Oct 4, 2010

Stephanie Draven - Interview

A big PVN welcome to Stephanie Draven who has just released her first published novel,  Poisoned Kisses, from HQN Silhouette Nocturne. It is on shelves now. Stephanie has generously provided an interview and will giveaway one copy of her book to a U.S. reader.
[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


SiNn said...

I love mythology and the whole hydra deal is awesome seriously ur world be awesome to have a fun adventur ein ty for posting today


im a follower

debbie said...

I would recommend Zebra brand pens, my son is really hard on pens, and we still have ours. I was wondering what your favorite Greek myth was?

Virginia C said...

Congratulations on your first published novel, Stephanie! Brava! "Poisoned Kisses" has a unique and intriquing paranormal romance story line. Mythology offers so many possibilities for creative storytelling. Do you have an historical "comfort zone", a past era to which you feel most connected?

Good luck with the pen issue! I am always on the search for the perfect pen : )

US Resident, GFC Follower, Subscriber

gcwhiskas at aol dot com

Julie S said...

I think it's interesting that you write with a pen. I figured most people use computers since it's easier to edit.


Unknown said...

Thanks SiNnn!

Unknown said...

Debbie, thanks for the recommendation! I'll check Zebra out!

My favorite myth is probably Pysche and Cupid because it's the heroine's romance story rather than focusing on the hero.

Unknown said...

Virginia C, Thank you so much! And as for a historical comfort zone, Augustan Age Rome is the one that I feel most knowledgeable about. I'm terrified to leave it!

Unknown said...

Julie, I actually write with the computer, but I often take notes in pen, and I sign books and write letters to fans in pen whenever I can.

Anonymous said...

Stephanie congratulations. Your book sounds really good. What other books do you plan to write? Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

katsrus said...

Congrats on your new book. Love the cover. Your book sounds so good.
Sue B

Rachel498 said...

Congrats Stephanie! Poisoned Kisses sounds really great, and I like the cover.
Which part of a book do you enjoy writing the most? Beginning/middle/end? Thanks for stopping by!


jeanette8042 said...

Great interview and your book sounds great, especially since it incorporates mythology. I also LOVE the cover!


Kathleen said...

I love the idea of mythology in supernatural books. When I was younger I had a great computer game that taught me all about the gods and goddesses, and that sparked an interest in shows like "Hercules" and "Xena" simply for the Greek and Roman mythology. Haha we named our cats Apollo, Eros, and Zeus.

The point is, I loved mythology when I was younger, and I still love it. This looks like a great read :)


Unknown said...

Tore, the next book in the series is about a modern day Minotaur and the Sexy but mysterious Sphinx that he's fallen in love with.

Unknown said...

Rachel445, I'm going to say that I love writing the end most, because then I get to go back and edit, which is what I enjoy more than the first draft.

Unknown said...

Kathleen, you are a girl after my own heart! One of my cats is named Mercury!

Unknown said...

I read on my treadmill too! I helft even my largest books up there and walk. I wish I could find a way to read while mowing the lawn.

robin [at] intensewhisper [dot] com

Pam S (pams00) said...

Great Interview!

Poisoned Kisses sounds awesome. I am fascinated by mythology etc. and I am sure would be totally engrossed in the book.

I am also looking forward to learning more/seeing more on your historicals.

Is there any other genres you'd like to write in?

Pam S
gfc follower pams00
pams00 @ aol.com

Jean Viola Ryan said...

Hi Stephanie,

On my desk I have the little ankh you gave out at RWA Nationals.

Do you find it difficult to write in two different romance sub-genres? Both of you universes require so much research. How do you keep them separate?


Unknown said...

Ah, Jean, you melt me

Terry Kate said...

Hey Steph!

It was great to read your interview here. I got to see you as the writer instead of as a chatter on Diva's or FaceBook. I LOVE your cover - you lucky duck - it is hot!
I know the book will do great.

Hi Pat,
Thanks for the other end of this great interview. I really enjoyed it.

Terry Kate
Backseat Nightmares

jellybelly82158 said...

Thanks Stephanie for a great interview. This book really sounds good. I love reading about mythology.

jellybelly82158 at gmail dot com

Vickie said...

Now this is an intriguing premise. A hydra as the hero. I look forward to reading how you made that happen.
And I look forward to LILY OF THE NILE. Egyptian history has always fascinated me.

Congratulations on your first published novel.

Ladytink_534 said...

Has anything in the books ever surprised you? Something you hadn’t even considered happening happened? Is their any other kind of paranormal or mythical creatures you would like to write about?