Hi, Delilah. Thanks for having me here today. And greetings to your readers.
I’m one of those writers who actually holds degrees in writing. Because I have a master’s degree, I’m qualified to teach on the college level, and I did so for a couple of years. The moderator of one of my critique groups was fond of saying that degreed authors as well as writing professors wrote terrible novels. That was two strikes against me. Three and I was out before I even started.
Funny thing is, writing was always a stress-reliever for me, so it was never something I considered as a career. Because of that, when I started college, I was a business major. Hated that—math, statistics, optimization. Ugh. Despite having no design portfolio, I managed to switch to architecture, which I loved then. Still do, actually. But they were training us to be commercial designers, and I wanted to design homes. That necessitated another change. I thought about interior design or landscape design, but again, I had no portfolio. Then I seriously considered art history or archaeology, because I thought working in a museum would be amazing. But I also wanted to graduate before I was fifty. I was two years into my college career, and I didn’t have any course credits that would apply toward those degrees.
So, I did the only thing that made sense to me. I became a writing major. If I overloaded for a few semesters, I’d be right on track and would graduate in my four-year window (which I did, by the way). Once I had my bachelor’s degree, I could get a graduate degree in art history or archaeology and go on to be a curator.
Two things wrong with that. First, curators spend a lot of time in the business aspect of museums, and I already knew I hated that. Second, I freaking LOVED writing. So, when it came time to get a master’s degree, I stayed with what I knew and loved.
Why am I boring you with this biography? Because it’s relevant to fiction.
I wrote a novella (When We Finally Kiss Goodnight) with characters who are archaeologists. One works in the field, the other in a museum. I got to explore the parts of archaeology that interest me while avoiding the tedium of business management.
I’m also in the middle of a four-book saga (the Medici Protectorate series) with characters who are in the building business. I have an architect in Bleeding Heart and a construction pro in Mind Control, and when I finish the series, I will have an interior designer in Body Armor and a landscape designer in Tortured Soul.
Maybe my critique moderator was onto something. It’s not that writing majors and professors can’t be good authors. It’s just that people from other professions have different experiences and interests to draw on that make their writing richer.
Doctors write medical dramas. Lawyers and police write crime fiction. Military personnel write war stories. You get the idea.
I have plenty of interests. Maybe I shouldn’t have become a writing major. Maybe I should have studied architecture or archaeology. I might have been professionally content. (Note the stress on might.)
But this way, writing fiction, I can be all those things—be anything. Writing lets me live vicariously through my characters. I can be a sea captain, cryptozoologist, doctor, or astronaut. Maybe a wizard or an alchemist.
Actually, I get to be an alchemist in the Medici Protectorate series, too. As well as a mergers and acquisitions executive, a lawyer, an IT guru, and a security specialist. Yep, those of you who have been counting have it right. I’ve got nine different vocations going on in that series, and I get to have fun with each and every one of them.
What is an alchemist like, especially one who mastered immortality and has been alive for five hundred years? Is he experienced, wise, and benevolent? Maybe jaded, calculating, and bored with society? How do you think an architect gets along with a business mogul? A construction foreperson with a lawyer? An interior designer with a hacker? A landscaper with a security expert? Do opposites attract? Do careers even impact interpersonal relationships?
If you’re interested in finding out all those things and more, I’m running a sale right now. For a limited time, Bleeding Heart is on sale for 99¢ and Mind Control for $1.99.
Medici Protectorate Series Premise:
The four Notaro sisters are the secret legacy of the Medici, famed rulers of Italy. Michelangelo promised his Medici-benefactor that he’d always watch over the family, and as such, he formed the Medici Protectorate to guard them throughout the generations. Now, Italy is in political turmoil and revolution is imminent. The people are calling for new rulers, and the Notaros are poised to assume control. But a nefarious opposing faction wants the power for themselves. Never was the family in more jeopardy. The four sisters are protected by the Brotherhood—four elite warriors of the Medici Protectorate prophesied to keep the family safe until they fulfill their destinies. They journey around the world in an effort to keep the family safe and the future of Italy secure.
Reading fiction is fascinating because it lets us escape our personal realities and become someone or something else. Writing it is even better, though. It’s the best of both worlds because it allows us to do what we’re good at (telling stories) while exploring our other interests.
It took me a while to declare my major, but I’m convinced I made the right choice. I get to be something different every day. How many careers offer that kind of flexibility and excitement?
Looks like the only third strike I’ll be getting is if I write a baseball-themed novel.
About the Author
Staci Troilo has always loved fiction, ever since her parents read her fairy tales when she was a young girl. Today, her interests are much more eclectic. She loves getting lost in sci-fi battles, fantasy realms, horror worlds, suspenseful intrigues, and romantic entanglements.
As goes her reading, so goes her writing. She can’t pick a single genre to focus on, so she doesn’t even try. She’s proud to say she’s a multi-genre author.
When she’s not reading or writing, she’s spending time with family and friends, possibly cooking for them, or maybe enjoying an afternoon in the pool. To learn more about her, visit http://stacitroilo.com/.
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Thank you so much for hosting me today, Delilah.
Staci, that’s an interesting path you took to arrive at a writing degree. I like the way you played all your other interests (and more) into your books. They’re all great reads–I can say that because I’ve read them all 🙂
What an awesome sale you’ve got going on. I hope it results in many new fans!
Unfortunately, I got both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business – completely boring, but certain parents thought it would be a good idea. Now I’m writing – go figure. I like how you gave your characters career choices you’d considered, Staci.
I’m sure your parents meant well, Teri. Mine were on board with all my choices, but I know they had to worry when I became an English major with no intention of writing for a newspaper or teaching. (Funny that I ended up teaching for a couple of years.) They never questioned me, though. Well, my dad wasn’t thrilled when I turned down an offer from IBM in favor of getting my master’s degree, but he got over it quickly enough. They’ve been very supportive of my whole writing journey, and they’re very proud now.
I bet you can use your business knowledge as an author… both as a job for your characters and while you manage your career. Nothing we learn ever goes to waste.