Thursday, May 19, 2016

Author Interview: Stacy Mozer, The Sweet Spot and More!

Dear Alison, 

We love, REALLY love, sharing writer love everyday. It's what we do. It's who we are, and today, I want to tell you all about a writing pal of mine Stacy Barnett Mozer, the author of The Sweet Spot.

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When thirteen-year-old Sam Barrette’s baseball coach tells her that her attitude’s holding her back, she wants to hit him in the head with a line drive. Why shouldn’t she have an attitude? As the only girl playing in the 13U league, she’s had to listen to boys and people in the stands screaming things like “Go play softball,” all season, just because she’s a girl. Her coach barely lets her play, even though she’s one of the best hitters on the team.

KIM: Baseball and now softball rule our house, and a book about a girl playing baseball really excites me (I was a baseball player myself and have the bruises to prove that sometimes boys don't approve of girls on the field)! 

Hi Stacy! Thanks for stopping by INK Sisters Write today! We met at the NY SCBWI Conference a few years back and have been SCBWI buddies ever since. Tell us about your role in the NE SCBWI. 
 I am an Assistant Regional Advisor for New England. My specific job is to help our New England Members find and maintain critique groups. We currently have 47 open groups and too many closed groups to count so it can be a big job at times, especially right after a conference. 

KIM: When did you decide to become an author?
I decided to become an author about ten years ago when a group of third grade students told me that there was no way a real author who wrote real books could possibly revise as much as I asked them to revise. I have been writing and revising my own middle grade novels every since.

KIM: HA! Challenge accepted! Your book, The Sweet Spot, had a unique journey to publication. You self-published first. How did you find that experience? Any tips for budding self-publishers?
There was a lot that I liked about self-publishing. I was 100% in control of my own timeline and I didn’t have to wait for any approvals. If I liked something, I did it, no questions asked. But having the oversight isn’t a bad thing. The cover I used was a Createspace template, and while I thought it looked good, people in the know recognized it immediately as self-published. I hadn’t formatted the text correctly (it should be justified, not left). I also didn’t price the book high enough to be able to sell it in bookstores on consignment and didn’t have a good way for bookstores or libraries to by the book themselves. My tip to new self-publishers is to do lots of research before doing it yourself and to find a mentor who has experience. Also, make sure to be careful. If it isn’t your best work you don’t want it to be the work that defines you. Quality really really counts.

KIM: You spend your days teaching 3rd graders. Does your day job help or nurture your writing?  
Absolutely. I became a writer because of their challenge, but even more so, because of writing with and for my students. Every time I give an assignment to my class, I take that assignment on myself. Whether it is writing a fractured traditional tale (which is my current unit of study) or writing an essay about a loved book, if they have to do it, I have to do it. Those things don’t become books I write but reading my short work to kids helps me know what they enjoy as readers.

When do you manage to squeeze in writing time?
Not as often as I would like. I really take advantage of my vacations and summers and can spend 7 hours in a row working on a manuscript every day for three or four weeks. Most of my novels where written in a self-imposed NaNoWriMo. Then I spend the next year or so revising those initial pages.

So, book lover to book lover, what was the last book you read that made you….

LOL: 
Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast by Josh Funk

Cry: 
The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

Wish you had written it yourself: 
I would really like to write picture books, especially a fractured traditional tale. Maybe the one I am writing for my students next year will be publishable. Who knows? Two of my favorites are Little Red Gliding Hood by Tara Lazar and Ninja Red Riding Hood by Corey Rosen Schwartz.

Stay up way past your bedtime: 
Every book - Currently it is The Obsidian Mirror #2 by Catherine Fisher

What is one thing that always grabs your attention in a novel? 
Great characters. I love the spunky, fearless type who is not afraid to speak his or her mind.

And on the flip side, what always turns you off? 
Characters that are self-depricating. I hate it when a character whines and questions his or her own self-worth.

Inquiring minds want to know: what’s next? 
The sequel to The Sweet Spot will release this time next year. I’m also working on a middle grade fantasy.

Here at INK Sisters Write, we share the writing love one letter at a time. Any tips or words of inspiration for our readers? 

Never let anyone stop you from following your dreams. It is the theme of The Sweet Spot but it works for anything in life, especially writing.

Thanks for stopping by Stacy! Great to see you (even if it is via social media), and in case the rest of you want to give Stacy some writer love (and we sure hope you do), visit: Stacy Barnett Mozer


If you want to find out more about The Sweet Spot, check it out here: The Sweet Spot.


Sharing the writing love more letter at a time,
Kim