Writer Wednesday: Meet Stephanie Kepke!

stephaniekepkeWell, hello there! Yes, it IS #WriterWednesday. I’m so glad you’re back, so that you can get better acquainted with Stephanie Kepke, writer of “women’s fiction with heart, humor, and a dash of spice.” Sounds good to me! Bring on the cinnamon! (Oh. Maybe she means a different kind of spice.)

Stephanie’s been a hoot to chat with, so I can only imagine her books are even funnier. Read on for a bit more of the quite entertaining Ms. Kepke!

Hi Margaret! And hello to all of your blog visitors! So nice to be here – I really appreciate your having me for a Writer Wednesday chat.

What inspires you to write?

My readers are my biggest inspiration – for as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to put words on the page that make readers feel something. I found a journal recently from when I was twenty-one years old – in one entry I described having to close the book I was reading while on an airplane, so fellow passengers wouldn’t see me cry. I wrote that I hoped I could “make people cry on airplanes” and that I wanted to write “things that make people feel – things that make people have to swallow hard and close my book when they’re on mass transit.” I love to make my readers laugh and, yes, even cry – and there’s no better feeling than when readers tell me they relate to my characters.

Name one interesting thing you learned in researching/writing your last book.

I learned that often my characters will tell me where the story will go – and most of the time, it will be an unexpected path. My stories evolve organically – I’m not a plotter and a particular scene in Goddess of Suburbia confirmed that. I expected Max, the main character, to act a certain way, but as I was writing it, I realized she just wasn’t emotionally ready. It was too soon after her husband betrayed her for her to be so vulnerable. And that scene ended up packing much more of an emotional punch than I ever anticipated – it was just supposed to add a bit of heat. I can’t say any more, because it would give too much away.

Name two things people don’t know about you.

I taught weight training in college and was a weight room supervisor. I had to fail the whole football team – except for one player – because they never showed up to class (the only requirement to pass). I also refereed men’s intramural ice hockey in college. I would say that I’m a huge New York Rangers fan, but if you’ve come across me on any social media, you likely know that already.

What fellow romance author do you recommend reading, and why?

I recommend Debra Druzy, author of Sleeping with Santa. Sleeping with Santa is such a fun read – sweet and spicy. We both have books coming out as part of The Wild Rose Press’ Candy Hearts series – her book, Dare Me, looks fantastic! I can’t wait to read it.

What one piece of advice do you wish you’d had when first starting out?

Rejection doesn’t mean the end of something, but rather the beginning – it often paves the way for something better. Most of the rejections I received early on were detailed, offering advice on how to improve my manuscript – many were “Revise and Resubmit” requests. Each revision made my novel better and it eventually ended up with the perfect publisher for it. But at first, I took any rejection to heart – as a journalist for ten years, I had never received a rejection, every piece I had submitted (about forty) was published, so it was a bit of a shock. When a friend told me that J.K. Rowling was rejected one hundred and twenty-five times, I realized that it’s just part of the process.

What’s your favorite romance novel of all time, and why?

My favorite romance novel of all time is probably Summer Light by Luanne Rice. As for why… A hot, damaged hockey player who needs saving and the love of a good woman (and they’re brought together by her adorable daughter) – need I say more? (See my love of hockey above…)

Blurb for Goddess of Suburbia

GoddessofSuburbiaSuburbia meets scandal in this hopeful and honest portrayal of that moment in every woman’s life when it’s time to make a change, even if that means risking losing it all.

Goddess of Suburbia by Stephanie Kepke is a must-read for women looking to reconnect with their passions, and live authentically. When pillar of the community and PTA mom, Max, allowed her husband, Nick, to record a sex video of them on his cell phone, she thought of it as simply a way to keep Nick interested and entertained during his frequent business trips. But suddenly, Max is trending everywhere—her video lighting up the blogosphere and Twitter, thanks to the fact that she’s a genuine, imperfect woman. Now the paparazzi are chronicling her every move; her daughter wants to disown her; and her marriage has completely fallen apart. Just as things can’t get any more chaotic, Max’s college boyfriend shows up two decades after he broke her heart. Now Max must learn to stop going through the motions of her life on auto-pilot and start living authentically, or risk forever being a suburban lemming running towards the cliff of old age.

Buy Links

My website for autographed copies: http://www.stephaniekepke.com/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Goddess-Suburbia-Stephanie-Kepke/dp/1513702297/

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/goddess-of-suburbia-stephanie-kepke/1122514174?ean=9781513702292

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/goddess-of-suburbia/id1029978366


writingAn award winning writer and blogger, Stephanie’s second grade teacher told her she should be a writer and she hasn’t wavered in her path since. In her past life – before kids – Stephanie was an arts reporter and music journalist. She spent her twenties listening to loud rock bands (including her drummer husband’s) in bars all around Boston and New England. She lives in New York on Long Island with her husband, three boys and two slightly crazy rescue dogs (one of whom is three-legged). She lives in between the Atlantic Ocean and the Long Island Sound and loves to her toes in the sand.

Want to connect with Stephanie? Find her here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stephaniekepkewriter/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/stephaniekepke
Blog: https://stephaniekepke.wordpress.com/
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Stephanie-Kepke/e/B00SHUYLXM
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/stephaniekepke/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/12278932.Stephanie_Kepke
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/stephaniekepke/

Thanks for joining us, Stephanie – it was a pleasure to have you!
Wishing you the best with all of your books; they sound fantastic!


Writer Wednesday: Meet Debra Druzy

Author Debra Druzy - Head Shot

Didja miss us? Didja miss us? Writer Wednesday was on hiatus last week while I worked to meet an editing deadline, but now we’re BACK and we’ve got contemporary romance author Debra Druzy in the interview hot seat (well, really, I hope it’s just a comfortable, relaxing, warm seat, because I want authors to enjoy being here).

I don’t know about YOU, but with a book entitled Sleeping with Santa, Debra’s got me dying to know more about her and her books (if Santa looks like the guy on her cover, I’m so in)! So settle in while Debra takes over the mic and shares a bit about herself, and what’s next for her writing.

Thank you for having me on your Writer Wednesday blog, Margaret. And Hello to your fabulous followers!

I’m Debra Druzy, author of Sleeping With Santaa contemporary romance. These questions were a nice break from revising my current work in progress. And a helluva lot easier than third grade Common Core math homework.

MusicButterflyWhat inspires you to write?

Everything. Dreams. Conversations. Driving. Grocery shopping. Doing laundry. Watching the news. Music is especially inspirational—I call it songspiration.

Which type of romance do you love most, and why?

Contemporary is my favorite because I relate to the time, place, and language better than some other genres.

Name one interesting thing you learned in researching/writing your last book.

I learned that I must plot the story rather than write from the seat of my pants. I can’t drive my car anywhere without my GPS guiding the way, so I don’t what made me think I could write without knowing where the story was going.

love heart in a book with filter effect retro vintage styleName two things people don’t know about you.

I can’t fall asleep with the television on. [ML says: People can do that? I sure can’t!]
I was born the day the Mets won the World Series, the first time.

What fellow romance author do you recommend reading, and why?

I have the privilege to beta read for two writer-friends. Arla Dahl’s Immoral Virtue Trilogy gives the Salem witch trials an erotic twist. I consider Arla’s style Fifty Shades of Shakespeare. And Stephanie Kepke’s Goddess of Suburbia is a chick-lit romance. I compare reading the story to taking a road trip with a good friend as she recaps a nervous breakdown with heart and humor. I have to mention Cherry Adair—she is a fabulous writer and mentor. If you like action-adventure-romance, check out Cherry’s books.

Vintage TypewriterWhat one piece of advice do you wish you’d had when first starting out?

Plot first!
It’s fine to sit and free-write to get the juices going and warm up the muse. But like cooking, driving, building a house, sewing a dress—having a recipe, a map, a blueprint, a pattern to follow is a tremendous help. Set up the framework for the story before layering the details.

What’s your favorite romance novel of all time, and why?

Although contemporary is my favorite genre, Thea Devine’s historical romance, Secret Pleasures, is my favorite story. It’s a little bit of everything decadent—murder, mystery, romance, erotica. I bought the book when it first came out to read on my train ride to work, and it proved to be a naughty escape during the long roundtrip commute. The paperback is still in my nightstand drawer.

Thanks again, Margaret. And thanks to your followers for stopping by.

If you haven’t slept with Santa yet, you can get the SLEEPING WITH SANTA
e-book on sale for only 99 cents, until October 29.

perf5.000x8.000.inddWhen Nick reluctantly accepts the temporary transfer to the Scenic View Fire Department he doesn’t plan on playing Santa Claus for the kiddie Christmas party. Sticking around town for the special assignment will give him a chance to get to know lonely, local sweetheart Lily and find out why she wants nothing to do with him.

Lily is a lifelong fixture in Scenic View, sick of living hand-to-mouth in a place where everyone’s nose is in her personal business. Just when she’s ready to move out of town, she meets the gorgeous newcomer, and it’s lust at first sight. The only thing is she doesn’t date firemen, which is too bad, because charming Nick seems like a real keeper.

With a little Christmas magic and help from the Santa suit, will Nick find a way into Lily’s heart and change her mind?

You’re gonna have to sleep with Santa to find out.

Get SLEEPING WITH SANTA for .99 October 16 – 29.

Find it here:

TWRP store: http://tinyurl.com/n2fqx4x

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1628307374

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/sleeping-with-santa

All Romance EBooks: http://tinyurl.com/owen27w

Bookstrand.com: http://www.bookstrand.com/sleeping-with-santa

iTunes: http://tinyurl.com/ok8vx8b

BN Nook: http://tinyurl.com/ko9rohd

For more information and links for where to buy, please visit http://www.debradruzy.com/

A bit about Debra:

Debra Druzy is a married, stay-at-home mom, writing romance in between running errands and doing household chores. Sleeping with Santa is her first published book, but there are plenty of unfinished stories in the closet and under the bed, which is probably bad for feng shui, but a good lesson in persistence pays off.

Stack of vintage books isolated on whiteWant to connect further? Find Debra here:

Debra Druzy Online: http://www.debradruzy.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/debradruzyauthor

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/DebraDruzy

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/debradruzy/

Thanks so much for being a part of Writer Wednesday, Debra! It was a pleasure to have you with us!