Friday, November 2, 2007

The Bandits Welcome Stephanie Rowe

interview by Beth Andrews

To celebrate Stephanie Rowe being with us today, one lucky commener will get the choice of ONE of the following:

1) An autographed copy of one of Stephanie's backlist (winner’s choice),
OR
2) A critique of a one page query letter (two rounds of critiques), OR
3) A critique of a five page (double spaced) synopsis, OR
4) A critique of the first five pages of a manuscript (double spaced)

It is my pleasure to introduce multiple Rita Award Finalist and prolific author Stephanie Rowe to the Romance Bandits! Stephanie's latest release, Sex & The Immortal Bad Boy, is part of her paranormal romance series for Warner Forever but she's also written Young Adult, Chick Lit, Romantic Comedy and Suspense. I read Stephanie's book, He Loves Me, He Loves Me Hot, after meeting her in Dallas and am now a total fan - both of her stories and her. *g* Now that my fangirl moment is over, on with the interview :-)

Welcome to the Bandit Lair, Stephanie! To get us started, can you tell us about your road to publication?

Thank you so much for having me! I’m so thrilled to be here! As for my path to publication...hmm... how far back do you want me to start? I decided to try for a career in writing when I came to the conclusion that there was no job on this earth that I could deal with except writing. I’d spent several years soul searching, trying to find the job that I could do happily for the next forty years. I did all the career workshops etc, and finally realized that writing was the only thing that fit. I’d dabbled in writing before, but more to amuse myself and escape from the reality of the killer-day-job (hey, it *looks* like I’m working even though I’m actually typing a book, right?), but I hadn’t really been considering it a career, until then. At that point, I sat myself down at the computer and decided to write a book and see what I thought about the experience. It didn’t take long before I was completely hooked, and I knew that was what I needed to do for the rest of my life. And then after 18 full manuscripts, 7 partials and over 130 rejections, I was published. Obviously, I’m a fast-track kind of girl... LOL.

Another great story that shows perseverance really does pay off! What can you tell us about your latest Warner Forever release, Sex & The Immortal Bad Boy?

The hero in my November release (release date 11/1), Sex & The Immortal Bad Boy, was inspired by the heroine, Paige Darlington, who we met in the previous book in the series, He Loves Me, He Loves Me Hot. At the end of He Loves Me, Paige demanded the next book be about her (she wasn’t in my plans at all), and I had to come up with a hero worthy of her. Paige is facing some really tough crises (like, being cursed by Satan to become a soulless wraith who kills everything she touches), yet, she is a truly optimistic and positive person to her core. I needed to pair her with her worst nightmare, which of course would be the one man who needs to kill her, a man who has been tortured for so long that he lives in the darkest place, so utterly devoid of hope and joy that even Paige can’t reach him. But for Paige to survive, she has to reach past that hellish wall Jed has erected around his heart and soul, and she has to find a way to make him believe again. If she doesn’t, they’ll both die and bring down everyone they care about with them. Paige and Jed are such opposites, at such different places on the spectrum, yet they are both so incredibly desperate that they are forced to find a way to deal with each other if they are to survive. I wanted to give each character a partner that would challenge everything they believed in, everything that made them who they are, and force them to face their worst fears and deepest hopes.

Here is the blurb for Sex & The Immortal Bad Boy:

IF THE ROAD TO HELL IS PAVED WITH GOOD INTENTIONS...
Paige Darlington is finally free of the literal boss from hell—Satan. There's just one hitch: she's been cursed, and will soon lose her soul. The only way to reverse this ultimate buzz kill is to skinny dip in one of Heaven's cleansing moats. But Heaven has defenses against girls like Paige…and they typically involve being charred to a crisp.

MAYBE THE ROAD TO HEAVEN IS PAVED WITH SEXY ONES.
Jed Buchanan, shadow warrior and Satan Jr.'s favorite assassin, is on a fast track to hell. Until sexy, spirited former Rivka Paige Darlington begs him to help her sneak past the pearly gates. Heaven's no place for a man as dark as Jed, but one look at Paige's sensual eyes and long legs and he knows one thing for sure – he's in for a hell of a hot ride…

I love Paige and can't wait to read her story! Your paranormals are wonderful - funny and sexy with great characters -- but my favorite has to be Satan himself. Can you describe him for our readers and tell us how you came up with such a unique twist for Satan's personality?

Ah, Satan. What a love! Satan is one of those villains who does his very best to be bad, but he’s too vulnerable to be very good at it. Sure, he’s the ruler of hell, but he’s got a one-track-mind when it comes to his true love, and all his actions revolve around his attempts to win her and become a man worthy of her, and of his role as the leader of hell. He puts on no airs, and freely says whatever is on his mind. After all, when you’re the leader of Hell, it’s not like you have to worry that people won’t take you seriously, right? I love Satan because he defies all stereotypes about what the leader of hell should be, but he’s not ashamed of it. He is who he is, and anyone who has a problem with it, can just go rot in hell... LOL. I think he evolved from the fact that my goal as I was writing the first book in the series was to be unpredictable at all times. I tried to do the opposite of what the readers would expect, so, of course, I had to make Satan be the antithesis of what the leader of hell usually is. And then he quickly took on a life of his own, and by the end of the book, I had to go back and edit some of his earlier scenes, because his personality hadn’t totally evolved until the book was over.

You did an excellent job - Satan had me LOL througout the story *g* As with most paranormals, world building is a big part of your series. How did you go about creating the underworld and the fantastical characters that inhabit not only the underworld but the normal world as well?

Honestly, the world in this series just evolved as it went. It was originally supposed to be a stand alone book about the Goblet of Eternal Youth, but then I needed a villain, and I figured Satan would love to get his hands on the Goblet to persuade people to barter their immortal souls to him, and once Satan was involved, everything else just blossomed. With each page I wrote, the world grew bigger and more complex and took on a life of its own. I ditched the editorial censors early on and just allowed the world to expand as it wanted. I was so surprised by the end of the first book when I had such a complex world that was ripe for more stories. Who knew?

As I mentioned, these books are both laugh out loud funny and hot enough to make your readers wiggle in delight. Any tips on writing comedy and/or sexy?

I think the key on writing comedy is to let your inner censors turn off and let your own personality come out. I found that if I tried to write funny, I wasn’t funny. I had submitted other books as romantic comedies, and they kept getting rejected because the editors said they didn’t see what was so funny about them. So, with this series, I sat down and let myself have fun with the story, and when we sent it out, we didn’t market it as a comedy. It was just a paranormal romance. And, of course, people thought that one was funny! I did feel a little stress writing the second book, because I realized people expected it to be funny, and the last one had been funny almost by accident. I had to really concentrate on releasing the pressure to be funny and just allowing myself to be natural and amuse myself as I wrote.

Great advice! What’s next for you?

I have a new paranormal romance series launching in 2008 with a trilogy. The series is called THE ORDER OF THE BLADE, and it’s darker, sexier and more dangerous than my current series, and the cover art will reflect that. It was great fun to write, and I think readers will love the warriors in this series. I do, however, plan to continue my current series as well. I also recently sold a romantic suspense series with sexy Alaskan bush pilots that will be launching in early 2009.

Wonderful! I know I'll be looking forward to all your releases. Thanks so much for being with us, Stephanie and congratulations on all your success! Visit Stephanie's website at: http://www.stephanierowe.com.

Both Paige and Becca (the heroine in He Loves Me, He Loves Me Hot) are tough, take-charge, kick butt heroines. *g* Who is your favorite tough girl, kick butt, super smart and savvy or generally take charge heroine? Remember, one lucky commenter will get their pick of a prize from Stephanie!

43 comments:

Helzkat said...

Stephanie - your books sound great - i'm so sorry i haven't read them yet. Another on the TBR pile! I think my fave kick-ass heroine ATM is Riley Jensen from Keri Arthur.

Anna Campbell said...

Hiya Stephanie! Welcome to the Lair. Beth, great interview!

Love the sound of you taking Satan and making him romantic. Brilliant! Your books sound like great fun. Oh, no, more for the TBR pile.

Also wanted to say, Stephanie, that those are hellaciously good prizes (to continue the theme...). Thank you for offering them!

Gillian Layne said...

These sounds marvelous, definitely in my "to buy" pile--and I'm going shopping today with my mom, life is good!

I love Rachel Morgan, and think Kim Harrison does world building beautifully.

brownone said...

okay, so this is why I have to stay away from your blog! I keep finding new authors...my poor poor husband!
My favorite "kick ass" heroine is Francesca from Brenda Joyce's "Deadly" series.

Beth said...

Welcome to the Lair, Stephanie! I can't wait to get my hands on Sex & The Immortal Bad Boy *g*

I love a heroine who can take care of herself - and the hero if neeed be - and Paige and Becca are definitely two of my favorites :-)

Joan said...

Welcome to the lair, Stephanie!

Right now, my favorite take charge heroine is Mac from Karen Marie Moning's Fever series.

Looking forward to reading the books.

Kirsten said...

Hi everyone, and WELCOME STEPHANIE!!

Stephanie is a member of my local RWA chapter, and I can't begin to tell you what an amazingly kind and generous person she is. The first one to welcome me to RWA, the first one to explain to me what "YA" stood for, always the first one to offer congratulations to members of our chapter, and always full of encouragement. Stephanie is really one of a kind.

And her books ROCK! Can't get out of the bath once you start reading kind of books...

Oh, and the other tidbit Beth didn't mention--all those genres? Stephanie writes in them simultaneously! :-)

Kirsten said...

Anna, you should move Stephanie up in the TBR pile. You would love her sense of humor.

Susan Seyfarth said...

Hi, Stephanie! Welcome to the lair! On the basis of your Satan character alone, your books just went to the top of my TBR pile. I've always thought being the devil would be a terribly lonely job. I love the idea of him looking for somebody to share it with. I picture him waving a casual arm at Hell, in all its smoking, post-apocalyptic glory, saying, "Somebody, baby, all this will be ours..."

As for my favorite take-charge, kick-butt heroine... Can I say Mary Poppins & not get booed out of cyber space? She's sweet, gentle & refined (I'm talking the Disney version now, not PL Travers') but...there's that cross-me-at-your-peril look in her eye, too. You don't want to mess with Mary Poppins, you know? And I like that. :-)

Susan

Caren Crane said...

Stephanie, welcome to the Lair!

Helzkat, I don't know if you realize this, but we bestow an honorary (if imaginary) Golden Rooster to the first poster of the day. You have beat the top contender, Anna C., to the punch today. Congratulations! Enjoy the rooster while he rests in your hands. *g*

Stephanie, I read the blurbs on your website and have been waiting anxiously for S&TMB. I am running to Borders today!

Also, Bandita regulars, you may have noticed we have tried to institute your grand suggestion that we put Amazon click-throughs for the book covers. So, to order Stephanie's books from Amazon, simply click on the cover!

Thanks for being with us, Stephanie. And thank you for being a model of perseverance!

jo robertson said...

Great interview, Beth and thanks for joining us in the Bandit Lair, Stephanie. Your characterization of Satan sounds hilariously unique and I'll be sure to pick up your book.

I'm very impressed by your cache of 17 manuscripts before you sold. Were any of those published or were they "practice time"?

Kick butt heroines? My favorite has always been Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. She -- uh -- slays me.

Darcy Burke said...

Great interview! And I have to second everything Kirsten said. Stephanie is absolutely one of a kind. (And Kirsten, you're no slouch either!)

Hey, it's an RCRW lovefest! :-)

Stephanie Rowe said...

Hi All! Thanks for all the warm welcomes! It's great to be here! LOL on Satan, Susan & Jo! I definitely get the most fan mail about him! And I'm with you on Mary Poppins. She is sooo tough!

As for my stack of unpublished mss, Jo, of the 18 fulls I'd written when I sold, only 17 & 18 went on to be published. The others never sold because they were fatally flawed. I tried to rework a couple of them, but it was a waste of my time because, by reworking them, I found it impossible to truly break away from the framework I'd originally created, and that framework was fatally flawed. The reason I had so many completed books before I sold is because I did (and still do) believe that reworking flawed manuscripts is time better spent starting fresh.

Tawny said...

Hi Stephanie :-)

I love the sound of Satan - I'm going to have to get your books just to read him!!!!

Thanks for visiting with us Banditas ;-)

Kirsten said...

Hi Darcy!! Thanks for visiting! We do have a particularly wonderful chapter, don't we? :-)

Susan, this Mary Poppins thing is turning into an obsession! Though I must admit, it's one I share. LOL.

Helzkat, you better guard that Golden Rooster carefully. Caren may look friendly, but she's a wolf in sheep's clothing. Under no circumstances should you let her touch it...even for a second!

doglady said...

Now why is it Sympathy for the Devil just went through my head?? I too think that the Devil might be an interesting character to write. I am absolutely amazed that you write in all those genres at once. Hmmm. Perhaps you have worked your own little deal with the Devil to have time and sanity enough to do all that??? Do tell!! I agree with Gillian - Rachel Morgan is a real kick butt heroine. I just read Christina Dodd's MY FAVORITE BRIDE and the heroine, Samantha, is a real kick butt heroine in that she tames not only the stiff military hero, she also tames his SIX horribly unruly daughters. Teachers (governesses) who take on tough students and bring them round are the real heroes!

Heather Hiestand said...

Stephanie:

So glad to hear you've sold more series. I can't wait to read them! As for kick-ass heroines, I'm enjoying Temperance Brennan from Kathy Reichs - she's more kick-ass in the TV version.

Heather Hiestand

Angie Fox said...

Do put Stephanie on the top of your TBR stack. Her books are addicting. My husband has already been warned that I'm going to be buried in a book this weekend. :)

As for favorite kick butt heroines...Justine Bennett, Theresa Nichols, Sara Gunn, Garnet Lacey, Harmony Cartwright. Oh and Megan St. Clair from Katie MacAlister's new novella. Very fun.

Caren Crane said...

Doglady, if we're going to talk kick-ass heroines and governesses at the same time, then we have to give the love to that other favorite Julie Andrews role--Maria Van Trapp!

Julie Andrews, what's not to love?

Helzcat, please ignore all comments about me thieving the Golden Rooster. Yours is safe. Really! Even if he was mine the other day. Briefly...

tetewa said...

My favorite heroine at the moment is Victoria Gardella from Colleen Gleason's Gardella Chronicles. This is a fantastic new series by one of my favorite authors at the moment.

Cassondra said...

Stephanie said:

Once Satan was involved, everything else just blossomed.
Now THAT is a line for the ages. If we could have signature lines on our posts here in the Bandit lair, that would be mine.

Welcome to our lair Stephanie! Your drive amazes me. I tend to slow down and stop in my writing life at the slightest drag of the mud on my feet. Were it not for Auntie Cindy's deadly riding crop, I'd be lost. Totally opposite the rest of my life too, which is strange. I'm inspired by your perseverance.

I'm also really interested in HOW you structure your writing time so that you can manage it all--you and Trish Milburn--I stand back, mouth hanging open in awe. Do you have a way of "switching gears" at will, and was this natural for you or was that a learned skill?

I love it that you came to writing because you'd tried everything else. That's me. There's nothing else that I can stand to do--I get bored too easily. But writing is never boring, and I'll never learn it all.

Thank you for this wonderful interview, and Beth, great job snagging such an interesting and inspiring lady for the lair!

Joan said...

I agree with Cassondra, how do you write simutaneously?

I am a very linear person, I guess. I cannot write the paranormal that's been in my head since my last trip to Ireland UNTIL I finish this third Patrician book.

Kudos to you and to your perseverance!

Susan Seyfarth said...

Hey, maybe it's not Mary Poppins! Maybe it's really Julie Andrews! Because Caren's right. You don't want to mess with Maria Von Trapp any more than you'd want to mess with Mary Poppins. And the common thread? Both Julie Andrews. Maybe I want to be Julie Andrews when I grow up. Minus whatever that movie was she did with Dudley Moore. She was NOT in kick-butt nanny mode in that one.

I will cop to the Mary Poppins obsession, though, Kirsten. :-)

Susan

Caren Crane said...

Susan, you have a point there. She was no slacker in Victor/Victoria either. Of course, she was criticized for showing her up-fronts in that one, but I thought it was a great movie! *g*

Beth said...

Susan, I think you're right - it is a Julie Andrews thing! After all, she was a kick butt queen in both The Princess Diaries and Shrek *g*

I too love Buffy! And I liked Peta Wilson in La Femme Nikita - although I didn't get watch as many episodes as I would've liked. Must try Netflix :-)

doglady said...

Oh definitely Maria von Trapp. That was one tough governess. And I've climbed those hills that are alive it ain't for sissies!!! Love Victor/Victoria!

Helen said...

Stephanie your heroines certanly sound strong and the heros really hot loved the interview thanks Guys.
Have Fun
Helen

MsHellion said...

Hi! I have been totally missing out on this series--I need to rectify this immediately since I think the Devil is the ultimate bad boy and would love to see what it would take to get him redeemed. So to speak.

Favorite kick ass heroine: Anita Blake from Laurell K Hamilton's vampire/shapeshifter series.

HA! And I agree--Mary Poppins makes a great kick-ass heroine!

MsHellion said...

What is it with Satan lately, anyway? I have seen more books where he's featured...and I've have a WIP for like 10 years where he's my hero (now I'm going to look like a freaking copycat if I ever do manage to get it published)--I swear he's getting more popular all the time.

It's the bad boy fantasy thing...I think as far as BBF's go, he'd be the ultimate one. If you can redeem him, you can redeem anyone.

Anna Sugden said...

*waving* Hi Stephanie! Great to see you - welcome to the Bandita's lair.

My favourite kick-butt heroine is Eve Dallas from the JD Robb series. Although I adore Terri Garey's Nicki Styx too.

Aunty Cindy said...

GREAT interview and thanx for hanging out with us in the lair, Stephanie! Your books sound like a TON O FUN!

Hey tetewa! Long time no see! And big thanx to helzkat, darcy, heather and angie for dropping by. Hope you'll all stop back by often.

I'm with VA, my fave kick-butt heroine is Eve Dallas and her assistant Peabody. They're a GREAT pair and their guys are YUMMY too!

AC
still trying to get the chocolate stains off her crop from yesterday

Christine Wells said...

Hi Stephanie, great to have you here. I love the sound of your books. Satan...the ultimate bad boy.*g*

What a load of fab prizes! Thank you for your generosity.

My favourite kick-ass heroines tends to kick butt intellectually rather than physically, but hey, I'm a geek! I love Amelia Peabody and Vicky Bliss in Elizabeth Peters' wonderful books.

Thanks for coming!

Stephanie Rowe said...

LOL, Cassandra. You totally cracked me up with your "line for the ages" about Satan. And don't let my numbers fool you. I still get seriously derailed by bad news or the book-from-hell or revisions-from-hell. But somehow, some way, I pull myself back together and keep on plugging. The alternate is to give up, and I refuse to do that.

As for managing the writing time, it's really all about discipline. I did have a bit of a challenging time earlier this year when I was trying to write a dark paranormal in the mornings and a fluffy middle grade horse story in the afternoon. I finally decided I had to focus on one or the other and power through. I can switch gears pretty easily, but writing two such different books at the same time became too tough. Writing one and revising the other at the same time is much more do-able. And I guess it's not learned so much as a skill created from total desperation: when I was working the day job and writing at the same time, I had no choice but to simply learn how to make the best use of my writing time when I could and focus on work when I had to be there.

Mshellion—isn't it interesting all the Satan books cropping up? I wanted to do a series with his brother as the hero, and my editor nixed it, saying that she loved Satan in his role in my books, but she wasn't sure readers would accept Satan (or his brother) as an actual hero in a romance novel. What do you guys think?

I love reading everyone's comments about kick butt heroines. You guys have all picked great ones! I wouldn't know how to pick just one!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Chiming in late but gotta add my two cents, I agree with some of the ladies that Julie Andrews could seriously cow me. Of course that doesn't take much, my mother trained me well, all she had to do was give me "the Look". I have never read any of Stephanie's books but as usual, that will change as soon as I get a pay day...LOL I am going to go bankrupt from the Romance Bandits.

Christyne Butler said...

Hi Stephanie,

What a great interview...I'm glad I took a break from playing with my MySpace page and surfed over here!

I've got HLMHLMN coming up in my TBR pile...I think I'll just push that up a few!

Trish Milburn aka Tricia Mills said...

Steph! You sold a new RS series? Girl, we so have to talk.

Like Jo, I'm a huge fan of Buffy. The girl kicks butt, dates hot guys and looks cute while doing it.

tetawa, I'm so glad you like Colleen's Gardella series. She's a good friend, and I love her series too.

Lily said...

My favorite take-charge heroine... must be Becky from the Shopaholic series... she does anything that crosses her mind and still looks good doing it!

Beth said...

Thanks again, Stephanie, for stopping by! And thanks to everyone for commenting. Don't forget to check back to see who gets picked to choose one of the awesome prizes Stephanie's offered :-)

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

ackknight8Hi Stephanie! Welcome to the Lair!
Great story lines and congrats on writing so successfully in so many genres. You're a great inspiration to those of us who aspire to do the same! :>
Had to LOL over Julie Andrews (AKA That Poppins Woman, Vic/Vicky, Mme Von Trapp) being a K-A Heroine. Then again, that glint in her eye would probably get me to listen up too! Ha!
I'm a fan of Buffy as well, Jo, and Dallas and Peabody from JD Robb. Oh, and Amelia Peabody is just NOT to be trifled with either. I'm also fond of Laura Croft from Tomb Raider, and the Librarian from the Mummy series.
I'm still trying to wrap my mind - and possibly other adventurous parts - around the chocolate covered hunks and the honey coated gladiators! Yummmmmmmmmm. Snork!

blackroze37 said...

i love your books, im really looking forward to this one

your sense fo humor is great but not over killl

blackroze37 said...

oo on the contest please just enter me for the copy of 1 of stepahnies backlist
cause i have no idea what all the critique is

Helzkat said...

Caren, thanks for letting me know about the coveted Golden Rooster. I'm honoured to have had the chance to hold onto him for the day. My chooks were happy too! It has already passed out of my hands for the next post. So Kirsten I am safe. Though since i'm new I don't know who to believe! ;) Thanks Aunt Cindy for welcoming me back... i've got you subscribed in my Google Reader, so I expect to be visiting again.

Nathalie said...

This is a great contest for wannabe writers... not me... can I be entered for the backlist :)