Today I’d like to welcome romance writer, Stasia Mars to Creekside Café. Welcome Stasia.
The café is my fantasy coffee shop/bar. What can I get you to drink? I’m usually a coffee drinker but North Carolina is once again experiencing a heat wave, so I think I’ll have a lemonade with a little something-something to give it a little kick. I really like my bourbon.
Stasia: Thank you so much for having me, Sherri! We too have been having a bit of a heat wave here in Maryland. I love coffee as well, but right now I would love a good spicy margarita. Huge fan of tequila.
Sherri: I can’t drink tequila it makes my face go numb. I figure my brain can’t be far behind. It’s good to have you here even if it’s only through the magic of the internet.
Stasia and I are part of a Facebook group for authors, and I invited her to visit me here at my author café.
You are from right up the coast from me. I live on the Innerbanks of eastern North Carolina.
Stasia: Yes, east coast living! I too live pretty close to the water. It’s a place called Kent Island along the Chesapeake Bay and Chester River in Maryland. The bay is right at the end of my street where you can see the Bay Bridge. We’ve been living here for four years and absolutely love it.
Sherri: It sounds lovely.
You’re a stay-at-home mom with three children and several rescue pets. Are any of the children in school? When do you find time to write? I remember when my boys were at home, and it was a juggle between ball, scouts, school and church to find a few minutes to myself. How do you manage it all?
Stasia: Right now, my kids are seven, five, and three. Violet will be going into second grade, Simone will be going to kindergarten, and Quinn will be going into Pre-K part time. So still not all of them will be in school full-time next year, but close! It is quite a struggle to find time for myself and for my writing. I just have to let some things go like laundry and dishes to get some time in, but I am fortunate enough to have a very supportive husband. He helps where and when he can.
Sherri: It’s great to have your husband’s support. Mine always made sure I had a few minutes for myself and encouraged me to write. I forget that not everyone has that luxury. We are blessed.
You have a steamy series, Men of the Mafia. Tell us about your series. What kind of mafia? Are they all part of the same gang?
Stasia: My Men of the Mafia series are books that can each be read as a standalone or in any order. All of the men are from different families and places, but some of them do interact with one another in their books. Some of the ladies even become close friends!
Sherri: What is the appeal of the mafia and these dangerous men?
Stasia: These men are what you would call alphaholes. They’re pure alphas and can be quite brute, but they would do anything for their women. Like…kill. And even be killed. They have the power and money to do anything and give them anything. And when they love, they love hard and for life.
Sherri: How many books in your series? Do you have a favorite book, character or couple? What makes them a fav?
Stasia: As of right now, it will be six books in the series. I started out with Irma and Alejo’s story because they are a personal favorite of mine. I love Irma and her fierceness and how she came from nothing. She struggled to take care of herself most of her life and had never needed anyone. Alejo had the luxury of growing up with a loving family. His father was a mob boss but knew the balance of being a boss and a father. The chemistry between the two is undeniable. This book has a lot of action as well which in my opinion makes it so much more adventurous and fun to read.
Sherri: What comes next? Have you plans for a new series or more of the mafia?
Stasia: After the second book in the Men of the Mafia comes out, I plan to work on releasing the first book to my next series which will be the Women of the Mafia. Showcasing women who come born and bred to one day rule. This will not be a spin-off. It will feature brand new characters.
Sherri: Who do you like to read? Who are some of your favorite authors or who are you currently reading?
Stasia: I love Sam Mariano. Do you have that one book that you still think about even years after reading it? That’s what she did for me with her Moretti Family series. It’s what started my love of mafia romance. She also introduced me to dark romance, and I haven’t looked back since. I owe a lot to her writing and inspiring me. Currently I am reading Black Beard by Angus Konstam. A book I found on clearance and decided to take a short break from reading romance and read about some legendary pirates.
Sherri: Ah, Black Beard is legendary here in North Carolina. If you need any other reference material, I have a list.
Did you self-publish, or did you go the traditional route?
Stasia: I decided to go with self-publishing because I was too anxious to get my books out. I have over twenty books written, and I don’t always do well with waiting around for something to happen.
Sherri: I always wanted to be traditionally published but now that I’ve self-published I can’t relinquish control.
What do you wish you’d known prior to publishing? What will you do differently with your next book?
Stasia: I plan to self-publish my next book, but I am also working on a query letter to send out to literary agents in hopes of going the traditional publishing route. If I would have known how hard it was to self-publish, I think I would have found some patience within myself to wait on finding an agent.
Sherri: Self-publishing is a lot of work. What would you tell someone who is just beginning to write seriously?
Stasia: To not give up. Ever. If writing is your passion, go for it. It’s okay if it takes you years to complete a novel. You completed a novel which most people cannot say. Join social media groups and don’t be afraid to reach out asking for advice. And you don’t need to publish your work to consider yourself a writer.
Sherri: What is your dream for your writing career?
Stasia: To make a career out of it. To be able to make enough money so that my husband can do what he loves as well. I am so blessed to have a supportive husband that is helping me follow my dreams and I would love to do the same for him someday. Also, I would love to be able to help other aspiring authors. To be that successful author that others look up to. I would love to be influential enough to help other authors become more successful.
Sherri: Tell us 10 fun facts about you. What makes you unique?
Stasia: Hmm…ten fun facts. Okay, here it goes.
If I had an entrance song it would be Enter Sandman by Metallica.
I don’t eat the ends of my food and usually pick the corners off. It ends up looking like a rodent got a hold of my food (what my husband likes to say).
Along with my three rescue dogs and one rescue kitten, I have two rescue rats.
I am five feet tall.
My favorite animal is an armadillo.
I like making different covers for my laptop with fun stickers from Etsy.
My favorite writing tool is my rocketbooks! I can write as much down and make as many notes as I want without wasting paper.
I love shopping for clothes and shoes on Ebay.
I have a camper which I absolutely love taking on camping trips with my husband, my children, and my dogs which happens to also be my favorite atmosphere to write in.
And last but not least, my husband is going to be on HGTV with his brother renovating a beach house in Kitty Hawk, NC!
Sherri: Okay, I think I’m in love! My last book, Trent’s Melody has a renovation as part of the romance. My favorite thing to do with my kids was camping (we tent camped) and I love Kitty Hawk and Hatteras. I used to live in Texas, so I adore armadillos. I think we’d get along great!
When a reader finishes your books, what do you want them to say or feel?
Stasia: I want them to want more! I don’t want readers to just love my stories, I want them to enjoy my writing in general. I’ve had a few readers reach out to me on social media telling me how much they enjoyed my book, and it was such a great feeling. I cannot wait to be someone’s favorite author someday!
Sherri: What is the overall theme of your books?
Stasia: So, right now I am focused on the mafia books I have written. It’s honestly the most fun for me to write because they’re untouchable. They pretty much have the power to do whatever they want. They do not abide by the law and have little morals. But eventually you will see more from me and the wide range of romance that I write. Most of it teeters on the line of dark romance, and some are undoubtedly dark. But overall, romantic!
Sherri: Thank you, Stasia for joining me at my virtual café. If I ever win the lottery, I’d like to do this for real. I am so glad you stopped by, and I do look forward to hearing from you again.
Stay tuned, Stasia will be launching her new book very soon and we’ll be doing a cover reveal right here!