Steph: First off, I’d like to thank Regina for having me today. Just a little about me: I was born in New Hampshire and raised with a wicked New England accent. Wanting a grand adventure, I joined the US Army when I was 18 and was overseas 7 years in Germany. It’s a beautiful country and my husband and I shared our first date in the city of Giessen – at Pizza Hut. I married a fair haired California boy in 1991 in a small city called Nykobig in Denmark. The adventure over, I now work for LAPD as a 911 dispatcher and have two boys, 8 and 4.
Regina: Stephanie, it’s so nice to have you here today. Can you tell us a little about your new release?
Steph: “Shadows and Light” is a story featured in the Borealis II Anthology which centers around a space station in the future. It’s a science fiction romance. Elijah Kess and Persephone Talon are sent to the Borealis to investigate the Uudon Trade. When they discover they have the same assignment, will their attraction help or hinder their mission?
Regina: What’s the inspiration behind the story?
Steph: Well, I was given the basic plot so I found inspiration in the little things. First, I wanted to participate in the anthology and write a science fiction romance because it was something I hadn’t tackled before. I was very enthusiastic about the project. Elijah is more biblically inspired. He’s my “light” in the story. He looks angelic with his blonde curly hair and blue eyes. Persephone is inspired by Greek mythology. There’s also a little Savvik in her, as she possesses telekinesis and telepathy. Korn, Persephone’s bar, symbolic of the underworld, was inspired by the lithium grunge rock movement. (Think “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana.)
Regina: How does this work relate to others you’ve written?
Steph: That’s a toughie! I’m a historical, paranormal junkie. It relates in that it has allowed me to be creative with the setting and in establishing Persephone’s background. It’s allowed my creativity to thrive.
Regina: Do you deliberately coordinate the geographical setting with your primary theme when you are writing?
Steph: I try. This time the setting was given to me so I had to build around that. The overall theme is “Shadows and Light” is trust. While most of life on the Borealis is in the shadows, there are shades of grey in most dealings. Trust is an absolute. It is either given or not. If given, it allows for the rare light on the Borealis.
Regina: Lots of writers have issues with conflicts. What was your process of developing and resolving the primary conflict in “Shadows and Light?”
Steph: The conflict in the story is centered around opposition. Black and White. Good Guys vs the enemy. There has to be an event where it pulls the opposition close so trust can be established. –wink. And there is. There’s a lot of action in the story.
Regina: You are an author experienced in series writing. Tell us how series writing differs from stand alone work. What are the pros and cons?
Steph: With series, the characters linger and the reader gets a sample of happy ever after for the previous couple in the series. In stand alone stories you don’t get that peek into HEA. You know the couple will be happy, but you don’t get a hint what their HEA entails.
The pros, in a business sense, is that series generally generate more money than a stand alone. Look at the Twilight series for example.
Regina: There’s a saying, “Write what you know.” What do you think of this? How does it apply or not apply to your work?
Steph: My earlier work is more settled in New England. I’m not afraid to write about European locales because I’d been to most of them. That said, “Shadows and Light” is on a space station in the future. Who could know about that? It’s the emotions, which an author knows about, that makes the connection for the reader. So now, it’s not so much about the setting and more about the emotions.
Regina: You’ve created many characters. Any favorites and why?
Steph: Mihai and Theresa Sigmaringen from “The Wolf’s Torment.” I’ve worked with them the most and I know them very intimately. Mihai has to grow up and accept some uncomfortable truths about himself. It’s not easy. Of course, I have a fond spot in my heart for Persephone. She’s got the best toys and can move objects with her mind. How cool is that?
Regina: What do you do to renew and refresh your creative energy?
Steph: I try to get as much sleep as I can.
Regina: Tell us about faith and evil in your work. How do you reconcile these two seemingly incongruous entities?
Steph: Some aspect of religion is always in my stories. Faith is a part of life and not to work it into my writing would do a character no justice. It’s always behind my character’s choices. Elijah, from Shadows and Light, believes in the Greater Power, and that is instilled deep within him. It motivates him to support the Rebellion wholeheartedly. In my Budapest Moon series, Hungary is a Catholic nation and you’ll see the characters in that religion. In the Moldavian Moon series, Romania is Orthodox so you’ll see that religion play out against the choices the characters make.
Regina: Many writers have discussed writing humorous scenes. What are your thoughts about creating humorous passages?
Steph: We all laugh, and so must our characters. If the humor is appropriate for the scene, I love including it.
Regina: How long have you been writing? What’s the most rewarding aspect? The most frustrating?
Steph: I’ve been writing about ten years now. The most rewarding is knowing that someone else enjoys the stories. In “Shadows and Light,” the character of Vivian is inspired by my Internet friend, Vivian Melendez who lives in Buffalo, NY. She’s been reading my writing from 2002 on up and while I’ve never met Vivian in person, I adore her. She enjoys my writing from her heart and that means everything to me.
The most frustrating? Not being able to write faster.
Regina: Do you belong to a writer’s group? Have you in the past?
Steph: I belong to RWA and EPIC, bu I don’t take advantage of their groups like I should. I have my beta readers and my support groups, but no writing groups.
Regina: What would be the best advice you could give a beginning writer?
Steph: Have patience. This world is full of instant gratification so patience is a dying art, but it’s essential for a writer to have.
Regina: Time for a quirky but interesting question: Who’s your favorite artist? Musician? First Lady?
Steph: My favorite artist is Monet. My favorite musicians are the Beatles and my favorite first lady is Eleanor Roosevelt.
Regina: What’s next for you writing-wise?
Steph: I’ve got a Christmas short story coming out in “A Christmas Collection, Stimulating” with Victory Tales Press. It releases on 15 NOV. It’s called “Christmas in Bayeux.” Aiden goes to France and the Beaches of Normandy to meet with Noel, an old friend. Can she mend his broken heart?
In DEC 2010, I’ve got a horror short story coming out in the Ethereal Gazette, issue 12, put out by Lake Fossil Press. It’s called “The Scorpion Temple” and it has a Lovecraftian influence. It’s under my pen name, SG Cardin.
In FEB 2011, I’ve got book 2 of the Budapest Moon series releasing with Desert Breeze Publishing called “The Count’s Lair.” Count Anton Varga, a werewolf, falls in love with a beautiful pianist, Lady Amelia Andrassy. I have a prequel to this called “Moonlight Sonata” which is a free read coming out with Desert Breeze in DEC 2010.
I have another free read coming out with Desert Breeze called “Heart of Moldavia” and this is an intro to the Moldavian Moon series and “The Wolf’s Torment.” Theresa reaches out to Mihai in a dream. They’ve never met.
Regina: Thank you so much for sharing with us. Good luck with your releases and please come back again.
Elijah Kess hated the stench of sulfur — and the space dock stunk of it. Other than that, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Two supply ships had just landed; one from Pith, and one marked with TPP symbols. Shadows refracted off his dark grey uniform. Beams of brilliant white light shined off his gold lieutenant rank square.
The hair on the back of his neck prickled. Something didn’t feel right. The air smelled off — the sulfur stench was thicker. The Borealis space station thrummed to the steady beat of business.
He glanced at the chronometer on his wrist. Thank The Greater Power it was time to go patrol the merchant area. He went to the personal access door and pressed his hand against the rectangular access panel.
“Lieutenant Elijah Kantor. Cleared,” came a metallic male voice. The door slid open with mechanical grace. He stepped through. Working deep under cover for the Rebellion, Elijah Kess had become Elijah Kantor. Fellow TPP Enforcer, Dax Hydron, waited for him.
“Hey, Kantor, ready to switch?”
“Yeah. The bay is clear.”
“The merchants are–”
“Get it off me!”
Elijah and Dax turned in the direction of the cry. A civilian dressed in a dark green overcoat ran past Korn, the latest bar to open on the main commerce level. He pushed several patrons to the ground as they exited. The civilian’s hair was stringy and greasy, his eyes bloodshot, and white foam spewed from the corner of his mouth.
“Bloody Hera! Uudon overdose?” asked Dax.
“Let’s hope he’s not contagious,” said Elijah. “Let’s go.”
Elijah took off at a sprint, Dax on his heels. The OD locked eyes with Elijah for a split second, then turned and ran. In that second, Elijah saw fear — primal fear. What could cause that?
His pulse rifle was attached to a suicide strap, but Elijah couldn’t fire it — not a good idea in a crowd of civilians. He slung it over his shoulder so the gun rested on his back. Civilians rushed to get out of the way. Elijah sidestepped the ones who had been shoved to the ground by the OD.
The OD slowed. Elijah pushed his legs to go faster, pumping his arms, keeping his eyes locked on his prey.
As the OD turned a corner, he shoved a woman right at Elijah. He took the extra second to push her away from him. “I’m sorry,” he muttered.
She nodded her head. Elijah sprinted off. That bastard was giving him a good chase.
Dax was three paces behind Elijah. The OD had collapsed. His breathing was labored, his eyes were blood red and white foam dribbled over his chin. A person in a dark cloak ripped off the OD’s sleeve. An obsidian patch, two inches in diameter, covered the OD’s bicep.
“Stop!” cried Elijah.
Startled, the figure bolted up. Elijah drew in a breath and took off in a sprint. The figure began to run away from the OD, but Elijah was faster. He tackled the figure — a woman, from the curves of her body. The patch went flying out of her hand.
Elijah reached for her wrists, pinning her against the floor. He could feel her body underneath his — warm, perfectly shaped. The cloak fell to the side, partially revealing her face.
She had the warmest chocolate brown eyes he’d ever seen. Round and wide — yet full of apprehension. She had thick raven-black hair, long, down to her mid-back. Her olive-toned complexion was flawless. For a second, he hungered to run his hands through the luscious mane of her hair.
“Who are you?” he asked.
She thrust her body toward his, taking his mouth with a kiss.
Stunned, Elijah allowed her lips to caress his. They were warm, sensual, tasting of honey.
Her voice in his head startled him.
Here’s a link to the Shadows & Light Story Teaser on You Tube:
Goodie Time: Leave a response and I’ll be back tomorrow, 3 NOV to pick two people to receive an autographed postcard of the Borealis II cover.
Answer this question: What is your favorite Science Fiction TV series and tell me why. I’ll pick a winner to receive a free copy of the Borealis II Anthology.
The Borealis II Anthology is available for Kindle, Nook, Sony Ebook Reader, All Romance Books and at Desert Breeze Publishing.
Here’s a link to the Borealis II Anthology on the Desert Breeze Site: http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-121/Borealis-Space-Anthology-Stephanie/Detail.bok
You can find me on the web at:
Romance Under the Moonlight
BE MUSED, APRIL 2010
THE HUNGARIAN – MAY 2010 Desert Breeze Publishing