Success continues with published book
Biology perhaps would not be the college major of choice for many aspiring authors but it has served Stacey Lynn Schlegl quite well. Schlegl earned a degree in biology from Maryville University in 1996. She says skills learned from her Maryville science professors come in handy in her career as a book author. “Science is about examining and exploring; it’s very visual, very detailed, and the same can be said about writing,” she said.
Schlegl will be at her alma mater on the evening of Friday, Sept. 28, when she signs copies of her latest romance novel, Greener Pastures, from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m., outside the Maryville Bookstore, located in the Donius University Center. The book signing coincides with Maryville’s annual alumni celebration, Reunion Weekend. Schlegl also will have copies of two previously released novels, Preconceived Notions and Wishing, available for sale. In October, her biology book for children, Little Frog, will be published.
Little Frog, for which Schlegl drew upon her biology education, was inspired primarily by her oldest daughter, who wanted to read a book written by her mother. “She thought it would be neat to walk into a library and see my name on a book,” Schlegl said. She does not allow her two daughters, who are both in elementary school, to read the romance novels she has written because of their mature content. Schlegl specializes in writing what she calls inspirational romance, and romance novels or as she puts it, “romance with and without the spice.” “I like having happy endings,” she said.
But don’t assume her desire for happy endings guarantees bright and cheery story lines, warns Schlegl, who is Christian. “They still face the same issues that we face on a daily basis,” she says of her characters. Indeed, the main character in Preconceived Notions is an unwed mother while infidelity is an undercurrent in Greener Pastures. Schlegl acknowledges she is sometimes criticized for the perceived dichotomy between the content of her books and her religious beliefs. “As a person, we struggle to do the right thing on a daily basis,” she remarked. “I always come back by saying, ‘I’m finding my way just like my characters are.’ … The important thing about my books is they all have points. Like in Preconceived Notions, Tiffany wonders if she is worthy of living with someone who is religious.”
Schlegl always has been interested in writing but decided to seriously pursue a career as an author while home with her children when they were infants. “Being a mother is the greatest gift but I couldn’t squelch my desire to write.” She often would write while up with her children in the middle of the night. These days, Schlegl is a writing machine, cranking out a new book every two to three months. “I will have the entire book in my head before I sit down to type,” she said. “I know the general ending but I don’t always know how they get to that point. Those are the parts I tweak when I begin typing.”
Schlegl has learned that being a book author encompasses two sides: a creative side and a business side. Currently, she handles both sides herself though she does get a huge assist from her husband, Paul, a computer programmer, who designed and updates her website, www.staceyschlegl.com. Stacey is the one, however, who takes copies of her books to area bookstores and other businesses, hoping they will display and sell them. In addition to her upcoming gig at Maryville, Schlegl also will have a book signing in October at the Borders bookstore in the Westfield Shopping Center in Chesterfield (formerly Chesterfield Mall).
Maryville University, founded in 1872, is a private, coeducational institution offering approximately 50 undergraduate, seven master’s and two doctoral degree programs to 3,300 students. Ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of America’s Best Colleges in the Midwest, Maryville University prepares its students for successful and meaningful careers by offering programs that integrate liberal arts with professional studies.
Among Maryville’s most recent graduates, 94 percent are employed or attending graduate school. Approximately 15,000 alumni work and live in the St. Louis region.