Bestselling author Stacey Covington-Lee is someone I am glad to not just call a repeat guest on Conversations LIVE but a friend as well. She has given the world some amazing books and characters that keep her readers coming back for more.
In this profile for our anniversary issue we discuss her own journey and success.
Stacey, it’s great to be able to have you as a part of Conversations Anniversary issue as we celebrate the past 16 years. You have had an amazing career of your own, garnering readers from around the world. What has it been like to look back at your own journey?
Cyrus, I’m honored to be a part of this Anniversary Issue. As I look back over my writing journey, I smile with a little bit of pride playing at the corners of my lips. I’m proud of the stories I’ve written and how they’ve touched people’s lives. However, I recognize that I still have a long way to go. I have more stories to tell, hopefully, more lives to touch, and a positive footprint to leave on the literary industry.
When did you realize that storytelling was something you were good at?
I thought that writing may have been an actual talent when I was about twelve years old. I penned my first short story and hoped someone would like it as much as I did. No such luck, no one else read it. Years later, my best friend, who knew of my love of writing, challenged me to write. On her dare I wrote my first novel, The Knife In My Back, and the response left me speechless. It was then that I knew I’d been blessed with a gift.
To realize your love for something is one thing. To pursue it is another. Was it an easy decision to go for it?
Not at all! When I started writing seriously, I had a full time job, a young son, and a husband. I was only able to write late night. It was exhausting. As the years rolled by, my son grew up, but I became the care taker for my mom, I’m still married, and still working part time. It’s a challenge to take on something as daunting as writing a book, especially with so little me time, but every accomplishment is worth the sacrifice.
For those that are just discovering you, Stacey, tell them about the book that began the journey for you?
The journey began with The Knife In My Back. It is a story of two young women that are thrown together by circumstance. Brook is a smart, but naive woman from an affluent family. Tamika, on the other hand, is a street wise woman from the wrong side of the tracks. Brook opens her home and heart to Tamika, only to have Tamika betray her at every turn. But when Tamika takes the one thing that means the most to Brook (hint, it’s not a man), Brook seeks revenge in a most unexpected way.
When it came to following up your debut did you have any added pressure as to how it would be received?
I absolutely did. Remember, I was the girl that was shocked by how well received the first book was. I was petrified that the next book wouldn’t be received in the same manner. That fear caused me to put an enormous amount of pressure on myself. Thank God I’ve learned to write from the heart and let the chips fall where they may. I truly believe that readers can feel your heart in a story.
One thing that has definitely evolved over both of our careers is social media. What role has that played in your connecting with readers?
Social media has indeed been a blessing. As you know, it has allowed us to greatly expand our reach. Social media has allowed me to meet more book clubs, book bloggers, and avid readers than I ever would’ve been able to reach otherwise.
Have you found the online experiences to be just as fulfilling as in-person events and book-signings?
While I love the online interaction, book chats, etc., there’s nothing quite like meeting avid reader face-to-face. Their enthusiasm, kindness, and appreciation for your hard work is like food for the creative soul.
Love and betrayal are two things that you write a lot about, but there is also the discovering of one’s own power. What has that been like for you to explore in your books?
During a dark time in my young life, I lived in and through a domestic violence situation. Through my writing, I’ve taken back the power that someone once tried to steal from me and now I also write about domestic violence. It’s my chance to show that the possibility for survival and happiness beyond the violence is possible. More importantly, my book, Hate The Way He Loves Me, has touched others, given them hope, and the desire to seek the life they know they deserve. To say there is power in the pen, is a huge understatement.
A goal of every author is to have something they have written brought to life either on television or film. If you had a choice what book of yours would you like to see on the big screen?
While I think all of my book babies are deserving of the silver screen, I’d have to choose Hate The Way He Loves Me. It is the most impactful and sadly, a very relatable book for many, many people. Whether they are fighting to survive domestic violence or someone they love is, the story is ultimately one of triumph, one deserving of being seen by the masses.
I know that outside of readers you get other authors who want to know advice for their own careers. What do you normally tell them about the importance of believing in themselves?
I always ask, If you don’t believe in you, why should anyone else? Every writer needs to know that their story is worthy of being read, their voice is worthy of being heard. The journey won’t be easy, but it will be so worth it.
Thanks so much for the time, Stacey. How can our readers stay connected with you?
Cyrus, thank you for allowing me to be a part of this momentous occasion. Congratulations on all of your successes. I invite readers to follow me on IG @scovingtonlee, Twitter @covingtonlee, FB @ Author Stacey Covington-Lee, visit my website at www.staceycovingtonlee.com, and send inquires for events to firstname.lastname@example.org.