This week I have to honor to meet with Stacia Kane, author of the Downside series which is “a cross between Ghostbusters and Escape From New York, with witchcraft, drugs, human sacrifice, punk rock, and a black '69 Chevelle." I’ll tell you more about this original series, but first, let’s learn more about miss Kane! BTW, she is wearing a wig in this picture, it’s not her natural coloring *winks*
What do I do when I’m not writing?
That’s kind of a contradiction in terms. I’m never not writing. I’m never not thinking about writing. It’s like being a parent; not in the sense that books are like children, of course—I wouldn’t throw myself in front of a train to save a manuscript—but in the way they never fully leave your head. You know what I mean? There’s always a little part of your mind focused on them, thinking of them, worrying about them, planning things for them. (I read a quote somewhere once that said something like, “When you become a parent you grow a little extra piece on your heart, and that piece is always crying.” Which, yeah, pretty much. Writing is like that too, except that little piece is always poking you, distracting you, trying to grab your attention, waking you up in the middle of the night…kind of like a husband, actually, except husbands don’t normally spend all of their time telling you that you’re just not good enough and you shouldn’t think you are, and that nobody likes you. At least they shouldn’t. Far be it from me to butt in, but if your husband does that you should maybe look for a new one. But writing can be pretty cruel sometimes, frankly.)
Anyway. This isn’t about what I think of writing, it’s about what I do when I’m not writing. I could actually dispose of that topic in a few words: eating, sleeping, cooking…*cough*grown-up things*cough*…lazing about.
But there are a few things, I suppose. I love to cook. I cook a lot. Funnily enough, I find the urge to get involved in large, elaborate cooking projects strengthens as my deadlines get closer. Odd, that. But very true. My family generally knows that when I announce I’m going to bake a chocolate-orange chiffon cake with freshly whipped cream, chocolate ganache, and orange glaze, it means I’m avoiding work and they need to give me a Stern Look. Of course that doesn’t stop them from eating it.
It doesn’t stop at poncy desserts, either, oh no. When I’m avoiding writing I tend to pull out the Big Guns. This is when I start making things that require brining bags and roux-based sauces and reductions. This is when the jars of demiglace in my fridge become noticeably lighter, and my cast iron Dutch ovens are called into constant use (I do love those. A few years ago the men in my husband’s office had a fit when he told them he was buying me cookware for Christmas. They all insisted he’d be punished for that and no woman wanted kitchen stuff for Christmas. They were, of course, wrong. I’m happy every time I pull out a piece of le Creuset that we saved up for. I’ve only got a couple of pieces at the moment, but I’m adding to the collection whenever possible). This is when my long-suffering husband can’t find room in the fridge because of all the covered bowls of leftovers and bags of meat soaking in various wine-based concoctions and half-empty tubs of exotic ingredients.
But it’s relaxing, and I find it very difficult to relax. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m terribly lazy. And I honestly like nothing more than to stay home all day on my couch, working or playing with my laptop or reading or watching movies or whatever. Sometimes I even, you know, do stuff with my children.
But like I said, it’s hard to relax. I’m always caught up in something, focusing on something. Worrying about something; that’s a big one. There’s never a moment where I’m not freaking out about this or that or stressed about something, to be honest. It generally even takes me a few hours to get to sleep every night. I’m a night owl and an insomniac, and it’s not unusual for me to slip into bed half an hour before my husband and the girls get up.
Cooking is different. Cooking is, to borrow a phrase which feels annoyingly trendy in a self-conscious, meta sort of way, very zen. It’s soothing. It’s something creative to do that produces almost instant results; tangible results. You can write fifty thousand words of a book and feel accomplished, but you still only have fifty thousand words, not a whole book. Whereas with cooking…a few hours, maybe and you have a real thing. Something you can share, and something with results you can experience immediately. That can be a surprisingly important boost, especially when you’re stuck, or if you (like me) spend pretty much the entire time you’re writing convinced you’re just churning out garbage and no one will ever want to read this shit and why do you even bother. So that little kick is really nice to have.
I don’t just cook when I want to avoid writing. I cook when I want to write, when I’m not sure what happens next but I know it has to be something good. It gives me something else to focus on. Something to do with my hands while I let my mind wander. I do some of my best plotting while cooking. Well, I do my best plotting in three places: in the shower, while driving, and while cooking. It clears my head. Cooking is essentially being forced to ignore distractions; you can’t just hop over to check your email when your hands are covered in flour.
Of course, I still consider it writing in some way, because that’s what I’m thinking about. But it’s not physically writing, and it’s not sitting on the couch with my laptop. That alone makes it quite a change for me!
Thanks so much for inviting me here, Tynga! This was really fun to do. And thanks everyone for reading!
Stacey I hear you about the insomnia! I, also, often slip into bed just before my fiancé wake sup for work and I often inspiration in the shower or while brushing my teeth, I guess our Muse likes to hang out in the bathroom haha. It was such a pleasure to have you on board thank you very much!
More about Stacia’s books!
(click to purchase)
IT’S A THIN LINE BETWEEN ALIVE AND UNDEAD.
Chess Putnam has a lot on her plate. Mangled human corpses have started to show up on the streets of Downside, and Chess’s bosses at the Church of Real Truth have ordered her to team up with the ultra-powerful Black Squad agency to crack the grisly case.
Chess is under a binding spell that threatens death if she talks about the investigation, but the city’s most notorious crime boss—and Chess’s drug dealer—gets wind of her new assignment and insists on being kept informed. If that isn’t bad enough, a sinister street vendor appears to have information Chess needs. Only he’s not telling what he knows, or what it all has to do with the vast underground City of Eternity.
Now Chess will have to navigate killer wraiths, First Elders, and a lot of seriously nasty magic—all while coping with some not-so-small issues of her own. And the only man Chess can trust to help her through it all has every reason to want her dead.
You will be very happy to learn that the tentative date on the fourth book is next fall, as far as I know there isn’t an official title yet, but I bet it will be awesome ^^
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