IN THE HOTSEAT….STEPHANIE BOND!
Meow! I’m very pleased to welcome today author Stephanie Bond!
Stephanie Bond has written over 60 romance and mystery novels for Random House, St. Martin’s Press, HarperCollins, and Harlequin Books. She is best known for the BODY MOVERS humorous mystery series. Look for her new mystery series TWO GUYS DETECTIVE AGENCY coming in 2013.
R: Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in writing.
Hi, Rocco! I’ve always been a book person—I grew up on a farm where the entertainment choices were few, so I was a voracious reader from an early age. Years later, I was happily working in a corporate computer programming career and pursuing an MBA at night when an instructor remarked I had a flair for writing. That one comment sparked my interest in fiction writing, and I never looked back.
R: You have a feisty black cat in one of your romantic suspense novels, VOODOO or DIE – are you an animal lover? Do you own anypets?
I am absolutely an animal lover! Since I grew up on a farm, I was surrounded by pets (dogs and cats and rabbits and hamsters), and lots of barnyard animals, too—cows and chickens and horses. Alas, I don’t have any pets now because my living space is so small, plus I travel too much to be a good pet owner.
R: What drew you to the ROMANCE genre?
Romance is the genre I read growing up, thanks to a beloved aunt who made sure I had a steady supply of Harlequin novels, plus Gothic and historical romance novels.
R: What writers in your genre would you say have made the greatest influence on your writing?
Hm, that’s a tough one. I’d say Phyllis Whitney and Victoria Holt instilled in me the love of a mystery combined with a romance...but I always put down their books wishing the stories had been more heavy in romance. Honestly, though, every book I’ve read has influenced my writing in some way—if it’s a book I love, it makes me want to give my readers that same emotional experience. If it’s a book I don’t love, I always ask myself why and try to bring that to my own writing, too.
R: Which of (your character) adventures was the most fun for you to write? Were any of them the least amount of fun?Writing the BODY MOVERS mystery series has been the most fun because the books are set in my hometown of Atlanta, and because my main character Carlotta Wren has the guts to do things I’d never do! I’m living vicariously through her escapades.
The books that have been the least amount of fun are the ones “mandated” by my publishers. Almost every writer has had those assignments before—when editors or publishers ask us to do something to “broaden our readership,” meaning they’re asking us to write something they think they can sell without any effort instead of them figuring out a way to sell the books we write best. I’ve done my share of them in order to making a living; I’m not ashamed of those books, but they’re not the books I remember fondly. And they’re almost never successful. Several years ago I realized that most editors and publishers really don’t know what they’re doing—many of them just keep moving things around to justify their jobs. It was a rude awakening, kind of like when you first realize your parents don’t know everything. But the realization was my first step toward taking more control of my career. In the future, I’ll be listening to my readers, not my publishers.
R: You took the PI exam for the state of Georgia – why did you do it and what was the experience like?
Icompleted the classroom coursework to become a PI for the state of Georgia because I wanted to be able to write my stories with more authenticity. And since each class of the course was taught by a different professional in the field (a police officer, a P.I., a self-defense instructor), I was able to add to my list of resources. The experience gave me a real appreciation for the gamut of situations an investigator might be asked to handle. Even a mundane assignment, such as conducting domestic surveillance to take a photograph can turn into a confrontation.
R: Do you have an “how I got my agent” story you’d like to share? How did you feel when you got the call your first novel had sold?
I met an agent at a writing conference who invited me to submit something to her. I did, and a few weeks later, I received a nice rejection letter from her, but she invited me to send something else in the future. I did—the next day. A few weeks later, I received a call from a colleague of hers. She said the agent I’d submitted my work to had decided it wasn’t her cup of tea, but had passed it along to her workmate. The colleague liked it, and wanted to see more. We clicked and I signed with her shortly thereafter. The bottom line—be persistent! If an agent asks you to send something else, do it!
As far as my “first sale” call—I wasn’t home! I was traveling for my corporate job and back then (1995), cell phones weren’t prevalent. After a very long day of meetings and technical work, I returned to my bleak hotel room and called to check messages on my personal voicemail. My agent had left a message there that we had an offer on my first book. It was too late to call her back or to call anyone else, so I trekked to the vending machine and bought a can of ginger ale to celebrate by myself!
R: What’s a must have for you when you are writing? What aids the creative process?
I have to have background noise when I write—the TV (news or sports) or music works for me. The thing that aids my creative process the most is uninterrupted time, which is hard to come by!
R: If you had access to a time machine, which historical moment would you travel to and why?
The moment when Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas A. Watson exchanged words over the device that would become the modern telephone. It was, after all, the precursor to the technology we rely on today. What a moment that must have been. I wonder if the two men were aware that they’d just changed the trajectory of humankind.
R: If a movie were to be made of one of your books, which one would you want it to be and who would you pick for the lead roles?
I think I’d most like to see my book OUR HUSBAND come to life on the big screen. It’s a bigamy story about three women who discover they’re married to the same man, who then meets an untimely demise! The three wives have to reluctantly band together to find the real murderer, all while suspecting each other and dealing with the fallout of their husband’s betrayal. My dream cast would be Nicole Kidman for the first wife, a socialite with a biting wit, Jennifer Lopez for the second wife, a family physician in a small town, and Jenna Malone for the third wife, a naïve stripper.
R: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?
That I’m not a funny person. My humor comes out on the page, but not in-person...I’m kind of a serious nerd.
R: What is the craziest thing you've ever done?
I haven’t done anything I would consider crazy...yet. Have I mentioned I’m a nerd? J
R: What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?
I don’t have lofty goals for my books--I’m not trying to change the world with my writing, I just want my readers to be entertained for the few hours they’re reading my books. When I get emails from readers saying I took them away from their problems for a little while, that makes me feel good.
Just for Fun:
Night or Day? Night
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully) Meow
Beach or Pool? Beach
Steak or salad? Steak
Favorite Book? Simple Abundance by Sarah Breathnach; I re-read it every year.
Favorite TV Series? Northern Exposure
Favorite Movie? Apollo 13
Favorite Actor: Tom Selleck
Favorite Actress: Laura Linney
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? Red wine, all day long. J
Finish this sentence: If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be Jane Austen, to say thank you for paving the path, not just for female writers who can now make a living because of the inroads she made, but for being independent in every facet of her life, when it would have been easier and more lucrative for her to cave to the norms of her time.
Thank you, Stephanie, for a great interview! Meow!
Folks to keep up with the latest on Stephanie you can visit her at:
And now: A message about our giveaway from Stephanie!
In honor of you, Rocco, and the black cat in my humorous romantic mystery VOODOO OR DIE, I’ll give away a Kindle version of the book to the first 10 random commenters! (Please include the email address where you receive Amazon order confirmations in your comment.)
OK, folks, this giveway is a bit different from our norm: The first 10 readers to leave a comment with their email addys will receive a Kindle copy of VOODOO OR DIE! Contest closes November 21.
So…what are you waiting for!
And the winner of our Roxanne St. Claire giveaway is: NoraAdrienne! Watch for an email from Roxanne!
INCREDIBLE BLOGGING CAT