Shattered Image with Author Stacy Monson

Monson,-Stacy_05-RetouchedAuthor Stacy Monson visits with us this week to share with us about her new release. Welcome, Stacy. Please tell us about Shattered Image.   This is a story about who we try to be on the outside and who we’re really supposed to be – who society says we should be versus who God created us to be. A fired spokesmodel comes to grip with her role in the arena of fashion for teens, while an aspiring singer realizes his dream, finding himself entangled in the web of fame and celebrity. Both face choices that pit their dreams against those they love most, and some of those choices will cost them more than they bargained for.

How long did it take you to write Shattered Image? I participated in NaNoWriMo three years ago, and wrote this entire book during the month of November – 85K. Since then, it’s endured several edits to reach its final form.

Oh my goodness! I can’t imagine writing that much in one month. How did you come up with the idea for your story? The older I get, the more concerned I become with the message our young people (and those of us not so young) constantly receive from the media – look this way, buy this and you’ll have perfect friends, make sure you get your share of fame and fortune. None of it is real, but we’ve been fed a steady diet of those messages for so long we don’t question them. I’m sad when I see girls, and guys too, who are trying so hard to look like the people they see on TV and in movies, instead of being (and loving) who they are with their own special traits. And we see how shallow and meaningless the lives are of those who do live their lives in the spotlight as they battle drugs, depression, and multiple divorces. It made me wonder what it must be like to find yourself in the glare of that spotlight, and how it might change you, regardless of how strongly you believe you wouldn’t change.

I agree with your concern 100%. More than once I’ve voiced the same concern to my family and friends. What do you hope readers will take away from Shattered Image? That every single one of us is unique, with God-given talents and looks and dreams that no one else has. It’s not what’s on the outside that matters as much as what’s on the inside, who God has created us to be. When people don’t follow their own path, when they try to live someone else’s life, their world has a hole in it, one that only they can fill being exactly who they were made to be.

Why will readers enjoy your main characters? I work hard to write characters the reader might want to hang out with, who are real and engaging. I think both Kiera and Peter are like that. Kiera fiercely loves her dad and will do whatever it takes to make sure he’s cared for. Her relationship with him is filled with love, laughter, friendship, and some heartbreak as well. Peter loves entertaining people, but he’s awkward and shy offstage. He’s sweet, and more than a little naïve, which gets him into some tough situations. And even though he thinks he’s ready for what celebrity will do to his life, he has no idea.

Please tell us one thing about yourself that may surprise us. I had two major fears growing up – speaking into a microphone, and God sending me to Africa. A job I had morphed into a position that required me to speak before small and large groups. Eventually I learned to master the microphone, despite my protests to let someone else do it! And God did send me to Africa when I led a group from my church to visit our sister church in Tanzania. What amazing people in an amazing country. I’d go back in a heartbeat!

How interesting that you ended up going to Africa. 🙂 Since this is February, did you do anything special for Valentines Day? My husband and I have never gone overboard celebrating Valentine’s Day – we just enjoy hanging out together and doing something low-key. But our first grandchild was born on Valentine’s Day 2014 so now I’m looking forward to celebrating her, and the amazing love that fills us now that we’re grandparents.

What a nice way to spend the day. What is next for you? My second book in the Chain of Lakes Series, Crisis of Grace, will be coming out early summer 2015, so I’m working on fine-tuning it. It’s based in the same Uptown neighborhoods as Shattered Image, but the characters are completely different. There’s Kurt, an ex-con, and Vanessa, a young woman carrying a huge burden of guilt while hiding a secret from everyone she knows. God intervenes to radically change both their lives in ways they never expected, which sends a ripple of change through River House (a drop-in center for teens) and the entire neighborhood. I’m so excited to release Crisis of Grace and hope my readers will love it as much as I do.

Stacy Monson writes stories that show an extraordinary God at work in ordinary life. Her debut novel, Shattered Image, will release in March 2015, with the rest of the series to follow later in 2015. A member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), she is the current secretary and past president of MN-NICE, as well as the Area Coordinator for Minnesota. She is the proud grandma of Kaira Mae, wife of a juggling, unicycling physical education teacher, mom to two amazing kids, and two wonderful in-law kids. You can learn more about Stacy and her books at http://www.stacymonson.com.

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