Thursday, December 4, 2014

S.J. Stava gives us a "bedtime" story and has copies to give away!

We're pleased to introduce you to S.J. Stava. Melissa A. connected with her recently through Facebook and found out that they loved the same books when they were kids. Definitely a good start to a chick-lit-loving friendship.

S.J. Stava has loved to read for as long as she can remember. Most childhood summers were spent schlepping to and from the local library with shopping bags full of books. Her passion for books led her to study literature at UCSB, where she graduated with her B.A. in English. After working in a plethora of different careers - from wedding planning to market research to fundraising - she's never stopped reading...or writing.

Having spent time dallying in ghostwriting, she got bit by the bug and decided to publish her very own book, Charlotte's Bed, under her very own name. She is here today to talk about it, as well as share THREE e-books with readers anywhere in the world! (Bio adapted from Amazon.)

Visit S.J. Stava on Facebook.

Synopsis of Charlotte's Bed:
At thirty, Charlotte is sick of the single life. Sick of online matchmaking, sick of bad first (AND second) dates, and sick of the dreaded "I can't believe you're not married yet!" pitying stares. So when her boyfriend proposes – who just happens to be a Dean at the university where she works – she's thrilled to bid her singledom adieu. At the start of the new semester, she seems to have it all: a great job, great friends, and now. . . a great fiancĂ©.

So what’s the catch? An annoyingly handsome new teaching assistant and the opportunity to direct the school’s fall production. Still can’t see the downside? Neither can Charlotte until suddenly, what she thought she wanted, might not be enough anymore.

Charlotte's Bed asks the hard question: how do you choose between the life you've always imagined and the love you've suddenly discovered? (Courtesy of Amazon.)

How did you decide to write chick lit?
I have been an avid reader since as long as I can remember. As soon as I learned to read, I devoured anything I could get my hands on. When I was younger, I loved writing stories about my favorite characters, from The Babysitters Club to Sweet Valley High (I was an addict). In college, I studied English - the only degree that allowed me to read and write on a full-time basis!

After working in the corporate world after college, and not doing nearly as much reading or writing as I wanted to, I took a ghostwriting job on the side. I wrote two erotica novels and I fell head over heels in love with writing again. It was so fun and exciting that when my contract ended, I thought, I should write my OWN book! So I did!

What have you learned from writing Charlotte's Bed?
I think the most important thing I've learned is that the only way to write is to WRITE. A book will never come to fruition unless you sit down and put your fingers to the keyboard. Often, if I'm feeling stuck or unsure of where the story line is going, if I make myself sit down and start typing - and it doesn't matter what I'm typing - ideas will come. Some of my favorite scenes haven't been planned out, but were a result of letting myself go where the writing wanted to take me.

It was also so interesting to see how different the final, published version of Charlotte's Bed is from my initial draft. My characters developed so much during the re-writing and editing process. I've learned that you cannot underestimate the need for re-writing; it's amazing how much better your writing can become if you're willing to be objective and re-work your drafts.

Which authors have inspired you?
My favorite authors are the ones who breathe life into characters and create reality through fiction. I'm obsessed with Stephen King, not only because he does this so well, but because his stories are fascinating. They're dark and twisted and he's not afraid to go where most authors won't. I think it takes a lot of courage to write flawed, disturbing characters, and I love everything he's written (with my all-time favorite being 11/22/63). I also love Gillian Flynn, who does an amazing job of pulling you into the story from the second you start reading. Her characters are also screwed up and damaged, but are so fun to read and get to know. In her books, dark doesn't necessarily mean depressing - it's engaging and thrilling.

Within the chick lit genre, I'm inspired by Emily Giffin, who I think does an incredible job of writing books that are fun and have a great energy, but that also showcase smart women. When I was first introduced to her writing, I was so impressed that chick lit didn't have to mean ditzy or superficial, but could depict real, true-to-life characters with relatable problems.

What is the best gift you ever gave or received?
For my twenty-ninth birthday, my last year in my twenties, my husband threw me a 1920's themed murder mystery party, something I'd been dying to do for ages. He transformed our house into a speakeasy and had everyone dress in flapper and gangster gear. It was by far one of the best presents I've ever gotten!

What is your favorite thing to eat and/or drink during the winter?
I love anything warm and spiced - wait, I mean spiked! I'm a sucker for apple cider with rum, hot chocolate and baileys, anything with kahlua. . . There's nothing better than curling up under a cozy blanket, in front of a fire, sipping on some deliciousness (and reading of course)!

What TV show were you too young to appreciate in the past but would totally watch if it were around now?
This is embarrassing, but Seinfeld. Even though I feel like no age should be 'too young' for Seinfeld, it was definitely on way past my bed time when it originally aired. I remember hearing my parents laughing hysterically when it was on while I tried to sleep, so I dismissed it as 'for old people,' until I final saw an episode. Larry David is a comical genius!

Thanks to S.J. Stava for chatting with us and sharing her book with our readers.

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here.

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Worldwide. Giveaway ends December 9th at midnight EST.


Janine said...

In the winter, I always like a nice hot bowl of soup and a grilled cheese sandwich.

Unknown said...

I like a nice cup of hot cocoa and a slice of white toast with lots of butter dipped in. MMMM.

Jessica said...

Pumpkin scones!

Linda Kish said...

I like hot cocoa in the winter. Foods, I eat the same year-round.

Ruth Lyons Mazur said...

I love to have a cup of hot cocoa after I've finished shoveling all the snow off the driveway!

Viv V. said...

Hot chocolate and cookies! I like to cuddle up under blankets and enjoy my treat with a good book.

Nova said...

Love to have hot chocolate with marshmallows and cookies!

bn100 said...


Mary Preston said...

You can't beat Spicy Pumpkin Soup.

Unknown said...

Hot chocolate, of course! With lots of marshmallows:)