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!