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On The Table Read, “The Best Book Reader Magazine in the UK“, romance author Stacy Gold talks about her writing career, and her latest book release, Wild At Heart.

JJ Barnes editor of The Table Read online creativity, arts and entertainment magazine

Written by JJ Barnes

I interviewed author Stacy Gold about her life and romance writing career, what inspires her writing, and the story of her latest release, Wild At Heart.

Tell me a bit about who you are.

I’m a compulsive tea drinker, and an outdoor sports junkie who has been backpacking, whitewater kayaking and rafting, skiing, and mountain biking for more than thirty years. In 2014, after fifteen years in marketing, I gave up my day job as Communications Director of a non-profit mountain biking organization to write sassy, steamy, contemporary romance novels.

Stacy Gold, Wild At Heart author, The Table Read
Stacy Gold

My stories are packed with independent, kick-butt women finding love and adventure in the great outdoors, because it’s what I want to see more of in the world. When I’m not busy reading or writing, you can find me dancing, laughing, or playing hard in the mountains of Colorado with my wonderful hubby and happy dogs.

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When did you first WANT to write a book?

Just a few years ago, actually. In 2014 I had blown out my shoulder mountain biking and that winter I was bored recovering from surgery when I got the idea for my first book.

When did you take a step to start writing?

Since I couldn’t bike or ski or do any of the other fun things I’d normally be doing on weekends and evenings after my shoulder surgery, I started writing. I had no idea what I was doing and didn’t study writing craft, since it was just for fun. About six months later I had the first draft done, but it was far too long and slow and meandering.

How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?

My first novella, a ski romance and part of my Emerald Mountain series, was written and edited in less than three months. I pitched it to an editor at The Wild Rose Press at a writing conference fall 2015 and it came out spring of 2017.

The first book I started writing after shoulder surgery has never been released, and never will be. At least not in anything resembling its original form. Those characters will be featured in book three of my Wild Love series, though.

How long did it take you to complete your latest book from the first idea to release?

I started writing Wild at Heart in 2018. Then rewrote the second half of it in 2019. But a hand injury derailed me for almost a year. Then with COVID I decided to draft book 2 and be a hermit for a while so it’s just now coming out in May 2022.

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Focusing on your latest release. What made you want to write Wild At Heart?

Well, I write outdoor adventure romance because it lets me write about two things I truly enjoy: outdoor sports and environments, and why people do what they do. Camping, hiking, and backpacking were my gateway drugs to all things outdoors as a kid, and I still enjoy them today.

I also love the way putting two people out in the middle of nowhere really shows their true colors and forces them to decide what’s most important. Writing this particular book also gave me a chance to show a woman who is highly capable in the outdoors, and a man who is willing to shelve his ego and learn how to make better decisions—on the trail and in his life—from her and from being with someone like her.

What were your biggest challenges with writing Wild At Heart?

Having to rewrite the second half was really hard. When I finished my first draft, I knew something wasn’t right with the middle of the book but I couldn’t figure out what. All I knew was it was boring and slow. So, I hired a developmental editor to help me look at the big picture and come up with suggestions for fixing it. Even though I agreed it had to be rewritten, dumping roughly 40,000 words (or 160 pages) of text is beyond difficult. Harder even than rewriting those words.

Who or what inspired you when creating your Protagonist?

Every character I write is a mix of people I’ve known and a little bit of myself. Jules has a dash of a couple of my college girlfriends, who were snarky and fun and always up for a backpacking adventure. I was a U.S. Forest Service backcountry ranger in college and have done a number of solo backpacking trips over the years, so I really wanted to show a woman who is happy, comfortable, and confident alone in the woods for weeks on end. Someone who is anything but a damsel in distress.

Who or what inspired you when creating your Antagonist?

I believe a lot of women—myself included—don’t have a fantasy of being rescued. We don’t want a rich, muscled guy to swoop in and take over our lives. We want a partner who thinks we’re smart and interesting. Someone who values our opinions and expertise, supports us in achieving our dreams and goals, and also thinks we’re gorgeous and special even if we aren’t tall and model-thin. So, I wrote Evan.

What is the inciting incident of Wild At Heart?

Jules has set up camp for the night a few days into her five-week backpacking trip and falls asleep with drizzle tapping the rain fly on her tent. A man cursing wakes her. By now the rain is pounding down yet he’s clearly trying to set up his tent in the storm, and it isn’t going well.

Wild At Heart by Stacy Gold on The Table Read
Wild At Heart

Working in a rush in the dark he breaks a tent pole and ends up huddled and chattering under his rain fly—wishing he hadn’t decided to leave his rain pants behind. Worried he’s going to go hypothermic out there, Jules decides to rescue him by inviting him into her one-person tent. Of course, his clothes are drenched, so those are going to have to go…

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What is the main conflict of Wild At Heart?

For years, every man Jules dated left her for their ex-girlfriends. So, she sets out on her five-week solo backpacking trip to kick off a vow of celibacy—determined to reset her dating scoreboard and wipe the scarlet R for rebound off her forehead. The last thing she wants is to start dating a guy off the trail, let alone on the trail.

Evan comes from a wealthy Boston family who’s always set his course for him—from what he studied in school to where he worked to who he was going to marry. He’s only in Washington hiking for a week and doesn’t need any more complications in his life. Not when he’s going to have deal with the familial fallout of losing his job, leaving his fiancé, and disappearing on the trail for a week, as soon as he gets home. He really just wants this time alone in the woods to figure out what he really wants to do with his life.

Did you plot Wild At Heart in advance, or fly by the seat of your pants and write freely?

I do a mix of both. Usually, when I get an idea, the opening scene and meet-cute come to me fully formed, along with an idea of the main conflict, the big turning points, and the ending. So, I write a three to five paragraph synopsis I can loosely follow, then I do detailed character spreadsheets for all my main and secondary characters.

From there I fly by the seat of my pants. Because I do some planning at the start, I think it’s a bit like a good road trip. I have an idea of the start and end points, a few places I definitely want to stop along the way, and how long I have to complete the journey. But I also leave plenty of time to explore areas I didn’t even know existed when I started the trip.

Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Wild At Heart need?

I hired a developmental editor after an early draft when I knew a big section of the book didn’t work but I couldn’t figure out why. She gave me a few terrific suggestions that led me to the story as it is now. Other than that, I’ve had two rounds of line edits done by other people. And of course, I’ve edited and proofread the final draft at least four times.

What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a story?

Read Swain’s Techniques of the Selling Writer. It’s an old book, but it’s also the first craft book that truly transformed my writing. I think a lot of us struggle with determining what actually needs to be on the page for a reader to see our story in their head. And how to organize it for maximum impact. Swain explains all of that and more in the most logical way. I wish I’d read it before I wrote my first novel. It would’ve saved me thousands of hours of edits and rewrites that ultimately led to the circular file.

Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?

Well, book two in the Wild Love series, Drive Me Wild, has already been drafted and I’m editing it now. It’s a fun, opposites attract between a southern belle with a successful real estate business and a low key, back to nature, woodworker. I plan to put it out in the end of 2022 or beginning of 2023. As soon as it’s ready to go to press, I’ll start writing book three and hope to have it out early 2024. The Wild Love series centers around three best friends, so each book features one of the ladies finding love.

And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?

I am beyond proud of this book. It speaks to so many of the things I believe are important in life…Having truly supportive friends you can count on, spending time in the great outdoors, finding who you are and what you want to do with your life—even if it isn’t what your family or society says you should do. And of course, finding a partner who likes, loves, respects and supports you for all that you are.

Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:

Facebook: @AuthorStacyGold

Twitter: @AuthorStacyGold

Instagram: authorstacygold




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