The Heroine’s Journey of Stacy Nyikos

What is the best thing that I love about my work? The aspect I love most about writing is that it enables me to interact with some of the brightest, most inspiring readers, writers, critics, and material, and that, in turn, challenges me to be a better me.

What is my idea of perfect happiness? Perfect happiness for me is being happy as who, where, when, how and why I am, no frills needed.

What is my greatest fear? My greatest fear is not seizing every opportunity afforded me in this life. I want to be able to say I lived and gave and enjoyed all this existence has to offer to the fullest, or, in the more American vernacular—I spent all my bullets.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? Over time, I’ve come to realize that my greatest asset is also my greatest weakness. Tenacity had gotten me through some hard trials, but tenacity, taken to its extreme, means not knowing when to quit. I strive to find a balance, to walk the line, between persevering and knowing when to stop. I wouldn’t give up or change my tenacious spirit, but work toward finding a balance between its extremes.

Which living persons in my profession do I most admire? There are so many, but the last writer who made me cry (and while I’m a weeper for just about anything else, books rarely do that) because the story, characters, and writing were so wellbalanced was Richard Flanagan.

What is my greatest extravagance? Good, Belgian chocolate, hands down.

On what occasion would I lie? Fiction! A good writer must be an excellent liar.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? I dislike my tendency to overanalyze, rather than feel when I’m writing. I work very hard in rewrites to let go of that and bring out what my characters feel.

When and where was I the happiest in my work? That’s a tough question. Happiness in my writing feels much more like punctuated equilibrium. I’ve found, though, if I write every day, without fail, that punctuation turns more into a gentle flow, with greater consistency. There are still rough days, but they are fewer. The greatest feeling is when I am able to balance all the parts of story and the tale takes on a life of its own, I’m just the one recording it. Love, love, love those moments.

If I could, what would I change about myself? I’m a work in progress, nirvana is not on the near horizon, but balance, I may achieve balance in this lifetime. That would be incredible.

What is my greatest achievement in work? My greatest achievement is when a child (I write for children) tells me my work resonated with them. Golden: when they say it helped them. That connection is the brass ring.

Where would I most like to live? Oh, I’m more of a rolling stone. I’d like to live lots of places for short periods of time— Hawaii, Paris, Charlottesville, VA, Toronto, Nepal. I love to keep discovering new and different places, people, and ideas.

What is my most treasured possession? I can’t say as I have a most treasured possession. I couldn’t take it with me if I did. So I try to focus on relationships – my children, husband, family, friends. They make my life rich.

What is my most marked characteristic? Tenacity, definitely tenacity … did I mention tenacity?

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? Hmm … it’s not one single place, it’s more of a thing—running, early in the morning, with my dogs. That’s my meditation, my inspiration, and when I get my best ideas.

What is my favorite place to eat and drink, in my city? If the weather is good, there is a little café that is run by the best artistic chef and has outdoor seating, Stonehorse Café. I could eat there every day, if I could afford it.

What books influenced my life and how? The most influential book for me has been The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Truly, they are the only books I’ve ever voluntarily read multiple times. I love the plot, the largesse of such a little, unexpected, hero’s journey, and the fantasy, creativity. There is nothing else like it for me.

Who are my favorite writers? There are lots, and at different times of my life, the poll positions change, but J.R.R. Tolkien is always in first place. Richard Flanagan runs a close second these days, followed by so so many more amazing, talented craftspeople—Zu Vincent, Rob Costello, Markus Zusack, Doris Lessing, Bret Stephens (he writes political opinion pieces for the WSJ), Mary Stewart, Roald Dahl, Edgar Allen Poe, David Matthew …

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day? I’d listen to it all! Classical—Dvorak’s New World Symphony and Mussugorsky’s Night on Bald Mountain, Ravel’s Bolero; Contemporary—Tracy Chapman, Sade, U2, Sting; Alternative—Echo and the Bunnymen, The Smiths, Panic! At the Disco; Jazz—Herb Albert, Aretha Franklin

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? Bilbo Baggins, the littlest of the biggest heroes

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? Mother Theresa for her kindness; Boris Jimenez for taking on staggering obstacles to remake his life and succeeding, every day, succeeding; my kids for showing me new and fantastical ways to see the world; my little brother simply for being himself

Which movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime? It depends on when in my lifetime I would be asked this. Right now, given the current political state in not only the U.S. but some European countries, I’d say Idiocracy.

What role does art play in my life and work? I’m a writer, so art is both a job and an inspiration. It challenges me to be a better person, teaches, questions, leads, and digresses. I cannot imagine a day going by without connecting with some form of art. It would be a bleak bleak day, indeed.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? Undoubtedly, this is my husband. He always has my back when it comes to my work.

Whom would I like to work with in 2017? Ooh, that’s like confessing who I’d like to direct any of my books as a movie. I’m not too superstitious, but … but if I’m lucky enough to work together with some of the illustrators I’ve worked with in the past—Shawn Sisneros, Kary Lee—it would be an amazing year.

Which people in my profession would I love to meet in 2017? I’d love to reconnect with so many writer friends I haven’t seen in a while—Jody Feldman, Helen Pyne, Zu Vincent, Geronima Garza. There are so many talented writers, meeting any of them would be a treat, talking shop with them would be incredible. I’m open to one and all!

What project, in 2017, am I looking forward to work on? I’ve got a project I’ve outlined about my grandfather’s canoe trip down the Mississippi River in 1939 that I might finally have the writing chops to tackle. It’s a mammoth project, and I have tried once before, but didn’t like the result. I think I might finally be able to do the story justice now.

Where can you see me or my work in 2017? I have a quiet summer of writing ahead of me, so to connect with my work, visit me at my website http://www.stacynyikos.com or stop by one of my signings this summer at the Oklahoma Aquarium. My books are available from the usual suspects—Amazon, Barnes & Noble, booksellers. A list of titles: Squirt, Shelby, Dizzy, Toby, Rope ‘Em, Waggers (all picture books), and Dragon Wishes (middle grade novel) To see a booktrailer for my middle grade novel, Dragon Wishes, click here: https://www.goodreads.com/videos/63481-dragon-wishes-book-trailer?tab=author Or follow me on facebook, twitter, goodreads See my book reviews on blogger http://stacyanyikos.blogspot.com/ Or my website: http://www.stacynyikos.com

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? “Passion Never Retires” for me means continuing to experience the world with new ideas, to connect—connect with people, animals, the planet, the universe, you name it—and to transform those connections and experiences into something new and inspiring, story.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story? There are so many! – Zu Vincent, Jane Kurtz, Jody Feldman, Barrie Summy, Geronima Garza, to name a few.

How can you contact me? Email is the easiest, either via FB or my website: http://www.stacynyikos.com

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