6 Questions with Stacie Ramey
This week, I’m checking in with Stacie Ramey, a YA author that I met at an SCBWI conference many years ago. She’s the author of It’s My Life, The Secrets We Bury, The Homecoming, and The Sister Pact. More importantly, she’s a great person to hang out at a writing conference with. Whether you’re sitting on an author panel, hiding in the back of a lecture hall at a writing convention, or just trying to avoid being called on in a critique session, Stacie’s the person to be with.
Stacie’s website is at https://stacieramey.net.
On to the questions!
Anyone who’s read your writing understands that you would be successful in any genre. Why YA? What is it about writing for Young Adults that draws you?
For me young adulthood is the time when you are becoming who you are supposed to be. You’re breaking away from roles other people have given you and deciding who and how you want to be. Teens are tested in so many ways these days. It’s an exciting yet terrifying time, which means there’s plenty of stuff to draw on in terms of story. So many firsts. First loves. First betrayals. First time they take a stand. Who wouldn’t want to write about that?
A question I’m often asked is “how do I become a writer?” It’s not about the nuts and bolts of being a professional, but about what a person needs to do to be able to start writing effectively. My answer is to listen. What’s yours?
I was a reader well before I was a writer. An avid reader. I never went to a doctor’s appointment without a book. Family vacations still find me sitting on the side, reading while life goes on around me. Be a good and faithful reader before becoming a writer. It’ll help inform so many things in your own work.
Let’s go dark for a moment. What’s the hardest thing about writing the books you write? What’s the biggest challenge that you’ve faced?
I do write some pretty dark stories and in order to do those stories justice I have to put myself there, figuratively speaking. Writing about suicidal ideation was pretty hard. Writing about losing someone you love is equally hard. I don’t shy away from the tough topics because we need to talk about these things.
Do you have any great reader stories? Moments when you heard or talked with a reader that have stuck with you?
I get emails and letters all the time that make me feel so glad that I’ve touched someone’s life, but the coolest thing happened with a little bit of promo for my last book, The Secrets We Bury. I’d brought a tin pail with paper grass in it and a notebook for people to write their secrets and ‘bury’ them. Later after each event I read those secrets. They are beautiful and honest and deep. I am honored to be their custodian.
Usually, I ask about inspiration, but you’ve already written about that on your site www.tuesdaywriters.com. instead, I’d like to ask about your goals when you are working on a book. Some writers focus on delivering emotional experiences, or revealing life truths, or providing an escape from reality. What are you thinking about when you’re writing a book?
I think I’m mostly thinking about the characters, you know? Wondering how they are feeling. Hoping it’ll all work out ok for them. It’s a silly thing to say, since I’m the one telling their stories, but I still feel that pull towards them as people and I only want the best for them even if I do put them in some pretty difficult situations.
My sixth question is always the same: what’s next? What are you working on that we can look forward to?
My next book, It’s My Life releases in January and I’m so excited about that book. It was the second book I ever wrote (like ten years ago) and has existed in so many different versions. I’ve changed the POV, changed the tense, changed the situations, but the heart of the book has always remained. It’s about a girl with Cerebral Palsy who after finding out the cause of disability, gives up on herself, until her old crush moves back to town.