Sunday, August 2, 2015

Sunday's Author Spotlight: Stephanie John

Today I’m excited to have author Stephanie John on the Sunday’s Author Spotlight. Stephanie is the author of ‘Salvation’ a contemporary romance novel that was published in March 2015. ‘Salvation’ is the first book in the Heal Me series.

About 'Salvation' (Heal Me #1):

A chance meeting turned my world inside out.
Intelligent, sexy, and rich. With a dash of roguish charm and a cocksure smile, Nathan Blake is the ultimate fantasy. He can have any woman he wants with only a glance. 

And he wants me.

My past has left me broken and humiliated, wary of men like him.
I cut myself off from the pain, moving thousands of miles away to escape every reminder, determined to start anew.

I’ve been second best before. It isn't happening again.
One kiss and I'm caught under his spell, drawn to him with every breath I take.
I can't resist.

The passion that explodes between us becomes an intense connection 
neither of us thought we’d share. Or need.

The suffering inside me reflects his – a pain I know he feels, but can’t bring himself to reveal.
I have no idea his love can heal me – that mine can heal him…
…if only I can let down my guard for him and trust.

‘Salvation’ is a captivating story of finding, fighting and finally giving in to a love that is clearly meant to be. This is no ordinary billionaire romance - it is a beautifully tender, tastefully erotic story with twists and turns that will leave you wanting more.

Warning: This work of fiction is intended for mature audiences over the age of 18 due to the sexual content and explicit language used throughout. Parental/reader discretion is advised.

Please note that even though this book is set in the USA, it is written from the POV of the female lead who is English, therefore British English vocabulary and spelling has been used.

This book is available through Amazon.


When I joined him, he was leaning against the sink staring at the wall, his features twisted in annoyance.  “It’s important to me,” I encouraged, setting his empty bottle on the counter beside him.  I pressed a hand to his shoulder.  “I want to know all about you like you do me.”

“Yeah,” he scoffed, shrugging me off, “except you won’t let me in either.”  The ferocity of him tossing the plates into the sink with a crash panicked me.  My ears began to ring with the sound of my heart thudding in my chest.  Nate glanced sideways, his face set.  “You’re keeping secrets, too.”

I winced at the harsh truth of his words.  What right did I have, asking him to open up when I couldn't do it myself?

“Kara.”  His fingertips drifted over my cheekbone.  I jumped, taken aback by the veneration in his touch and the gentleness of his voice.  “I don't want to argue, to spoil an idyllic couple of days.”

I hated seeing him like this, so lost and bewildered, out of control.  It went against so much of what I treasured about him.  Yet it gave me comfort to know he wasn't just an ideal high on a pedestal, completely out of reach.  Nate was human, and he was here, with me.

I stepped closer and rubbed his arm.  His eyes were mesmerizing, the pupils almost fully dilated.  My breath caught when I saw the depth of his feelings swimming in them as he stared back at me.  The tiny tick of his jaw pulsed as he gritted his teeth.  “I’m trying to do right by you.  Trying my utmost to shelter you.”

My body tensed.  “From what?”

Nate caressed my face, seeking and finding strength the way I did from him.  His eyes were fretful and undecided.  God, what had happened to make him behave so out of character?

I wrapped my arms around him and pressed my cheek to his chest.  His heart pounded frantically.  His shower gel still lingered on me, and mine on his skin.  The two scents, woody and almond merged together, giving me an inevitable sense of calm and assurance.  “What happened in New York?”

Praise for 'Salvation':

Its hard to believe this is Stephanie Johns first book! Its a beautifully written contemporary erotic romance.  I wont be surprised if we see her at the top of romance bestseller lists in the future.
- Sizzling Pages Romance Reviews

Its so much more than just sex, you get drawn into their world, you feel the emotions and love they feel for one another.  Its passionate, consuming.  Hooked from the first page I never wanted it to end.
- Reading the Sheets

Her writing is captivating, her story telling is mesmerizing, and she did an absolutely beautiful job of bringing the story to life.  This story will grab hold of you from the very beginning and take you on a journey of fear, pain, healing and love.
- Amazon Reviewer

Great debut story!  This book was effortless to readStephanie John can sure write a good sex scene, they were full of emotion with just the right amount of sizzle.
- Luscious Literature

Best New Book Boyfriend.  Nate will definitely give ALL book boyfriends a run for their money.  Look forward to book 2.  Wish it was on my tablet right now!!
- Amazon Reviewer

Good doesn't start to describe this book! Superior, superb, outstanding, exemplary.  Exquisitely hot!  Stephanie John writes with a level of complexity that matches seasoned authors.  Her characters were rich in description and I don't think I ever fell in love with a male lead quite so fast.
- Dayreader Reviews

Interview with Stephanie John:

Tell us more about Stephanie John.

Stephanie John is a figment of my imagination; a pen name I decided to write under for personal reasons.  The woman behind it?  Well, I’m English and moved to Sydney Australia 8 years ago.  I love wine (not red) and chocolate (not dark), am scared of spiders and snakes (I know, why did I move Down Under?), and love going to live music concerts.  I also have a slight obsession with Pinterest and gorgeous men in suits.

When did you decide you wanted to become an author?

I didn’t, it just sort of happened!  Nate & Kara’s story has been with me for a few years.  After having a recurring dream starring Nate (yes, it was a very pleasant dream), I decided to write it down and ended up with about 4,000 words on screen.  Fast forward to March this year, and I published my first book!  Putting it out there was terrifying!  I’m thrilled at the fantastic response Salvation has received.  Knowing readers around the world are reading MY words - and loving them - blows my mind.

You write Contemporary Romance novels. Where do you get your inspiration from?

I find inspiration all around me.  Sometimes a song on the radio in the car…a conversation overheard on the train…a date night with my husband (and I’ll leave the rest to your imagination…). Writing has made me view everything differently.  I study my surroundings more closely, take the time to notice sights, sounds, smells.  The way people react to situations, their facial expressions.  I’m a people watcher, and body language fascinates me.  I’m always studying people when I’m out and about.  I’m not crazy staring at you - I’m plotting a scene, I promise!

Can you describe your writing process? Do you have any sort of ritual you follow?

For a fairly organized person, when it comes to writing I am the complete opposite!  My desk is a mess of paper, post-it notes, pens and pencils.  I have notes everywhere! I also use my phone, and have four writing journals (one for each book in the series) filled with words, conversations, scenes scribbled in them that come to me at the most random of moments - in the car, on the walk to school, when I’m trying to sleep - aargh!

I don't structure or plan the story, although I have a rough outline of the plot in my head.  Time is a rare commodity in my world so I write when I can.  I have three small children so my family always has to come first.

I’ll listen to some music to get me in the mood, ensure I have coffee and snacks (chocolate) and then I focus on my characters and let the words flow (writers block permitting). 
Salvation developed as I wrote and rewrote, then rewrote some more.  The character traits, some scenes, and the eventual outcome changed significantly from the first version.  I have an entirely different ending to the one that got published!

Writing the second book, I have a better understanding of the characters, their motives and desires, although I’ve already had two ‘WTF?’ moments that took me completely by surprise.  As of now, I think I know how the story ends.  Get back to me in a few months and we’ll see if I was right!

Which character you created stays with you the most? And why?

Aah, this is hard because I love them all!  Kara has a special place in my heart.  I see a lot of myself in her.  For someone so young, she’s suffered a lot of emotional pain, and I’m extremely proud of her for overcoming it.  I have high hopes she will continue to blossom and thrive.

I have to give a special mention to Kara’s friend Mai.  She is the girl I want to be.  To have her confidence and ‘I-don’t-care’ attitude would make for an interesting life.  I know I can rely on her to make me smile.

Of course, my male lead is with me all the time.  Is it normal to be in love with a fictional character?  Nate is the kind of man we all dream of having.  Ridiculously handsome, charming and funny, confident, and sure knows how to please a woman in bed.  And let’s not forget the gorgeous blue eyes and panty-dropping smile - what’s not to love?  Peel back the layers, and you’ll find a kind, supportive, trustworthy man who isn't afraid to stand up for what he believes in.  He wears his heart on his sleeve and I love him for that.  Gah, I’m swooning again.  He has his flaws and is hiding his own heartache.  I wanted him to be the book boyfriend readers would sigh and swoon over, then fan themselves and run to take a cold shower.  From reader feedback, I think I’ve achieved it lol.

What is your favorite book?

I’ve read and enjoyed too many to choose just one.  But I could happily read The Crossfire Series by Sylvia Day over and over and not get bored.  Love her style of writing and I confess to having a tiny crush on Gideon Cross (ssh, don't tell Nate).

What are your future plans in writing?

There is a lot of reader pressure to get Book 2 out there asap - and that is a fantastic pressure to have.  Reader enjoyment and the hunger for more is the ultimate prize.  I’m hoping to publish it this year (excuse me whilst I freak out and count how many months I have left).  But I won’t put anything out there I’m not 100% happy with, so if it takes longer, so be it.  At this stage, Book 3 in the series will be a standalone, and Book 4 will be a novella to fill in some blanks.  That’s enough to keep me busy for now!

What do you do to get your book out there? Do you use social media? etc.

Promoting takes a huge amount of time and effort, and something I’m still working on doing more efficiently.  When I get a good review, or a message telling me how much someone enjoyed my work, it has a huge impact on my day and makes all the sacrifices worth it.  Hearing from readers is the best part of writing.

I use Facebook; I have Twitter although I’m not as active as I should be.  I also use Pinterest for visual ideas.

The friendships I’ve made through social media - fellow authors, bloggers, readers - is one of the better sides to social media.

My publicist, Paula is one of those people I consider a good friend.  She helped me out with the cover reveal and blitz for Salvation and ensured word got out.  Sharing a mutual appreciation for dark-haired, blue-eyed men has simply been a bonus (Matt Bomer, David Gandy anyone?).
The blogger community is a hugely valuable tool for unknown authors like myself.  It takes time to find and approach them, but I’ve found the majority more than willing to help out - reviewing, sharing posts, hosting events and getting you involved.  I have a small group of readers who pimp me every day on social media, and I love them dearly for helping me out.  You rock, ladies!

What would your advice be to aspiring writers?

I’m new to this whole writing game and not sure I qualify to dish out words of advice.  I’m still learning myself!

You must write the story you want to tell, not what you think people want to read.  Don't worry about sticking to word counts or chapter lengths.  Go with what you feel is right and what you’re comfortable with writing.  Listen to your characters and let them lead the story.  Keep to your writing ‘voice’. 
Cultivate relationships with fellow writers, readers, bloggers and contribute to discussions on social media.  Be yourself.  Be kind.

Most importantly, go for it, enjoy it and be proud of your achievements.  Celebrate every milestone big and small.  There aren't many people in this world that can call themselves a published author!

About the Author:

Most days, you’ll find Stephanie John on a yacht, wearing a very skimpy bikini, drinking champagne, eating chocolate and never gaining weight.

When she isn't asleep and dreaming, in real life you’re more likely to find her at the school gates, wearing whatever she dragged on that morning, drinking copious amounts of coffee.  She still eats chocolate, though — everyone has their vices, right?

Somehow, amidst the chaos of full-time mummy duties, she manages to write.  Contemporary romance has always been her favourite genre to read for as long as she can remember (age-appropriate, of course).  

Never in a million years did it occur to her to write one of her own.  Now, she couldn't imagine doing anything else.

‘Salvation’ is available to purchase on Amazon, free on Kindle Unlimited and paperback format will be available soon. 

For more information about Stephanie John and ‘Salvation’ please visit Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads and Amazon.

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