Writers’ Connection

Featured Authors

Unique and inspirational publishing stories to share.

Stacy Harder

Stacey Harder (Fischer) is an Australian thriller novelist & vocalist. As a young girl she developed an anxiety disorder and through her writing and singing she found that the anxiety was an ocean of creativity and was determined to ensure that her hardships would become her strengths. Second Reality is her debut novel, which tells the story of Hope who is struggling with life. Traumatized by her existence, she could not know that through this long, lonely time, someone would eventually come to save her. This book explores triggering topics such as sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking, physical violence, self harm and suicide.

Tell me about your latest book and what inspired you to write/create it?

My mother was a very unwell woman. Her life began in trauma, and one evil person after another just seemed to find her along the way. Alcoholism, depression, PTSD, anxiety, drugs, disease… she was tortured from the inside as well as out.

So, I grew up in a broken home. I witnessed a lot of big and scary things for a child. You know some people cope with trauma by hurting others and numbing themselves with one substance or another. I am no better or worse than those people, I just made a different choice.

I wrote a book.

Second Reality is where I put all my fear and longing. I created characters who could be there for me when I didn’t know who to turn to. They were there for each other, and I always say, they can be there for you too.

Share your personal publishing story. Did you choose self or traditional? How did you go from book manuscript draft to finished book available for purchase?

My story began at the age of 14 when I started writing up a world where true love and kindness existed. I wrote and rewrote the novel dozens of times. Often having breaks between bursts and redrafts. I knew the novel could have been rewritten forever, so I decided it was ready when my desire to share it outweighed my desire to change it.

Once my manuscript was completed, I didn’t investigate publishing it. The belief that I was capable of such achievements was just not there. I spent some time journaling, walking, and reading words of wisdom from places like NOBS with Corrine Crabtree or The Road Less Travelled by M Scott Peck. I cannot thank these experts enough as I became a sponge for their philosophies and teachings.

I eventually came to a place where I had the confidence to invest in myself, so I submitted to a handful of publishers. Traditional and self-publishing options – I decided that I just wanted a publisher who believed in my story as much as I did.

I followed a few simple steps to figure out where to send my work.

1. Find a book retailer
2. Locate a book by an Australian author
3. Check the genre is in the same category
4. Check the novel was published recently
5. Target the publisher who supported their work

Describe your writing routine. How many hours a day/days a week do you write?

You’re looking at an author with over a dozen birds, two dogs, two cats, two tropical fish tanks, one daughter, and two partners. I work a full-time job, I’m an indie rock singer for the band, Astrohym, and I have an anxiety disorder.

So sometimes I do not write at all.

Sometimes I write for hours and lose track of time, forgetting to eat or drink because I’m captivated by my own imagination. I don’t think there is a perfect routine; there are only perfect moments we find along the way.

How do you name your characters (if fiction or names changed for nonfiction)?

The main characters are usually just names that I like the sound of at the time. Sometimes I change them mid-process if another famous character pops up in the media and is too similar to the one I’m creating.

The main character of Second Reality is Hope, and I named her specifically for what she represented to me. A hope that I could overcome the traumas of my own past.

What is the most difficult part of your creative process?

I find creativity during a state of mindfulness. Self-doubt, anxiety, the world around us… it can inspire but only if you can centre yourself enough to put words onto the page.

The most difficult part is bringing myself into a state of being that can focus on the words in front of me. Are there dishes? Is someone annoyed that I’m not doing other things? Is the baby awake? Did the cat litter get changed? Is it already bedtime?

Everything must fall away for the story to exist. I need to be so present for these characters because I am imagining them to life. You cannot half bring a character to life and expect the story to be magic.

How do you come up with your illustrations/images/graphics?

I have no idea! Hop onto Canva and just start playing with it. I love nature, the ocean, rain forests and wolves. If I can work with an element I enjoy visually, then it is more likely I’ll keep myself from losing interest.

How many unpublished or unfinished books have you written and set aside? What are your plans for them?

I am currently working on a new novel inspired by the loves I’ve had in my life. I’ve got some plans for a sequel to Second Reality as well as many short stories and concepts that I’d love to flesh out.

What do you do for book marketing? Describe your plan, how it is working, and what you want to add or change to that plan, if anything.

Currently, everything is so new. I had no idea that there would be so much required from me for marketing. It makes me passionate about helping other newbie authors, so I’ve created a Facebook group called Hybrid Published Authors Australia, where I’m posting all the FREE resources I come across.

So far, I’ve had luck with Five Minutes to Famous with Susie Moore.

I have put some time into a Facebook author page (Read Harder Now) & a novel page for Second Reality. I’m playing around on TikTok, Instagram, Goodreads, Amazon… the list goes on. I’ve also put together a simple website that I feel captures my style and tone. I’ve started composing article ideas and concepts to really make a mark as a writer. I have so much to say regarding love, health, wellness, sexuality and emotions.

I couldn’t tell you if my marketing efforts are succeeding, but if Second Reality shows up on a streaming service – Netflix or the like – then we will know that I’ve done a good job. I do think Second Reality could make a really moving series.

How do you go about obtaining book reviews? Do you read them? How do you deal with the good and the bad ones?

I am so new I barely have any reviews and had no idea how to get them! I do hope to get genuine organic reviews and will put my trust into them coming in good time.

Not everyone will like my book. I’ve put a trigger warning onto my site because it does touch on rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, and self-harm. This isn’t exactly a light read, although it has fun moments in it.

If I get a bad review or several, I am not worried. I am confident in the quality of my novel and know it just needs to land with the right audience.

Do you prefer reading print, audio or ebooks? Why?

I love reading and literature in all forms. I adore a good voice, and the feel of a book in my hands. Ebooks can be so convenient and if I can highlight and put notes on them, then I’m sold. My home will always be filled with books in all forms.

Who is your favorite author, book? The last book you read?

I’m current reading Good Inside by Dr Becky Kennedy.

My favourite book of all time might be Flowers in the Attic by Virginia Andrews. I’ve read it three times, and it truly inspired me. It is dark, and deep and disturbing and I was just so fascinated by the character development.

There are many trends in self publishing that have come and gone. What do you think is going to change next in the self or traditional publishing landscape?

This is a tough question for a newbie author. I know that a lot of people consider vanity publishers to be scammers. Self-publishing continues to be viewed as the less impressive road to becoming an author. Traditional publishers seem like an impossibility for debut writers. Vanity-publishers cause people to feel like they’ve been cheated.

I’m unsure if things will change soon. Perhaps self-publishing will become increasingly respected, because the truth is, as authors market themselves, they become experts across so many mediums. There is a great deal of effort and dedication that comes from getting visibility for a published work.

Now that you have published a book/new book, what would you do differently this time?

I would begin the marketing and brand management sooner. If I had been aware of how deep and broad the ways of marketing were, much of my efforts would have been spread across the months of production.

What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

My advice is to believe in yourself, and do not let anyone convince you that you need to publish with them. I think self-publishing is a notable way to begin your writing career – but it needs to be because you’ve chosen that path. Do not let anyone tell you that your work isn’t worthwhile just because you’ve not been discovered yet.

Write stories that move you. If you enjoy writing it, someone will enjoy reading it.

If you are an aspiring author or artist of any kind, I would like to extend my friendship through the pages. The best way for us writers to succeed is by lifting each other up.

What was your hardest scene to write?

Writing scenes that are based on real trauma are the hardest ones for me. While writing Second Reality, the hardest scene to write was a rape scene. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (US), and The Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1 in 5 women report experiencing sexual assault or rape. The Criminal Injuries Helpline (UK) details that globally the statistic is almost 1 in 3 women experiencing this at least once in their lifetime.

I am one of those women.

While it took me a long time to say this out loud, I knew that writing the experience would be my way of saying #metoo and giving a voice to the part of me that was harmed that night. I also knew that the scene belonged to this story. The main character was an amalgamation of my hopes, as well as my pain.

Stacy’s Bio

Stacey Harder (Fischer) was born 1990 in Melbourne, Australia. Some of her lyrical/vocal work may be found through the indie-rock band, Astrohym. The tale within her first novel, however, seemed to her, far too elaborate to be held by song. Whether her words are sung or written, every note is inspired by the meet-cute of heart-felt experience, prolific embellishment, and sometimes, even the truth. Second Reality was the first-ever novel authored by Stacey. The words therein began as her 14-year-old self-made wishes for those things she did not have. Now, her only wish is to share the story with you.

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