Stan Stamper – Danger Diva

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

Danger Diva: DANGER DIVA is a cozy thriller that introduces a strong new heroine, Cassidy Wentworth. Her college professor (A radical Muslim terrorist sleeper cell leader) scoffed at her quest…to invent a high-octane synthetic fuel, but when she did it, he would stop at nothing to take the billion dollar invention from her. But he underestimated her tough Texas roots. She flies her father’s jet, and shoots like a Texas Ranger. When the jihadists involve her boyfriend, Brandon, Cassidy makes it painfully clear…There’s a New Tigress in Texas!

Tell us something about yourself.

I am a career journalist/newspaper publisher. I have been writing professionally for 36 years. I am an adventurer, and enjoy the outdoors, flying (flight instructor), skiing, diving and exploring. I enjoy bringing some of these personal interests into my work.

What inspired you to write this book?

A few years ago, I fell in love with author WEB Griffin and marveled at his presentation and craftsmanship. I read all 52 of his books in about 14 months. Because writing is so much a part of my ‘being,’ I know my mother and father would have encouraged me to ‘write something significant.’ That was the motivation behind my first novel: DANGER DIVA. It took one year to write…almost two years to perfect.

How did you choose the title?

I spent months agonizing about the title and looking for alternatives. In the end, I thought it was the perfect fit. Readers have agreed.

What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?

Despite my extensive journalism background, I was totally unprepared to complete this work properly. I was fortunate to have an experienced “retired” author in my community, and he was happy to become my “mentor.” His brutally blunt review of my work (at my request) was vital to the book’s success. He taught me that good writing isn’t about writing…it’s about re-writing…over and over until it’s perfect. My book was tuned through a total of 15 re-writes. I didn’t think it was ready for publishing until I could find absolutely nothing wrong with it.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

I am a second-generation newspaper publisher and had a wonderful father-mentor. Although basic writing is easy for me, there is a HUGE difference between being a newspaper or magazine journalist and a NOVELIST. The styles are light-years apart.

Do you have any writing rituals?

I’m an outdoors person…actually hate to be indoors. Since I live in the mountains of SE Oklahoma, I sit outside almost daily and pound my Mac laptop. It’s processed millions of characters and has become a part of me. I have never experienced writer’s block. I have an over-active imagination and do most of my rough writing after awaking between 3-4 a.m.

How do you come up with the names for your characters?

I like names that are less frequently used, but learned that names must fit characters. The original name I had for my heroine wasn’t strong enough, so it had to be changed.

Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?

I could write another entire book to answer this question, so I’ll struggle to be brief. First, don’t get so over-anxious to “get published” that you rush a great project or idea. If your book isn’t the very best you can do, it isn’t ready to publish. If it has ANY mistakes, it’s not ready. If you haven’t employed the use of a competent editor, I don’t think your book has a snowball’s chance, unless your publisher is willing to re-write it. Writing the book is much easier than marketing it. What do you know about marketing? Will you be content selling 50 or 100 books? Take time to study the publishing business and ask lots of questions. If you’re in a metro area, join a writers’ group and be a sponge.

If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?

Slow down, study marketing techniques more closely. Get more on-line reviews. Because my family has been involved in “publishing” for a half-century, I elected to self-publish DANGER DIVA. My first mistake was not configuring the book for “returns” to the publisher. After discovering that no book stores would stock a book that was not returnable, I corrected this error and expect it to enhance sales.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors?

I enjoy action thrillers, Flynn, Grisham, W.E.B. Griffin. They are tough-guy writers and I enjoy their captivating style.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

I am more excited about my second book, and it scares me at the same time. The title is: RISK IT ALL. (You can get a snippet of it at my website mentioned later.) In the final editing process, my editors have raved about it…which they never do. I’m scared that it might even have “blockbuster” potential, and don’t know how to exploit that potential. Now my concern is that I don’t “Screw it up.” Its theme is more complex; more multi-dimensional. I’m going to go slow and seek more professional advice on how to move this book through the review and marketing process. You’re going to hear more about RISK IT ALL…!!

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

If you aren’t passionate about writing, then do something else. If you are quick to quit…find something else. If you can’t take criticism or don’t welcome it…do something else. Remember that good writing is not about writing, it’s about re-writing…even for the pros.

Who is the perfect reader for your book?

Believing that women between the ages of 25 and 70 are the biggest readers of fiction, I targeted that group when writing DANGER DIVA. But I didn’t want men to feel like it was ‘gushy’ so I kept their reading interests in mind. I was pleasantly delighted when men, many in their 50s and 60s told me they “loved the book.” One retired railroad engineer told me he had read everything Flynn and Grisham had written…but that he hadn’t enjoyed any of them any more than DANGER DIVA. THAT FEELING is like a golfer making a hole-in-one. It’s like getting a ‘fix’ that sustains you through the tribulations that you know you will face. Positive and rave reader comments are like a puppy-dog getting scratched.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

I have had several great reviews and hope to have more soon. One reviewer, Sandra Heptinstall, delighted me when she said it was her “favorite read of 2010″ and she nominated DANGER DIVA for “Book of the Year” honors at Powell’s Books. You can’t ask for any more than that. It’s available at Amazon, and author-signed copies are available at my website: stanstamper.com (I’ve been blessed that the book was selected by a large hotel chain and an Indian Tribe for marketing in their travel plazas in several states.)