Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Promotional Interview with Stacey Klemstein

Your Name: Stacey Klemstein

1. Where you are from and where are you now?

Where am I from?—that’s a trickier question for me than for most, I suspect. My father is a Lutheran minister, and just like military brats, PKs (pastor’s kids) get moved around a lot. Champaign-Urbana, IL; Columbia, SC; Wilmington, NC; Columbia, SC (again!); Rockford, IL; Hillsboro, IL; Mt. Zion, IL; and Peoria, IL—all before the age of eighteen! The longest I lived in any one place was when I was in college, Valparaiso, Indiana. So, that place is very much home to me still.

I now live in the northern Chicago suburbs, close to the border of Wisconsin.

2. How did you get started writing?

I’ve been making up stories in my head for as long as I can remember. I once asked my mom to write down a story that kept playing in my mind over and over again because I didn’t yet know how to write the words!

As a child, I frequently got in trouble for “telling tall tales.” It took me awhile to understand that holding conversations with people in my head and making up a more interesting version of reality were not things everybody else did. And beyond that, it was years before I realized that’s what writers did. It never occurred to me that books came from people who sat down and wrote them. Books were always just doorways to me, tickets to elsewhere. I had never stopped and thought about who was on the other side of the door, so to speak, holding the door open, handing me that ticket. Once I figured that out, I was hooked. I HAD to be one of those people.

But I didn’t get serious about writing until college when a short story class required me to actually finish a piece of fiction. I was great at starting, not so good at figuring out the middle and the end. But once I finished that first piece of fiction, albeit because the threat of a bad grade loomed over me, then I knew I could do it and from then on, it became an addiction—the good kind!

3. What do you do when you are not writing?

I’ve a voracious reader, of course. But I’m love television, too, and I’m not ashamed to admit it! There’s some really smart writing going on in television these days. Battlestar Galactica (best show ever) and the new show Life come to mind immediately. And of course, I enjoy making my own mini-marathons with my Roswell, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, SG-1 and Veronica Mars DVDs.

Other than that, I spend time with my husband, Greg, and our two greyhounds, Joe and Walker.

4. What would readers like to know about you?

Oh, heavens, I have no idea! In the random facts category, my first (and worst) job was working as a cashier at a busy highway gas station. I still have nightmares about cleaning that bathroom. I can recite almost the entire Ghostbusters movie. And I’m a descendant of Margaret Scott, one of the women executed during the Salem Witch Trials (

5. What inspired your first book?

My very first book (said bottom drawer dweller, as mentioned below), a coming of age novel, was inspired by the close friendships I developed in college. I love it and treasure it for the meaning it has for me and those friends, and it was a good learning experience. But it would take some serious rewriting before I’d ever let anyone else see it!

My first published book, The Silver Spoon, was inspired by all the alien/human romances in books and movies over the years. I was intrigued by the idea of falling in love with someone whose culture was completely different than the one we know here. Can you ever really know someone who is so foreign to you? But isn’t that the case with any couple? You think you know someone well…until they do something that totally turns your understanding of who they are upside down.

I also wanted to blend the normal and abnormal. I didn’t want to set the story on another planet. I wanted the story to have the context of Earth and humans as a contrast to the alien culture. I was writing the first draft of The Silver Spoon when Roswell came on the air, in 1999, I believe, and that was a huge source of inspiration for me.

6. How many books have you written?

Six, I think. One of them, my first effort, is condemned to the bottom drawer forever. The next three are the ones being published, and the other two are drafts in progress.

7. What are the titles of your books and what genres are they?

The Silver Spoon, Science Fiction Romance (available now). Eye of the Beholder, Science Fiction Romance (available February 2008). Bitter Pill, Chicklit Mystery (available May 2008).

8. How do you decide on that topic or genre?

Science fiction has been a part of my life forever. My dad is a huge SF/Fantasy fan, and I grew up watching Star Trek and Star Wars. But my favorite parts were always the love stories and, other than Han Solo and Princess Leia, there just weren’t enough of them. Almost all of my stories have a science fiction or paranormal bent (except Bitter Pill, which I wrote without that element just to see if I could), which usually happens on its own without that intention from me, so I guess you could say that genre chose me!

Science Fiction Romance (SFR) is an up and coming genre. In fact, when I started writing it, I didn’t even know that’s what it was called. Then I discovered Linnea Sinclair’s books (Finders Keepers, Gabriel’s Ghost, Games of Command) and realized I wasn’t alone in what I was trying to do. We are a dedicated few, both NY-published and small press, working together to further this genre. But we’re growing in numbers, and we know readers are out there. For all of you who loved the Liz and Max story on Roswell and sigh every time Kara Thrace and Lee Adama (or for that matter, Number Six and Baltar) on Battlestar Galactica get close to truly admitting how they feel about each other, SFR is what you’ve been looking for.

9. How do you manage to keep yourself focused and on track?

At the end of every year, I try to make a plan for what I want to accomplish in the next twelve months. Of course, that changes, depending on market needs and on what happens to sell.

As for staying on track, with rare exceptions, I write every day. This works best for me when I’m in the middle of a project and can set a page goal for myself. At a minimum on a working day, I strive for one page. On the weekends, four or five pages a day. Of course, all that goes down the toilet when I get stuck on a certain scene or chapter! But I do my best.

10. Do you write to make money or for the love of writing?

I write because I love it, and I want to create stories that speak to me…and everyone else, too, I hope!

11. What are some traditional methods of marketing you have used?

Postcards, bookmarks, print advertising, website, bookstore and library events.

12. What are some unique methods of marketing you have used?

Actually, my background has worked well for me in that I have many “hometowns.” The local author approach seems to engender greater success. Wherever you can make a connection with people, that’s where you’ll get a better response.

I also look for connections in the book, other than the main topic. For example, when I’m in Wisconsin, I mention that a large portion of the action in The Silver Spoon takes place in that state. For my upcoming mystery, I intend to market to greyhound rescue organizations and owners because I have two of the dogs myself (my babies) and my main character in the story is also an adopter.

13. Do you sell through a website? If so, what’s the address? If not, why not?

My books are sold through,, and

14. Where can people order your books?

E-books are available at Here is the exact link:

Paperbacks are available in certain stores, depending on your location, but I always find it’s easiest to get my books at Here is the exact link:

Or, you can search under “Stacey Klemstein” at to find it easily.

15. What format are your books – e-book, print, audio etc?

My books are available as e-books and trade paperbacks.

16. Will you write more books?

Oh, heck, yes! When people ask me how many books I plan to write, I always say as many as I can!

17. What do you have in the works now?

I’ve always got multiple stories going at the same time! At the moment, I’m finishing up a YA paranormal—dead cheerleader needs the help of the scary school outcast to find her way to the afterlife and he needs her to keep the other ghosts from haunting him into utter craziness. I’m also mulling over ideas for the third and final book in my Zara Mitchell (science fiction romance series). And I’m trying my hand at writing a shorter SFR novel (probably a novella) that walks a little closer to space opera than what I usually write.

18. What does the future hold for you and your books?

I hope there will be many more books to sit alongside those that are already in print or soon to be in print. I really just love the life of an author, getting to write down all the stories in my head and share them with others.

19. What was the most successful thing you did to promote your books?

Actually, the most successful promotional thing was something I didn’t do and I learned a quick lesson in that. Someone on Roswell Fanatics found my book and posted about it on the board, recommending it to other fans of the show. Word of mouth trumps all. Now I provide them with regular updates on the series, but I feel it truly opened a door that someone else initially recommended the book to them instead of me. Your best advocates, your best sources of promotion, are people who’ve read the book and feel comfortable recommending it others. But you’ve got to find those people and get the word out to them. So, I now concentrate on specific target marketing, rather than a broader, more “shotgun” approach.

20. What was the least successful thing you did to promote your books?

I did one small author fair type event where I relied on the organizers for promotion instead of promoting individually. Lesson learned there is that no one promotes “you” as well as you.

This interview was done in conjunction with Nikki Leigh. For more information, visit –

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