Thursday, October 7, 2010

Interview with Author Stephanie Draven

When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?

My nature as a storyteller came out early. I used to gather kids around me at the lunch table in kindergarten and regale them with stories, otherwise known as tall tales, or lies. I just liked holding those kids in my thrall and would say anything to keep them entertained! As I got older and expressed a desire to be a writer, my mother very wisely warned me against such an impractical profession. I listened to her and became a lawyer instead, but ultimately, I’m not as wise as my mother and decided that I would try to make money the most difficult way I could possibly find to do it--writing fiction.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

My husband has supported me every step of the way and I can tell you without the slightest bit of exaggeration that he believed that I’d break into publishing even when I gave up hope. Not long before I got my agent, I was offered a very good job working for a U.S. Congressman. It was my husband who told me repeatedly that I didn’t have to give up on my dream of being a writer, even for a great job like that one. I owe everything to him. He’s my inspiration.

How do you create the characters in your books?  Are they based on people you know?

My characters haven’t been based on anyone that I know, but I sometimes steal traits from my friends and family, or from television characters, so that I can better envision them as a person in my head. When I was writing Poisoned Kisses, I modelled Marco after Goran Visjnic and forced myself to watch him in several videos for hours at a time to study his movements and his voice. It was really trying, I assure you. I still have nightmares.

What is the one book you think everyone should read?

Oh, gosh. One book? I suppose I’d have to say The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. It certainly shaped my thinking about the world and it seems no less relevant today than it was when it was written.

If you weren’t a writer, what be your profession?

I’d like to think that I’d be working for a congressman!

If you could trade places with anyone in the world, past or present, real or fiction, who would it be and why?

I think everyone has their problems, so its difficult to imagine that I’d want to take on someone else’s, but if Angelina Jolie didn’t have all those children, I’d probably want to trade places with her for a few days. I’d like to know what it would be like to be a fabulously wealthy sex symbol with a generous heart who gets to go to bed with Brad Pitt at night!

If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have 3 things, what would they be?

Oh, I’m not really the island roughing-it kind of person. If I can’t have a hammock, a frosty drink, and my Nook...I’m not interested.

What is your favorite movie of all time?

I’m not sure I can pick only one, but if I’m hard-pressed, I’d have to say the old Cleopatra movie with Elizabeth Taylor. I’ve seen it several times, and I love it more every time I watch it. (If I can cheat and add more, however, I’d also pitch in Gone with the Wind, Braveheart, Dangerous Liaisons, Lion in Winter, and The Color Purple.)

What is the one thing that you want all your fans to know?

That authors are desperately in need of validation, so if you love our work, please let us know! Even if you only like it, let us know. Heck, if you can tell us why you hate it, it’s still better than being ignored :P

If you could invite 5 people to dinner, who would they be and why?

Living or dead? Wait, don’t answer that, because the truth is that I can’t invite anyone to dinner unless I order take-out. Given my writing deadlines, I haven’t cooked in months!

If you could use a time machine, would you go to the past or check out the future?

An easy question, at last! I confess to holding out very little hope for the future, so I would definitely take a trip back to the past. There’s so many things in history that I’d love to witness first hand, and people I’d love to ask, “What were you thinking?”

About Stephanie:

Stephanie Draven 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.

Stephanie has always been a storyteller. In elementary school, she channeled Scheherazade, weaving a series of stories to charm children into sitting with her each day at the lunch table. When she was a little older, Stephanie scared all the girls at her sleepovers with ghost stories.

She should have known she was born to hold an audience in her thrall, but Stephanie resisted her writerly urges and graduated from college with a B.A. in Government. Then she went to Law School, where she learned how to convincingly tell the tallest tales of all!

A longtime lover of ancient lore, Stephanie enjoys re-imagining myths for the modern age. She doesn’t believe that true love is ever simple or without struggle so her work tends to explore the sacred within the profane, the light under the loss and the virtue hidden in vice. She counts it amongst her greatest pleasures when, from her books, her readers learn something new about the world or about themselves. Stephanie also writes historical fiction as Stephanie Dray and has a series of forthcoming novels from Berkley Books featuring Cleopatra’s daughter.


Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book for free.  All opinions expressed are 100% mine.  If you purchase a book using my Amazon or Barnes and Noble link, I will receive a small portion of the purchase price.

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