Stacy Cox – StaceMeister0 is an Independent Author and Poet. She publishes frequently. Ms. Cox is a big advocate for Adventure, Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi, Suspense, Mystery, Crime, and Thriller, and all things extreme, strange and bizarre. Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.
My name is Stacy Cox. I live in Cleveland, OH. I have two daughters. I work part-time as a home health aide. My other job is writing. I love watching movies. Horror is my main go-to genre, but I also enjoy psychological, mysteries, comedies, fantasy, science-fiction, and action.
When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing in my freshman year of high school. At that time, it was a way to channel an awkward anger phase that I was experiencing. The principal of the school suggested I write whenever I was feeling angry and needed to vent out my frustrations. As time progressed, I realized I enjoyed writing, and it turned into a passion.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I first considered myself a writer when I wrote my very first novel in high school (in my senior year, I believe). It was a romance, drama, suspense novel, and more of an experimental novel to see if I had it in me to write full length novels.
Can you share a little about your current book with us?
The Monster Pack: The Wasteland is the first in a Horror, Fantasy, Adventure series that follows a group of young misfits, who band together and battle criminals and monsters.
What inspired you to write this book?
The Monster Pack was inspired by two different things. First, the concept of it was inspired by my own personal struggles in love, romance and relationships. Battling different obstacles while constantly dreaming of utopia. Second, the story of it was inspired by the movie Hobo With A Shotgun, directed by Jason Eisener. The whole concept of a law-abiding citizen who’s tired of all the crime and nonsense that goes on in his community, and he decides to make a stand.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I have not adapted any specific writing style that I commit to. I tend to freestyle my books, especially my standalone books. If they are part of a series, such as The Monster Pack, I brainstorm and map out the series. But it depends on the concept of the story at hand, as it changes with me. My two main writing styles interchange between Descriptive and Narrative.
How did you come up with the title of this book?
The title for The Monster Pack as the title for the overall series just rolled off my tongue, really, and came instantly as I thought about the concept and story. I knew the story was going to be about a group of young kids, who were going to become little vigilantes, and they were going to fight criminals in the real world, and escape to a dream world and fight monsters there. The sub-title of The Wasteland for the first installment came about as I started writing the story and drafted up ‘Grotesque’ as my first monster in the fictional town, where he reigns in an abandoned, toxic domain called ‘The Wasteland’.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
This message is no secret or surprise, really, but The Monster Pack revolves around the crime and bad things that go on in the world and in society. A lot of people are aware of crimes, such as bullying, abuse, prostitution and human trafficking, and towards minors. The underlying message is that “one doesn’t have to be a victim of their circumstances forever, and there is hope”. Hence, the group of kids that are targeted and victimized by their loved ones, their peers, and by society, and they become fed up and decide ‘enough is enough’, and they take a stand and fight back.
Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The experiences in this book are not based on anyone or anything I know personally. Rather, it is a voice and a cry out for anyone that is battling these nightmares. We hear about these events every day, whether it be on the News or in social media. There are always news or blog articles posted and conversations about these things.
What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?
In my early years, I enjoyed reading a lot of Disney books, and Disney is a huge inspiration to me as far as imagination and creativity. I think Disney is a big motivator for me and makes me reach deep into my imagination. I am still a child at heart when it comes to Disney. I love my horror and mysteries, but I still like to watch Disney cartoons, especially the old classics that I grew up watching.
In my early teen years, I enjoyed reading a lot of love and romance books and found them inspiring when dealing with my own personal struggles in romantic relationships. They provided hope that, one day, that dream would come true for myself. The authors that have influenced me then are Omar Tyree (author of Flyy Girl, which still remains my favorite book), Sharon M. Draper (author of Romiette and Julio), and Sister Souljah (author of The Coldest Winter Ever).
Around mid-to-late teens is when I shifted over to reading horror and mystery books. Stephen King is a huge inspiration to me. He has outstanding penmanship and storytelling skills that I aspire to reach, myself.
If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?
It goes without saying that Stephen King is definitely high on that list. As I’ve mentioned, his penmanship and storytelling skills are amazing. His ability to reach deep into his imagination and create otherworldly stories, creatures, and characters. Reading his work, and even watching cinematic adaptations of his works, makes me want to dig deeper and go above and beyond to create. It makes me want to think outside the box and take down the borders of any restriction or taboo.
Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?
The cover of The Wasteland was designed by Onur Burc. I found him on Fiverr. I selected him because he was very responsive and nice. He was also good at working with you as a client and working harder than the average person to give you what you were looking for and meet your expectations. I liked that he generated several options to choose from based on your thought process, and he generated professional quality covers. I had decided to give someone else a try with one of my books, and his service was not as good. The cover was a mess and not professional-looking or of decent quality.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
My advice for other writers would be to “Just do it”. That’s first and foremost. There are some writers out there that imprison themselves with their own personal restrictions and repressions, thinking that they can’t get their work out there because they have this preconceived notion that they’re not any good, or that they’re afraid of releasing their work because they’re afraid of people reading it and judging it and failing. One, there is no such thing as perfection. There will always be improvements to be made. Two, you will never reach everyone, and everyone will not like your work. That’s why you need to figure out the demographics of your audience, and you focus on that audience alone. Three, just write. Don’t beat yourself down with dreams of perfection that you struggle to write and get your work out there. “Perfection” comes with practice and consistency. You get better as you progress. You don’t progress by sitting in a corner or by staring at a blank screen and not writing anything. You don’t progress with procrastination. You don’t get noticed by hiding behind a computer screen and not putting yourself out there.
Another trend I see a lot of, is aspiring writers constantly comparing themselves to other writers, or giving in to negative advice. They ask experienced writers for advice, and the experienced writers, instead of providing inspiring advice that would motivate inexperienced writers, they’d be “negative Nancies”. Do not give in to any negative “advice” that doesn’t motivate or inspire you to reach your goals and dreams and make them a reality. Do not give in to anything that can hold you back instead of motivating you to get out there. Take any positive constructive criticism that’s going to aid in you honing your craft and becoming better at it.
When it comes to your work and you want to reap success, you have to engage and promote almost 24/7. It is a full-time job, regardless of how you get published, whether it be traditionally with a publishing agent, or self-publishing. Just because you publish with an agent does not mean your work is done. I’ve learned this through research from someone who published with an agent first and decided to do self-publishing with a new book for this very reason. He still had to do all of the engagement and promotion, otherwise he wasn’t getting an audience, and he wasn’t getting any sales. Meanwhile, any sale his book made; his agent still collected his percentage. Not to mention, he sold some of the rights to his book when signing with the agent.
I personally choose the self-publishing route, and I always will because, for one, the cost of traditional publishing. Even if I did have hundreds to thousands of dollars to invest in an agent, I wouldn’t because, for one, I want all of my time and hard work and efforts I invested into creating my book to be 100% my own. I want to keep 100% rights to my own work all the time. I want to have independence and be able to do what I want when I want with my work, and not be bound by contract to an agent, restricting me on what I can or can’t do. Two, I want any money I make for my work to be 100% mine, aside from global distribution fees. I don’t want my hard-earned money to be basically taken from me after service charges and agent fees, leaving me with pocket change.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Some of my books have been revised and redesigned (The Monster Pack: The Wasteland included), and some are still going through the global distribution check and have not yet been made available on some platforms. To ensure you get the most up-to-date version right now, please check out my Author’s Spotlight at Lulu.