WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT!! —> Congratulations to Kelly! She was randomly selected and wins the first two books in the series!
Hello everyone! I know we’re on an impromptu “Into the Hollow” EIT kick right now (*squeeee* P.S. just finished, LOVED it, can’t stop thinking about it, and shall be reviewing tonight), but, I had something special scheduled for today, and I’m so excited to post this!
I just recently interviewed an author of another series that is gaining momentum too, (Racing on the Edge Series) and I fell hard for the hero in this one!
Susan: Just finished reading Happy Hour, Black Flag and The Champion. I know nothing about Nascar racing but after reading this series I may become a fan. I have been so engrossed in these books the last 3 days that I have done nothing else but read. Anxiously waiting for The Legend. Love this family. Jamison and Sway…SWOON…. Author is Shey Stahl
Sabrina: Love these books!!!!
Jillian: Every time I see Jameson’s name on a post about these books I just have to *sigh*.
Amanda: Im on The Champion right now. I love these books!!!
Lisa: I inhaled Happy Hour & Black Flag, but it took me a little longer on The Champion because I didn’t want it to end. Great series Shey Stahl. I may need to start paying more attention to those hot race car drivers.
Judith: I read all of them twice. Love this series
Kristy: On Black Flag now and just CAN’T STOP!!! Mmmmmmm Jameson!
I TOTALLY get you guys. In fact, after reading book #1 (Happy Hour), I was in a wonderful “Jameson” fog. I think I even mentioned that Jameson was sort of… my “NASCAR version of Dex.” All guy! All guy mouth, all guy attitude and some serious temper tantrums to boot. Plus he’s the best at what he does. Race. HOTness!! And the racing scenes were so amazingly detailed, and exhilarating that I had to know more about the author that wrote them!
Hi Shey!! Welcome!! *hug*
You know how much I crushed on Jameson, and I’m so happy to have you here to give us even more insight into his world.
Maryse: Have you written anything previously, or is Racing On The Edge series your first?
Shey: Racing on the Edge is my first attempt at writing anything. It started with me wanting to get a feel for writing outside of my scrapbook animation I did which included short stories of each picture that seemed a bit exaggerated at times. Then, after jotting some notes down, I suddenly had this story to tell. After that, it turned into something so much more and became a passion for me to tell the Riley Families story. To me, it is important. Now that I’ve been writing about this family for the last three years, they feel as though they are a part of me.
I also never took an interest in writing until I was on bed rest while I was pregnant. I got so bored with daytime television I started telling myself stories. Then I wrote them down and so on.
Maryse: Scrapbook animation?! Ohhh I wanna see a cartoon Jameson! Tell us what inspired this Nascar series. I’d love to hear about your experience writing the series. Any writing/inspiration surprises along the way?
Shey: I’ve always been a race junkie so telling a story about racing seemed natural and something I really wanted to do. I have read racing fiction books and none gave me what I was looking for. I wanted to feel the adrenaline, the emotions, all of it. I wanted to feel like I was part of their lives but I never had a book make me feel like that.
I’ve always read that you should write what you know. I knew racing and the racing mentality. I understood the passion the drivers held for a sport that captivated their every thought and the way they were worshiped by others.
At first I had a rough draft of Happy Hour. Then I thought, how cool would it be to have all the racing dramatics in there too with car talk, radio interactions, fines, all of it. I wanted it as real as possible. I wanted the reader to feel like they were looking over this family’s shoulders and getting to experience the highs, lows, all of it. To me that was real. That was what I wanted to read about.
When writing ROTE (Racing on the Edge) I read all the racing books on the greatest drivers, how they spoke, how they described a race and their emotions and went from there. Surprisingly it was easy for me because I grew up around those boys most of which you see on TV today like Kasey Kahne, Greg Biffle, Jeff Gordon, I watched race early in their careers at the local tracks.
I took inspiration from watching NASCAR races. I listened to what the news broadcasters were talking about and even how the drivers responded to the media before and after the races. I watched tons of Youtube video’s, recorded every race and then watched them. I listened to in car-audio for drivers like Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards, Clint Boyer (funniest driver in the series, no lie) Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch. This helped me with knowing what they say inside the cars and their reactions (though alarming at times) to what’s going on around them.
Frankly, I was impressed with how much I already knew, and then how much I didn’t.
I also took inspiration from reading biographies about drivers and their backgrounds. I took pieces from all drivers from the World of Outlaws, NASCAR, USAC and even Indy at times. This helped me form the characters and how they grew up.
Then there’s music. I can’t write without it. Kings of Leon, Nine Inch Nails, A Perfect Circle, Alice in Chains, Lifehouse, The Fray, Snow Patrol…and now Smoke & Jackal are all favorites to write to. One song in particular, Back Down South by Kings of Leon was one I listened to a lot while writing Happy Hour and also of course there’s Purple Rain!
Maryse: Well, the whole “write what you know” really worked well, here. I felt as if I were really there, and fell in LOVE with the whole “racing scene”. How about your own personal racing experience? Any funny tidbits and crazy stories you’d like to share? Stuff that “made” the book?
Shey: My dad raced until I was probably ten or twelve and then my husband raced too so I get a taste of the crazy stories all around. Mostly from my dad and his friends. He grew up when you winged it with parts and hoped for the best. It always provided the greatest inspiration. Most of what you see in Trading Paint was experiences my dad and his buddies had. The changing the engine on the freeway came from my dad. They were rushing back from California from an international driver challenge when they blew an engine that night and didn’t have time to change it before heading up to Skagit. It pretty much plays out the way it happened.
The entire scene when they are in Republic Washington was also my dad. And if you’ve ever visited Republic Washington, you’d understand when I say it’s probably the strangest dirt track around.
Most of the interactions with Jameson that involve racing, and other drivers, were inspired from an actual event whether it be my dad, husband, or a friend involved in racing.
There’s more that was inspired from real life events but I’ve been sworn not to tell which ones so my lips are sealed.
Now, the terms used in the book is something I’d like to explain too. If someone was to say to me, “Those bearings need to be aligned.” I do not, nor will I ever, not laugh at that. There’s something wrong with me, I know that, but that sort of thing cracks me up. Immature? Yes. But that’s what I, and a lot of the people I grew up with, found funny. That’s me being me really. Does it make a difference that I know engine builders and mechanics? Yes. They don’t help my immaturity at all and provide loads of terms for me just to get my reactions.
Using engine terms as body parts…that was something I did because no one else was doing it. I wanted my story to be different from what was out there currently. Some might not enjoy it but the regular term used was not something I pictured my characters saying. Because of that I went with racing terms all around.
Maryse: LOL!!! I mean come on… the descriptions of those car parts, what they are and how they are “used” well… How can your mind not go there, right? I get it!! P.S. Bummer on the lips are sealed secrets. *pout*. LOL!!
Maybe I can get you to indulge us in something sort of secret. You mentioned that Jameson was a mix of a few of the “real-life” Nascar drivers. Care to indulge us in that inside scoop? Any favorite Nascar drivers that really helped sculpt his character?
Shey: This one is tough to answer. Yes, there are drivers I used to “shape” Jameson but I’ve built him so much in my head that I don’t think any driver can match the description I have of him anymore. He’s become his own person. Just the same, I can’t pinpoint any actor either that matches him perfectly. But for inspiration purposes, including his racing background, comes from drivers like Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart…and I took pieces from each one too, not just one driver. For example, his racing career, as far as the types of cars he raced growing up, is a mix between Tony, Jeff and Kasey. The leaving home at eighteen came from Kasey Kahne, parts of it anyways. The USAC triple crown title chase came from Tony Stewart.
Personality wise, Jameson is a fine mix from his temper (Tony Stewart & Kyle Busch) to his shyness around the media (Kasey Kahne) and his aggression on the track (Dale Earnhardt, Kyle Busch and even Kevin Harvick). Jimmie Johnson is also someone I watch carefully too. The way he directs the media, his style of racing, winning, all of that shaped Jameson as well. He’s definitely a product of all drivers. I basically took something from all the drivers and created Jameson Anthony Riley.
Long story short, in NASCAR I used a little of Kasey, Tony, Jeff, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards and many more. Even in the World of Outlaws and USAC. I love the way the local boys race, some of my favorites here are Henry Van Dam, Trey Starks, Billy Workman Jr., Shane Stewart, Brady Bacon, Kyle Larson, Brad Sweet, Cody Darrah, Dave Blaney, Joey Saldana…I could go on and on about my favorite sprint car/USAC drivers but I won’t. I’d probably bore you with all that. LOL. *sighs* If you can’t tell, I love me some racing boys. I could spend every day at the track and be perfectly content.
Maryse: *swooooon* Jimmie Johnson. *sigh* I don’t feel I have enough knowledge of these drivers yet, to swoon over their driving skills and cheer for them on a professional level yet, but I know cute when I see it! Jimmie Johnson won the first Nascar race that I actually paid attention to (my husband being from NC certainly watches it). And lemme confess… I crushed on him from start to finish of that race (which just so happened to be right after I finished Happy Hour). Speaking of Happy Hour… That scene where Sway rides in his race car with him was so amazingly detailed and absolutely thrilling!! It was so realistic that I can only imagine this might just have been a real-life experience for you. Am I right?
Shey: I have a husband who thinks he doesn’t have to do the speed limit anywhere and braking, pft, yeah right. Mostly that scene came from my imagination but I had to get a feel for it, right? So I took to a little joy ride in a very fast car that I thought for sure I would see the end of my life that day. I made it out alive, albeit shaking, but it made for one hell of a story after I calmed down.
I also took frequent rides with my dad when I was younger in his late model outlaw car. And let me tell you, there was no way Sway would have fit inside that race car to go for a ride. There’s so much stuff in the way it wouldn’t have worked, but it was fun to pretend. By the way, NASCAR would have never allowed him to do that!
Maryse: BRAVE girl!! That scene was so… eeeeeeeeeeep!!! and yet AWESOME!! I love all of the racing details you included in the book. His confidence, his occasional nerves pre-race, his elation when he wins, his absolute frustration when he doesn’t. The pit crew anxiety, the mess-ups and the triumphs. The adrenaline rush. All of it made the book come to life, and made me appreciate the hard work and dedication it takes to be a skilled and successful race team. While I was expecting that “rush” and I expected to enjoy the thrill of the danger, I didn’t expect to LOVE everything that racing involves. Your passion for racing really comes through here, and makes another Nascar addict out of your readers.
Again, excellent job on the detail. So much of it, yet written in a way that gave me a racing “ambiance” thrill. That thrill, coupled with the intense chemistry and potential romance between the two main characters. Fantastic!! and Super S-T-E-A-M-Y!!
Shey: When writing the series, I was incredibly nervous to include so much detail into the racing. But then again it went to wanting to write something different from what’s out there and how my personal style of writing was. I enjoyed the detail into the racing world to give you an understanding of what’s it’s like for the guys.
Like I’ve said, I grew up at the local dirt tracks, Grays Harbor, Willamette, Cottage Grove, all those tracks and watched NASCAR every Sunday. I’ve also been to my fair share of NASCAR races and sprint cars so it all came from my experiences. I’m very perceptive to how things might feel for the driver as my dad constantly told me stories as well as picking my husband and are friend’s brain every five minutes. My husband now races dirt bikes but the emotions and preparations mentally are much the same.
I watched the drivers carefully, their moods, their demeanor, how they presented themselves to the media, all of it was me watching them. If only they knew right? Secretly they were my test subjects!
I wanted everything to feel as real as possible so Google was my friend, in-car audio, YouTube and going to every race I could, hanging out in the pits at the track and being around it all allowed me to get a feel for the sights, sounds, smells, all of it. Then I wrote everything down I could and incorporated that into the story. I wrote what I wanted to read. Sometimes I felt the background into specific rules or setups might have been too much but let’s say I’m writing in Jameson’s POV. He has lived a life engrossed in that sport. Surely everything he says and does has to do with racing. In turn, he compares everything he does to racing. You really get a feel for that in Trading Paint. There’s a section in there where he compares his life to the way a sprint car is set-up and allows an inside look into his head that I really enjoy.
Maryse: You said… “I’m writing in Jameson’s POV. He has lived a life engrossed in that sport. Surely everything he says and does has to do with racing. In turn, he compares everything he does to racing.”
OMG yes!! Exactly. He was so authentic. This is his life and that kind of detail is just as integral to his story and to his world as the amazing romance you tell.
Speaking of which, the angst and steam and hilarity is off the charts in book #1. Everything I love in a read! And because of that, I fell hard for Jameson despite his tantrums. Actually, his tantrums were another thing that made him “real” to me. Speaking of the tantrums (*ahem* a certain Cracker Barrel table scene comes to mind), I’d love to get the inside scoop on some of those. I cringed with Sway, and felt every bit of her nerves when she saw him start steaming, and again. I could “see” it perfectly in my head. The only thing I could come up with is… Jameson is real, isn’t he? LOL!
Shey: Ummm…should I answer that? He’d kill me if I said his name but yes, Jameson and his aggression/sense of humor, I know him personally. So yeah, Jameson is essentially a mix of a lot of people but mostly from one person and he’d definitely being having some words with me if I publicly named him. So I won’t. He’s a racer though if that helps. *wink wink* All the characters in the books are taken from those around me, even me to an extent, and those I’ve known in the past or watched carefully.
Most comment on Jameson’s outbursts but to me, Jameson wouldn’t be himself if he didn’t have those outburst. His reactions make his character and help him come alive throughout the series. There’s a section in Black Flag, actually lots of sections in that book where you really begin to understand him and why he is the way he is. To me, he’s probably the most real of all the characters because everything he does comes from his heart whether it’s his love, anger, all of it. One of my favorite quotes to describe Jameson is in The Legend where Jimi says to a reporter:
“That’s Jameson.” Jimi spoke slowly and with a passion we understood. “No one can take this from him and not expect a fight. Like it or not, he’s ruled by his heart whether you guys wanna believe it or not. While my son is practical to a point, he’s impulsive but that’s Jameson. Deal with or don’t. I don’t really care.”
Some think his outburst are childish and they very well be but that’s him.
Maryse: Actually, I’ve known a few in my own past (perhaps a certain family member or two – tee hee!!) that reminded me very much of Jameson, so I absolutely believed it.
Do you have a “dream cast” in mind for your characters? Any actors, models, racers that are “close” to your vision of these guys?
Shey: With Jameson, he’s so far inside my head now that I don’t think anyone can live up to him. He’s got rusty brown hair, intense green eyes, wavy hair that loops out at the ends, crooked smile, think Brian Vickers only taller, Kasey Kahne a little, then I think maybe he would resemble Chace Crawford and Hayden Christensen? I have thought about this a lot actually lately because to me, this series would make a great adrenaline filled TV series. Maybe on HBO or Showtime? How cool would that be to have a racing show during the week to fill every race junkies weekly dose before the weekend races? Uh, pretty cool if you ask me but now I’m off track again.
Now for Sway, I’ve always pictured Nina Dobrev and Emma Stone. Spencer I pictured someone like Tatum Channing but with wavy hair. Alley is definitely Kate Hudson in my head but taller. Emma, she’s harder but I think Selena Gomez? Aiden I picture Garrett Hedlund. Nancy would probably have to Kelly Preston. Grandpa Casten is without a doubt Robert Duval. If it’s ever a movie or series, he better be in it! Jimi, I think Dennis Quaid but with black hair because his blue eyes would match perfectly as well as his humor and expression to most situations. Tommy has always been Scott Caan but with bright orange hair. I wonder if he’d dye it for the role? Justin West I see Paul Walker and Darrin, I have no clue on him. Tate, again, no clue but I do picture him being built somewhat like Ryan Newman. Oh, and Charlie, George Clooney? Andrea would have to be Mary Louise Parker.
Maryse: Oh WOW!!! That was wayyyy too fun. And now I’ve just 1.) found two new racers to crush on. OMG!! *blush* and 2.) Am now crushing even harder on Jameson. I didn’t think that could be possible. Interestingly enough, I actually can see him perfectly in my head too. I mean perfectly and I have NO idea who he is, but your examples (a mix of them) actually comes pretty close. Now as I continue the series, I can see all of ‘em. I actually have Darrin in my head perfectly too, very handsome in my head, but grrrrrr to him!!!
So. Any future writing projects? Any more coming in your Nascar series?
Shey: I do have more planned. For the Racing on the Edge series, I have three more scheduled. The Legend (the final book told from Jameson and Sway’s POV) is coming on in December followed by Behind the Wheel that is told through Nancy and Casten’s POV. Behind the Wheel looks back on the families lives and what wasn’t seen by Jameson and Sway. It’s an interesting look at the family as well as their future that you don’t get to see in the previous books. It also details the lives of the kids you see in The Champion and The Legend.
I’m also working on, a book titled Fast Time that will be included in the ROTE series that is told through a reporters POV and takes a look at Jameson’s 10th season in NASCAR and interviews him. It won’t be very long but an interesting take on Jameson and his family through a reporters eyes. After all, he shoves microphones in their faces. I’m sure they’ll have a thing or two to say about that, right? I don’t want to give away too much but Fast Time also focuses on an event that happens in Black Flag that the media doesn’t sit too well with. Hint hint. Most of the ROTE series was written a few years ago and because of that, I’m able to release the books closer together. All of them should be out by spring of 2013. Each book in the series has a different feel to it. For example, Happy Hour is about the romance and the desire for one another. Black Flag is about the rivalry being on the top. Trading Paint is about how bad you want to be the best and what it takes to get to the top. The Champion is about commitment and family and how all of it ties together when you’re racing on the edge. The Legend…it’s the most shocking of the series and focuses on one specific event in their lives that decides the future of Jameson and his racing. Some people will hate me after reading it and others, well, they will understand why I took the story the direction I did.
Outside of the ROTE series, I’m working on a suspenseful romance book about an NHL hockey player (release date of this summer) that will be sure to be steamy and another about a college baseball player. I like writing about athletes if you haven’t noticed.
I’m also working on a children’s book for my daughter that will be out next year some time. She’s crazy and where I get a lot of my inspiration for the younger characters and the situations the parents face. Once you get to The Champion, you’ll understand!
Aside from those ideas, I have so many books in mind that I want to do that I wonder how my brain functions anymore. Lol. Surely there will be more to come for me.
Maryse: Oh no!! I’m scared now. Like really nervous about The Legend. But you know I’ll be reading. And so happy you have more projects. I think the athletes are going to be one of my new favorite genres.
Do you have any favorite books that you’d recommend to your readers?
Shey: Most of my favorites are on Goodreads. Some of my recent favorites have been Beautiful Disaster (though Travis made me want to run away at times), Slammed and Point of Retreat, I read last month and loved those. Undeniable was good. I’m reading Confessions of an Alli Cat by Courtney Cole right now and cracking up! That’s a good one. I’m anxiously awaiting the release of Alice Clayton’s Wallbanger! She’s one of my favorite authors.
Other than that, most of what I read is usually unpublished work. I enjoy the richness and heart they put into their writing. I also like to read books that are unique and a style that hasn’t been done before. I also enjoy reading biographies because I think it helps when you’re writing your own characters and making them feel real.
Thank you SO much Shey. That was an amazing look into your writing and into your world, and I appreciate you sharing so much with us! *hug*
Want to know more about Shey Stahl? Find her on:
- Website: http://sheystahl.blogspot.com
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/SheyStahl
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RacingOnTheEdge
So here it is fellow readers! Giveaway time!
The author says: “I would be willing to giveaway a free e-book or paperback of Happy Hour and Black Flag!”
How to enter for a chance to them? Just leave a comment below, I will end the “contest” at 9pm EST tomorrow night (Thursday November 15th 2012), and I will randomly select ONE winner. I will contact the winner by email to confirm if you’d like the ebooks or the paper copies, and the winner’s email or mailing information will be sent to the author so she may in turn, send you your books (make sure your email is valid!!). NOTE: The “winner” will have 48 hours to respond to the winning email notification. If no response is received, I will randomly select another winner. Make sure to check your email, so you do not loose your chance. This is open to anyone that can receive an ebook version of these books (although paper copies are limited to mailing within the U.S.).