Monday, July 16, 2012

Author Chat with Tmonique Stephens

Gladiator's Pen welcomes Tmonique Stephens to the Ludis today. She's here to talk about her upcoming release Eternity by Solmate Publishing. Pour a cuppa and enjoy the chat. 

Tell us a bit about Tmonique Stephens:
n high school, I wrote my first novel about a reporter and a hockey player after the U.S. hockey team won gold in the 1980 Olympics. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing from City College of New York where I won an English Department Award for my play Tea with Salt in 1987. I took a break from writing to graduate from college, get married, have a daughter, but I never gave up on my dream.

The first romance I remember reading was a Harlequin about a sheikh and his forbidden love for an American woman way back in middle school. That’s before loves scene were included. I love writing flawed characters who reflect the emotional baggage we all carry. I write complicated stories for complicated people. Hopefully, you will enjoy my efforts. I love paranormal and fantasy romances and will read anything about fairies, demons, or angels. I also enjoy Stephen King and Dean Koontz.

I was born in St. Thomas USVI, but I grew up in The Bronx, New York one mile from Yankee Stadium. I love the SyFy and History channels, and Asian cuisine. But my heart and stomach longs for anything from the Caribbean. Have any Caribbean recipes out there? Please share! My mother died before I had a chance to learn her cooking secrets.

Currently, I’m working on an Egyptian God series. Why the Egyptian Gods, you ask? I say, “Why not?” All the other gods have been extensively covered, except the Egyptians. Undiscovered territory has always appealed to me.

Your first novel to be published is about to be released, has your experience with the publishing world been what you expected?
Publishing is not for the faint of heart. It takes discipline, dedication and a thick skin. I didn’t expect it to take five years to get published but I understand the process much better than when I first began my writing journey.

Tell us a bit about Eternity to be released August 15th 2012
Eternity is a story of reincarnation and redemption. Roman Nicolis, a mercenary falls in love with the Elyssian, the wrong woman. He seduces her, taking her virginity and cursing them both. For two thousand years, Roman wanders the earth searching for the only woman he can love. Time and again, Roman finds her, only to lose her horribly. Now, in present day New York City, they meet again. And this is his last chance to get things right. 

“You're asking me to sleep with you?” Roman said.
“I’m offering to share the futon with you,” Stella corrected.
Standing next to the futon, he whispered, “Why?”
She jumped, her hand stretched out in front of her, searching for him. “Damn, how can you move that fast? I didn’t hear you.”
“Answer the question. Why?”
“I … can't let you sleep on the floor.” She scooted over and waited for him.
He should resist. The many reasons why ticked by, but the futon creaked as he lay beside her and stilled. Everything he wanted rested inches away.
“Can you see me?”
“No,” he lied, watching her bite her lip. Slowly, she relaxed, believing the darkness covered her. He sucked in a sharp breath when her hand brushed his bare chest.
“Sorry,” but a smile tweaked her lips.
“No boyfriends,” she told McCabe. It was too ridiculous to be true. But … could she be a virgin?
“Roman,” she breathed his name and lust raced down his spine, igniting every nerve ending and wiping his brain clean of every thought, but one. He caught the belt of her robe and followed it up to the knot. A finger slipped in and loosened it.
“Yes.” His breath fanned her face. She tilted her chin up at the perfect angle for his lips to cover hers.
“I’ve never had a man in my home before.”
His finger stopped. What the hell am I doing? She drugged him with her words, frailty and covered body. He had to get out of her bed, her apartment, maybe the city, let one of his men protect her.
She touched him again, ran her palm over his stubbled jaw, then traced a finger over his eyebrows and down the bridge of his nose. She played with the shell of his ear until his chest rumbled with suppressed laughter. Then her fingers found his lips and the laughter stopped.

Where did the idea for Eternity come from?
About five years ago, I decided I wanted to write a series. I’ve always loved paranormal romances, vampires, werewolves, the fey, shape shifters, novels about other worlds inhabited with different species. Naturally, I gravitated to what I enjoyed reading, but I was tired of the usual books populating the genre. I considered writing about the Greek Gods, but I had recently started reading a popular series about the Greeks and I felt I had no new ideas to offer.

Then I thought of the Egyptian Gods. Ancient Egypt is one of the most well documented cultures. Although the Egyptian Gods have a wealth of history and folklore, there aren’t many fiction books about them. Their story still remains untold.

Eternity is a story of reincarnation and redemption. Roman Nicolis, a mercenary falls in love with the Elyssian, the wrong woman. He seduces her, taking her virginity and cursing them both. For two thousand years, Roman wanders the earth searching for the only woman he can love. Time and again, Roman finds Elyssian, only to lose her horribly. Now, in present day New York City, they meet again. And this is his last chance to get things right.

Silk or Satin Sheets?
Stella, my heroine is a simple woman. She purchases her linen from the local discount store. Silk and satin are completely out of her price range. Roman, my hero, will show her the delights of satin sheets on her naked skin.

Do you have a writing process/ritual, what is it?  
I have a writing schedule that I stick to. I work a regular job so weekdays my writing schedule is three p.m. to eight p.m. and I do most of my editing in my downtime at work.
My ideal time of day for writing would be nine p.m. to two a.m. I find my brain flows better in the evening hours. I save those hours for the weekend.

What do you believe is one of the most important elements of writing in your genre?
Believability. I write paranormal romance. My readers have to believe the world that I’ve created is real. My characters need to live and function in that world; otherwise, my novel will be pitched into a dusty corner, unfinished and unloved.

How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?
 Growing up in the The Bronx, I like writing about the city and sometimes using New York as a character.

My mother had the biggest influence in my writing career. She wasn’t a reader. She didn’t understand my need to write. Also, she thought I was wasting paper when I wrote. My mother had a ninth grade education and we had little in common, but with all my heart, I know she would’ve been proud of me and my novel.

What is one stereotype about romance writers is absolutely wrong? What one stereotype is dead on?
Romance novels aren’t just about sex. The story centers on two individual uniting against all odds. It is a spiritual, physical and emotional union.
All heroes are over six feet tall, rippling with muscles and rich. That is the one stereotype about romance novels that is true.

 Where can we find Tmonique Stephens?


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Elise VanCise said...

Awe thank you so much :)

Melinda B. Pierce said...

Great cover! Congrats on your release and I love your comment about romance novels being more than just about sex.

I wish you lots of success!


karen Y. bynum said...

Fantastic post! And, uh, WOW...that excerpt!!! Sooo good! Congrats on the release Tmonique!! :D

Marian L said...

Tmonique, great cover. Good luck with your book.

Anonymous said...

Timonique - What a great cover! Congratulations on your release.

Daryl Devore said...

ooooh on the cover

aaaaaah on the excerpt.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you like the cover Daryl. I LOVE my cover.

Anonymous said...

Thanks you so much. I appreciate the comment and support.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you like the excerpt!

Karen Lopp said...

Sounds awesome. can't wait for aug.

Anonymous said...

Don't get me wrong. Personally, I need sex in the romance novels I read. I also need a great story and incedible bond between the main character.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Marian L

Melissa Limoges said...

Very awesome interview. The cover is gorgeous and the excerpt sounds great too! Congrats, Tmonique!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Melissa. I'm glad you like it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Karen.

Vickie said...

Can't wait to get my copy of your book. Great interview. Love the cover.

Paula Millhouse said...

Yaay, Tmonique!
You go girl!
This is a great interview.
Good luck with your release.