Hi Stephanie, Welcome to Anna's Book Blog! I'm glad to have here. To start off can you tell the readers a little about yourself?Thanks so much for having me here today. I’m always excited to meet fellow book enthusiasts because its rare to find people who really share your passions, and I can get a little carried away with mine. For example, I recently visited the Library of Congress. It’s a little slice of heaven for book lovers, and when I walked into the exhibit of Thomas Jefferson’s original collection, I admit that I had to blink back tears! So, I may put on a tough-girl paranormal writer front, but inside, I’m a softie. And a cat lover. Can’t forget that.
Poisoned Kisses is your newest release, can you tells us a little about it and the Mythica series?What if the monsters of ancient myth still walked the earth...and what if you found out you were one of them?
That was the tagline that started the Mythica series. It began with a little novella entitled Midnight Medusa, about a gorgon in love. The premise of that book ended up being the premise of the entire series--that being, war can turn men into monsters, sometimes, quite literally.
Each story in the series features a different monster of ancient mythology and can be read alone, but some they are all bound by a common thread. The hero of Midnight Medusa is Deimos, the ancient demi-god of fear. His sister, Kyra, is the heroine of Poisoned Kisses, so the stories touch without depending upon one another, if that makes sense.
Poisoned Kisses is the story of a dark nymph of the underworld who sets out to assassinate a dangerous shape-shifting arms dealer, only to fall in love with him when she realizes that he’s not the monster she thought he was. However, that doesn’t mean he’s not dangerous. Marco’s blood is the only thing in the world that can kill her, so she risks her life every time they kiss!
What is your writing day like?Since making my first big sale, my writing habits have changed enormously. Now, instead of writing when I’m inspired, I make a goal. A first draft in 30 days is usually the plan for a category romance, so I wake up at some ungodly hour and write until I hit a certain word count. Sometimes I finish early and I have the rest of the day off. Sometimes I am still writing late into the night.
When your not writing what kind of books do you like to read?I like to read stories by fellow up-and-coming authors, so that I know what’s hot in the genre. But when I’m reading purely for pleasure, I sometimes stray away from romance altogether and read something literary like David Malouf’s Ransom. Really, if anyone is seriously curious about what I read, I encourage you to friend me on Goodreads because that’s rapidly become my favorite social networking site. I’d rather chat with book lovers and readers more than anyone else!
Which Authors influence you the most?That’s a really difficult question to answer because I’ve had the good fortune to learn under great teachers like Maureen McHugh and Nalo Hopkinson in the fantasy genre. When it comes to the Mythica series, I have to confess that it was Neil Gaiman’s American Gods that influenced me most. While I’m in awe of Gaiman, I didn’t particularly love American Gods. I thought it was a brilliant work, but it was a little too sterile for me. I couldn’t help but imagine what it would be like if the story between the husband and his dead wife were actually one of passion, and it didn’t take me long to translate those ideas into the Mythica series for Harlequin.
Are there any real life people that have inspired the characters in your series?I’m sure I’m not supposed to answer this question for fear of being sued, but since the person I’m thinking of has plenty of legal troubles of his own, I’ll go ahead and admit it. One of the villains in Poisoned Kisses is an African war god named Ogun who masquerades as a rebel leader in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I consciously modeled him after General Laurent Nkunda who claimed to be protecting the Tutsi minority from the Rwandan war criminals still roaming free in the Congo. I thought he was an excellent example of a fighter who became the monster he set out to slay and just as I was finishing up the story, he was finally arrested.
I noticed the Greek Mythology links on your website, I love Greek Mythology myself. Do you have a favorite God or Goddess?When I was younger, I was all about Apollo. Who doesn’t love a sexy sun god? But a few stories about Apollo turned me off, including the one where he slew all Niobe’s children. Also, the fact that he was chosen as Augustus’ patron deity gives him a definite prudish bent, and I can’t abide a priggish man. Consequently, I’ve changed my allegiance to Mercury, the sly, mischievous trickster god. Failing that, I’m going to go with grown-up Cupid, because the story of Cupid and Psyche is one of the earliest heroine-centric romances ever written.
What was it like learning you were getting your book published? What has been your favorite part of the process?When I got that call from my agent telling me that Harlequin was making an offer, I’m not sure I really believed it. Not even after I signed the contract. The whole thing didn’t really sink in until I held the book in my hands, and I wrote an essay about what it’s like to hold your book for the first time.
As for my favorite part of the process, that’s easy. When readers read my books! Logging in to read a review, or open an email from someone who enjoyed my work is the absolute best thing. It’s worth more than money. It’s what authors live for. So if you have ever liked a book of mine or any other author, please write a review and let them know!
What are 3 things that are "must haves" for you when you sit down to write a book?The first thing I need is Scrivener, which is a piece of writing software that helps me keep everything organized and plot out my story. The second thing I need is an outline. Some people are pantsers, but that way is dangerous for me, because I can quite easily spin a category novel into a giant tome if I don’t have a plan. The third, and perhaps most essential thing I need, is tea. Could be hot Earl Grey. Could be black tea on ice. Either way, I need it!
What is up next? Will you continue with a Mythica series or do have something new planned?I have a novella entitled Siren Song coming out this winter and next year this time, my second full length installment of the Mythica series will be issued. I don’t have a title for it yet, but it’s about a tortured minotaur and a mysterious modern day sphinx.
Thanks for interviewing me, and I’d just like to remind your readers that I’m giving special peridot green charms to all my newsletter subscribers while supplies last, so if they’d like to participate, they should check out my virtual launch party.
By Stephanie Draven
He can wear the face of anyone who has ever hurt him…This former soldier-turned-gun-runner thinks his true identity is safe, but a mysterious woman is about to force him to face the tragic past he thought he left behind.
She can disguise herself as the only woman he’s ever loved…
It’s not easy to be a Daddy’s Girl when your father is Ares, Greek God of War. To thwart her father and all those who serve him, Kyra intends to assassinate a modern day hydra. To kill him, she needs to seduce him, but Marco Kaisaris isn’t the monster she thinks he is–and even if he doesn’t break her heart, he may still be the death of her.
Can they see past each other’s masks to find a love that’s more than skin deep?
About the Author:Stephanie Draven is currently a denizen of Baltimore, that city of ravens and purple night skies. She lives there with her favorite nocturnal creatures–three scheming cats and a deliciously wicked husband. And when she is not busy with dark domestic rituals, she writes her books.
Stephanie has always been a storyteller. In elementary school, she channeled Scheherazade, weaving a series of stories to charm children into sitting with her each day at the lunch table. When she was a little older, Stephanie scared all the girls at her sleepovers with ghost stories.
She should have known she was born to hold an audience in her thrall, but Stephanie resisted her writerly urges and graduated from college with a B.A. in Government. Then she went to Law School, where she learned how to convincingly tell the tallest tales of all!
A longtime lover of ancient lore, Stephanie enjoys re-imagining myths for the modern age. She doesn’t believe that true love is ever simple or without struggle so her work tends to explore the sacred within the profane, the light under the loss and the virtue hidden in vice. She counts it amongst her greatest pleasures when, from her books, her readers learn something new about the world or about themselves. Stephanie also writes historical fiction as Stephanie Dray and has a series of forthcoming novels from Berkley Books featuring Cleopatra’s daughter.
A signed copy of Poisoned Kisses, thanks to Stephanie- is up for grabs. To enter leave a comment along with your email address. Open to U.S & Canada. The winner will be announced on October 9th. Good Luck!!