We met up with Angela Stevens at her local hockey rink and snuck in the locker room for this great interview!
Do you mentor any other authors who look up to you? Actually that is one of my most favorite things. I am a great believer in paying it forward. I discovered wattpad about a year and a half ago and this site really gave me a passion for critiquing and mentoring. I have helped numerous authors in the past but currently I work with three. Matt Stewart a young (I am determined to get him to finish his 4 book series!) Aussie fantasy writer, Phoenix Rainez a (very soon to be published) South African, contemporary romance writer, and Jason Wride a British published children’s author.
What would you say is important for upcoming/aspiring authors to do? Edit. Edit. Edit and when you think you are done Edit some more. When you write that last word of your book, put on the brakes. Don’t get caught up in that ‘just finished’ hysteria, instead rub your hands with glee and realize it is now time to make your book come alive. Roll up your sleeves, and be prepared to make it happen.
What has been your biggest help in becoming the writer you are today? I was lucky enough to meet a couple of authors early on that took great pains to help me – Dean C Moore (Sci-fi) and Alex McGilvery (Children’s/ Spiritual). They were both superb at giving informative critiques. Dean has subsequently become my editing patner. I quickly learned, that as an author you need feedback and the tougher the better. The best sort is blunt and to the point. Both theses guys went with the ‘these are the crap bits, these are the holes, here you went mad with the passive voice and this is all telling’ approach. I had to take a huge deep breath after the first one I received from Alex. But, if you shelve the ego, dry your eyes, and decide to take the criticism in the spirit it was given, you open yourself up to improvement. Don’t get me wrong; I love praise as much as the next person but it’s the criticism that makes your writing grow. If you find someone who is good at doing that, then lock them in your basement and don’t let them leave.
In your opinion, what should new authors avoid doing? I think this links with an earlier answer, but authors, new and old, should not be scared of detailed or harsh critiques in the drafting stages. Embrace and welcome them, they are given in good faith and ignoring or avoiding them will mean your writing will stay on a plateau.
How has your life helped in creating your own characters? I am a very logical person and an avid people watcher. I constantly excuse everyone’s behavior because of circumstances or their past. I am obsessed with why people are driven to do things. I think this has really helped with getting into the minds of my characters and making their gut reactions realistic and believable. Even with Carl- who is the most despicable of characters - I felt I had to get into his head and justify why he might believe his disgusting actions were right.
What is the first thing you do when starting a new book - outline, synopsis, or just begin writing? Generally I like to get a few chapters into the book before I begin outlining stuff. I like to get the voice established and a feel for my characters. I do a lot of thinking beforehand and often go through a brain dump where I just write whatever comes into my head about the concept. After I am 4-6 chapters into the story, I then take a step back and plan out the rest. I write in scrivener, so I rough out on the index cards what each chapter will contain. Once I have finished the first draft of my story, I plot it using the “Save The Cat” beat sheet by Blake Snyder. This helps me see where I might be missing plot points and tighten up the structure. It is also a great way to come to grips with what my story is about and what I am striving to do with it.
Do you find a character photo first or wait until you’re further into the book to fill in those details? Mainly I don’t use character photo’s at all. The look of a person is not as important to me as the feel of that person’s character. That said, in Lemon Drops And Love I did base Jude Holland on Adam Levine. From day one I always saw him that way, but that is the exception. In The Wolf You Feed I have a cast of thousands and I think Rune is the only character I have a specific image in my head for. The rest it is their characterization that is stronger than what they look like.
What is your strongest trait as a writer - dialogue, POV, characterization, etc? Most definitely characterization and a pretty close second would be dialogue. The characters in my stories arrive in my head fully fleshed out, so real I feel like they are sitting next to me at the computer. When I have a large cast it get’s pretty crowded in my office, I can tell you. Characterization comes easy to me and part of that is linked to the dialogue. I not only know what they are like but exactly how they sound. Point of view on the other hand is something I have struggled with and still do- that is where my fabulous editing partners comes in. I think I drive them mad!
What does your favorite male character look like? Well like everyone else who reads Lemon Drops In Love, I am totally in love with Jude. As I mentioned, Adam Levine is strongly in him. But Jude is much taller. He is a hockey player and has a very athletic physique. I don’t know if you have see any half undressed hockey players (if you haven’t I can recommend googling!) but they all have the most amazing abs. So Jude is ripped in a lean way. He’s not huge with big muscles but instead has a long lean torso with very sexy definition. He is dark haired, of course, and usually sporting a few days of stubble. He has dark, expressive eyes, unkempt hair, and quite the collection of tattoos. In short, he makes me go weak at the knees.
Tell us about your newest book…where it takes place, how the characters came to you, teasing plot points, etc? My latest book is actually a spin off from the Vargr Clan Trilogy. In the third book ( An Unbreakable Will) I introduce a band of kick-ass characters called the Black Walker Warriors. I fell in love with them when I was and just knew I had to take them further. They are a vigilante band of skin walkers who fight hordes of mythical and fantasy beasts around the world. The book will be part of an on going series, each one a stand-alone story but containing the same characters. In the current (first book) I am working on, Eva (also from the trilogy) joins the warriors when her unique powers attract the attention of the Nephilim Project. As the story unfolds, the warriors find that they are facing an evil that hasn’t been seen since the dawn of time. Hania, my cool weather-manipulating Native American grandfather and Rune, the suffocating older brother, also take center stage. The way it is progressing, this looks like it is going to be a lot darker and a little sexier than the YA trilogy, possibly leaning towards NA or even Adult audiences.
What makes a reader keep coming back for more books in a series? For me, without a doubt it’s the characters. My favorite series is, The Black Dagger Brotherhood by JRR Ward, and I love it because of her hunky foul-mouting time with them.
What would you do for fun if you took off a day from writing? Day off? Sorry I am not sure I understand the question! In all honesty I do this for fun as well as work. However, I do love a trip to the Verizon center to cheer on my local Washington Capitals hockey team so a trip downtown with lunch/ dinner before hand would do me nicely!
What is your favorite meal? Roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, gravy, kale and parsnips. I’m salivating just thinking about it.
What is your favorite wine? If it is wine then it’s my favorite! But currently I am drinking waaaay too much of Apothic Red, a red blend.
Who inspires you? Pretty much anyone who has a talent and has the balls to do something with it. I am a sucker for the little guy battling (and often but not always succeeding out there.)
Jude couldn’t believe his luck when Maya spun around and came crashing into him. After spotting her outside, he'd followed her in; his progress hindered as he tried to navigate across a yard packed with partygoers. As he fought his way through the kitchen, he thought she was going to slip away yet again. It seemed all day long he'd been trying to speak to her but she was a whirling dervish spinning here, there, and everywhere. Organizing photos, straightening buttonholes, helping elderly aunts into cars and goodness knows what else.
Every time he came within five feet of her, she twirled around and headed off in the opposite direction, intent on some errand or mission of mercy. But now here she was in his arms.
She’s still all hair, he thought.He never understood how anyone so small could have so much of it. It was so damn sexy; it always made him want to run his fingers through it. Those curls had a mind of their own. Even now they were escaping here and there from the barrette
LDAL Facts/ trivia
- Lemon Drops and Love is not just a sexy romance it has a strong thriller vibe slicing through it as well.
- I have found that men seem to enjoy it as much as women, probably because it is as far from fluffy as you can get.
- With my Cocktail series, I wanted to do more than just cover a romantic story. Across each book I have addressed a different social issue that I feel is prevalent in our society. These issues in themselves are by no means sexy and really tug at my heartstrings. Lemon Drops And Love deals with domestic abuse and I only hope I have done it the justice it deserves. The other books in the series also deal with other hard hitting social issues but discussing them would be a huge spoiler so you will have to wait for them to be published.
- Ice Cold Mint Juleps is the second book in the series and is entering the final edit stages. Dark N Stormy is the third and under construction.
- Lemon Drops and Love is based in Reston Virginia and centers around the ice house there.
- I discovered writing very late in life, in fact just two years ago. I spent the previous 47 years planning.
Angela Stevens is the author of the contemporary adult romance novel Lemon Drops and Love But she doesn’t just write adult romance, she also has a passion for writing YA fantasy and Children's books. She is will be releasing book 1 of her Urban Fantasy Trilogy, The Wolf You Feed at the end of November/ beginning of December. Her first children’s book, Mariquita will be out in the New Year.
Angela is British born and moved to Virginia, USA nine years ago. Always a keen traveler, she has enjoyed spending time living outside of her native country. She is an ex-teacher and the mother of two children. When empty nest syndrome threatened, Angela turned to writing novels to fill her growing free time. As her hobby grew she found storytelling began to fill her waking hours.
Her recently released novel, Lemon Drops and Love grew out of her voracious appetite for reading. After one particularly momentous year, when she consumed over one hundred paper backs, Angela decided to attempt her own first novel.
Her debut novel has its roots firmly in her local town and the setting for her love story was partly inspired by her passion for ice hockey. She discovered her love of the sport when she first moved to America. A rabid Washington Capitals fan, Angela can often be found 'rocking the red' at the Verizon center supporting her beloved team.
You can find Angela on the web at:
Angela is giving away 3 e-books and/or an autographed paperback of Lemon Drops And Love. To enter - leave a great comment about the interview on this blog post and she will chose three winners at random. Be sure to tell us how to reach you and what kind of book you'd like, e or paperback! AND don't forget to be sure to put LEMON DROPS in your post!