Hi, Steph! I’m delighted you are here today. Congratulations on your newest book, The Count’s Lair. By the way, readers this is the second in the Budapest Moon series. I read the first, The Hungarian and I absolutely loved it. I’m looking forward to reading The Count’s Lair. Well, let’s get started. Steph, what inspired you to begin writing?
STEPH: Thanks for having me today, Diane. Gosh, I think writing has always been in my blood. I remember watching The Electric Company, a kid’s show in the 1970’s and then making Spiderman comic books based on the Spidey episode in the show. Writing has always been a stress reliever for me. It’s great to escape to a world you can control. It wasn’t until the early 2000’s that I thought I’d tackle writing commercially.
DIANE: Where would you say that you get your most creative ideas?
STEPH: Gosh, they come from all around me. Another book or a movie might inspire me. My love for paranormal writing finds inspiration in Victoria Holt and Anne Rice. (Interesting, combo, isn’t it?) I love writing about royals and history. For example, Phillipa Gregory’s “The White Queen” inspired me to write “The King’s White Rose” about Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville. I’m self-editing now so I can submit it to the Wild Rose Press. “The Wolf’s Torment” was inspired by my desire to write a paranormal which takes place in Romania, like Bram Stoker did with “Dracula.” “Victorian Scoundrel” which is coming out with Desert Breeze in July, finds inspiration in Britain’s current royals. “Edmund” is loosely modeled after Prince Harry and “Alice” is loosely modeled after Princess Beatrice of York.
DIANE: Good luck with your Wild Rose Press submission! I know you have a busy schedule with working as a 911 operator, raising two young boys, plus you are a book reviewer. How do you find the time to write so many wonderful books?
STEPH: It’s all about multi-tasking, I assure you. I’m a very good multi-tasker. For example, during down time at work, I write. Helps relieve the stress. On the way to work, I listen to my books using Kindle’s text to speech.
DIANE: Tell us 3 things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
STEPH: I was married in Nykobig, Denmark in 1991. I can’t donate blood anymore because I was stationed in Europe in 1996 when England had an outbreak of mad cow disease, and I saw Berlin in 1988, before the fall of the wall when I was 20.
DIANE: How did you and your husband meet? Did you fall for him first, or was it the other way around?
STEPH: Oh, I think it was pretty mutual. LOL!! We met in Butzbach, Germany in Oct 1990 when we both attended a military leadership school called PLDC. (Primary Leadership Development Course) We were in the same squad. I thought he was drop dead gorgeous. He thought I was staring at the guy next to him. He also thought I was cute. Before you know it, we were eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner together in the chow hall. He was impressed that I wasn’t a whiner or a complainer. Our first date was on pass while in PLDC. I had a car so we went to Pizza Hut in Giessen. LOL!!
DIANE: Tell us about your new release, The Count’s Lair. Where can readers buy your book?
STEPH: The Count’s Lair is Anton Varga’s story. It’s set in Budapest, Hungary in 1901. Anton is a nobleman, but he’s had it tough growing up and his value system is a bit displaced. When he meets Amelia Andrassy, a concert pianist, he realizes he has to be a better man for her and sets out to do just that, the only thing is, Anton has a secret that might destroy the relationship he wants with Amelia. He’ll give her 3 clues. When Amelia figures out his secret will she reject him or accept him for the man he is?
The Count’s Liar is available as an ebook for the Kindle, Sony Ereader, Kobo, and Nook. It’s also available on the Publisher’s website at:
DIANE: Where can fans find you on the Internet?
Here’s an excerpt from The Count’s Lair:
Amelia went inside. The room was cast in obsidian shadows by a single candle burning on her dressing room table. The air was laced with the scent of mulberries. She grew warm. Her heart beat faster. Her defenses cracked.
“Anton?” she whispered.
He stepped out of the darkness behind her, placing his hands on her upper arms, pressing his chest against her back. His lips brushed against her ear, sending a shockwave through her. “You look wonderful tonight, Amelia.”
She dared to close her eyes and enjoy his embrace. “Anton.”
“Yes, it’s me.”
Warm feelings of longing stirred within her, only to be quickly doused by the sting of anger at his sudden departure. She stepped out of their embrace and spun to glare at him. “How dare you.”
He backed away, confusion pooling in his unusual eyes. “I thought–”
“You thought what?”
“That you’d want to see me.”
“It’s been two months since I last saw you, and you didn’t even try to seek me out. I had no idea if you were dead, alive, or just too busy with your life to think of me.”
“I’m sorry.” His expression softened. “I had hoped to avoid the cool look in your eyes just now.”
Exasperated, she let out a quick breath. “You’re infuriating.”
“So I’ve been told.”
She crossed her arms and struggled to keep her crumbling battlements up. He had a lot to explain. The candlelight cast dark, almost satyr-like shadows over his chiseled face. If his explanation made sense, she’d will her heart to believe him. “So, Anton, how do you explain your absence? I thought I’d found a friend.”
He paused and drew in a deep breath. His eyes grew translucent. “I am sorry. I had a lot to think about. I thought you would understand. I wanted to give you time to mourn your husband properly.”
Thank you, Steph, for spending time with us. Best of luck with The Count’s Lair and all your other wonderful books! Visitors, leave a comment to be entered in my February Blog Contest. Drawing will be March 2nd! Click here for more contest information!