[See contest details at end of post]
PVN: This is your first published novel. What was the road like leading to this moment?
It was really long! I had a lot to learn about the craft of writing, but even more to learn about the business. I’m still learning, in fact. I stumble a lot even now because I’m not always sure what questions I should be asking. I’m really good about meeting deadlines...as long as I know that I have them!
PVN: Tell readers about the paranormal world you have created.
The world of the Mythica series is one in which the ancient gods all exist, but as we’ve ceased to believe in them, they’ve lost most of their powers. However, war gods still have quite a bit of power because they’re able to feed upon the violence of modern day life. Old gods have taken up new vocations: Ares is a weapons trafficker, Hekate is a fortune-teller, Athena is a scheming patroness of deadly arts. And into this world, the monsters of myth still walk amongst us, in human form. My hero in Poisoned Kisses for example, is a hydra of a thousand faces. He can shapeshift into the appearance of anyone who has ever harmed him, and his blood is deadly poison.
PVN: How did you do research for this book?
I knew the premise I wanted to start with. I wanted my hero to be an arms dealer, but I wanted him to believe that he had a very good reason for it. Fortunately, I have some very smart friends, one of whom is an expert in African security issues. I asked him for some advice about conflict-ridden places in the world where someone could hold a well-intentioned, if erroneous, belief that arming the combatants would be a good idea. That’s when I zoned in on the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I started reading everything I could find on the area--most of which was horribly depressing--and had to stop researching when I felt as if it would overwhelm the happy ending I had in store for my characters.
PVN: What other writing projects are in the works?
I have another novella and novel in the Mythica series, which will be out in the coming year. Also, under the name Stephanie Dray, I’m writing historicals for Berkley, including my debut, LILY OF THE NILE: A NOVEL OF CLEOPATRA’S DAUGHTER. I’m very excited about those, and very very busy!
PVN: What books or authors influenced you as you were growing up?
Growing up, I loved Greek Mythology, and look what happened? Now I seem to pull it into everything. As for authors that I loved as a kid, well, how can I not name Judy Blume? I also remember loving DH Lawrence as a young woman. Unfortunately, I tend not to re-read things, so I don’t remember most of the plot to Lady Chatterley’s Lover. On the other hand, it’d be like reading it again for the first time if I went back now! Last, but not least, I have to mention Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle which influenced how I looked at the world and why I care about the things I do.
PVN: What is your writing environment like?
On my desk right now is a box of Zantac, which speaks for itself. Next to that is a broken pen. (Pens hate me. They run out of ink and crack in half with alarming regularity in my presence. Anyone who can recommend a fantastic pen to me will have my undying gratitude.) To my left is my Nook, upon which I read. Underneath the Nook is a stack of books I want to read, but which are too bulky to take with me on the treadmill, and so sit there languishing.
PVN: Where can readers find you on the Internet and how can they contact you?
I have a website and I LOVELOVELOVE when readers contact me. Just to say hello. To say they liked my book. To tell me what I did wrong. Whatever! I love it all. Come say hello at http://stephaniedraven.com/
Thanks so much Stephanie!
One lucky winner will receive a copy of Poisoned Kisses
To enter the contest do one of the following: Make a pertinent comment on Stephanie's post OR ask Stephanie a question.
Be sure I have access to your email.
Contest is open to US residents only.
Contest ends Oct. 11, 2010.
This contest has closed