Good morning again! 🙂 Hope you had an awesome weekend! Been spending mine editing and trying to get some writing in. In between that, I’ve been getting some posts set up for the book parade! Today, I’m hosting an interview with author Stacy Claflin. Enjoy and I’ll see y’all next time! — Jamie
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes. In Gone, the main character is a teenager who sneaks off to meet a boy she met online.
After she meets him, Macy realizes that he isn’t who he pretended to be. It’s too late though, because she can’t get away.
She’s ripped away from her family and everything she loves. Though she struggles to get away, her captor has thought everything out thoroughly.
The message I want readers to get is that you should never meet with someone you met online alone. Be safe and smart about it. I also want parents who read this to realize how important it is to know what their kids are doing online.
How much of the book is realistic?
I tried to make it as realistic as possible. I read about several true kidnappings so that I had a good idea about what the captors did and how the kids felt. Even though it’s completely fictitious, I believe the events could happen in real life.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
It was somewhat emotionally traumatic writing about a girl being kidnapped. I actually had to take a month or two break from writing it because I was experience physical and emotional stress from writing and researching.
After my break, I was able to finish without any more issues. It’s a sensitive subject, so it makes sense that being so close to the subject matter would be upsetting. I think it would have been more concerning if I hadn’t reacted in some way.
What are your current projects?
I always have multiple projects going at any given time. I’m writing a story that is an offshoot of the Gone books. This one is about a side character who discovers that her life is in danger.
I’m also editing a book from another series. It’s a paranormal romance – quite different from my suspense novels!
Do you have any advice for other writers?
I have a lot because I’ve learned so much as an author. A few of my top tips:
- Learn from successful authors. Follow their blogs, listen to their podcasts, join online groups, and do anything else you can to find out their secrets.
- Always educate yourself on the craft of writing. Ask for constructive criticism, read blogs and books on the topic, join critique groups…use your imagination!
- Treat it like a profession even if you have a day job. If you act like it’s only a hobby, that’s all it will ever be. I consider it my second job, and treat it as such.
What book are you reading now?
I just finished reading The Fault In Our Stars. It’s time to pick up something from my large to-be-read pile!
Book Excerpt/Buy Link
Sitting in his warm truck across from the park, Chester Woodran watched her walk across the open field. An overhead light turned on as she passed under it in the dusk. Her long, dark hair swished back and forth behind her. She wandered around the playground, walking between the climbers and slides until she stopped in front of the swings.
He had spent hours watching her. Studying her. He knew her almost better than she knew herself.
The moment of truth would arrive soon. She’d come a few minutes early, but he wouldn’t deviate from the schedule. He would act exactly on time. He’d laid the groundwork. He wasn’t going to let her change a thing.
Chester pulled out his phone and scrolled through the pictures, stopping at his favorite. It was the girl in the park for sure, although he couldn’t see the details of her face up close yet. He would have to wait a few minutes.
From the phone, her light brown eyes shone at him. Her shy, almost insecure face smiled sweetly.
His heart sped up at the thought of many weeks of work coming together at long last. The waiting was about to end.
Clenching the steering wheel with all his might, he took several deep breaths to calm himself.
Every precaution had been taken. Prepared with painstaking care. There was no chance of anything going wrong so long as he stayed with the plan.
The alarm on his digital wristwatch beeped. He turned it off and then leaned back into the seat, adjusting his over-sized glasses.
It was time.
Macy Mercer only wants a little independence. Eager to prove herself grown up, she goes to a dark, secluded park. She’s supposed to meet the boy of her dreams who she met online. But the cute fifteen year old was a fantasy, his pictures fake. She finds herself face to face with Chester Woodran, a man capable of murder.
Distraught over his own missing daughter, Chester insists that Macy replace his lost girl. He locks Macy up, withholds food, and roughs her up, demanding that she call him dad. Under duress from his constant threats and mind games, her hold on reality starts to slip. Clinging to her memories is the only way of holding onto her true identity, not believing that she is Chester’s daughter. Otherwise she may never see her family again.
I love writing and reading a variety of genres. I’ve been writing and telling stories as long as I can remember. As a kid, my story telling would get me into trouble when I would try to convince other kids that my stories were real.
When I’m not busy writing, I spend a lot of time with my family. I run a preschool from home and homeschool my kids.