Denise: First, let me thank you again for taking the time to answer these questions. If there is anything you want to skip, I understand. Also, if there is any information you’d like to get out there please share it with me and I will figure out the best way to present it to my readers.
I’m presenting my questions with the assumption that my readers don’t know anything about you or your process.
Denise: How do ideas come to you? In the shower, in a dream, prompted by experiences in your life or people you’ve met, purely out of the mysteries of imagination, etc.?
Stephanie: I’ve never had to look for story ideas. My imagination automatically creates story worlds and fictional characters to amuse me. Lol! Maybe it’s a dissatisfaction with the real world, a kind of rebellion of my Pollyanna self that needs to create the kinds of places and people and stories where there’s always a happy ending, love conquers all and the good guys win every time.
Deep down I rebel against the injustice and cruelty of the real world and my stories are the antidote for that. Especially this year!
Denise: I love that! Especially in the world we are living in today, it is needed. On another note, I always find it very interesting that you include your word targets in your newsletters. Can you give us some other insight into your writing process? For example, do you outline a story first before you start writing it? Are the characters in a story fully formed in your mind when you begin, or do you find they develop and change along with the story? Do you write the story in order as it unfolds, or do scenes come to you sometimes out of order?
Stephanie: I truly WISH that I could outline the story first and that my characters came to me fully formed! That would be awesome and make writing a whole lot easier! Lol! But no. I start with a premise or a glimpse of a character, still shadowy but enticing. Then I write. Then I get stuck after a few chapters and need to plot some more and work out some details—especially in the romantic suspense stories. I try to outline. Every time I start to outline, sketching out the next scene or plot point, I automatically go into storytelling mode and I’m writing in-scene.
But rather than fight it, this is how I write. In the beginning, sketches of what happens next are followed by fleshed-out scenes. I repeat this, often out of order—often skipping to the end to write the last scene before I even get halfway through the story—just so I know where I’m going. Then when I get all the chapters sketched and half is written, I go back and fill in the parts that are only sketched.
It’s a crazy process, but it works for my style of creativity. I figure since I’ve written and published over 5 books now, why mess with it?
That’s not to say I don’t always try to improve my process and writing craft. In fact, I plan to add a round of revisions for layering and fine-tuning on my next book.
Denise: What about your physical writing process? Pen and paper, post-it notes, Laptop, desktop, notecards, wall charts … do you have a usual way of working? Should we picture you writing in a home office or on the dining room table? Do you like to write in pajamas or sweats or blue jeans?
Stephanie: It’s all on the laptop in word documents for me. The other stuff, notes on papers, etc. ends up getting lost. I have a recliner aimed at sliders to my deck overlooking the lake where I sit most mornings and afternoons to write. In the evenings I’ll lay on the couch with the laptop propped against my knees to add more words. It works best for me to get 2-3 writing sessions in a day rather than one straight marathon of writing. I won’t say I’ve never worn pajamas, but usually, it’s my regular clothes—jeans and a sweater these days.
Denise: I do the same! Most, if not all writing is done on my laptop for FromInHere. Can you tell us one of your own favorite books that you have written?
Stephanie: It’s like picking a favorite child! Lol! Kidding—actually, I do have favorites, but they change with time because I usually enjoy what I’m writing currently most. My latest favorite is He Has It All, a Boston Brawlers hockey romance, and my latest series. Before that, it was Playing for Love from my Playing football romance series, and before that, it was Beachcomber Gone from my Beachcomber Investigations series—or Beachcomber Trouble. Lots of faves from that 12-book series Lol! Sorry—guess that was more than one favorite…
Denise: What do you like to read in your free time? Can you tell us about a couple of favorite books that other authors have written?
Stephanie: I’ve been reading/listening to lots of sports and new adult romance these days since that’s what I’m into writing. I love anything by Elle Kennedy and L.J. Shen.
Denise: I believe all of your stories are contemporary. Would you ever consider writing a historical romance or some other genre? If so, what period might you consider for the setting?
Stephanie: Writing a historical would be a huge challenge for me, requiring more detail than my writing style usually lends itself to—plus I don’t have the expertise and it would take a ton of research. But, if I did, it would be Regency Romance hands down because I LOVE reading them. I didn’t mention Loretta Chase before as one of my favorite authors, but she absolutely rocks! As for another genre, I absolutely plan to write a thriller series one of these days. I even have the hero already sketched out—and named. Nick Fairchild. You heard it here first!
Denise: Wow, cannot wait to read that one. Thanks for the sneak peek! Talking about upcoming books and the writing process, if you ever deal with writer’s block, do you have a way of usually shaking it off?
Stephanie: Not exactly. I’ve gone a few days here and there, not writing when I think I should, but those are mainly incubation days where I need my brain to figure story things out. I find I usually need a short thinking period for each book as part of my writing process. Unless I have a tight deadline—then I write no matter what. For me, deadlines are the best cure for writer’s block! Lol!
Denise: I’d have to agree, anything a deadline rolls around, my work is getting done one way or another. Besides books, would you share a few of your favorites …
Stephanie: Of course! Here are some of my favorites:
- Breakfast – Avacado omelet
- Snack – Dove peanut butter-filled chocolate
- Holiday – Christmas!
- Color- Sapphire blue
- Ice cream flavor- Pistachio
- Type of cookie or biscuit- Homemade Peanut butter cookies
- Beverage – Ice Cold Water
- How do you take your tea or coffee? Decaf
- Music style or artist? 70’s rock
- Dogs, cats or birds? Kitty-cats all the way!
- Sports team – UConn Huskies Women’s Basketball team! Yay!
Denise: Love all of those, especially your favorite snack, yum! Okay now back to books, how many stories do you work on at one time?
Stephanie: Usually one. I tried two at once—only once! Lol!
Denise: Do you consider the demographics of your readers when you create a story or does the story come first and the promotional efforts later?
Stephanie: I think of my readers in terms of what they enjoy in a romance and where that overlaps what I enjoy writing. I love romance and sports and so I chose to write sports romance. That being said, I made sure to read lots of popular ones so I could make sure I’m giving the readers what they want and expect in a sports romance.
*SECRET: I love football more than I love hockey, but I’m writing hockey romance now because I know readers enjoy them most.
Denise: Is there anything else you would like us to know about you or your books?
Stephanie: I’m passionate about the HEA and giving a positive emotional experience to readers even if there are a few tears along the way, and I’m passionate about always improving my craft and my stories.
Also, I LOVE interacting with readers and getting to know them, so write me anytime! I will reply!
Denise: Stephanie, this has been wonderful getting to know you and your work better. Thank you for all the work you do, all the happiness you facilitate with readers and your very kind support of my blog website. ❤ www.frominhere.com
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