stacey Campbell: They suck.
Tim Knox: I personally paper my master bath with them.
Stacey Campbell: That’s a great idea.
Tim Knox: And I have a very large master bath.
Stacey Campbell: You might have to move into the hall and into the closet.
Tim Knox: I think what I need to do is find a better use for them in the bath is what I need to do. Here’s what I think about your rejection letter.
Stacey Campbell: I think you just take rejection with a grain of salt. It’s like everything in life. There’s ups and downs. I didn’t give up and that’s I think what I was most proud of because it was so disheartening but it was right around that time that Blakely, our eldest, who’s oh so the main character in Hush. But Blakely, our eldest, went to boarding school and I immediately started writing Hush and I left we’ll call it Shanghai because that was the longest working title; I left Shanghai on the counter for a long time. I had written the first two books in the Lakeview Series, Hush and Whisper, before I even went back.
Because my publisher with her twin boys said she’d really love to see something written for boys, something that was an adventure novel and really would attract boys who might struggle with reading or who might be avid readers but something fun that was good for both sexes because I think we’re a little heavy on girl literature sometimes.
So my publisher really said let me take a look at that. I said okay, give me two months. I did a very intensive rewrite. I chopped it from 80,000 words down to 40,000 and completely reworked the plotline, everything in it and by the time I finished writing the last page during the rewrite I had tears streaming down my face and I thought oh my gosh, I am so thankful that things turned out this way because honestly the first draft was kind of crap.
Everything happens for a reason and going back to how do you handle rejection – writing is a beautiful vocation but it’s a very hard career. Rejection, critics, everyone thinks they’re a critic nowadays. It all goes hand in hand but for every rejection there is a plus. It might not be at that particular second but good does come from absolutely everything. I read somewhere that J.K. Rowling had something like 50 rejections before the first Harry Potter was brought up. If she can get rejection letters I’m okay with it.
Tim Knox: Yeah good enough for her, good enough for you. Let’s go back a little bit and talk about how you eventually did get published. After you were getting the rejections, did you get an agent or did you go to a publisher directly? What did you do?
Stacey Campbell: I was so disheartened after everything with Shanghai and threw myself into Hush. I guess I should actually start calling Shanghai Arrgh!, which is going to be the published title but it does make me laugh every time I say it. But I was so disheartened with that whole process that I dove into Hush. I wrote Hush with an outline and it was just a brief outline but it kept me focused and I knew where I’d start the next day. Outlines don’t have to be outlines or in-depth but they are fabulous for keeping a writer focused.
I threw myself into that. I finished writing the first draft, I shouldn’t even say first draft because as you know, Tim, being a writer the first draft anyone sees is really like your seventh draft. I wrote that complete story in six months and it just lived in me and I think you could tell because the love was there between me and the characters and the plotline and everything was clicking.
I had just finished Hush and within a week seriously I saw a good girlfriend down at the grocery store. So our town’s quite small. We have two lights that start flashing at six, which is a really good example. So the grocery store can usually take someone about an hour to get milk because you run into everyone. So I was down there and I ran into my good friend and she works, she does editing for a publishing company out of Seattle. She said, “Give it to me, Stacey. I would love to take a look at it.” I gave her it and she liked it so much she gave it to her publisher and the publisher met the next week at lunch or over lunch we met and she said, “I want this. I want this project. I think this is great.”
The process with them to get it to the shelves was probably another eight to nine months of rewrites and going back and forth. When Hush came out she kind of looked at me and she goes, “I want rights to the whole series. I think this is great.” Then she again encouraged me to get Arrgh! and I am so excited for this middle grade pirate book. It’s illustrated and just that whole process of working with an illustrator is so energizing. It’s so much fun to see these characters come to life and work with illustrators and editorial staff.
So I think back to your question on agents. I think they have real validity if you’re going for one of the big five but if you can get into a smaller publishing house, I know for me it’s a better fit. I didn’t want to have to travel or do much with the three teenage girls and I always call my husband my biggest child because he’s the neediest. It just worked and she’s a fabulous person with a fabulous team behind her and really the whole experience has been incredibly positive. I think if I were to come out with a book in a different series or something I might shop around because it would be fun to say I’m with Penguin or something but at this point in my writing career I am so happy and so blessed for lack of another word for being part of this Green Darner team. Really it couldn’t be a better situation so everything does happen for a reason.
Tim Knox: It does. One thing that I think is so interesting is you labored over the first book for I think you said four years and then when that did not gain traction you were passionate and inspired and you knocked out Hush over the course of six months or so. I think that speaks a lot to exactly what you said. Things happen for a reason but the books get published for a reason.
Stacey Campbell: Exactly. That’s so true. Everything happens, you know, for a reason as we’re saying and now we’re being repetitive.
Tim Knox: But it’s such a great cliché.
Stacey Campbell: It really is. I always call the first draft my writing MBA or our Master’s in Writing because when you spend that much time researching and really I had to teach myself how to write and in the process teach myself how to be a reader because unless I read… I read every pirate book I think made – Treasure Island, everything and then you have to start reading books on pirate talk and believe me there are enough websites out there on how to speak like a pirate as well.
Tim Knox: Do you think pirates ever really said, “Arrgh”?
Stacey Campbell: No.
Tim Knox: It’s just a marketing term, isn’t it? But you can’t hear the word arrgh without going, “Arrgh!” It’s the only word like that in the whole language ever. Arrgh.
Stacey Campbell: My husband actually interestingly enough, we met sailing. I was about 60 feet up the rig of a sailboat fixing a halyard and he asked me out and I figured anyone who could ask me out when I was in a harness was probably a pretty good guy. Our background has always been sailing and so we knew the terms, we knew everything. I had actually been onboard several square riggers and just wanted to get it right. We were lucky enough to go sailing down the Caribbean and I spent a ton of time down in museums and in Antigua there’s some great museums and history on what the islands were like at the time. That just inspired that story even more to make it correct.
Tim Knox: That’s one thing that I find really interesting is the amount of research you put into a children’s book. I think you do that because you respect the reader.
Stacey Campbell: Kids are so much smarter than we give them credit for. They blow me away and I guess it’s that that I want to write for because they’re just unbelievable. Their knowledge and their depth, I mean tell me an eight year old who can’t out-pirate talk me because they’re amazing and they know everything. You get into research. You have to make it correct for them because you’re right, it is about respecting your audience and respecting your reader.
Tim Knox: I’ve talked to others that write for this genre, the young adult, and they say the same exact thing. Kids are so smart. I would never, ever disrespect them and dumb down the prose just because they’re kids.
Stacey Campbell: And they’re the first to call you on it too.
Tim Knox: They are. They’re really honest, aren’t they?
Stacey Campbell: They’re brutally honest but it’s kind of fun because when you’re looking into their little eyes and they’re saying, “Well Mrs. Campbell, you’re wrong,” you’re going yeah, maybe I am.
Tim Knox: It’s horrible to go to a book reading with a bunch of 12 year olds who are not happy with you.
Stacey Campbell: I’ll take a room full of kids any day. They just inspire me every second. I’ll usually go into a classroom and one of the first things I’ll say is, “Does anyone here have a learning disability? Does anyone have a hard time spelling or reading?” You’ll always get those few timid hands and I shook my hand right up and said, “Well I do too,” and all of a sudden their faces become big and happy and they’re kind of reassured I guess by seeing an adult who can admit it as well and seeing what that adult can do. If you have that room full of kids, how can you not want to be more for them?
Tim Knox: Right, exactly. Let’s talk a little about character development because you said in Hush, in that series, you kind of based them on your daughters. When you’re creating a character like that how much is based on people that you actually know and how much is based on your own imagination?
Stacey Campbell: I believe it was Stephen King who once said, “90% of all fiction is just non-fiction with a twist,” and that’s very, very true. For my characters, actually for all characters I think you know them a little. The main character in Hush is this teenage girl named Blakely but her character is actually probably a combination of about 10 people. I think if I wrote her just as my daughter my daughter might wound me.
You take all these aspects from all these people and you mix them. When I’m writing characters I have a form that I fill out. Really I go right into not only their physical attributes but what do they think of themselves? What are their life goals? What sports do they play? What music do they like? What does their room look like? All of those things help you build what you write and hopefully someone believable enough with faults just like the rest of us, with faults that make the reader connect with them.
Tim Knox: So you really do deep background on these characters.
Stacey Campbell: I do. I like to know them. They’re part real and they’re part my imagination but if you don’t know your character then you can’t write your character.
Tim Knox: I’ve had a lot of fiction authors, especially ones that are writing in the mystery and thriller genre, talk about how their characters actually take over the story sometimes. I know I was talking to Diana Gabaldon, who did the Outlander Series, and she said at some point she actually has to reel the characters in and go, “What are you doing? Why are you doing this?” Do you have that same experience? When you’re writing do the characters sometimes just take over?
Stacey Campbell: Oh yeah, hands down and they’ll wake you up in the middle of the night or you’ll see them on the street and you have to look at the back and that’s part of that great thing called rewrites, which I actually do enjoy because you refine it and you bring it in. Sometimes my office will kind of I guess look like a recycling center because I’ll have Stickies. Each character will have a different colored Sticky and it’s to remind you, oh okay, here’s where that character is and they lead their own lives which kind of go with the plotline and sub-plotlines and you have to reign them all in so that… basically I’m babbling.
You have to reign them all in so that they don’t overtake the story. But yeah, my characters will wake me up in the middle of the night and all of a sudden I’ll be like, “Oh that’s how I can write that. That’s how that’s going to work out.”
Tim Knox: They whisper in your ear in the middle of the night.
Stacey Campbell: They really do.
Tim Knox: That’s hilarious and you’re like just don’t wake up my husband.
Stacey Campbell: Where’s the pad? I can feel the pen. I can write.
Tim Knox: Let’s talk a little about the marketing side of writing. As you know, writing the book is actually just a little bitty piece of the puzzle. It’s actually the marketing and the getting it out there and I think a lot of new authors are under the misconception, and I was the same way, that once I write the book agents are going to line up, publishers are going to line up. All I have to do is cash the check. In reality when it comes to your work you have to be an entrepreneur and you have to be a marketer. Talk about how you market your work.
Stacey Campbell: Don’t you wish it could be that way?
Tim Knox: You know, it’s so disappointing that it’s not.
Stacey Campbell: No one warns you. You sit down at your keyboard and all you want to do is create but you’re right. You have to market every day. You have to get out there and you have to interact and it’s overwhelming. I wish someone warned me. I guess in the beginning I marketed locally through libraries and schools. I got out there for book signings. Never discredit your local bookstore owner. They have a wealth of knowledge. Always make friends with them. When you go do book signings, always bring in fresh baked cookies.
Tim Knox: That’s a great tip.
Stacey Campbell: Really make friends with people in the business and that’s probably the start. Besides establishing a website and establishing your online presence… I kind of thought the online thing at first… I established my website and then I started blogging and thought no one’s going to want to read my blog. Now I have some fun with it. I try to keep them really short but you’ll get fans who will actually interact with you and it’s fabulous. Facebook, every parent has to be on Facebook because your kids are and we are at the heart of it big old snoops.
Tim Knox: What about Twitter? I think that’s where you and I first crossed paths. How have you found it as far as marketing your work?
Stacey Campbell: I fought Twitter and now I’ve got to say that I really enjoy it. I’ve met people like you and people from all over the world. I’ll try and get on at least once a day and really kind of interact with someone or comment and have some kind of conversation. It’s fun. I think there’s a lot of validity to it.
So Facebook, I actually quite enjoy posting pictures. My Facebook fan page is Author Stacey R. Campbell and I’ll stick little pictures. Like recently I’ve been putting pictures of the Lakeview Campus, which is the campus that Hush is set at and Whisper’s set at. I’ll post little inspirational things for writers. That’s really fun. Then Pinterest is all visual. What writer is not going to love Pinterest? You post I guess visuals of what you imagine your characters look like and what do you want to write and your inspiration as well as, you know, recipes and how you wish your house looked.
So Pinterest and Twitter and Facebook, I think everyone has to pick three or four mediums that they like and stick to it because a lot of times people will include LinkedIn, which I haven’t done and all these other things. You’ve got to choose what you can maintain. When you look at your media presence as an author it’s about interaction and about being with your reader and communicating with them and making it fun. Some people use it too much for sales where it’s probably more productive to use it as a ‘this is who I am and this is what I do’ and the process because you’ll get a lot more interaction by being true to yourself than just posting ‘buy my book’.
Tim Knox: I think that’s such a great point and I hear that a lot from the more successful authors. Don’t use it as much to sell, sell, sell. You use it to build relationships. And what you’re talking about with Pinterest and giving people a look at who you are and your life and this sort of thing, I think that’s how you build your band and you create those relationships with the folks that are going to buy your books.
Stacey Campbell: Exactly. It really is about establishing personal relationships and marketing let’s say 20 years ago before all of this was much different and these authors went on big book tours and they did flyers and things like that. Now we have the opportunity to actually directly speak with our readers and to interact and show them who we are. I know when I read something and I love it I’ll sit there and go on their website and I’ll join their Pinterest board and really interact. It inspires me to do what I do even more.
Tim Knox: Exactly. We’ve got a couple of minutes left. Let’s, if you will, advice to those authors out there who are thinking about entering the young adult market, thinking about writing for kids of all ages. Give us your best advice to these folks.
Stacey Campbell: I think the best advice I can give any author is not to give up. This world is so full of critics and people telling you what you can’t do. You’ve got to just listen to your gut. Write because it’s in your soul. It’s who you are. Don’t write for fame. Don’t write for notoriety or as you said before don’t write to make money because it just doesn’t happen that way.
Tim Knox: If it did I’d be making money.
Stacey Campbell: Yeah, exactly. Young adult is a very saturated market. There are a lot of books and I read recently that every day there’s 500 to 1,000 books that are launched. Really the way you can help another author is to be interactive and get out there. For people who want to write in this genre, keep it fun. Keep it light. Really know your character. Research is critical. I actually sat and I wrote down advice because I was reading those questions and researching yet again because I guess that’s who I am. I would say write every day, even if it’s just two lines in a journal. When I work with classrooms I always tell the kids just write.
You might be worried about your sister or your friend or your brother getting into your journal but a journal doesn’t have to be personal. It could be like, “I can’t believe Janet wore red pants with a blue shirt.” It can be more of, “Gosh, I was really inspired by the sunset.” Just two lines that keep you going and keep you writing. The other thing I always preach to the kids when I’m in classrooms is read. Read everything that you can get your hands on. Find that genre that clicks with you and just get out there. You cannot be a writer unless you are a reader. And don’t give up. Just flat out don’t give up and don’t listen to people who tell you you can’t because if it is in your soul you won’t be true to yourself unless you just do it.
Tim Knox: That’s great advice. You’re on book four of the Lakeview Series?
Stacey Campbell: I am on book four. I’m in the editorial process of book three right now. I just started outlining book four and I actually have a really neat project going on called Sock Monster and it’s my first picture book.
Tim Knox: I saw that on your bio. Tell us about Sock Monster.
Stacey Campbell: Sock Monster is what happens when you don’t pick up your clothes and I’ll leave it at that because it’s very fun. I’m working with a Seattle illustrator who’s just fabulous, Beth Thieme, and just really fun and colorful. It’s just the story of what happens to your clothes when you tell your mom you picked them up but you didn’t.
Tim Knox: That’s wonderful. Stacey Campbell, the author of Hush, Whisper, Silence, the upcoming Sock Monster and my favorite book, Arrgh!
Stacey Campbell: When Arrgh! comes out I’ll send you a copy.
Tim Knox: I would love to have that. It’s going to be about my speed maybe. Stacey, tell folks where they can find more information about you and your work.
Stacey Campbell: First off, Tim. Thank you so much for having me today. This has been a blast. You can find me on my website, StaceyRCampbell.com. My Facebook fan site us Author Stacey R. Campbell. Twitter is @StaceyRCampbell. We have a theme going. I believe Pinterest I’m at Stacey R. Campbell as well. Off the top of my head I can’t remember. That’s awful.
Tim Knox: I’ll go look at it for you. I think to end up, here’s a little riddle for you. What letter of the alphabet is the favorite of pirates?
Stacey Campbell: Arrgh.
Tim Knox: Arrgh. Thank you, Stacey.
Stacey Campbell: Thank you, Tim.