I am so glad you could join us here at RomanceJunkies. To start, will you please tell us a little bit about your current projects?
Stephanie: Thanks so much for having me. IT STINGS SO SWEET is a novel in three parts, about wild young women in the Roaring Twenties who experience a sexual awakening that changes their lives. It’s filthy, fun, and forceful. My favorite kind of book.
When was the moment that you knew you had to be a writer?
Stephanie: Probably the first time I finished telling a story to my kindergarten class only to be scolded for having made the whole thing up. The minute I figured out that you could make money by lying–as long as you called it fiction–I wanted to sign up!
Every writer dreams of getting “the call”. What were you doing when yours came? Who got to hear the good news first?
Stephanie: I was throwing up. No, seriously, hear me out. The long version is here. Having come down with the stomach flu, I was dehydrated and curled up in a shivering heap at the end of my couch in a pair of fuzzy slippers, when my agent called to say she’d sold my first book. I assumed I was delirious when she said that HQN Nocturne wanted to buy my Mythica series. I may have said something very eloquent like, “Wait, what?” Then there may have been some shrieking and then I may have murmured something like, “I think I have to throw up.”
Who gave you the one piece of writing advice that sticks with you to this day?
Stephanie: Fellow author Maureen McHugh once told me that there was no such thing as writer’s block. There was only the inability to allow yourself to write crap. I have since realized that my unwillingness to fill in a blank page always stems from my not wanting to have a false start. I’ve learned to get over it and just pitch lots of extra words. With Robert and Sophie’s story, I originally started it in a speakeasy during a police raid, since the 1920s were a time of Prohibition. That didn’t work out very well, so I pitched about 20k words. I may revisit them with another 1920s story, however…
Describe the “perfect” hero. What about the “perfect” hero for you?
Stephanie: The perfect hero is a man who has patient tolerance for the heroine’s flaws, who is strong when she needs him to be, and vulnerable when she needs him to be. He’s a man who can provide for her, but will support her in providing for herself. A man who knows when to be the boss, when to be a partner, and when to defer to his woman. Oh, and he’s hella hot in bed. That goes without saying.
What are some of your favorite pastimes? Do you have any hobbies or collections?
Stephanie:Writing is an all-absorbing passion for me. Whenever I have free time, I want to research something else to turn into a story. This is the fun part of writing to me!
What has been your biggest adventure to date?
Stephanie:A few years back I went to South America with friends and I not only swam in an underground river but also climbed halfway up a Mayan pyramid. It was incredible.
If your fairy godmother waved her wand and whisked you away to the location of your choice, which place would you choose, and why?
Stephanie:Rome. So much of our history is there. I want to walk in the steps of people who came before us and marvel that they too, touched those stones.
When it comes to food, are you the adventurous type who will try anything once, or do you prefer to stick to tried and true foods and recipes?
Stephanie:Adventurous! I love to try new foods. And I have some weird favorites, too. I love tripe in a hot red sauce…
What is your favorite season? What do you love about it?
Stephanie:Springtime. Everything is new again. It feels like a season of second chances.
What is the one modern convenience that you cannot do without?
Stephanie:An electric tea kettle. Which is hilarious, because I fought my husband on getting one for years. I didn’t see the point. Why can’t I just boil the water for tea? Why can’t I just put the mug into the microwave? Best purchase I ever made.
What is this romance writer’s idea of the “ideal romantic evening”?
Stephanie:A delicious dinner in a beautiful venue, tropical, perhaps. Followed up by some reading time in a bed by the ocean, made up with crisp white sheets. And perhaps a little 1920s Jazz music playing in the background.
How do you describe yourself? How does your family and friends describe you?
Stephanie:I describe myself as an author who writes very smart books for very bad girls. My friends would probably describe me as totally absent-minded, frazzled, and occasionally overbearing. Imagine what my enemies might say!
And lastly, no interview of a writer would be complete without this question: what is your favorite comfort food?
Stephanie:Ice cream. Is there any other answer? (And, ironically, this subject comes up at the end of my 1920s erotic romance. Read it to find out what ice cream has to do with love, romance, and marriage.)
STEPHANIE DRAVEN is a bestselling, award-winning and RITA-nominated author of historical, paranormal, and contemporary romance. Her newest project, IT STINGS SO SWEET is a collection of 1920s historical erotic romances that celebrate sex, women, and the Jazz Age. Her most recent novel with Entangled Publishing, IN BED WITH THE OPPOSITION, is a mix of humor and sex-appeal set against the backdrop of a zany political campaign inspired by the career of Baltimore legend William Donald Schaefer. Both novels are fun departures from her more serious Greek mythology-inspired series for Harlequin’s Nocturne line, the debut novel of which was nominated by Romantic Times for Best First Series. The series has earned critical praise for its originality and awareness of social issues and garnered the 2012 SWIRL award for excellence in multi-cultural romance literature as well as the CataRomance’s Reviewers Choice Award. Writing historical fiction about Cleopatra’s daughter as Stephanie Dray, she won the Golden Leaf Award for SONG OF THE NILE. Stephanie is currently a denizen of Baltimore, that city of ravens and purple night skies. She lives there with her favorite nocturnal creatures–three scheming cats and a deliciously wicked husband. And when she is not busy with dark domestic rituals, she writes her books. StephanieDraven.com
They vibrated with incendiary Jazz. They teemed with sexual abandon. The Twenties were roaring and the women–young, open, rebellious, and willing–set the pace and pushed the limits with every man they met…
In the aftermath of a wild, liquor-soaked party, three women from very different social classes are about to live out their forbidden desires.
Society girl, Nora Richardson’s passionate nature has always been a challenge to her ever-patient husband. Now he wants out of the marriage and she has just this one night to win him back. The catch? He wants to punish her for her bad behavior. Nora is offended by her husband’s increasingly depraved demands, but as the night unfolds, she discovers her own true nature and that the line between pain and pleasure is very thin indeed.
Meanwhile, Clara Cartwright, sultry siren of the silent screen, is introduced to a mysterious WWI Flying Ace. If Clara, darling of the scandal sheets, knows anything, it’s men. And she’s known plenty. But none of them push her boundaries like the aviator, who lures her into a ménage with a stranger in a darkened cinema then steals her jaded heart.
Working class girl Sophie O’Brien has more important things on her mind than pleasures of the flesh. But when her playboy boss, the wealthy heir to the Aster family fortune, confronts her with her diary of secret sex fantasies, she could die of shame. To her surprise, he doesn’t fire her; instead, he dares her to re-enact her boldest fantasies and Sophie is utterly seduced.
One party serves as a catalyst of sexual awakening. And in an age when anything goes, three women discover that anything is possible…