On Author’s Circle today, meet author Stacey Agdern, to talk about writing, life and her story 'A Home for Chankah' in the anthology Burning Bright, which comes out in paperback on January 19th.
About the Author: Stacey Agdern is an award winning former bookseller who has reviewed romance novels in multiple formats and given talks about various aspects of the romance genre. She also a romance writer. She’s a proud member of both LIRW and RWA NYC. She lives in New York, not far from her favorite hockey team’s practice facility.
Hi Stacey, thanks for dropping in and letting us have a peek into your life.
So, what’s ‘A Home for Chanukah’ about?
Officially : Finding unexpected connections, the holidays in New York, and the miracle of love J
Unofficially, it’s about the yummy food that you find yourself eating over the holidays. Did I mention I had cravings for everything from potato latkes, to soofganiyot to mofongo to gulab jamun as I was writing this story ? ;)
What’s your favorite line from your latest novel? Why?
It changes, actually. Right now? It’s this sequence hereJ
“Suddenly, her excited grabby hands snatched the bouquet from his fingers. He watched, transfixed, as she grasped the bouquet in between her palms and smelled the flowers with her entire body.”
My heroine is so happy here, and my hero gets to watch that happen because of something he’s done J It’s pure joy coming from a bit of simple attention.
Do you have any strange writing habits?
Many ;) But I think the strangest is that if I end up having to write a synopsis before the book is actually finished, I need to wipe the synopsis from my mind entirely once I’ve handed it in. Otherwise, I get stuck. If I mange to accomplish this, the book ends up pretty close to the synopsis, but I can only get there if I forget I’ve written it in the first place
What does your day look like?
It’s supposed to involve a lot of writing, but right now I’m getting over being sick (again) so there’s a lot of resting J
What’s your favorite book by another author, and why?
Do I have to pick just one ? Hmm…I think I’ll go with the one that had the biggest effect on me. That would be Marge Piercy’s ‘He She and It.’ A combination of Jewish mythology, science fiction and romance, this book inspired me, and paved the way for a lot of my creative ideas.
If your book becomes a movie whom would you want to play the hero and the heroine?
‘A home for Chanukah ‘ is actually one of the few stories I didn’t ‘cast’ in advance. But strangely enough, long after I’d finished the story and turned it in, I was watching a movie on the hallmark channel. The actor who was the romantic lead in that movie, Steve Lund, would be a pretty close fit for Jon Adelman. Alicia Witt (who I’ve always loved ) might be a good fit for Molly Baker-Stein.
How did you become a writer? In other words, tell us YOUR STORY.
I’ve always written on and off, since I spent the last month of vacation before 9th grade writing a novel (that will never see the light of day). But I never took it seriously until I discovered I was better at finishing novels than passing bar exams ;) So I threw in the legal towel and set to working, to writing. I worked in a bookstore, read, and wrote. My first story (written under a pen name) got published in a coworkers’ literary anthology. The next one happened because of three crazy hockey fans. And the rest? History J
What is your best marketing tip?
Always pay attention. It’s easy to say, but it applies. Pay attention to what other writers are doing, pay attention to who’s reading what. All of the ‘best’ marketing tips in the world are useless if you don’t pay attention to the context of what you’re doing.
Why write what you write? As in romance or suspense or thrillers?
I love romance because of how wide a playing field it gives a writer. My interests (and my stories) range from thrillers to science fiction and contemporary, even a short historical. But all of them are driven by a central romance.
Is there a certain scene you find difficult to write? Eg: Racy or action etc.? Why?
Neither actually. It sounds crazy but the scene I find most difficult to write is the one that’s too close to the music I’m writing to. If I’m too lost in my world, what ends up coming out of my fingers is total garbage. And making sense out of that nonsense is a difficult task ;)
Is your writing character-driven or plot-driven?
Both. Before I start, I need to know my characters and a general idea of what I’m writing about( beginning, end, theme). I also need my playlist. Changes to any of these can happen during the writing phase, but I need a smattering of each before I start.
Naturally, in part you are all your characters (they come from your head) but which of your characters is the most like you? Or resonates in you the most? Why?
It changes on a regular basis, but at the moment, I feel closest to Jon Adelman (Home for Chanukah) as he’s dealing with the consequences (both positive and negative) of accomplishing something he once thought was impossible.
What do you wish to convey through your writing?
I’ve had three stories published, each of which deal with characters who discover where they belong (two of the titles actually have the word ‘home’ in it). Apparently it’s a theme I love J
What can we expect from you next?
I’m currently working on another hockey story. It’s scheduled to come out in April as part of the ‘Icing the Puck’ anthology. As of yet untitled, it’s the story of Kayleigh Emerson, a violinist who falls in love with a rookie on her older brother’s hockey team.
To end let's try a Rapid Fire round. Your answer should be the first word/s that pops into your head when you think of:
PASSION: love(as in you can’t have passion without it ?)
HERO: Henrik *Lundquist, goalie for the New York Rangers. My favorite hockey team ;)*
Thank you once again, Stacey, for being here and talking to me. It was fun!
Thank you so much for having me here, Falguni :D
You can find me on twitter at : @nystacey
Or at my brand new author page on FACEBOOK
About the Book:
This December, take a break from dreidel spinning, gelt winning, and latke eating to experience the joy of Chanukah. When you fall in love during the Festival of Lights, the world burns a whole lot brighter.
It’s definitely not love at first sight for Amanda and her cute but mysterious new neighbor, Ben. Can a Chanukah miracle show them that getting off on the wrong foot doesn’t mean they can’t walk the same road?
Lawyers in love, Shari Cohen and Evan Sonntag are happy together. But in a moment of doubt, he pushes her away—then soon realizes he made a huge mistake. To win her back, it might take something like Chanukah miracle.
When impulsive interior designer Molly Baker-Stein barges into Jon Adelman's apartment and his life intent on planning the best Chanukah party their building has ever seen, neither expects that together they just might discover a Home for Chanukah.
All Tamar expected from her Israel vacation was time to hang out with one of her besties and to act like a tourist, cheesy t-shirt and all, in her two favorite cities. She definitely was not expecting to fall for Avi, a handsome soldier who’s more than she ever dreamed.
BUY the Book: HERE