Interview with Stacie from Rain Dance by Joy DeKok
Stacie: Thank you for having me.
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Stacie: Well, I’m the other main character in the novel, Rain Dance.
Q: Before you go on, please explain what you mean by “the other main character.”
Stacie: Although Jonica always comes first in the order of the book, we’re both main characters.
Q: Was that intentional on your author’s part?
Stacie: No. In fact, Joy was terribly uncomfortable with it. She finally gave in when she realized this is how our story had to be told. While I don’t consider myself the leading lady, I’m not the under study either.
Q: What do you think was Joy’s biggest problem?
Stacie: Well, she talked to us about it. I kept telling the story in my voice. It was a little bit like being in a court room and the lawyer (me) kept saying, “I object.” One day, she decided to interview me. It was funny. She took on this “Barbara Walters” sort of attitude – I think it helped her to separate herself from the project a little bit. She finally asked me why I was constantly interrupting Jonica (she knew the story had to be told in 1st person) and I replied, “Because she’s never had an abortion and if you tell the whole story in her voice, it will be biased.” It got really interesting then. She leaned closer to her computer and typed in these words as she said them out loud, “I’ve never had an abortion either so how in the world can I write your story?” She seemed a little stunned when she typed my answer to her, “I will tell you my story.” She ended the interview with these words, “Okay Stacie, you win. I won’t fight you or the story anymore.” Then she prayed.
Q: What did Jonica have to say about it all?
Stacie: She was relieved. Sharing the spotlight is easy for Jonica.
Q: Okay, tell our readers a little more about you.
Stacie: I am the daughter of Eve and Stephen Dunbar. My mother was a U. S. Senator whose passion for Women’s Rights drove her. She reminds some of Hillary Clinton, and there are similarities although Mother is older. I’m the wife of Mike Cutter. Our son, Jonathan is a special part of the Rain Dance story. Our first child is among the “unborn” – a statistic of Roe V Wade and my indoctrination.
Q: How did you meet Jonica – I believe she is an evangelical Christian and passionately pro-life?
Stacie: Oh yes, she is. At first she believed we met so she could impede the abortion I was determined to get. We’ve both since learned our meeting was for both of us. I know it seems impossible for a Christian who is strongly pro-life and an atheist who is ardently pro-choice to be friends. We didn’t intend to be friends. There was a greater plan at work than either of us could imagine.
Q: Were there other times the author was uncomfortable while writing Rain Dance?
Stacie: Yes. She didn’t know a lot about the actual process of having an abortion or the aftermath. She decided to save the research for after the novel was complete. Things came to her and she’d highlight them so they’d stand out later. When she checked personal and online resources, she was shocked (and relieved) that she didn’t have to change a thing.
Q: How did she respond?
Stacie: She cried.
Q: That sounds like something Jonica would do – am I right?
Stacie: Yes. They’re a lot alike.
Q: Who do you think would enjoy reading Rain Dance the most?
Stacie: At first Joy tried to “guide” the story to fit the Christian market. That didn’t work out so well for her. So then, she let the story drive her writing and while the book is overtly evangelical, it fits a broader audience well. Because Joy stayed true to our voices, women like me and women like Jonica will like this novel.
Q: Rain Dance is emotionally packed and at time a little rugged. Why did Joy keep some of the tougher stuff?
To be honest, Jonica and I wouldn’t let her. When she deleted a portion, we begged her to put it back. When begging didn’t work, we let her read it out loud to herself and then the story itself demanded it. Again, like it’s like a court case – you have to let the evidence – speak for itself.
Joy took a lot of criticism from people who wanted her to “soften” the story. She refused because she knew that for people to truly understand Jonica’s struggle (infertility) and mine (being post-abortive), the story had to be told without compromise. Joy is a people pleaser and that was really hard for her.
Q: How did she handle this?
She listened to her husband Jon. She has a habit of letting him believe in her when she can’t. They have this cool trust-thing and she respects his wisdom. She prayed. And, she listened to us. It’s kind of funny the way she listened to us after that initial tug-of-war. She’d sit down at her computer and say, “Okay girls, talk to me.” There were days her fingers could barely keep up with our chatter. Our story played across her mind like a movie – in living color with surround sound.
Q: What other struggles did Joy have?
Stacie: She had taken the rain in the park chapter out – it was written exactly as it is in the book today and Joy knew it belonged there, she just didn’t know why. Joy likes her questions to have answers although she’s getting better about this. Anyway, she met a woman who is like me – a woman who had chosen abortion. In that woman’s story, Joy found the reason that chapter had been birthed in her heart and it stayed. The original title was Forever Friends – a very nice title, but not the one for this novel. With the park chapter, Joy also had her title.
Q: Was Joy tempted to quit?
Stacie: Yes, for a brief time she put us in a file cabinet in her basement. Then after some people in the publishing industry she respected told her to self-publish it and her husband wrote out a check so she could, she surrendered to their wise counsel. Plus, we didn’t like it down there and would not leave her heart alone. We are pretty demanding and when we tag team it, we cannot be ignored.
Q: So is Rain Dance self-published today?
Stacie: No. Joy set up a marketing project for the book and it landed in the hands of an editor. Joan Shoup of Sheaf House Publishers loved the book and offered Joy a contract.
Q: Who is Joy’s favorite character – you or Jonica?
Stacie: Oh that’s a great question! She loves us both the same. She worried a little bit that if readers didn’t like Jonica, that meant they wouldn’t like her. However, she worried a lot more about readers who are like me. She anguished over us. Joy did not want to hurt women with abortion in their past. She loves us deeply. I wish you could hear her heart when “a Stacie” (that’s what they call themselves) confirms my part of the story. She’s filled with wonder and thanksgiving. She’s a hugger and these women often stand in her arms and cry – some of them have just told their story for the first time. Joy’s heart has this “song” it sings in these moments. There aren’t words or even a melody that can be written down – it’s this thing between her and God. It’s the same with her “Jonica’s” See, when she hugs one of her readers she is hugging us as well. She wrote us for them and while we’re not real (although it might be hard to convince Joy of this!), the women she meets are.
Q: Did your story end with Rain Dance?
Stacie: Joy thought it had. Now she knows better. There are two more books in our series. Sun Dance takes you into our lives when we’re thirty-something and Moon Dance is our golden years. We gave Joy some peace and quiet for awhile then started chatting with her again. We’re very lucky characters.
Q: Where can readers purchase Rain Dance?
Stacie: You can get signed copies from Joy by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org Or you can purchase them at all online retailers. Joy was told there’s a special price at CBD so your readers might like to check that out. She’s delighted it’s available for order at your local stores as well.