Friday, October 21, 2011

Interview with Stephanie Draven and Giveaway - October 21, 2011

Please welcome Stephanie Draven to The Qwillery. Stephanie is the author of the Mythica series. The next book in the series, Dark Sins and Desert Sands, will be published on November 1, 2011.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Stephanie:  I have to make up a soundtrack for every book I write--then I loop over the music again and again. Here’s an example of the playlist I used to write Dark Sins & Desert Sands is here. Layla and Ray’s love song was Mindy Smith’s “One Moment More.”

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a panster?

Stephanie:  I used to be a pantser but then I realized that I could get paid to write an outline first and everything changed. ;) No kidding, though, I like to do a little bit of both. I plan pretty extensively because I care about narrative structure and I like to have a roadmap. But I leave myself room to create a few surprises.

TQ:  What inspired you to write the Mythica series?

Stephanie:  I’ve always been fascinated by the monsters in Greek mythology and why so many of them are female. The gorgon, especially, is a representation of primal female rage. I wanted to see if I could take the things the Greeks were afraid of, and twist them into heroines and heroes. So, the tagline of the series is, “What if the monsters of ancient myth still walked the earth...and what if you found out you were one of them?”

TQ:  What sort of research did you do to create the world in the Mythica series?

Stephanie:  I re-read Edith Hamilton’s Mythology, but that wasn’t arduous work. I’d always loved it ;) The hard part of the research for these books was to learn a little bit about guns and about the soldiers and what they go through in war.

TQ:  Describe Dark Sins and Desert Sands in 140 characters or less.

Stephanie:  Wrongfully accused & broken by torture, an American soldier transforms into a mind-controlling minotaur bent on revenge…

(You can tweet that! Please do.)

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Dark Sins and Desert Sands?

Stephanie:  The hero of the novel is suffering from PTSD which manifests itself in episodes of violent rages and claustrophobia. At some point in the novel, the hero has to squeeze into a very tight space--in spite of his mounting anxiety--to help the heroine through an emotional crisis. For me, that was a turning point in how I felt about him. That took more courage for him than facing down death, and great compassion. I love men who are willing to protect the hearts of the women they love--not just their bodies.

TQ:  In Dark Sins and Desert Sands, who was the most difficult character to write and why? The easiest and why?

Stephanie:  The heroine of this novel was seriously tricky for me. Because of the abuse she suffered, she has no memories and lives on fear. That’s so outside my own experience, I had a tough time relating to her. She’s also seriously sexually repressed and I had to help nudge her out of her cocoon. It wasn’t until Layla really spreads her wings and discovers her own passions that she came alive for me, so I fret that readers are going to hate her.

TQ:  Do you have a favorite myth that you've not yet explored in the Mythica series?

Stephanie:  Let’s see. I’ve covered gorgons, demi-gods, chimeras, dryads, sirens, tritons, nymphs and hydras, minotaurs and sphinxes. Early next year, there will be another story about a phoenix and a fury. I guess I’m running out of monsters! I always loved the story of Psyche and Cupid but I’m not sure how to work that in yet. Do you have a favorite you’d like me to do?

TQ:  In the Mythica series which character has surprised you the most?

Stephanie:  In Siren Song, I planned the heroine to be this hard-edged rocker. Chloe is a siren. Men can’t resist her. She was going to be sexually liberated and bad-ass. But as I started writing her, even though she has a smart-mouth and a quick wit, she transformed into the most tender, vulnerable, sweet heroine I’ve ever written.

TQ:  How many books are planned for the Mythica series?

Stephanie:  I’d originally planned just two, but now the series has ballooned to two full-length novels and four novellas and if it this next book is popular enough, I’d consider more!

TQ:  What's next?

Stephanie:  I’d be remiss not to mention that as my alter ego, Stephanie Dray, I have just released Song of the Nile: A Novel of Cleopatra’s Daughter. I hope folks will check it out!

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery

Stephanie:  It’s always a pleasure. Thank you so much!

About the Mythica series

Dark Sins and Desert Sands
Mythica 5 (Novel)
Harlequin Nocturne, November 1, 2011

Escaping a hellish Syrian prison, U.S. serviceman Ray Stavrakis emerged with uncanny mind-control powers and an eerie ability to morph into a mythical Minotaur. As a half man, half bull, Ray had legendary power, but only one woman could prove his innocence. The woman who'd driven him to the brink of insanity with her cool-eyed interrogation and her hot-blooded sensuality.

But Vegas psychologist Layla Bahset had no memory of Ray or her past. Only a feeling of being stalked by a nonhuman predator. Was it Ray...whose eyes condemned her soul even as his hands ignited her body? Or was another evil force at work? But nothing could stop Layla from remembering what she was...and what her evil creator had planned for her and her soldier lover....

Siren Song
Mythica 4 (Novella; e-book only)
Harlequin Nocturne Bites, January 1, 2011

When Chloe Karras sings, she knows that no one can resist her sensual allure—except for the sexy naval officer seemingly immune to her voice. But Captain Alex Shore is just the man she wants to take home after her performance—until he tells her what she thought were imagined powers are real...and dangerous.

Alexandros knows firsthand how seductive sirens are, as well as their potential to destroy. Yet the former sea soldier feels a powerful attraction to the beautiful rock singer that goes beyond her spell. Can he banish Chloe from the town he's vowed to protect—or will he be drawn into the siren's bed?

Poisoned Kisses
Mythica 3 (Novel)
Harlequin Nocturne, October 1, 2010

Daughter of the war god Ares, Kyra had been born into darkness—a darkness she'd vowed to annihilate. Just as she'd destroy the notorious Greek arms dealer Marco Kaisiris for feeding the bloodlust she despised. She'd use her nymph's carnal powers to seduce him, then slay him. But Kyra wasn't prepared for Marco's secret weapon.

For millennia Kyra had avoided mortal men, but she couldn't resist Marco's magnetism, his raw sexuality. Time and again his sculpted body took her to heights to which only the gods soared. That he was a shape-shifting hydra she could forgive, but not his one fatal flaw—his poisoned blood could kill her. Kyra had fallen for the only being who could destroy her.... Yet how could she spend eternity without him?

Wild, Tethered, Bound
Mythica 2 (Novella; e-book only)
Harlequin Nocturne Bites, August 1, 2009

Lieutenant Nick Leandros is a battle-hardened soldier who thinks he's seen everything. But nothing prepares him for the horror he encounters in a dark, war-torn forest. The carnage fractures him--body and soul. Split into three separate men with three savage wills, he struggles to tame the cunning creatures and hold them inside.

His only hope of salvation is Dessa, a beautiful dryad who is bound to Nick by mystic forces. She alone understands what he has become, and Nick is the only man who can give her the child she needs. But the cruelest, most lustful part of him demands her submission as the price for his help. With her powers waning every day, time is running out for Dessa to save the last forests of her country...and to heal the man she's come to love.

Midnight Medusa
Mythica 1 (Novella; e-book only)
Harlequin Nocturne Bites, April 1, 2009

As a child, Renata witnessed unspeakable horrors in war-torn Bosnia. Now a world away in New York City, Renata channels her pain and anger into her art, sculpting war criminals--all of whom die once her pieces are complete. It seems like just a sick coincidence until Damon, a son of Ares, kidnaps her and tells her the shocking truth: that Renata is a gorgon with the power to kill with her art.

Will Renata use her new-found power to get revenge, or will the sexy, mysterious Damon stop her first?

About 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.

Stephanie also writes historical fiction as Stephanie Dray and has a series of forthcoming novels from Berkley Books featuring Cleopatra’s daughter.

Stephanie's Links


The Giveaway


What:  Two commenters will each win a copy of Dark Sins and Desert Sands from The Qwillery.

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

Do you have a favorite myth?

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)  Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)  Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3)  Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Friday, October 28, 2011. Void where prohibited by law. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*


  1. My favorite myth is the lost city of Atlantis.

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC follower

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  2. hello
    thanks for this giveaway international:

    my favorite myth would be eudipe after stuying so often ^^

    +follower ( gfc name isabelle frisch)


  3. I love the thought of magic, & all magical beings; fairies, unicorns, dragons. Definitely dragons! They are my most favorite of all. I read anything that has dragons in it.

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC follower
    +1 tweet!/LindaThum/status/127400451846045697

  4. I have always loved the myth about Echo & Narcissus.

    +1 comment
    +1 follower
    +1 tweet!/harley_chick883/status/127421690526441473


  5. I'm not that familiar with myths so no, I do not have a favorite.
    GFC: Arianne Cruz

  6. the myth of osiris it's my favorite
    +1 comment
    GFC follower
    +1 tweet!/PandoraSWolf/status/127436577331875840


  7. I love the myth of Apollo and/or Demeter. edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom
    GFC Krystal Larson

  8. My favorite myth is that of the unicorn. I think they are so beautiful. Please enter me in contest. I am a follower and email subscriber.

  9. my favorite myths involve arthur and merlin.. i love stories about them!

    alainala AT hotmail DOT ca

    +2 - follower and a comment

    this book looks really good, thanks for the chance to win!!

  10. Well I love pretty much all things paranormal and supernatural so I like a lot of the myths surrounding those things like vampires, were-animals, zombies and such. I also like the greek and roman myths about the gods and goddesses.

    Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook (+ 1 entry)

    Valerie Long (Scorpio1974 on GFC)
    Jewelry Creations by V.S. Long -

  11. I generally like all myths but can't say I have one that stands out as a favorite.

    GFC follower
    I tweeted:!/FieryNa/status/127481086191222785

    Cambonified (at) yahoo (dot) com

  12. As for myths, I love everything about Zeus...

    GFC follower

    aliasgirl at libero dot it

  13. My favorite myth is the City/Island of Atlantis. I am truely fascinated by it!

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC follower


  14. i love about Dragon, Fairy dan Greek God's myth

    + Comment
    + GFC Follower
    + Share on FB

  15. Atlantis is a particular favorite of mine. I love seeing what authors can come up with and how they can twist and turn a few details and present and all new "what if".

    +1 GFC- Lisa Richards
    +1 posted about giveaway--


    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

  16. I love mythology have since I was a little kid.My favorite myth is Perseus and Medusa

    gfc follower
    wanda l flanagan


    posted to my blog

  17. I like myths about vampires, werewolves anything like that. Thanks for the chance.

    I am a follower
    sariahwalters at gmail dot com

  18. 1+ Favorite myth: Persephone and Hades
    1+ tweet:!/Gisselle_Alv/status/128665208657944576
    1+GFC follower: Gisele Alvarado


  19. I am not very educated on myths. I do remember being part of a group read where we sat in a circle and read the story of Persephone and as that is my primary knowledge, it would have to be my favorite, as I did enjoy it very much. Thank you for the awesome giveaway opportunity and lovely interview today. I wold love to read Dark Sins and Desert Sands :)
    +1 comment
    +1 GFC follower
    +1 tweeted (@ZDz59001)


  20. Anything Greek Mythology. I love it.
    + comment
    + follower

    flaca798 at hotmail dot com