Conversations With Colleen: Meet Author, Staci Troilo

Conversations With Colleen

Hello everyone! This week I’m thrilled to bring you an Amazon Best Selling Author, Staci Trolio. I asked her to pick three or four questions from my huge list HERE. We all aspire to be successful authors and the best way to learn some of the tricks of the trade is to ask questions.

First, please meet my guest, Staci Trolio:

Troilo Color Photo RT smaller

Author, Staci Trolio

Staci Troilo grew up in Western Pennsylvania writing stories and poetry in her free time, so it was no surprise that she studied writing in college. After receiving creative and professional writing degrees from Carnegie Mellon University, she went on to get her Master’s Degree in Professional Writing, and she worked in corporate communications until she had her children. When they had grown, she went on to become a writing professor, and now she is a freelance writer and editor living in Arkansas with her husband, son, daughter, and two dogs.

Staci is a multi-genre author and an Amazon bestseller. Her fiction combines dark, dangerous heroes and strong, capable heroines woven together into a contemporary tapestry of tantalizing romance. Compelling villains and gripping mysteries engage the reader from page one of her novels and her short stories feature ordinary characters conquering the odds in extraordinary situations.

When she isn’t reading or writing, she’s probably playing with her dogs, relaxing poolside, or working in the kitchen. She loves to cook and bake and is an award-winning recipe developer.

Hi, Colleen. Thanks so much for this interview. I’m really looking forward to our chat.

I’m so glad you’re here. Are you ready? So Staci… You are an accomplished author. How long on average does it take you to write a book?

I’ve always found it difficult to answer questions that ask for averages. Probably because I don’t have “average” work days. If I have a month where I have several editing projects to complete (I’m an editor as well as an author), I might not get to spend much time on my WIP. If I get to a point in the plot that requires intricate maneuvering, I’ll write slower. In those cases, I’m probably doing more thinking and less writing. But in general, I try to write 5,000 words a day on my writing days, more if I really hit a groove. And if I don’t stop for editing projects (or if I move those to the weekends), I can write a novel in just under a month.

That’s astounding! I haven’t found that groove yet. Have you ever written a story you wish you hadn’t?

I’m sad to say I have. My first published novel was an experiment, mostly to get a title under my belt. I was one of many authors writing in a world created by the publisher. The plot was mine, and the outline had to be approved by the publisher in advance of them offering me a contract. The rest was theirs, though—main characters, setting, even the type of crime.

I hated giving up control, but I really wanted the experience of completing a work and having it published, so I went with it. Once my outline was accepted, I thought I’d be fine.

Here’s where that lack-of-control thing comes into play. My book was the fifth or sixth to be published in the series. Due to lack of planning on the publisher’s part, my outline had a number of plot points (and two crucial characters) that didn’t work because a book published before mine impacted these things.

Okay, I’ll just go ahead and say it. Characters that were necessary for my story had been killed in an earlier book. You’d think the publishers/editors would have caught that in the planning stages, but they didn’t. And now I was under contract. So I had to revise my outline, restructure my plot, and make it work.

When I read the final draft, it was a disjointed mess. Ultimately, I got my first published novel, but it was nowhere near as satisfying as I’d hoped it would be. I refused to write anything else in that world. From then on, I wanted full control over my stories.

What an awful experience. You know, I love fantasy whether I’m reading it or writing it. Here’s a question I bet you haven’t been asked before. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

I’d have to pick the otter. When they go to sleep, they all link arms so they don’t drift away from each other. I think authors are a lot like that. We need the support of our colleagues, or we’ll get lost.

otter-2093465_640

But otters also have a ruthless side to their personalities. They can be vicious, cut-throat. Pursue something with a single-minded determination and not give up. And I think writers need a little of that resolve and fortitude if they want to complete one, let alone several, stories. We need to be callous and merciless when we revise our work, or we’ll let sentiment stand in the way of deleting useless drivel that might sound pretty but adds nothing to the plot. We need a thick skin to deal with rejection.

It doesn’t hurt to be cute and playful, though, too.

Do it(CLICK HERE to learn more about the symbolism of the otter as a spirit animal).

 Which literary character do you most resonate with on a personal level?

I tend to relate to the main characters in every book I read. A well-written story makes you find a way to empathize with the hero. But if I were to pick just one, I’d choose Dorothy Gale. She was a bored girl looking for adventure, wanting to get away and see the world. But when she traveled over the rainbow, she realized just how wonderful home was. I took my hometown for granted until I had to move away. I’m 1,000 miles from home now, and if I could click my heels together to return there, I’d do it in a heartbeat. Travel is fun, and other cities are what you make of them, but to me, there’s no place like home.

You must be busy writing all the time, Staci. Can you tell us about your current projects?

I just finished the Medici Protectorate series, but I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the Brothers just yet.

Medici Protectorate covers

So I’ve started writing a spinoff called the Nightforce Security series. The series follows former Navy SEALs who form a security firm.

0-3 Nightforce Security

The first book’s hero (Danny Caruso) is a secondary character from the Medici Protectorate series. My new series doesn’t have any of the supernatural elements the original series did, but I’m happy to say the brothers, and sometimes even the Notaro sisters, make cameo appearances.

NOTE: (The Medici Protectorate series is written under the name Staci Troilo, but the Nightforce Security series is written under the name Keira Beck.)

I’m well on my way through the series. I have an introductory story (One Ugly Mug) and two titles (Hideaway and Gamble) already published. The next (Overboard) is scheduled to be released on September 27, and the rest will follow roughly one month apart.

Thanks, Staci. It’s great to learn more about your writing. I do want to share your newest release, “Tortured Soul,” Book 4 in the Medici Protectorate Series. I hope everyone will enjoy a sneak peek!

Staci Troilo writes because she has hundreds of stories in her head. She publishes because people told her she should share them. She’s a multi-genre author whose love for writing is only surpassed by her love for family and friends, and that relationship-centric focus is featured in her work.

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How to contact Staci Troilo

Web | Blog | Amazon Page | BookBub | Goodreads | TwitterOther Social Media Links

Universal Purchase Links

Medici Protectorate Series: Bleeding Heart | Mind Control | Body Armor | Tortured Soul

Nightforce Security Series: One Ugly Mug (free w/newsletter signup) | Hideaway | Gamble

k luv u bye Thanks for stopping by to meet Staci! ❤

104 comments

  1. Colleen, thank you so much for this lovely post. I really enjoyed the interview process, and talking to your commenters makes my day. Also, the link to the otter page is the cherry on top. I’m truly grateful for your efforts and for you hosting me today.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t like to talk about it. I don’t draw attention to that story and I don’t want to throw the editors under the bus. But that was kind of a big deal. It was experience, though. I learned a lot from the process, and that was valuable. Painful, but valuable.

      Thanks, Teri.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I often have editing commitments that take me away from writing. But I have completed several manuscripts in a month or less. I find the more I write, the easier and faster writing is, so when I get on a roll, it’s not too hard to get a lot of words in a short amount of time. I’ve had days where I’ve written over 10K words. I’ve also had days where 100 were hard fought. It all balances out in the end.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I do… I also have a crow. She brought me one of her babies this spring so I could see her. It looks like she is raising a (herd) of cow birds. They are very different from her but, nevertheless follow her everywhere. We all need a spirit animal. ❤

          Liked by 1 person

          1. That is so sweet! We have a lot of birds here (including some beautiful ones, like cardinals, blue jays, woodpeckers, canaries…), but they don’t often come past the fence. I think the dogs scare them.

            Sue would make a fascinating guest. I hope she agrees!

            Liked by 1 person

          2. I might have to hogtie her… LOL! No, she is a darling. I bet I can convince her. 😀 I’ve been feeding the finches and Pine Siskins. I even had hummingbirds this year. We live near open prairie so lots of birds. Colorado is lovely this time of year.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great interview Colleen and Staci:) I love the otter being your spirit animal. I always pay attention to what shows up around me. Impressive word count and how fast you can writers book.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Awesome interview, ladies. I really liked the variety of the questions, too. An otter as a spirit animal is an excellent choice, Staci and a great parallel to the writing life and author community.
    It’s great the see the Medici Protectorate series and the Nightforce Security guys all here together. I love both series and the wonderful characters who populate them!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This is a great interview, Colleen and Staci. ❤ Excellent questions and fascinating answers. Staci, writing at least 5000 words a day is fast writing. I love the cute photo of the otters, four otters holding each other like a ball, they are really cute. What a vivid image to show the support for each other. ❤ ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for commenting, Miriam. I was offline all weekend with a blown laptop cord. Lots to get back to now!

      Writing five thousand words sometimes comes really fast for me. Other times, it’s a struggle. So it all balances out. I just wish I had more time in the day for other things!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. You’re welcome, Staci. Sorry about your laptop. I had the wire probably 90% disconnected once. The 10% left made the screen and mouse wiggling. I was away from home, struggled through to make one post.

        I know, Staci. 24 hours a day doesn’t seem to be enough. We have handle the balancing! ❤

        Liked by 3 people

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