Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Author Spotlight - Stephanie Draven

Today we're delighted to have hugely prolific author Stephanie Draven join us here at the minxes to tell us a little bit about herself, and her books. Take it away, Stephanie!

1. Where were you in your writing career 5 years ago?

Exactly five years ago to the day, I faced a career crisis. I’d been dreaming of publishing my books for years. I’d been working at it, taking classes, collecting rejection letters, and beginning to think it was never going to happen. I was at a low point. And that’s when I received a most extraordinary opportunity. I was offered a job as a special assistant to a U.S. Congressman.
Now, if I had to choose any career other than writing books, it would be that of a speechwriter and this job would have been a stepping stone in that direction. It would have been an opportunity to do something meaningful. It was almost my dream job. Almost. If I took this job, I’d have to give up my dreams of publishing my books. That was a certainty. The demands of the job wouldn’t allow for both.
And I had a choice to make. Would I go for a sure thing, or continue to pursue a dream that might never become a reality? I’m a very practical person, so the decision seemed clear to me. I would have to take the job.
But I didn’t. I couldn’t. And turning down that job was one of the most terrifying and angst-ridden decisions I’ve ever made in my life. Sometimes I still wonder if I did the right thing.
It would be almost two more years before my first professional sale and six months more before I was offered representation by my agent, the fabulous Jennifer Schober of Spencerhill. After that, things went very quickly for me. Since then, I’ve sold four full-length novels (all of which will have been published within this year) and six novellas!

2. What do you prefer writing, novellas or full length?
That’s a little like asking do you prefer dinner or dessert! I love the accomplishment of writing a full-length novel, and the room I have to sprawl and show off. But the novella is a special kind of art form that really replenishes the creative well and helps me rediscover the joy of writing!

3. You write paranormal, what challenges does that present?
You have to build a world for any fiction that you create, but paranormal romance requires that you build a world that defies the rules of the universe. That’s quite a challenge to do that and fit in a satisfying love story to boot!

4. Where did you get the idea from for this particular book?
What if the monsters of ancient mythology still walked the earth...and what if you found out that you were one of them? That’s the premise for my Mythica series and I’ve had a blast exploring the stories and symbols of Greek mythology. I’ve always loved the idea of sirens. They’re certainly the bad girls of ancient lore and I write very smart books for very bad girls, so it was a natural pairing! Also, I’ve always wanted to set a book in Annapolis. I lived there for a year and it’s one of my favorite places in the world.

5. Where do you hope to be in 5 years time?
I want to be a New York Times Bestselling author. Is that too much to ask?

6. Was there any particular author or book that made you want to be a writer?
I was a storyteller long before I could read a book!

7. What's the most romantic moment of your life so far?
I’m very fortunate to have a romantic husband who has filled my life with love and romance. It’s very difficult to choose just one moment, but I’m going to say that spending a day luxuriating on crisp white linens with the ocean breeze flowing in through the windows is definitely my happy place.

8. What do you wish you'd known about being an author before you were pubbed?
I wish I’d known how much time I’d spend doing things that have nothing to do with writing. Wow. The task of getting people to know about your work, much less read it, is a full-time job all in itself!

9. What's the best writing advice you've ever been given?
Have lots of product to sell! Beginning authors spend too much time obsessing on making their first novel better. This is an important stage, but you have to learn when to move on and just write more and faster and better.

10. Tell us about your latest release.
Siren Song is a bite-sized romance that stars a modern-day sexy siren and the ancient triton she tries to seduce. He was banished from his home because of his weakness for sirens before and now he’s determined to resist her. When I started writing the story, I thought my siren would be a very wicked girl, but in the end, she turned out to be one of the sweetest, most innocent heroines I’ve ever written. I love when I get to turn expectations around--even in my own mind!

11. I hear Mills & Boon have replaced Nocturne Bites with the longer Nocturne Cravings, does writing Nocturne Cravings appeal to you?
Yes! I’m following up Siren Song with something much darker for the Cravings line entitled The Fever & the Fury which will star one of the furies as a heroine and the phoenix who teaches her how to accept pleasure instead of giving only pain. It should be scorchingly hot!

12. What’s next for you?
In November, my newest full-length installment of the Mythica series will be released. It’s called Dark Sins & Desert Sands and is about an Arab-American soldier who has been broken by torture and turned into a mind-controlling minotaur whose first vengeful act is to capture his beautiful interrogator. It might be a little controversial, actually!

Thank you so much for the interview, Stephanie!
You can find out more about Stephanie and her books, and read an excerpt of Siren Song at her website: http://stephaniedraven.com/
Siren Song is available as an ebook now from Mills & Boon here

7 comments:

joanne pibworth said...

Thanks for a terrific interview Stephanie. Wow, that must have been a hard decision to give up that job offer! Your dedication and hard work is inspiring.

Sally Clements said...

Love those siren's! Great interview, Stephanie!

Nas Dean said...

Hi Stephanie,

Thanks for sharing. I loved reading about you and your processes! Great answers to the questions!

Romy said...

Thanks for visiting here today Stephanie. I love dark paranormal stories, so I'll definitely be looking up yours.

And is it too much to ask to be an NYT bestseller in 5 years? Not at all, since you're well on the way there! Good luck.

Aimee Carson said...

Dark Sins and Desert Sands sounds absolutely fascinating! I LOVE controversial stories!

Stephanie Draven said...

I'm so sorry I didn't answer the replies on the day they were posted. I was slammed with a last-minute writing deadline that kept me up late at night, but what a delight to come back and see all these comments. I love the Minxes of Romance!

Man Candy Fans said...

Stephanie,

It was so fun to sit by you at the RWA Literacy signing. We share something in common. I turned down a job opportunity in a different business unit in early 2008. I'd just finished writing HOW TO MARRY A DUKE. Years before, I'd had to give up my writing due to a personal crisis, and I knew that new job opportunity would mean putting my writing aside again. I just couldn't do it, even though it meant a lot more money. It was a tough decision, but I have no regrets. A year later, I sold the book. :-)