Tuesday, June 5, 2012

INTERVIEW: Stephanie Nelson

Stephanie Nelson is an author who never gave up on finding her story and expressing it. She’s now published two novels, a short story, and even started a new series! She’s gotten more out of her writing journey than she ever expected. I’ve reviewed her two current novels, Craved and Deceived, and anxiously await more of her work!

Stephanie’s cool enough to sit down and answer some questions for me, despite my having been a little hyper when asking them! Take a peek into her life by reading what she had to say below. She’s even included some awesome advice for aspiring authors!

What inspired the Gwen Sparks series? Why witches, vampires, and shifters? Will we see other supernaturals in future books?
I'd been writing a little bit every once in a while four years ago. I'd start stories and give up on them. I always knew I wanted my main character to be a witch because I've always found them fascinating. I just hadn't found my exact story yet. It was October, around Halloween when it finally came to me. It sounds cheesy, but I was decorating my house and had a witch and vampire yard stakes. As I positioned them the Gwen Sparks story formed in my head. I started writing that night. I love all of the supernatural creatures and knew that I wanted to write about a lot of them. There will be more supernatural characters in the future books.

Having read both Gwen Sparks books and the short story about Dorian in Cupid Painted Blind, I have to ask if Dorian will manage to wear Gwen down. Will Aiden still be around in Coveted? I have to admit I might actually like to see a little competition between Aiden and Dorian *wiggles eyebrows*, as long as Dorian wins *giggle*.
I can't say if Dorian will wear Gwen down. He's worn her down a little bit but I can't say if they'll get to the relationship status. Gwen has a lot to filter through with what happened in Deceived. Aiden will be in Coveted as will Micah and Wyatt (the werewolves from book 1). I can say that Dorian and Aiden will be competing, coveting you might say, for the same thing.

Do you have a set number of books you're writing for Gwen Sparks?
I don't. I really like longer series. I like to see the characters put in different scenarios and see how they handle them. As of right now, I have 4 books plotted and planned, but I know there will be at least 2 more after that. If Gwen and the gang keep inspiring me after that then I will continue to write their stories.

I know you're working on book 1 in the Anna Avery series, Taming the Wolf. What kinds of things can we expect out of that one?
The Anna Avery series is a bit different than the Gwen books. Werewolves and all the other creatures are in hiding. The humans don't know they exist. Anna is having difficulty dealing with being turned into something she thought was a myth, and the amped up feelings she has for the alpha, Adam. In this book, Anna is having dreams about murdering humans. These people just happen to turn up dead and Anna is the prime suspect.

Do you plan out your books or are you a pantster?
I'm a complete pantster. Planning books just doesn't work for me. I think you lose the element of surprise when you write by an outline. When I'm writing the only thing I know is what new characters will come into play, who they are and what the main plot is. I never have a clue as to how the books will end until I'm writing the last few chapters.

Are there things that help you write or stay inspired, such as music?
Music is my number 1 inspiration. The emotion of music is a great muse for my writing. If I'm writing an action scene I use the aggression of alternative music, just like if I'm writing a sensual scene, I'll listen to R&B.

In addition to your writing, you also do some graphics work. I assume you do all of your own cover art and the details for the chapter headings and such, but you also do work for others. How did you get started in that? Are only the covers you yourself design available, or do you take requests?
I do. When I started writing I had no clue about cover art and chapter headings etc. I hired someone to do my first cover, but my creativity was also peaked. I'd heard about Photoshop but never used the program. I ended up buying it and played around with it, eventually getting good enough to design my own covers. My author friends liked them and started asking if I'd make their covers. I finally decided that I enjoyed doing it so much that I'd offer them to other authors. I make premade covers, but I also will do customized covers.

When was it that you got that feeling of "holy crap, I'm actually successful"?
I never feel like I'm overly successful. I like to keep my feet firmly on the ground and appreciate still looking at this job as being surreal. It's amazing to hear people have read my books and actually enjoyed them. The first time I felt like I'd accomplished something was when Craved reached #1 on the Amazon's best seller's list and #5 on Barnes & Noble's. This job surprises and amazes me every day and I think that's what makes me love it so much.

What's your favorite part about both your graphic artistry and being an author?
My favorite part of designing covers is seeing one of them on Amazon or B&N. My favorite part of being an author is connecting with like-minded people and the freedom it offers. Since I'm Indie, I don't have to write what a publisher tells me. I'm free to set my own deadlines and do what I want with my books.

I know you're very supportive of other writers. What do you think is the most important advice you can give?
The best advice I can give other authors is to have confidence in what you're writing and write every single day. Writing is a habit you have to form. The more you practice the better you'll become.

Can you share a couple tid bits about yourself completely unrelated to your work?
Sure. I am the youngest of four. I'm terrified of the ocean, mainly because of the sharks. I played volleyball all through school. I have been married for almost ten years to a man whom I still believe is too-good-to-be-real. I absolutely love the television shows: The Big Bang Theory, Psych, Supernatural and The Vampire Dairies. I enjoy fishing in the summer, but I prefer autumn and winter most.

Stephanie resides in the Midwest with her husband and their furry children. When she manages to pull herself away from the computer, she enjoys traveling, fishing, playing board games and spending time with her family.

Find her here.

Craved Now Available!

Gwen Sparks just wants to live a peaceful life in the supernatural town of Flora, but from the moment she read about the first murdered witch, all hope of peace was abandoned. Possessing the rare ability to read the memories of dead, she volunteers to help catch the culprit behind the string of drained witches. Gwen has to team up with the one man who broke her heart, deal with a ghost who pulls her into the deathly realm at will, and a fight off the advances of sexy but frustrating vampire who not only craves what runs through her veins—he wants her heart.

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