Stacy Gold On The 5 Things You Need To Be A Successful Author or Writer

An Interview With Kristin Marquet

Authority Magazine Editorial Staff
Authority Magazine
Published in
8 min readFeb 7, 2022


What you want to say: Great authors have something to say about people and the world around them. It could be political or personal or anywhere in between, but understanding why you’re writing that book, and what you hope readers will gain from it, can be the difference between a good book and great book.

Some writers and authors have a knack for using language that can really move people. Some writers and authors have been able to influence millions with their words alone. What does it take to become an effective and successful author or writer?

In this interview series, called “5 Things You Need To Be A Successful Author or Writer” we are talking to successful authors and writers who can share lessons from their experience.

As part of this series I had the pleasure of interviewing interviewing Stacy Gold.

Award-winning author Stacy Gold gave up her day job as Communications Director of a nonprofit mountain biking organization to write sassy, steamy, contemporary romance novels. Her stories are packed with independent, kick-butt women finding love and adventure in the great outdoors. When Stacy’s not busy reading or writing, you can find her dancing, laughing, or playing hard in the mountains of Colorado with her wonderful hubby and happy dogs.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share a story about what brought you to this particular career path?

Well, I can say it’s not a career path I ever imagined for myself. For almost 15 years I worked as a marketing strategist and copywriter and also wrote for magazines and newspapers. But everything I wrote was nonfiction. During that time, because I was so busy with work and running my business, I stopped reading fiction altogether because I simply didn’t have the time to disappear into a book for hours or days on end. My childhood readaholic self would’ve been devastated.

When I finally decided to close that business I took a year and a half hiatus and started reading fiction again. Along the way I found an interesting looking romance novel in a sale bin, bought it, and had my mind blown. It was so different than the romance novels I’d read as a teenager. I was hooked.

Still, it was a couple more years before I started writing my own after I blew out my shoulder mountain biking. Since I couldn’t go play in the mountains with my friends and husband, I entertained myself by writing my first romance. It was badly written to say the least, but it got me started down this path.

Can you share the most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?

My books have explicit sex in them, and shortly after the first one came out I noticed a marked uptick in the number and quality of racy personal stories people suddenly felt comfortable sharing with me. So, that was interesting on many levels. At least to me. Every single time, I couldn’t help thinking, “Be careful what you tell a romance writer. It could end up a book one day.”

What was the biggest challenge you faced in your journey to becoming an author? How did you overcome it? Can you share a story about that that other aspiring writers can learn from?

The biggest challenge by far was simply learning to tell a great romantic story on paper. I was a professional writer for twenty years, and my first few attempts were so wordy and overwritten it was almost unbelievable. So, I started reading books on writing craft and attending workshops and conferences — which led me to meeting my amazing critique partner. For more than a year traded our work and shared feedback with each other two chapters at a time. Not long after we finished our rewrites we both had publishing contracts.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Goodness, I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way, but none of them were particularly funny.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I am so excited about the Wild Love series I’m currently working on. Book one, Wild at Heart, comes out May 2nd and I’m also working book 2 now, and I’m just so in love with these stories. The series centers around three women who are best friends, and their adventures in finding love in the great outdoors. They all take place, at least partially, backpacking in Washington.

It’s got all the things I adore in life and books…Hyper-competent women, gorgeous mountain scenes deep in the wilderness, men who are caring, thoughtful and supportive, snarky banter, and hot sex.

Can you share the most interesting story that you shared in your book?

Oh my gosh, it’s hard to say what’s the most interesting story, but I really love the meet-cute in this book.

An experienced backpacker out on a five-week solo trip, Jules is asleep, dry and cozy in her tent despite the Pacific Northwest drizzle. She’s awakened by Evan’s cursing and the sounds of him trying to put up his tent in what’s become a downpour.

It goes on long enough she finally shines her headlamp out and finds him huddled, shivering in shorts under his rain fly — his actual tent nowhere in sight. Worried he might go hypothermic in that weather, she invites him into her tent. Of course, his clothes are soaked and the only way he’s going to get warm — and not soak her sleeping bag — is to get naked. Snarky banter ensues.

What is the main empowering lesson you want your readers to take away after finishing your book? That if you want to be happy you need to decide what’s most important to you in your life and make choices based on that. Not on what you think you “should” do, and definitely not on what other people believe you should do.

Based on your experience, what are the “5 Things You Need to Know to Become a Great Author”? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Grammar: My spelling is atrocious (thank you spell check!), but my grammar is super solid. Once you understand the rules, you’re writing will be clearer and easier to read. Plus, there is a ton you can do to break them in effective and innovative ways. For instance, I’ve never met a sentence fragment I didn’t like. Seriously.
  2. Story craft: Sure, there are people who can just sit down and write a great book, but that’s not most of us. Other than finding a terrific critique partner, reading books on writing craft has helped me immensely. For instance, I stopped overwriting after I read Swain’s Techniques of the Selling Writer. That book was an eye-opener in terms of what to put on the page and how to organize your words for maximum effect.
  3. Your genre: If you plan to writer genre fiction (like romance or thrillers or mysteries) you need to understand the conventions of the genre and what other writers are doing. Otherwise, you’ll risk writing things that are trite, cliché, or obvious. Or worse, break the genre conventions and make it hard for you to sell. I had only been reading romance for a couple years when I started writing my first book just for fun. Once I got serious, I realized how much of my plot was clichéd and overdone.
  4. How to ask for and receive criticism: If you ask thirty people to read your book, you’ll get thirty different takes. If you listen to all of them you risk losing your voice. If you ask friends and family for feedback chances are they’ll sugarcoat it and that’s not helpful either. It’s best to find three to five people who read your genre who you trust to be thoughtful and honest and elicit their feedback.
  5. What you want to say: Great authors have something to say about people and the world around them. It could be political or personal or anywhere in between, but understanding why you’re writing that book, and what you hope readers will gain from it, can be the difference between a good book and great book.

What is the one habit you believe contributed the most to you becoming a great writer? (i.e. perseverance, discipline, play, craft study). Can you share a story or example?

I take feedback incredibly well and have no problem cutting writing that doesn’t serve my story. I’m lucky in that I was a professional non-fiction writer for years, so I’m used to having an editor or copy director make my pages bleed red ink. Years ago, when I was writing catalog copy for Eddie Bauer, I spent hours writing a half-page intro based on the Copy Director’s instructions. When I showed it to him, he put a big red X through it and told me they changed the angle and I had to rewrite it.

In that moment I realized that it’s not about me. It’s about whether the writing does its job effectively or not.

Which literature do you draw inspiration from? Why?

Nature writing. My degree is in Outdoor Resource Management and Environmental Education, so I studied nature writing in college, and continued to read it long after. I adore the way it really brings you into the setting while exploring themes both personal and universal, and I try to infuse some of that in all of my books.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

Back to basics. I believe most people would be much happier if they lived smaller and more in the real world instead of glued to a screen. I’ve lived in a 3600sf house, and I’ve lived in the back of my pickup truck — and everything in between. When you have less stuff you need less money, so you’re not forced to work as many hours to afford your life. Instead of spending so much money on stuff we want but don’t need, and watching other people live their lives on screens, we need more experiences out in the world that put us in touch with new people and places.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Learn more at or @AuthorStacyGold on FB, T, and Insta to follow my outdoor and romance writing adventures.

Thank you so much for this. This was very inspiring!