Friday, May 11, 2018

Stacey Filak

Stacey Filak was born in a small town in Michigan, where she dreamed of hero's quests, epic battles, and publishing a book. At least a couple of things have come true. She lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan, with her husband and four children, and a menagerie of pop-culture named pets. She manages a veterinary clinic as her day job and aspires to someday write something that means as much to someone else as her childhood favorites mean to her.

Filak's new novel is The Queen Underneath.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
The question put forth is ‘What is Stacey Filak reading?’ Unfortunately, the answer at this moment is almost nothing. Between the release of my book, The Queen Underneath, a particularly busy time for my kids with sports, and my day-job, I’m finding myself too distracted to delve into much, at the moment. So, instead I’ll share a few of the books that I’ve recently loved, as well as the book I’m going to read, as soon as my brain settles down.

I recently finished The Changeling by Victor LaValle. Part murder mystery, part suspense thriller, and part fairy tale, LaValle has created a story that will live in my mind for years to come. The main character, Apollo Kagwa, faces an unbelievable horror – a tragedy that no parent should ever have to endure – and that is both the beginning and end of a fairy tale. The first fairy tale, the sanitized, perfect life that Apollo believes he’s cultivated comes to an end when the second, darker, far more deadly fairy tale begins. It is a criticism of society, a touching homage to parenthood, and a damn fine read.

Another book that I recently read was Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk. This debut novel that turns the familiar story of Spartacus on its head by gender swapping the protagonist grabbed me by the collar and wouldn’t let go. I read this book over a weekend when I was at a convention. I usually only read when I’m trying to fall asleep in the hotel room at things like this, but Wyk’s book made its way to the restaurant for meals, the bar for drinks, even the conference rooms between panels. Action packed, both heart-felt and hard-hitting, C.V. Wyk has won my loyalty, and I cannot wait for the next installment.

Another book that I absolutely adored this year is Beneath the Haunting Sea by Joanna Ruth Meyer. I’ll admit, I was a little nervous to read this one, as it was the inaugural release of the YA label that was publishing my own book. What if I hated it? What if it was terrible? What would that say about my own work? But I was worrying needlessly, because while Sea is drastically different than my own work, it was a beautiful, gently written story of strength, music, and the unlikely events that can create myth. Meyer creates a world that felt both familiar and yet brand new. Her characters are brilliant, brave, and so believable that it hurt. I went from being afraid of reading this book to being unbelievably proud that we shared a publishing house.

And I have a book prepped and primed for the moment my life and mind slow down enough for me to pick it up. I’ve been looking forward to Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller since the minute it was announced. Miller’s debut novel, the magical realism tale of a gay teenaged boy who suffers from an eating disorder absolutely shattered me. So raw and brutally told, Miller plunged me into Matt’s mind – an uncomfortable place to live – and wouldn’t let me up. It is a story that needs to be told, but it isn’t a story one can enjoy. It can only be experienced, and the experience changed me. So while I anticipate a little discomfort, I’m very much looking forward to the world that Blackfish City holds for me. Taking place on an earth destroyed by climate change, the story takes place in an artificial floating city in the arctic, Miller is said to examine the repercussions of technology, community, class, and leave behind a feeling of hope. As soon as I can, I plan to delve into its pages and not come up for air until I’m done.
Visit Stacey Filak's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Queen Underneath.

--Marshal Zeringue