The tickle of curiosity. The gasp of discovery. Fingers running across the keyboard.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Scuba Diving Adventurer Stacy Allen and Her Novel: Expedition Indigo



 Fiona - Stacy, last time I saw you, you were generously offering me your bathing suit, and that's how I
           learned that you are quite the under water adventurer. First, thank you for your kind generosity.

           Can you introduce yourself to the readers? 
Author, Stacy Allen

Stacy - Hi everyone, I'm Stacy Allen, author of the
            upcoming debut, Expedition Indigo, 
            (August 18, 2014), the first in
           my Riley Cooper Romantic Suspense
           series. Expedition Indigo introduces Dr. 
           Riley Cooper, an archaeology
           professor who is thrust into the world of
           wreck diving and treasure hunting when she
           travels to Italy with a team
           of treasure hunters to find and salvage The
           Indigo, a cargo ship that sank off the coast 
           of Sorrento in 808 A.D. Dr. Cooper is 
           persuaded by her mentor to take his
           place on an expedition to Italy, where she
           will assist a team of treasure hunters to
           salvage an ancient shipwreck
           off the coast of Sorrento, Italy. 

Fiona - What was your motivations
           writing this series?

Stacy - I wanted to write a novel that showed that we are all
            stronger than we think we are. All of us have
            self-doubts and misgivings of what we are capable of, and yet, when things get tough, the human
            condition shows us strength and courage we didn’t know existed, and gets us all through the tough,
            trying times that life throws at us. When you first meet Riley, she is unsure of herself and doubtful she
            has what it takes to go on this mission. By the end of the book, she has found out what the reader
            knew all along: that she is more than capable of the tasks she is given. She has a new respect for
            herself, when she realizes that without her courage and strength, lives would have been lost and
            treasures would have been stolen. I want the readers of this book to realize, through Riley’s story,
            that they are also capable of doing the difficult, seemingly impossible things that we are faced with in
            our lives. Even when we don’t think we can, we have what it takes.


Fiona - You've been researching this book through your personal adventures. Can you share your 
            credentials  and background with us?

Ron and Stacy kayaking on Lake Panama
Stacy - I have an Advanced Open Water Diver
            certificate, with specialties in wreck diving
            and night diving.
            I have traveled to Italy many times. My
            passion for adventure has taken me to six
            continents, in order to explore over 53
            countries. I have studied many languages,
            but am most comfortable with
            Italian and French, having studied both for
            many years. My love of history, treasure
            hunting, Italy, archaeology and wreck
            diving led me to my character, Dr. Riley
            Cooper, and sparked the fire to write
            Expedition Indigo, the first in the Riley
            Cooper series. 

Fiona - Just to fill everyone in, Stacy chose Italy 
            as the first location (it is her second home
            and she speaks Italian). The second book is
            set in Cyprus, 3rd in Egypt and the 4th in

Ron and Stacy, Giza, Egypt

Stacy - Yes, so other than that, I'm  married, living
             just north of Atlanta, Georgia. I play
             guitar, sing, and do a zillion things. Like
             most writers, I have a ton of interests. I
             was that little girl (now woman) who
             wanted to conquer the world and see
             every inch of it.

Fiona - And your experience diving? Tell me
            about taking the plunge.

Stacy - My very first SCUBA experience was in
             St. Thomas (U.S.V.I.) I was on vacation
             and I took an Intro to SCUBA course.
             After a bit of pool work, off we went. My
              very first dive was:   
              a) in the ocean 
              b) a wreck dive and 
              c) in very deep water. 
              I was immediately hooked. Ignorance is bliss, however. Years pass and I move to Atlanta, and I
              decide I should just go ahead and get my SCUBA certificate. I go sign up and start the classroom
              lessons and reading books and my reaction was "I am lucky to be alive!" I didn't know anything
              about current or nitrogen narcosis or any of the other dozens of things that could have killed me on
              the check-out dives I had done. I got my certification here in Atlanta after doing my required "open
              waters" in Cozumel, Mexico. 

              Open water dives are required because you can only learn so much in a class room.
              When you do your open water dives as your final step, you and an instructor go out - either in
               the open ocean or in a river or lake - some body of water other than a swimming pool. 
              There I was tested on my skills (mask clearing, equipment removal, that is taking off my gear and
               putting it back on underwater, underwater signals, buddy breathing, things like that. I then got my
               advanced certification pretty soon after that. For my advanced, I went to Crystal Springs, Florida.
               For my Open Waters I did a navigational dive (where you rely solely on your compass and not
               your eyes), a flora and fauna dive, and a cave dive.

               After I got my Advanced Certification, I then spent time in Key West, where I got my
               Nitrox certification.

Fiona - Did you always love being in the water?

Stacy - When I was young my family lived on a river. We swam
Yangtze River, China
            and played as much as we could. One afternoon,
            I dived in where I shouldn't have. There was a rock
            ledge and I hit it, scraping all down my side, and dazing
            me but not knocking me out. I remember every second
            of that experience. I floated gently to the bottom, and I 
            remember seeing the sun's rays coming through the
            water, and I blacked out. My brother Kevin dived in
            and found me, brought me up, and saved my life. You
            know they say your life passes before you, and it surely
           did that day. I think I was around six or seven years old.
            I wouldn't go near water for years. I was completely 
            panicked and terrified. So my mother told me I had to
            get over the fear, and she sent me to the Y to learn to
            swim when I was in Jr High. I couldn't do it. So I had to
            go back a second time. It was also a

            When I was about 21, I decided I had better learn to
            swim. I went to the Virgin Islands on a
            vacation. I decided the best way to get over my fear of water was to jump off a boat in the ocean.
            That's what I did! I hyperventilated and was terrified, but I stayed in the water. And some baby 
            steps later, on another vacation to St. Thomas, I took that fateful SCUBA intro class. So my biggest
            obstacle was my own fear. And that is now, thankfully, gone.

Fiona - Which is a great set up for any heroine - to face a fear of water to save the situation.

Stacy - Absoluetly!

Ostia Antica, Italy

Fiona - What are some of the things that a writer without your
             background might write by mistake that would have a
             SCUBA diver shaking their head and saying - I can't
              read this anymore, she got this all wrong!

Stacy  - Ha! Let's see. 

          * Calling air tanks "oxygen" drives us up
             the wall. It is a mixed gas air tank, and is basically
             surface air that has been compressed into a tank.
             Like using those Vacuum bags on big blankets. The
             blankets are in tact, they are just compressed and
             take up less space! 
          * Thinking that as long as you have air in your
              tank you can stay underwater. 
          * Thinking that if a diver is low on air, they can just 
              hold their breath as long as they can and only breathe when necessary to make the tank last
              longer. The first, and I do mean the first, rule of diving is BREATHE. We must inhale, followed by
              an exhale, continuously the entire dive. It can be deadly to hold your breath underwater. We must
              "off -gas" which means expel our breath so nitrogen does not build up in our bloodstream. If gases
              are stuck in our bloodstream, as we ascend to the surface, they will expand and cause The Bends
              which very often will kill a diver. That is why divers do Safety Stops at 25 or 20 feet (I do them
              around 25 feet), which is to hang there and off-gas for 3-5 minutes (3 is what we learned,
              experienced divers do a 5 minute stop).

Fiona - O
kay here is my last and most important question. What is your favorite scar and how did you get it?

Stacy - Hah! Wow. In August of 2000, I was living in Seattle. I was opening up a bottle of vitamins, or
            trying to, and the stupid plastic seal around the top wasn't budging. I was frustrated, so I grabbed a
            french boning knife out of my kitchen (can you say S.T.U.P.I.D.?) and in a split second I had sliced
            my left index finger nearly off. I held my hand up and my forearm was coated with blood in a tenth
            of  a second. I could see the bone in my finger! (insert "GROSS!" here). I went into shock
            immediately. I ended up having reconstruction on that finger, and it has taken years to recover, and I
            still can't bend it entirely. But I could play guitar again after a couple of years, and that is something I 
            didn't think I would ever be able to do again.

Fiona - That was a most excellent scar story! And having listened to you play and sing on several
            occasions, I can say it would be a big loss had you not regained your ability.Thank you so much
            for sharing. It's been a pleasure having you on ThrillWriting today.

Stacy in Portugal

Stacy Allen served on the Board of Trustees of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association, the Pacific Northwest Mystery Writers of America chapter, and currently serves as Vice President of the Southeast Mystery Writers of America (SEMWA) chapter. She is represented by Jill Marr, of Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

Expedition Indigo will debut August 18, 2014, and will be available in all electronic formats and audio, from Entranced  Publishing. It will also be available in print.

You can get in touch with Stacy:

Thank you so much for stopping by. And thank you for your support. When you buy my books, you make it possible for me to continue to bring you helpful articles and keep ThrillWriting free and accessible to all.

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  1. Thank you for this awesome interview, Fiona!

    1. I'm so excited about your new book! And now I want to go diving with you!

    2. Sounds fun! We should totally plan a dive trip!

  2. What a wonderful interview. I can not wait to check out the new novel, Expedition Indigo.

    1. Thank you, and I'm looking forward to it too.

    2. I wish I knew who left this anonymous comment!

  3. Great interview! I can't wait for the release of Expedition Indigo. Both the author and protagonist sound fascinating and complex. I wonder if Riley is based on Ms. Allen...

    1. Stacy's extensive travel and dexterity with cultures will surely show in the story line. "Doing" is a huge part of being able to convey the experience. I can't wait to read the nuances that she included in her work.

  4. Stacy--you and Fiona have managed a wonderful interview here. I feel like I was right there while you were talking, and didn't think it was at all "formal " or "formula". Very interesting!. If your writing in EI is as interesting, unstuffy and uncluttered I am sure I will enjoy it. Congratulations and Good Luck. --HH

  5. Why thank you very much for your kind words.


  6. Thank you, HH, whoever you are! I really appreciate the comments.

  7. MaryAnn FitzharrisFebruary 6, 2014 at 9:35 PM

    Stacy, what a fun interview. I also learned to dive in St. Croix while visiting my sister there. I totally loved it. Unfortunately, I haven't had the chance to do it again. I also travel extensively (not as extensively as you, for sure). I think these experiences go a long way to informing our writing. I can't wait to read your book.

  8. Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words, Mary Ann. Hope you find some interesting articles here on ThrillWriting.


  9. I can't wait to read this series by Stacy Allen. Dr. Riley Cooper sounds like an amazing character and the type of person I want to read about. She sounds very inspiring like the author herself! Looking forward for the release date!
    Rebecca Nadeau

    1. Thank you so much! I so appreciate your comment.

  10. The blog is absolutely fantastic. Lots of great information and inspiration, both of which we all need. Thanks.

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  12. The first dive your guest describes was very dangerous for newbies. Whoever was running that resort should've known better, not to mention the divemasters. My wife and I have been to resorts that offer quickie intro-to-SCUBA courses and after paddling around the pool they are off into the ocean, but typically only down to 20-25', which is relatively safe for rookies. We were certified up here in northern WI and did our open-water dives in a local lake, down to 25'. Since then we've dived in the Caribbean, Sea of Cortez, and off the islands of Tahiti. It's a great sport and the cool factor is off the charts.