Chatting with author, Stephanie Draven (hint...win authographed books and other goodies)
Hello. I want to thank you for taking the time to answer some questions.
Thanks so much for having me here as your guest!
I read that you have always been a story teller, even scaring your class mates in school. Can you share who some of your favorite story tellers are?
I have a favorite author in just about every genre, so I won’t name them all, but can I be cheeky and name Homer? He really did capture the ancient Greek stories that inspired my new Mythica series for Harlequin!
What is your favorite movie?
Oh, wow. Do I have to pick just one? Well, I won’t! You can’t make me! Let me just rattle off a few of them. My favorite movies are Gone with the Wind and that splashy Hollywood version of Cleopatra starring Elizabeth Taylor. I’m also partial to Dangerous Liaisons and Dangerous Beauty. You might think these movies have nothing to do with the paranormal romance that I write, but they all have a few things in common...including bad girl heroines!
What is the difference between mythology versus paranormal?
Paranormal Romance is a genre label made up by marketing people to help readers find the kind of books they want to read--namely, love stories with magic or futuristic elements. Mythology, by contrast, is something you find in all genres of fiction, and sometimes in non-fiction too, though people would never admit it.
Mythology comprises our oldest tales--and versions of those old stories come up in all kinds of unexpected ways. There are psychologists who believe we embody some of these myths in our own lives. So, I’d say that while almost all paranormal romance will embody mythology at some point, not all mythological tales are love stories, or translate well into paranormal romance.
What first interested you in ancient lore?
trangely, I can remember exactly when it happened. I was in fifth grade. A perfect student. I always paid attention, and raised my hand, and otherwise annoyed my classmates with precocious overachieving behavior. But one day I stumbled upon a book of Greek Myths in the library and started reading it while waiting for class. I became so fascinated by these tales...stories about doomed lovers and trickster gods and horrific monsters...that I didn’t realize that class had even begun. When the teacher called on me, I was so annoyed that she’d interrupted me. This prompted her to yell at me and draw a big red F on my worksheet, which I found totally humiliating, but in retrospect, I think it was worth it!
Please share with readers the concept for your latest book, Poisoned Kisses.
The central premise of all the books in the Mythica series is that war can turn men into monsters--sometimes quite literally. Marco Kaisaris was a soldier serving on a peacekeeping mission in Rwanda when he was so traumatized by the genocide there, that he became a modern day hydra. Like the ancient monster, Marco’s blood is deadly poison. If you cut off Marco’s head, a new one won’t grow back, but he can take on the appearance of anyone who has ever hurt him, in effect, making him a shapeshifter with a thousand “heads.”
He’s used his powers to become a notorious international arms dealer and our heroine is determined to assassinate him before he can sell any more guns, but when she discovers that he’s not the monster she thinks he is, it changes everything. She ends up falling in love with the only man in the world who could kill her.
One of your lead characters in the book, Kyra is a nymph. What is so special about nymphs?
Most paranormal romance creatures have a male bent to them. Werewolves and vampires generally encapsulate the idea of male hypersexuality, the man’s inner monster unleashed. Nymphs are my favorite paranormal creature because they’re an embodiment of feminine power...a mythological representation of women.
Now, in ancient mythology, the portrait if nymphs isn’t all positive. They’re wild, over-emotional, fickle, and extremely dangerous to mortals. But they’re also enchanting, and natural--most of them are connected with trees or special rivers or sacred places. It fascinated me to learn that there were other, darker, kinds of nymphs who helped guide souls to the underworld. When I learned about lampades, I couldn’t resist making Kyra into one of those elusive Nymphae Avernales.
How would you define Kyra and Marco relationship?
Marco and Kyra are reflections of one another. As a nymph, she can’t let go of the things she loves. She can’t let go of the past, she can’t let go of old hurts, she can’t let go of her fears of abandonment, she can’t let go of the notion that she’s supposed to spend her life guiding souls, or that she must fulfill some grand destiny to destroy a hydra. Her obsessive nature has helped her to do a lot of good in the world, but it’s also been painfully self-destructive.
Similarly, Marco has made his entire life about keeping a debt he thinks he owes, even if it means turning himself into a monster to do it. They’re two people who have lost themselves, and who can only find themselves again in each other.
Can you tell us what your next book will be about?
My next installment of the Mythica series will be a sexy little novella entitled Siren Song, about a modern-day singer who is about to learn that she’s not the only one with a killer voice! This time next year, my full-length book about a modern day Minotaur and his Sphinx girlfriend will be released. I’m having a heck of a time coming up with a title for that one. My editor has nixed Seduction of the Minotaur...she wants me to come up with something that hints more at a darkly tortured hero.
Any last comments to the readers?
Yes, can you help me brainstorm good titles? Also, I wanted to alert everybody to my virtual launch party in which I’m giving away some pretty neat things to subscribers to my newsletter.