1. Tell us about your newest release.
After editing several short stories I began to see that most of them were either about "the meet," showing the hero and heroine meeting for the first time, or the stories were about a problem in a relationship that got resolved for a happy ending. I decided, as a challenge to myself, to write a short story that included it all--the meet, the problem, and the happily ever after ending. Since I love the Regency period, I used that setting for The Admirer. I think I got everything into this story, including a bit of adventure and mystery for the heroine.
2. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your story?
That I love a challenge, even if it is one I set up for myself.
3. Do you have any interesting or quirks or rituals?
I find it really hard to get started on a project, whether it is a book, a blog, or just getting to my writing for the day. But once I'm typing, it is hard for me to stop!
4. What authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?
Every book I read is an instruction manual. I am either trying to figure out how the author makes her work so vivid and compelling so I can learn from that, or, if the book is not a good one, I figure out why so I don't make those same mistakes.
5. What does your family think about your career as a published author?
My family is very proud of my accomplishments. My father used to lurk in the romance section of bookstores and encourage customers to buy my book!
6. Besides writing, what other interests do you have?
Art is a great love of mine. I am working on a mural for a local town and have some watercolor paintings in an art show. I also play the piano for church and work in the fiber arts as a hand spinner and weaver.
7. Can you tell us what is coming up next for you?
For years, I have had an idea for a Western romance in mind. It's about a good woman and a bad man--with a Bible. I've started it. Just 250 pages to go.
8. How can readers connect with you online?
All she wanted was a little adventure before settling into a forced, loveless marriage. How could she have known just how far that adventure would take her?
All Marcia wanted was a little adventure followed by a bright and everlasting love. So when she was being forced into an arranged marriage to an arrogant duke, who could blame her for choosing the lure of a secret admirer who sent her thoughtful gifts, cryptic notes, and gave her thrilling kisses in a dark garden? But was he asking too much when he offered a trip to Gretna Green? Or was it worth the risk to avoid a loveless marriage?
That evening at a ball, Marcia stepped out on a balcony for a breath of air. It was dark and quiet overlooking the gardens. She had just turned to go back in when a pair of hands grasped her by the upper arms and pulled her back against a broad and unyielding chest. A cheek pressed against her hair. Before she could protest, he was speaking.
"Did you like the flowers I sent you?"
My admirer! Could it be the duke, after all? No, he told my parents he is too busy for any of the many affairs we are attending except the two he mentioned. And a duke would not go unnoticed, even in this crush.
"Yes, they were lovely."
She tried to turn, to see his face, but his grip prevented her.
"I have watched you these past weeks and longed to declare myself, to beg for one crumb of the attention you scatter so benevolently amongst these love-bitten swains who gather about you. But I did not want to be one more in the pack. Do you know what it does to my senses to at last hold you so closely? I am mad for you."
His lips nuzzled at her neck, and she sighed. Suddenly, he turned her, and his lips found hers. It was not a chaste kiss. It was not a polite kiss. It was wild and hungry, and excited a hunger within her. His kiss sent thrilling ripples all the way down to her toes.
Abruptly, he was gone. By the time she came to her senses and turned, he was already fading away into the dark depths of the garden, the full folds of his cloak swirling behind him.
Michele Stegman is a multi-published author with a lifelong love of history. She lives with her husband, Ron, in an 1840's log cabin full of antiques. She spins, weaves, and makes her own soap. Her daughter calls the place Pioneer Village!
Michele can be reached at Steman14@yahoo.com, at her website, www.MicheleStegman.com, or at www.Facebook.com/MicheleStegmanAuthor.