I’d like to thank Regina for having me on her blog today. I love visiting Regina’s blog because she’s such a sweet hostess. And she lives in New England. *wink
Just a little about me: I was born and raised in Manchester, NH. When I was 18, this New England Patriot fan joined the US Army for a great adventure and spent 7 years overseas in Germany. I met a fair-haired California boy and we were married in Denmark in 1991. Little odd fact: I went to Berlin in 1988, before the fall of the wall. Now, the adventure over, I work for LAPD as a 911 Operator.
RA: Hi, Stephanie! Happy Holidays and Congratulations on your new release! Could you tell us a little bit about it?
STEPH: Happy Holidays, Regina! “Christmas in Bayeux” is an international contemporary romance. Aiden Seward lost his parents while in Iraq. The military released him, but now Aiden is emotionally lost so he goes to Bayeux, France. Bayeux is home to the American World War I & II cemetery. He hopes to reconcile his loss by visiting the cemetery. He also meets with Noel Rousseau, a woman who stayed with his family as a foreign exchange student. Will Noel help heal his heart?
RA: What was the inspiration behind this work?
STEPH: I wanted to write a Christmas story for Victory Tales Press. Once Becky said “okay,” I had to shape it up. I decided to go contemporary and go international. I love Mona Risk’s international contemporaries with Cerridwen Press so I took inspiration from that.
RA: How does this work relate to other works you’ve written?
STEPH: It’s a romance. As usual, it varies. I’ve written historical, paranormal, and sci-fi. The only link between the genres is the romance.
RA: What role, if any did your personal memories play in creating this Christmas story?
STEPH: In 1988 I had a chance to visit the small French town of Lembach. I remember walking around the town, getting stopped (I was in uniform) and being thanked for America’s service in World War II. When I went to eat at a local café, everyone was friendly, kind, and so happy to see me trying to speak French. I’d like to think that Lembach visit resonates in my current story.
RA: Did the tone and theme of this work relate to any other of your works? How?
STEPH: I’d like to think the theme is finding oneself, learning about oneself. The theme is echoed in “The Hungarian” as Katherine goes on an adventure to find out the kind of inner strength she’s made of.
RA: 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: It definitely applied here. I had 3 years high school French, so I was familiar with the language. I’d been to France, (never to Bayeux, though). Writing the story felt natural to me.
RA: You’ve created many characters! Any new ones in the works?
STEPH: Mihai and Theresa Sigmaringen are witches in 1860’s Romania whose love is tested when Mihai’s best friend is turned into a werewolf. The story is called “The Wolf’s Torment” and it will be out in May 2011.
RA: How has your life changed since you became a published author?
STEPH: I’m a busier little bee. *wink
RA: Many writers have discussed writing flashbacks. What are your thoughts about this technique?
STEPH: I don’t mind using a flashback if includes a pivot point that drives the character to make a certain decision.
RA: Do you belong to a writer’s group? Have you in the past?
STEPH: No writer’s group unless you consider Writing.com a Writer’s Group.
RA: What would be the best advice you could give a beginning writer?
STEPH: Have patience.
RA: What is your favorite Christmas tradition? Song? Personal memory?
STEPH: I’m forging new traditions with my kids. We have an advent wreath in the house and have an advent calendar. We do an ornament exchange for the boys.
I’m a sucker for “Angels We Have Heard on High.”
Personal memories: Cooking pierogi at my grandmother’s house and helping Aunt Mary fry the pierogi.
RA: And what’s next for you, writing-wise? Could you tell us what to expect in any other books you’ll be releasing?
STEPH: “The Count’s Lair” is my next novel release. It is set in Budapest, Hungary in 1901-1902. Count Anton Varga is a werewolf. Lady Amelia Andrassy is a concert pianist. Can love be ignited between the two?
RA: Thank you so much for sharing with us. Good luck with your releases and please come back again soon!
The Setup: Aiden is meeting Noel for the first time in years.
Aiden smiled as she approached. Since he’d last seen her nine years ago, she had gotten taller. Her brown hair peeked out from her cap, flecked with copper highlights. Her cobalt eyes pierced his defenses now, just as they had before. He took a long breath. Despite the winter clothes, she was stunning.
Her eyes swept over him and then sparked with recognition. “Aiden!”
She wrapped her arms around him and gave him a quick hug. “Bonjour!”
Her warm glow infused him with hope, cracking his battlements even further. Her genuine embrace was what he needed, but he wasn’t here for her. He needed to set his heart and his mind straight and she would be a big part of that. Taking a step back, Aiden feathered his eyes over her. “It’s good to see you again, Noel. You’ve changed…”
“Oh, I was just a girl when I was an exchange student in your house.”
“You were sixteen.”
Her cheeks reddened. “Oui – now I am a woman. How are your parents?”
“They passed away while I was in Iraq.”
“Oh, I am sorry to hear it. They had such kind hearts. I adored them.”
“That’s part of the reason I’m here.”
Her eyes softened. “I was surprised to get your call. Bayeux is such a small town. I knew there must have been a reason. Come inside and talk to me.” Her voice was low, silvery, full of concern.
Noel took his hand and led him into the church. It was as cold as it was outside, but he could feel Noel’s refreshing heat through her gloves. It lit a vague, sensual spark inside him.
Check out the Story Teaser on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-muZ0dhOvSE
Amazon: (print) http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Collection-Anthology-Stimulating/dp/1456304410/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1289273692&sr=8-1
Ebook, Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/29148
Create Space, Print book: https://www.createspace.com/3494425
Victory Tales Press: http://victorytalespress.yolasite.com/online-store.php
Goodie Time: Leave me a post and I’ll pick out two winners to receive an autographed postcard of the cover. Tell me your favorite Christmas story and I’ll pick a winner to receive a print copy of the Anthology. I’ll come back on 04 DEC to pick the winners.
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