Photo credit: Marea Evans Photography
Stacy Robinson is a novelist and a former marketing and PR professional and teacher. She graduated with a BA degree in International Relations from Stanford University, and worked in Japan before returning to her hometown of Los Angeles to continue her career in international marketing. Presently she lives in Denver, where she serves on the Executive Board of the Children’s Diabetes Foundation and is a member of the Lighthouse Writers Workshop. She is an avid concertgoer and occasional cyclist, and enjoys the Mile‑High city and nearby mountains with her husband, three children and chocolate Labrador non‑Retriever.
She’d love to hear from you!
Author Q & A — from Kensington Books
What compelled you to write SURFACE?
After my daughter went off to pre-school, I debated whether to go back to work or to do an MFA program – and while I weighed my options, I took a writing class at Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver (a phenomenal resource for local writers). One of my first assignments was to write a detail-rich scene about a character doing something that felt uncomfortable. I had recently been in a clothing consignment store, and so I imagined an elegant but down-on-her-luck woman who might have once dropped off her couture there, but was now a customer trying on someone else’s Chanel suit. The idea of this character and what circumstances might have brought her to this place stuck with me beyond that exercise. I continued fleshing her out, along with her backstory, and she became Claire, the main character in SURFACE. As I dug deeper, I found myself wanting to address the idea of ripple effects, and how one flawed choice can lead to many unintended consequences — not just for the person who made that mistake, but for everyone in that circle, as well as to examine how we stand up to such failures and, in the process, experience self- discovery. I also happen to be diabetic, and I wanted to add that extra element of challenge and “imperfection” to the teenage character of Nicholas, who struggles mightily to live up to his father’s high standards. Finally, several years later as I was going through a divorce, I wanted to address the possibility of moving through loss towards something better.
If SURFACE were to be made into a movie, who would you have play Claire, Michael, and Nick?
Claire would be a toss-up between Amy Adams and Diane Lane, for their abilities to bring complex, nuanced female characters to life. I could see Daniel Craig (with an American accent) balance Michael’s intensity, charm, and enigmatic nature. And according to my 17 year-old daughter, Dylan O’Brien from “The Maze Runner” would be the perfect Nick. I’d also have to throw in a disheveled Clooney to play Richard.
What was the most difficult part for you to write in SURFACE?
One of my best friends was working as a physical therapist at Craig Hospital at the time I was writing about Nick’s condition – and hearing about the challenges her traumatic brain injury patients faced was both heartbreaking and inspiring. Details are, of course, crucial to the writing process — but accurately capturing the finer points of a patient, his family, and medical team navigating the trials of recovering from a TBI became even more important to me. So I spent months pouring through medical texts and case histories, and interviewing therapists and patients in an effort to get it right. And I hope I did justice to this special community.
You currently live in Colorado. What made you decide to have SURFACE take place in Denver?
I suppose it was a bit of the old, “write what you know,” and a lot of “write what you love.” And I love Denver. Sure, I’m a transplant from Los Angeles, but I’ve been in Denver for 21 years, and I consider this my home. I haven’t read many novels that take place in this vibrant, booming, and culturally relevant city (which isn’t to say that there aren’t some great ones), but I thought LA, New York, San Francisco, Nantucket and the Hamptons could make room for Denver on the list of American locales in which to set a juicy family drama.
You’ve traveled to a number of places in the past. What has been your favorite country so far?
My husband and I visited Argentina a few years ago, and I fell in love with Buenos Aires. The European-style architecture, distinctive neighborhoods, and tree-lined streets bustling with cafes, restaurants and boutiques immediately captured me, as did the rich history, sophisticated culture and nightlife. And after a week of the most sumptuous steak, Malbec, dulce de leche, and sexy milongas (late-night tango salons), I was dreaming up scenarios that would bring us back for an extended stint. B.A. would be one fabulously inspiring place to write a novel!
©2016 Stacy Robinson