Author Interview: Charissa Stastny

CStastnyCharissa Stastny, author of the Bending Willow Trilogy, made it through the snow to visit from Idaho today. Charissa is a great friend and blogging buddy. Her third novel, Hands of Mercy, has just been released so she deserves lots of chocolate and cheers.

Thanks for visiting so we could talk about your novels and finding the time to write and market a trilogy.

The new book covers look great. What was it like working with your daughter on them? How did she go about creating them?

When she came to me and told me she wanted to update my covers, I was super surprised. She works for an architect, so I didn’t know she could do the graphic art type work, but she found an awesome model for Suvi that fit my specifications and showed me her idea and I was blown away with excitement! It’s been fun working together, although hard too because we live in different states and have to do things long distance or wait until we visit each other.

Suvi goes through a lot of internal and external struggles. As the mother of young daughters, was it difficult for you to put her in those situations?

Suvi is like my child, but I knew as an author I had to torture her in order for her to shine. Real life tortures us in unique ways as well. I tell my kids all the time that God doesn’t keep them safe from every harmful or hurtful thing in the world; but He’s there to help, comfort and guide us through hard times. How we react to our challenges reveals who we really are and what we can become. An easy life makes for boring, shallow people.

2-SecretKeepers_ebookRGB_2You mentioned the missionary character who travels to Guatemala is based on your brother. What did he think of the Eyes of Light novel?

I hope he liked it. I know he read it, but he’s as quiet as I am and we don’t gush out our dreams or compliments to each other. Since most of the missionary moments are from his letters, he better have liked it or I’m not giving him a birthday present this year.

I know you like to work on multiple WIPs at one time. How many are you working on now and how different are they?

3-HandsOfMercy_ebookRGB_2I’ve got about six stories started, but I’ve been focused on editing/revising this Bending Willow Trilogy lately. I go between books – either finishing Book 3, editing book 1, making a trailer for book 2, etc (depending on what I feel like doing each day). It’s fun.

How do you find the time to work on so many different novels? What’s your writing routine like?

My routine is very sporadic. I write every day, but depending on my day job or activities for my kids, doctor appointments, etc, my time at the computer changes. My goal is to become more regimented with my writing time, but so far I’ve been more like Doug from the movie Up. “Squirrel!” I’m easily sidetracked.

Any other writing or marketing advice you’d like to share?

At the last writing conference I attended, author Jennifer Nielsen who wrote the False Prince series, said “book writing is a mental illness.” I’m definitely insane. My advice (like so many other authors out there) is to write because you love it, not because you expect to make a six-digit salary. I love the process of writing and revising. I also love the process of designing my own books and making them marketable. Whether or not I ever become rich off my books, I’ll keep writing because, like I said above, I have the writing disease bad and can’t seem to stop myself. If you are okay with that upfront (being mentally diseased), then welcome to the writing world. Let me offer you a straitjacket.

You can connect with Charissa through her blog Joy in the Moments, Twitter, or Facebook.

Click each book cover for a description. The Bending Willow Trilogy is available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.

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42 thoughts on “Author Interview: Charissa Stastny

  1. Pingback: Tour de Hands – Day 2 | Joy in the Moments

  2. The snow was a little deep to get here, but I’m glad I could make it. You’re always fun to share writing and chocolate thoughts with, Sheila. Thanks again for having me on your blog.

    • Thanks so much for trudging through it all to get here! We deserve some hot chocolate after all that. It’s always fun to talk with you and dream of chocolate.

  3. Thanks for a great interview, Shelia and Charissa. I’m always interested in hearing how writers juggle a full-time day job, family and writing. Charissa is obviously a great time manager…six stories started…very impressive. It sounds as though she’s staying on track to me. Sometimes I feel like I have ADHA.

  4. I always share blogs about writers with my human … since he is one. The mental illness statement had him nodding his head. We both liked your approach and treatment.

    • Thank you for sharing with your human! I guess we can all relate to that feeling and luckily, it’s more fun that way.

    • Oh my goodness! You remind me of my adorable dog, Ginger. She was into books too (at least slobbering on them). Writing definitely is a mental illness. I take a dose of chocolate once a week at least to help with the side effects (so I don’t start talking to myself about my characters as I’m taking a walk in the neighborhood). Some humans give you weird looks when you do that.

  5. Sheila thanks for sharing Charissa’s journey as a writer, I love reading how each person goes about the business of writing and publishing their work. Charissa what an inspiration you are, you give me hope, I write because I cannot stop. I have much to learn though. Good luck with your novels, the covers are beautiful.

    • Thanks Kath! You’re a wonderful writer and artist so I’m glad to hear you can’t stop either! I hope you’re finding some more cool breezes after that heat wave. Believe it or not, we’re buried in 25 inches of snow for now!

    • That’s the best reason to write–because you cannot stop. It means you have something to say! Good luck to you on your writing journey.

  6. How wonderful to have mother and daughter collaboration on the cover. Makes the process that much more special.

    Wonderful interview. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to slip back into my straitjacket. Thanks for the spare, Char…

  7. Pingback: Tour de Hands – Day 3 | Joy in the Moments

  8. Love the collaboration between mother and daughter! Maybe when my son is a little older, he can help me out with illustrations and book covers for the picture books I’m writing. But that would mean I’d have to start writing about spaceships and weapons, since that’s what he likes to draw. Hmmmm. Maybe this won’t work for me. 😀

    • That’s a great idea! Maybe he’ll get tired of drawing spaceships and weapons or you could always throw an unexpected spaceship into a story. I love seeing collaborations like that too.

    • Ha ha! I hear you. My boy always wants to draw bombs going off in his pictures. I don’t know if I will ever have him be my cover artist, but maybe you’ll luck out.

  9. Wonderful interview, Sheila. Great to be able to hear about different writing habits. The part about the “Squirrel!” made me laugh – I think we’re all a bit like that at times. It’s a wonder we get things done despite this habit!

  10. Pingback: Tour de Hands – Day 4 | Joy in the Moments

    • Me too. Just wonderful to have that input. I have been squirrel like today. Most of the time it’s been of the ‘where did I place my nuts’ type of squirrel behaviour.

    • You can’t be late around here – it’s not a party without you anyway. Maybe you could get your editing cats to help out with the next book cover. I can see it now – paw prints and all. 🙂

  11. Oh, wow, I’m the latest one here, now—Britt’s off the hook! 😉 Wonderful interview, Sheila and Charissa, and the covers are beautiful—so fitting for the stories inside. I hope they’re the first in a long line of mother-daughter collaborations!

    • Thanks JM – it’s not a party without you either! I’m still amazed that Char was able to do all this and somehow make it through the snow for the visit. 🙂

  12. Umm, nope, I’m the late one now!

    I think it would be great fun to work on a book with my kids. You must have had a blast, Char. I really like the new covers. Congrats on finishing your series!

    • Okay – now it’s a party! All we need is for Char to bring us some of her chocolate. 🙂 Your kids have your writing talent so you never know – maybe in a few years you’ll be working on a book with them.

    • Thanks, Kate. It was a blast to work with my daughter on this one, so I hope you get to do something like that with your kids too! I’m sure you will. They’re so talented!

  13. Pingback: Tour de Hands – Day 6 | Joy in the Moments

  14. Pingback: Tour de Hands – Day 7 | Joy in the Moments

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