Shelia Goss: Please introduce yourself to the readers.
Well first I'll start off with where my name comes from. My name is pronounced Stacy-Deanne (Dee-Anne). This is my first and middle name combined to form my pen name. People always wonder about the hyphen so now they know why it's there. (Laughing). I'm twenty-seven and I've been writing professionally since I was nineteen. I am a fiction writer at heart though I write biographies as well. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where I still live. I am an only child. I had my first novel published in 1999 when I was twenty-one but I didn't know much about the business at the time so I didn't go with a publisher I would normally have gone with if I had known better. Needless to say I didn't obtain the results I wanted with that book but the disappointment I got from that experience only fueled my passion to become truly successful.
Shelia: Tell us about your books.
My first book, Sunday Morning was a simple novel about a boy falling in love. I currently have tons of novels that I am getting ready for future publication. My books are mostly mainstream fiction. My characters are from all walks of life, different backgrounds and races. I love to write about stories that take place overseas. I've written a novel that takes place in Amsterdam as well as a book that takes place in Jamaica. I've always been fascinated with travel so I make sure my characters travel as much as possible. Besides Divas of the New Millennium, the full-length biographies of Jennifer Lopez, Mya and Ashanti are due out soon. I will also be releasing a Latino love story soon.
Shelia: Why did you choose to write a book about women singers?
I never, ever thought of writing a biography in my life. The truth was that I was so engrossed by the singer Mya. I simply started collecting data here and there about her life. Sometimes, when people interest me I keep tabs on them. I collect interviews, or I'll do a little research. I began writing about Mya because I was so interested in her life because she wasn't a singer you always heard about. Some of the same celebrities stayed in the spotlight and Mya was always someone who wasn't shoved down the public's throat. She is so talented and because I am a big fan of her music and the positive person that she is, I simply began writing about her. When I was almost done I contacted Amber Books. They accepted and offered a contract for Mya, which originated as part of a series I was doing on female minority singers. Realizing I felt as strongly for Jennifer Lopez, I began writing about her. They accepted that then I started on Ashanti and that's how it all began. I have to feel strongly about the subject, not necessarily " liking " but a spark that makes me keep searching and searching deeper into my subject's history and life in order to write the best book I can. I don't consider my books biographies. I sort of consider them as my feelings toward that particular artist. Sort of like my " study " on these ladies.
Shelia: Did you interview them all prior to writing the book?
No. I wanted to get in touch with Ashanti when I started the book on her but due to my publisher's better wishes I relied on research and just wrote the book from there. I don't think I could have gotten any deeper into her life even with Ashanti's help because the research alone allowed my creativity to soar and I began looking at all aspects of her music and life from different angles. I have read a lot of biographies and I write mine from the heart and I know people can tell that when they read them. I used the same strategy for all the books. I liked writing them better this way. I could control the work without having to compromise my creativity. Divas of the New Millennium was put together by my publisher, including my works on Jennifer, Mya and Ashanti combined with other authors' works on Alicia Keys, Beyonce and Destiny's Child. It was sort of a last minute thing, the publisher deciding to combine the stories into one book. I suppose they realized that having all these ladies in one book would be something magical so they ran with it.
Shelia: What does the title "Divas in the new Millennium" represent?
I believe Amber got the idea from my original series, which was entitled "Millennium Divas of Color." "Divas of the New Millennium" describes all of the ladies perfectly I believe. For the last few years all of these ladies featured in the book have risen to unparalleled success to become superstars. They've ruled the charts. Jennifer Lopez has forever changed the way America looked at Latino women. She's proved that Latino women can acquire mainstream recognition and international Hollywood success. Beyonce started as a teen in music. Us Houstonians knew Destiny's Child years before they arrived on the music scene. She has become this era's Diana Ross and Destiny's Child has become this era's Supremes. Ashanti has won countless awards and has persevered even if she hasn't gotten the recognition or acceptance she deserves.
It's the same with Alicia Keys and Mya who've both shared unique gifts with music lovers and managed to dominate charts. These women are influences and icons and there aren't many that have accomplished what they have in such a short period of time, proving that they are truly "Divas of the New Millennium."
Shelia: Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what CDs would you recommend to readers?
No! (Laughing). When I write I can barely stand to have the television on. I am one of those people who can't read one page of a book unless the room is completely silent. When I write, I only want to hear the click of the keyboard's keys and even I don't hear that because lately I've started wearing earplugs to cut out unwanted noise. If I did listen to music while working it would have to be Sade. Sade is one of those singers who can take you away no matter what you're doing. I can listen to her any time of the day. She puts me in the mood for anything no matter the current atmosphere.
Shelia: Who are some of your favorite rappers/singers?
Madonna is my favorite all-around performer. I've been a Madonna fan since elementary school and I've become even more obsessed with her 80's and 90's persona since then. I called that period my " Vogue " years. Somewhere in the early 90's I actually began thinking I was Madonna's alter ego, (Laughing). I also grew up on Michael Jackson, New Edition, Prince, Sade and Janet Jackson. Mary J. Blige is my favorite R&B singer. Of course I like Jennifer Lopez, Ashanti and Mya. I'm also into old-age rock like Dire Straits, Rolling Stones, Pat Benatar and Bruce Springsteen. I love mostly anything that involves electric guitars. I hate today's rap and hip-hop. The only rap I like is old school rap like Ice Cube, Queen Latifah, Yo-Yo, Kris Kross and Salt N Pepa. Eve's pretty cool too. I love New Jack Swing groups and singers such as The Boys, Hi-Five, Bobby Brown, Keith Sweat, Karyn White and Guy. I love everything from the eighties. I love Faith Evans and Kelly Price. My mother loves Tracy Chapman who I always admired but it wasn't until I saw her live that I started to truly feel her music. She's an amazing artist. If you see me with my headset on I could either be cruising to Angie Stone or rocking to No Doubt. It all depends on my mood. I have a very versatile taste in music.
Shelia: What's one thing that your fans probably don't know about you and you're willing to reveal?
I'm very shy. Sometimes I'm so shy I can't stand to look people in the eyes. Other times I'm fine. I've always been like that. I'm also kind of sensitive about my voice being so light. My voice triggers my shyness. I always hated talking because people think I sound like a little girl. It throws most people for a loop because I'm tall (5'11) then I have this little girl's voice. I like my voice don't get me wrong but sometimes it's a little smaller than I need it to be, (Laughing). When I was in elementary and middle school I was so shy I never said a word in class. Some of the kids thought I couldn't talk. I was more outgoing in high school when I got with my own clique. I was fine in high school, now Iím shy all over again! (Laughing).
Shelia: What can readers expect from you in the future?
I am currently working on another biography and hopefully I will be releasing more of my novels. My Latino love story will probably be the next fiction you see from me.
Shelia: What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Learn the business and all levels of it before you submit anything. A lot of writers come into the business blinded. They end up putting their hard work into the wrong hands. You need to be realistic and realize your goals and how you can accomplish them by being true to yourself. There are a lot of low-life sharks in this business and a writer's dream is the biggest bait.
Shelia: How can readers learn more about your books and get in contact with you?
They can check out Stacy-Deanne.net, my official website at: http://www.stacy-deanne.net.
They can also reach me by email or mail me through my fan mail address on my homepage. I try to respond to all my mail. It may take me some time, but I make it a vow to answer every piece of mail I get.
Shelia: If you had a theme song, what would it be and why?
Eye of the Tiger from "Rocky" would be my theme song because it's a song of perseverance and strength. I believe that describes me most of all.
Thanks for the interview. I truly enjoyed it.