|Photo by Kathleen Conklin|
Stephanie: Thanks so much for having me. I’m a denizen of Baltimore, that city of ravens and purple night skies. I live there with my favorite nocturnal creatures–three scheming cats and a deliciously wicked husband. And when I’m not busy with dark domestic rituals, I write very smart books for very bad girls...
Stella: Your latest novel In Bed with the Opposition was published by Entangled Publishing in their Indulgence, category romance line, congratulations! Can you tell readers what they can expect of In Bed with the Opposition?
Stephanie: This is an enemy-to-lovers novel about two campaign managers who fall in love. The sparks fly even before my roguish hero sets out to seduce my quirky heroine in a series of very public locations around the nation's capital. Throw in a few super hero costumes, a cranky geriatric senator with a penchant for gaffes and a reporter with pornographic blackmail photos...and what could go wrong?
Stella: Do you still remember what inspired the story, was there a specific moment/event/film/song that sparked the idea or how did it all start?
Stephanie: The Maryland Primary of 2006 was a wild campaign season filled with arrests, nursery rhymes, and other scandals. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction and I thought, wow, I’m going to have to tone all this down if I ever want to turn it into a novel. Years later, here we are!
|Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert|
Stephanie: In history, two Dukes dueling at dawn over a fair damsel would be dramatic. Nobody does that anymore. The closest we get to a high stakes fight is now an election. That’s our national blood sport. And while it can seem very serious--and I’m not diminishing its importance--politics can also pretty hilarious. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert make a good living pointing out public wacky hijinx. I thought it would be fun to add a little bit of love to the mix!
Stella: Could you introduce Grace Santiago and Ethan Castle, the heroine and hero of In Bed with the Opposition? (And btw, is he named Castle because of a certain Richard Castle, making him share his charm and witty flirting? ;-)
Stephanie: Here’s a snippet in which Grace sums herself up:
“The girl you knew in law school…that wasn't me.”
His eyes crinkled at the corners with curiosity. “Who was it, then?”
“Some insane person,” Grace insisted, battling her urge to run her fingers through his unruly dark hair. “I'm very boring in real life.”
Ethan laughed. “I don't believe it.”
“Seriously. I don't watch movies. I don't read anything but policy papers. I work, feed the cat, and do laundry. That's me.”
And here’s Ethan’s idea of how to romance a girl with video boxing:
“I don't do this kind of thing,” Grace said.
“Have fun, you mean? I know. It's something I plan to change about you.”
“Don't you like me the way I am?”
Oh, he did, which was puzzling because she was a truly maddening woman.
Grace surrendered, kicking off her heels, and fifteen minutes later, she was throwing jabs like a pro. Their on-screen boxers pummeled each other until Ethan sent hers to the mat.
“Knockout!” he called.
Grace laughed with girlish abandon, spikes of her dark hair angled in wild directions. “You said you'd let me win.”
“I lied. It’s just not in me to let anybody win.”
(And FYI, Ethan Castle has a lot in common with a certain flirty writer-detective played by Nathan Fillion.)
|Tom Welling as Ethan|
Stephanie: Tom Welling would play Ethan Castle. No question about it. I’m more flexible when it comes to Grace.
Stella: And now let’s have Couple’s Therapy: Grace, Ethan
Stephanie: Hah! This is great.
Stella: If you had to introduce each other, what 3 words would you use to describe the other?
Grace: “Ethan is a competitive playboy mercenary...who also happens to be sex-on-a-stick. Oh, I didn’t say that out loud, did I?”
Ethan: “You want me to describe Grace in three words? Sure: The. Whole. Package.”
Stella: What is the quality that you like the most in the other and the one that drives you up the wall?
Grace: “I love how determined he is, but he never knows when to quit!”
Ethan: “I love her quirky nature but she’s just a wee bit OCD.”
Stella: What was your first fight about?
Grace: “I accused him of trying to use me for a booty call.”
Ethan: “That wasn’t an argument. That was a debate. Which I won. Decisively.”
Stella: Was there a specific moment they realized “wow, I just love that person!”?
Grace: “Probably when he made me play a game of Strip Twenty Questions...”
Ethan: “I knew way before that. I loved her the first time I saw her in law school. She was taking ridiculously detailed notes in five different-colored pens and I wanted to grab her by the hair and do filthy things to her.”
Stella: Can you tell us any behind the scenes secret related to In Bed with the Opposition?
Stephanie: In the original version of the book, Grace takes a long time to discover that she isn’t really meant to marry the senator’s grandson. While I was writing it, however, Ethan was just so charming that I couldn’t imagine any woman resisting him for long.
Stella: What shall we expect from you, what is next on your schedule?
Stephanie: Next up is my super-hot 1920s erotic romance collection from Berkley Books. Think Fifty Shades of Grey meets The Great Gatsby! The first story will release in January and is called LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME. I expect that one might be a little controversial. The full collection will release in February 2012 and features a wildly fun story about a silent screen siren and the fly boy who seduces her into a menage with a stranger at the back of a movie theatre.
Stella: Can you share with us some little secret trivia, something that not many people know about you?
Stephanie: If I told you, it wouldn’t be secret ;)
Stella: Lol, thanks for stopping by Stephanie and I CAN'T wait to read your steamy stories set in the '20s, one of my favourite eras! :-D
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.
Stephanie also writes historical fiction as Stephanie Dray and has a series of forthcoming novels from Berkley Books featuring Cleopatra’s daughter.
For more about Stephanie and her books find her at her website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads.
In Bed with the Oppositio by Stephanie Draven
What happens when a good girl decides to play dirty?
Armed with a sassy haircut, a sharp wit, and a personal list of rules for all life’s exigencies, Grace Santiago is a fiercely loyal Senate staffer who has everything under control. At least until famous political pundit Ethan Castle walks back into her life. Grace hasn’t forgotten their disastrous affair in law school, but she can’t resist his bad boy charm.
When Grace learns that Ethan has been hired as a political gunslinger for the other side, her loyalties—and her heart—are torn in two. Though their sexual chemistry can’t be denied, they find themselves locked in political combat. Ethan believes that all is fair in love and war, but he won’t throw the election—not even to win Grace’s heart. So what can a good girl like Grace do, but learn to play dirty?
Two candidates. One election. May the best man—or woman—win!