"Poppies for Christmas" is about a young, up-and-coming DJ named Dexx who falls in love with a beautiful girl on the dance floor, Poppy, while he spins his music. He finds out she has a boyfriend, a gorgeous model, but decides to pursue her anyway. He winds up spending Christmas with the most picture perfect family you can imagine, but as he chases love, he also discovers a lot about himself. This is a story about acceptance and love, and brings a voice and a love story to those individuals that rarely get one in literature, like young adults with autism. Is it part of a series? Not yet, I but I’ve had some requests to continue the journey of Poppy, Dexx, and the Davies family.
Do you have a favorite character?
Currently, in my novel "Poppies for Christmas," Declan is my favorite character. He is such a brave, persistent, beautiful person. He has so many amazing talents, I really admire him. I also enjoy Poppy, she is so positive and peppy, and Declan’s sister Denver who yearns for true love, and that happily ever after we all chase. As far as favorite characters outside of my own writing? Yes, tons. Probably too many to mention.
What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
When I write, I make myself comfortable in my bedroom. I hang out on the floor with my notebooks, and a bunch of pillows. I have a window the size of a wall that faces the woods. Since I live in Michigan, I watch all of the beautiful seasons go by, as the trees go from green to snow covered. I stare at the cute animals that wander by; the deer, coyote, wild turkeys, and colorful birds. I spent a lot of time daydreaming. Once I start writing, I’m stuck inside the story in my head. It is like watching a movie. I record what’s happening as I see it. I write everything long hand on a series of notebooks before the type my first rough draft. It’s easier for me, spell check stops my creative flow. I enjoy the silence, but also work with music. Since Dexx is a DJ, I listened to a lot of electronica, dub step, EDM, and techno music while I worked. I also keep the Christmas tunes coming. Declan’s favorite is Christmas Canon by Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I do outline the story, only I outline it in my head. I write down the basic storyline in my notebook, then live off scraps and sticky notes to add to the story. Before I begin writing, I basically know the beginning, middle, and end of my novel. I know where I want to go, but doing a traditional outline is not my style. There is definitely an inner muse who actively composes ideas 24/7. And the pathways around my story usually hit me at odd times; in the car, in the shower, while I am falling asleep. Those ideas are written down and stuck in my notebook. Revelations about the character can happen spontaneously, and I love those moments of epiphany.
What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
I am on Facebook, facebook.com/stacyreneekeywell. I also have a web site, stacyreneekeywell.com. Along with my traditional author Facebook, my daughters and I started a movement which is featured in Poppies for Christmas. You can find our page on Facebook, facebook.com/projectlovewithoutlabels. I am on twitter, twitter.com/keywelluvsbooks. You can find me on google+, and good reads. Since this is not my first book, you can find several articles on me as well in different publications.
Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
I not only find it difficult to juggle my time between marketing, and writing, I find it hard to juggle my entire life. I am a teacher, I have spent over twenty years in the classroom. I work full time. I am a wife, and mother of two young children. I cook every night, help the kids with their homework, and oversee the household. I host holiday parties, plan weekend and vacation activities. I also have several hobbies I like to explore beyond writing. It is a lot to handle. Ha, ha, I am exhausted! Plus, marketing is the most difficult task. I was once told that writing the book is the easy part, the rest is a tremendous trek up an enormous, never ending mountain. Boy were they right about that!
What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
I have done both self-pub and traditional. I would love to give advice to all new authors. Never quit! Keep on climbing that never ending mountain. If you have that dream of writing a book, keep on going. You can do it. You can always find me on Facebook or gmail through my website for support. I love to mentor, and be that incredible cheerleader for all.
Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
I have so many passions hobbies it’s hard to have the time to pursue them all, but I do try! When I am not writing, I love to devour books. I will read several at a time to catch up the new releases, popular reads, and old classics. Traveling is my passion. Since I love to explore different cultures, when I am not traveling, I go to unique stores and restaurants in the area. I never stay put. Every weekend I visit different parks, botanical gardens, museums, see movies, or attend art fairs. I also don’t mind staying home and being a homebody. I enjoy cooking for my family, listening to music, and hanging out watching TV on the couch with a big bowl of ice cream. In the end, the most important passion is my family. I love my two daughters dearly, and spend as much time with them as I can while they are young.
Some fun facts about you, which do you prefer – dogs or cats? Chocolate or vanilla? Coffee or Tea? Talk or Text? Day or Night?
These are fun, but it is so hard to choose when I am the type of person who just loves so many things. My one daughter loves cats, and my other loves dogs, so I am torn. But it was hard enough to take care of my fictional dog Dancer in "Poppies for Christmas," so no pets for me. I could eat chocolate all day long, especially if it is in the form of ice cream, or a peanut butter M&M on a spoon dipped in peanut butter with a large glass of milk. But, I teach French, so I am a sucker for French vanilla anything. Coffee is another one of my passions. I love all types, from frequenting the little unique coffee shops that put the hearts in the lattes, to the popular brands. I drink coffee daily. But, my love for Alice in Wonderland temps me to have those yummy tea parties. I love talking, I do it all day long, so I usually talk to my text if I need to text. I really, really want to be a night person, I love the night. It is spooky, so romantic. But I am too much of a morning person, I have to get up so early, and I am most productive in the day. See? I told you I would have a hard time choosing, but I loved the question anyway.
What’s next for you?
I also have a children’s story, Poppy and the Pesky Pudding Problem, as a backstory and companion piece to Poppies for Christmas which I am trying to market along with my new novel. In my spare time, I am currently writing a new book, part romance, part fantasy. I hope to finish that project in 2017. Then, maybe another Poppies novel. I’ve had a few requests to continue the journey through the life of Poppy and the Davies family.
Poppies For Christmas
Publication date: November 15th 2016
Genres: Romance, Young Adult
A celebration of love without labels. It’s easy to be brave with you by my side!
Popular DJ Dexx finds himself positively smitten by the precociously pristine Poppy Paris. Too bad she’s already taken by an older boy, Declan Davies, a beautiful model with a thriving career, and a perfect family.
By a dreamful stroke of chance, Dexx finds himself invited to spend Christmas at the Davies home by a gorgeous girl, granting him the opportunity to pursue the precious Poppy. But in his quest to win her over, he unlocks a world of imperfection and insecurity, where people are picked on for their disabilities, speech, appearance, and eccentricities. For Poppy and her friends, love trumps labels, and everyone deserves a brave friend to stand by their side. What gifts will Dexx discover this Christmas? Will he ultimately find true love, or will he discover something even greater?
You are invited to read a powerful story about living with autism, but not letting it define you, about being bullied, but carrying on with determination and grit, and about having dreams, but not giving up in the face of adversity. Come celebrate something beautiful with Poppies for Christmas.
Stacy Renée Keywell enjoys spending time misusing, mispronouncing, and misspelling languages, especially in her native tongue, English. When she is not stargazing or daydreaming she creates adventures for her family to conquer. Besides following her whimsical dreams, Stacy likes to sing to the music in her head, dance poorly, and compose non-sensical words. She is also the author of Forbidden Sky- Book One of the Dark Wing Series. Stacy resides in Michigan in a little house in the woods with her husband, and two daughters.
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