Four-time RITA Award nominee and Golden Heart Award winner Stephanie Rowe is an award-winning and national bestselling author of paranormal romance, and has written more than twenty-five novels. Stephanie has charmed reviewers with her unique blend of humor and otherworldly magic. She lives outside Boston, Massachusetts, where she is working on Book 3 in the Soulfire Series, Hold Me If You Can (January 2011). For more information, please visit http://www.stephanierowe.com.

PonyTails (PT): What gave you the idea for the Soulfire series? Especially, Death’s fascination with Cupid and love.

Stephanie Rowe (SR): My goal with the Soulfire series was to create a story that took the paranormal genre and twisted it into new, unpredictable directions. I wanted to surprise the reader, by creating a powerful, sexy story about the triumph of love in the most unusual of circumstances. For example, the dark, alpha tortured hero is deliciously yummy, but I wanted to do something more. I wanted to give these guys an unexpectedly soft side that torments them as much as it gives them peace. Each warrior in this series has his own special talent, one that he’s embarrassingly addicted to for his mental well-being, be it knitting, cross-stitching or flower arranging. I wanted to show that a man can be a bad ass warrior, and still tap into his gentle nature without losing that which makes him so powerful and appealing. As for Death, I wanted to create a bad guy that was compelling and delicious in a way that the reader would never expect. I adore Death, and I wanted the reader to as well. I modeled him based on Satan, who was the villain in my Immortally Sexy series. He got the most fan mail, and everyone wanted to see his happily ever after, even though he was, of course, Satan. With Death, I wanted to create a similarly compelling character that you love and hate at the same time.

PT: When you do a series, do you try and keep all the books with a similar tone or do you vary that depending on the plot and characters?

SR: When I’m writing a series, the tone stays relatively similar throughout, but the tone really generates from the characters, so a book may feel a little different depending on whose story is being told. The most important aspect to storytelling is to let the characters’ truths drive the story.

PT: Do you plan your stories or do you just put pen to paper and see what happens?

SR: I do extensive planning. It usually takes a few weeks, and about 80 pages of brainstorming notes before I’m ready to write. My actual outline doesn’t have that many plot points, but I put a lot of thoughts on paper to help hone my idea and characters before I start writing.

PT: What are your go to resources when you write? Favorite books, websites, technology, etc?

SR: It depends on what I’m writing about. I will usually google whatever question I have and I will look at a number of different sites until I am satisfied with my info. One of my sites I can’t live without is dictionary.com. I use both the dictionary and thesaurus functions on that website. I also keep my handy baby name book beside me so I can name or rename characters with the perfect name for them.

PT: You write in multiple genres; Paranormal, Romantic Suspense, Contemporary, Chic Lit, Young Adult and Middle Grade. What is your favorite genre to write and is there one that you want to try in the future?

SR: I enjoy them all, actually! I wrote a middle grade in January and a contemporary last month, along with writing the Soulfire series. I like to go back and forth, and I have so many ideas in all the genres that I can’t even write fast enough to get them all on paper!

PT: What challenges do you face when writing in multiple genres? Is it hard to create a fan base?

SR: I think the toughest part is when I am finishing a book and then start brainstorming a new book that is in a different genre. Sometimes it is really hard to get myself out of the mindset of the book I was working on, but once I start to gain momentum, then it’s all good, and I’m so happy to be able to challenge myself with something new. Creating a fan base is definitely an issue. If an author writes under different names, it can be a lot of work to maintain a presence in both names, but if an author writes under one name, it can be a little risky to keep readers happy. I do both, so I have plenty of challenges!

PT: You won the Golden Heart in 2002, and have been a RITA finalist 4 times. Have those accolades affected how you approach your writing?

SR: They have been very helpful from a self-confidence point of view. There are plenty of wonderful books that don’t get nominated for those awards, so failing to be a finalist doesn’t mean that the books aren’t wonderful. But the competition to final is so tough, that if a book finals, the odds are high that there is something about that book that is really compelling. On those days when I feel like I can’t do anything right, I will remind myself that I couldn’t have finalled all those times if I wasn’t doing something right. So, it’s a good boost to hang onto when the going gets rough!

PT: If you were a writer entering the industry today, what is the most important advice you’d give yourself?

SR: To write, write, write, read, read, read, and go to RWA conferences and learn, learn, learn. And, to never give up. I wrote 18 books before I sold, so it’s never too late! I would also recommend that authors don’t spend years honing one book, but to put it aside when it’s finished and start a new one. Starting fresh is the only way to keep growing as a writer, no matter how much you love that book you’ve been working on.

Thank you to Stephanie for answering the questions and to Danielle Jackson at Sourcebooks Casablanca for setting up this blog tour.

Sourcebooks Casablanca has generously donated 2 copies of Touch If You Dare for a giveaway. This giveaway is open to US and Canada residents only. Please fill out the form at the end of the post. I will close the sign up on Monday July 18, 2011 at 11:59pm EDT. I will use Random.org to select the winner and will announce the winner here on Tuesday!

About Touch If You Dare:

He’s just about ready to explode…

Jarvis Swain is fast turning into a hate machine, and if that happens, the whole world is doomed. Unless he can get Death’s sexy assistant Reina Fleming to help him…

She’s in desperate need of a badass warrior on a mission…

When Death presents Reina with a dreadful ultimatum, Reina knows she needs to call in someone ruthless, powerful, and confident…

Jarvis Swain is the warrior Reina needs at her back, and she’s got the magic touch that ameliorates his dark side. But the two of them together are one heck of a volatile combination…

If you click the book image it will take you to my review of Touch If You Dare.

Touch If You Dare is available from Amazon in Print and Kindle editions. Also from Barnes And Noble.

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