As the Civil War rages, fifteen-year-old Thomas Beck longs to fight for his country. He’s underage, but his brother, Robert, claims there’s another reason he can’t fight: there’s no such thing as a Chinese Yankee. Assumed a slave because of his odd appearance–including his traditional Chinese queue (long braid)–Thomas soon discovers that giving battle with his regiment isn’t enough to shed the Chinese label from his Yankee status. It’s not until Thomas befriends a runaway slave and the war moves toward a pivotal moment in Gettysburg that he begins to understand the true meaning of freedom in America.
Hello book lovers! Today is a day where I will be writing another author spotlight for a well-accomplished author whose work I have loved. As you know book lovers I love learning about authors and the inspiration behind their work, it fascinates me and adds to the depth of the book because the reader will be able to better understand it. That is how the author spotlights were created because I soon discovered that you lovely readers ALSO love learning about author’s, so I am excited to tell you a little bit more about author Stacie Haas whose book Freedom for Me captivated me from beginning to end. I personally would recommend this book to all of those that love history with a fictional twist but really the book can be read by anybody as it is flawlessly written and highly enjoyable. With today’s author spotlight for Stacie Haas, a biography of the author and an interview between us both will be shared, and I hope that you book lovers enjoy reading it! To kick this off here is an author bio about the wonderful Stacie Haas!
Stacie Haas is an award-winning professional and creative writer with background in business communications, public relations, and reputation management. Her writing has appeared in national magazines like St. Anthony Messenger and Skipping Stones. She holds degrees in English and American History and is a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature.
Stacie’s debut novel, Freedom for Me: A Chinese Yankee, was published in November 2017 by Melody Press, an imprint 50/50 Press. The novel won the 2018 Children’s Literary Classics Gold Medal for upper middle grade Coming of Age fiction, the 2018 Skipping Stones Honor Award for Multicultural Teen Fiction, Royal Butterfly Award Honorable Mentions for Historical Fiction and Cultural Diversity, and the LitPick Top Honor Award for multiple five-star student book reviews.
Stacie is currently hard at work on her next project. She resides in the Midwest with her husband, Michael, their four children, and chocolate lab mutt. Please get in touch with Stacie at www.staciehaas.com or follow her on Facebook at @authorstaciehaas or Twitter @staciehaas.
Now, how wonderful does Stacie Haas sound?! The author is a truly exceptional writer and I hope that you lovely readers have a read of the author’s work because you will not regret it! Please see below an interview between us both, I hope that you enjoy the author’s answers to my questions, they are incredible and provide some great advice too!
Thank you for joining us today at Red Headed Book Lover! Please tell us more about yourself
My name is Stacie Haas. I’ve been married to my husband, Michael, for 17 years and we have four kids, ages 14, 10, 6 and 1. I spend most of my time on ball fields, a karate dojo or gymnastics studio these days with my children, but I also work in communications for a Fortune 500 company. I write in what free time I can find.
Could you please tell us readers about your book and what inspired you to write your book?
I was inspired to write Freedom for Me: A Chinese Yankee when I discovered the little-known story of Corporal Joseph Pierce, a Chinese soldier who served in the 14th Connecticut Infantry in the Civil War. I have Chinese heritage but was under the mistaken impression that the Chinese didn’t arrive in America until after the war. Since I had a degree in American History and wasn’t aware, I saw an opportunity to both entertain and educate readers with a story that they likely hadn’t heard before. It’s a young adult book, suitable for ages 10 and up, and it’s a great book for adults, too. I absolutely loved the idea of making history come alive and to show that America, even in the midst of a great battle for freedom, is the land of opportunity for all people.
Fifteen-year-old Thomas Beck was rescued from a life of indentured servitude and adopted by a Connecticut family. When war breaks out, he wants to enlist along with his big brother, Robert. It doesn’t matter to Thomas that he’s under enlistment age; he simply wants to fight for freedom. He quickly discovers that wearing the same uniform with his comrades doesn’t make them the same—he is considered strange and somehow un-American due to his appearance and traditional Chinese hairstyle. Thomas embarks on a journey where every battle—against the Rebels or within his own regiment—brings him closer to an understanding of the priceless value of freedom.
What would your advice be for aspiring writers?
Find a story you believe in and stick with it. It took me seven years to write Freedom for Me and to find a publisher to bring the story to the world. I didn’t really know what I was doing when I started out. I took writing courses with the Institute of Children’s Literature and researched how to write for my target audience. It’s a process, but it can be an exhilarating one.
In your opinion, what is the most important thing about a book?
The potential it has to entertain people, educate them, and transport them to another time and place.
What is your writing process like?
I write or edit whenever I have a free moment. I write by hand in notebooks as I am on the sidelines during a sports practice with my kids or edit using the notes function on my Kindle. I use my phone sometimes to jot down ideas. I think I’m always creating or refining, even if I’m not actually sitting down to write. I’m always kicking around ideas in my head.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
For Freedom for Me, there was a lot of research. The character of Thomas Beck is based on the real-life soldier Joseph Pierce so I needed to know as much about him as I could. There were actually facts discovered about Cpl. Pierce between the time I began writing my book and when I finished it, namely the fact that he did obtain American citizenship due to his military service. So it was important to stay on top of that. Also, the history of the Fourteenth Connecticut Infantry in the book is historically accurate. I relied up on the regimental history to ensure that the battle action scenes in my book were true to life. I am a Civil War buff anyway, so I had already stored a lot of that background knowledge in my head.
Do you have a set schedule for writing, or do you only write when you feel inspired?
I write whenever I can. I don’t have a set schedule because my life right now with four young kids doesn’t permit that. Sometimes, when I manage to block off time to work on a book, I’m not inspired to do it. That’s when I research or do what I can to market Freedom for Me. I try to ensure that time isn’t wasted even if I am unable to write well in the moment.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
I read all the time. It’s how I relax. My favorite Civil War author is the late Bruce Catton. But I read all sorts of books. I think reading makes you a better writer and I recommend all aspiring authors read in their genre. If you write for young adults, you should read young adult books and so on. I am also a book reviewer and enjoy getting to read different types of books that way.
Lastly, when can we readers expect to read more wonderful books from you?
My publisher, 50/50 Press, Inc., is publishing a short story collection called After Midnight in October 2019 featuring stories by all of its authors. It should be a wonderful, eclectic collection of stories from nearly every genre. There will be something for everyone and I’m honored to have a story in that collection. I’ve also got two books in progress, The Beautiful Gate and The Compassionate Warrior, that I hope will be finished this year.
Its official book lovers, I am obsessed with Stacie Haas! If you have liked what you have read about the author and are interested in learning more about Stacie Haas, then please do have a browse of the links below and be sure to have a read of the preview too! You will not regret it.
Goodbye for now book lovers,