Jen: Today we welcome Stephanie Draven to Romancing the Book. Stepahnie, please share a short bio with us.
Stephanie: Stephanie Draven is currently a denizen of Baltimore, that city of ravens and purple night skies. She lives there with her favorite nocturnal creatures–three scheming cats and a deliciously wicked husband. And when she is not busy with dark domestic rituals, she writes her books.
Stephanie has always been a storyteller. In elementary school, she channeled Scheherazade, weaving a series of stories to charm children into sitting with her each day at the lunch table. When she was a little older, Stephanie scared all the girls at her sleepovers with ghost stories.
She should have known she was born to hold an audience in her thrall, but Stephanie resisted her writerly urges and graduated from college with a B.A. in Government. Then she went to Law School, where she learned how to convincingly tell the tallest tales of all!
A longtime lover of ancient lore, Stephanie enjoys re-imagining myths for the modern age. She doesn’t believe that true love is ever simple or without struggle so her work tends to explore the sacred within the profane, the light under the loss and the virtue hidden in vice. She counts it amongst her greatest pleasures when, from her books, her readers learn something new about the world or about themselves.
Jen:Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Stephanie: IT STINGS SO SWEET grew out of a mysterious dream I had about a couple on the verge of divorce whose anger was channeled into one wild night of sex that changes everything for them. I knew it was set in the past, but I didn’t know when until I started researching the clothes I’d imagined them in and the furniture and the setting. It was one of the most vivid dreams I’ve ever had…and my fascination with the 1920s was born. IT STINGS SO SWEET is a book about three women who all experience a sexual awakening during an era when womanhood was being redefined. And it’s absolutely filthy!
They vibrated with incendiary Jazz. They teemed with sexual abandon. The Twenties were roaring and the women–young, open, rebellious, and willing–set the pace and pushed the limits with every man they met…
In the aftermath of a wild, liquor-soaked party, three women from very different social classes are about to live out their forbidden desires.
Society girl, Nora Richardson’s passionate nature has always been a challenge to her ever-patient husband. Now he wants out of the marriage and she has just this one night to win him back. The catch? He wants to punish her for her bad behavior. Nora is offended by her husband’s increasingly depraved demands, but as the night unfolds, she discovers her own true nature and that the line between pain and pleasure is very thin indeed.
Meanwhile, Clara Cartwright, sultry siren of the silent screen, is introduced to a mysterious WWI Flying Ace. If Clara, darling of the scandal sheets, knows anything, it’s men. And she’s known plenty. But none of them push her boundaries like the aviator, who lures her into a ménage with a stranger in a darkened cinema then steals her jaded heart.
Working class girl Sophie O’Brien has more important things on her mind than pleasures of the flesh. But when her playboy boss, the wealthy heir to the Aster family fortune, confronts her with her diary of secret sex fantasies, she could die of shame. To her surprise, he doesn’t fire her; instead, he dares her to re-enact her boldest fantasies and Sophie is utterly seduced.
One party serves as a catalyst of sexual awakening. And in an age when anything goes, three women discover that anything is possible…
Jen: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Stephanie: Oh, I’m a plotter. I’m obsessive about using Scrivener to block out an outline and make photo collages for inspiration, and to structure a book with a narrative arc. I’m not talented enough to be a pantser!
Jen: Describe your writing in 3 words.
Stephanie: For Bad Girls.
Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Stephanie: Weirdly, I spent more time studying the slang of the Roaring Twenties than actually writing the book. I became very good friends with the online etymology dictionary, for starters. And then, of course, I got to drool over all the beautiful flapper clothes and 1920s design.
Jen: If this book was made into a movie, who do you see playing the main characters?
Stephanie: I’m not sure who would play the heroines, but I had very clear ideas about the heroes. Jonathan Rhys Meyers would play Jonathan Richardson, my jumped up chauffeur. Mad Men’s Jonn Hamm would play Leo Vanderberg. And Josh Duhamel would play Robert Aster. Can I pick them, or what, ladies?
Jen: What’s next for you?
Stephanie: I’d love to write more historical romances like this one!