I hope you’ll help me welcome Stephanie Rose to the blog! She’s got a brand-new release today, and because I’m nosy AF, I asked the lovely Ms. Rose a bunch of equally nosy questions. Let’s find out more about Stephanie, shall we?
Stephanie Rose is a bad-ass New Yorker, a wife, a mother, a former blogger and lover of all things chocolate. Most days you’ll find her trying to avoid standing on discarded LEGO or deciding which book to read next. Her debut novel, Always You, released in 2015 and since then she’s written several more—some of which will never see completion—and has ideas for hundred to come.
What’s a typical day like for you?
I wake up at 6:30, when I should be up at 5:30, shower, get dressed, and push my son to get dressed for school. I drop him off and head to the 6 train subway station to head into the office where I work as an advertising account manager. After everyone goes to bed at night or on a day off or weekend, I write and/or do writing admin stuff.
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I always loved writing and at any job I had it was always my best skill. I kept a fake diary as a preteen where I’d make up love stories like they actually happened. Back then, my hero was always Jordan from NKOTB (dating myself badly) but I guess that should have been my first clue I wanted to write.
Do you have any bad habits?
I need to stop mindless scrolling on social media. I’d get a lot more done.
Do you have any pet peeves?
What are some of your writing goals?
My goal is to get better with each book.
Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what do you listen to?
Not while, but to get inspiration before. I tend to use Daughtry a lot in my playlist
What’s your favorite curse word?
I’m a Bronx native, and appreciate the versatility of the word Fuck.
What sound do you love?
My son’s laugh.
What sound do you hate?
Dog or cat person?
City or country?
Morning or night person?
Depends. I can’t get up as early as I should, and fall asleep on the couch a lot. I guess I shoot down the middle.
Get things done early or procrastinate?
Depends, but mostly procrastinate.
Introvert or extrovert?
Little of both. I love seeing my friends, but admit to sometimes being so effing relieved when plans get canceled.
What do you like best about writing?
When it flows, there is no greater feeling in the world. Creating a new story is a high that I haven’t been able to match.
What do you like least?
Sometimes, I get caught up in the rat race. Everyone evolves on their own time, and measures of success aren’t the same for everyone. My 2019 resolution is to enjoy the books I’ve worked so hard for and try not to get caught up in rank or wrong turns I’ve taken with the wrong people along the way. There is too much good to focus on the bad. I have wonderful friends and readers, and on February 22, I will celebrate giving them a brand-new book to enjoy.
What was your favorite childhood book?
What are your favorite kinds of stories to tell?
Stories with strong women and good guys. I love reading assholes, but my lot in author life is to show readers how sexy a nice guy could be. Not to say they aren’t complicated, but my heroes have good hearts.
What are your favorite kinds of books to read?
All kinds, mostly romance. I’ve recently started loving historical romance. Sarah McClean is my favorite.
Let’s take a look at the blurb.
One couple risks it
all, while the other may lose everything…
At eighteen, PJ was full of dreams. She was on her way to becoming a serious artist and moving across the country, away from the unrequited, tortured dream of her much older brother’s irresistible best friend, Dylan. But when she forced herself to let that dream go, she never expected it to bounce back and refuse to let her.
One fall may have cost Jack everything. After being severely injured while responding to a fire, he lost the girl, the use of his leg, and possibly the career he’s dreamed of all his life. While away at rehab, he connects with Danielle, his physical therapist and a girl from his past. She can heal him in more ways than one, but she’s nursing her own wounds.
When your heart is warring with your head, there’s no time to Think Twice.
You’ve put together a really interesting project. Your most recent release, Think Twice, features four characters’ points of view and two love stories that unfold concurrently. This seems like it had the potential to be a really daunting project. Did you struggle at all while weaving the two stories together?
Yes and no. The stories played off of each other so it was really one tale, I like to think of it like a movie. The timeline was the most daunting. Dylan and PJ began as a Book+Main serial and Jack and Danielle were a short for an anthology. It’s hard taking one story off novella mode and filling in the background and developing your characters, but to do that for two and then intertwining them, it took work for sure. But it wasn’t a chore. I loved both couples and the entire Garcia family. Spending time with them was a pure joy.
Would you consider writing another book in this manner?
If I thought of another ensemble like story, sure. Is it in my plan at the moment, no—but never say never.
Do you prefer one couple’s story over the other?
That’s a great question. When I wrote Dylan and PJ in the serial, they poured out. They were pure passion and angst and everything I love about writing romance. I had more content of them than Jack and Danielle so I had to fill in a lot more blanks, but in the end, they may have gotten to me more. It wasn’t the exact same type of forbidden as Dylan and PJ, but they broke your heart. Both were so broken but as Jack healed, it highlighted how stagnant Danielle was and how much they needed each other. A beta made me listen to “Rewrite the Stars” from the Greatest Showman, and I tear up each time because it’s really so them.
What do you like best about Jack?
And Jack is the first character I wrote from the time he was in utero (in Only You) and as a man. So, I have a huge soft spot for him and love how he’s evolved. He’s got a ton of heart, and is simply a great guy. He spends most of the story upset over his injury because he doesn’t know who he is if he can’t save people.
What do you like best about Danielle?
How brave she was to take a chance with Jack. There were a ton of potential professional repercussions from, for lack of a better term, messing around with her patient, but after being closed off for so long, to finally take a piece of happiness for herself was huge. She felt she didn’t deserve it and couldn’t keep it, but letting herself get close to Jack was a big risk on her part in a lot of ways.
What do you like best about Dylan?
I loved how unwavering he was in his love for PJ. He wouldn’t let anyone, even a family he thought of as his own, come between them.
What do you like best about PJ?
She may be one of my favorite heroines. She’s a tough little cookie. Brave enough to tell Dylan how she felt, and wasn’t a pushover when he finally admitted his own feelings. She made him work for it.
It’s not a question, but I loved PJ and Jack’s relationship, too. They were typical brother and sister, but the love they had for each other was bone deep. I’m an only child and would have loved an older brother like Jack.
Are there other characters in your story that you’re especially fond of? Why?
Nick. Nick was Jack and Ellie’s savior, and he’s still all about his family. He emulates what you think a fire chief would be, a lion-hearted man who is dedicated to his wife and kids.
Were there any scenes that were particularly difficult to write? If so, how?
Jack and Danielle’s falling out. So much hurt fueled their fight and they ended up brokenhearted and lost. When Dylan had to leave PJ’s house after that one tough scene, I actually got misty at him devastated over the fact he may have lost her.
What’s up next for you?
A beach romance I came up with while staying in Wildwood, NJ last summer. Kind of like a reverse Mystic Pizza where a city girl falls in love with a local in a sleepy beach town.
What would you most like readers to know about you and your books?
I love writing and my readers, and try to give them characters they could love. The biggest compliment I’ve gotten is that my characters are real. I want them to be people you’d fall in love with or want to be friends with. Give them enough depth to make you care.
How about an excerpt?
I’d spent so long trying to somehow will away the affect PJ had on me, but I was done fighting the impossible. Maybe others would think it was wrong, and I probably would make the same ignorant judgment of a twenty-six-year-old man and an eighteen-year-old girl—a girl he’d known since the day she was born—falling for each other. But when I’d kissed her and she sighed into my mouth, as if she’d been waiting for my kiss for her entire life, it was nothing but right.
An hour later, I pulled up in front of the Garcias’ driveway, relieved as fuck it was empty. The annoying thing about hiding something, even if unintentionally, is that you were always on edge. Sneaking her across the street unnoticed would be a challenge, but I’d figure that out later. My only worry at that moment was if PJ would like the birthday present I’d just picked up for her.
When she’d turned sixteen, I’d bought her a sketch pad and charcoal pencils since she was always drawing something, and I still remember her eyes filling with tears as she’d said thank you. When I’d told her “you’re welcome,” my gaze caught hers, lingering a few inappropriate moments too long. That’s when everything had shifted and I’d become very aware of PJ. I’d notice her enter and leave a room, fighting like hell to tear my eyes from the sway of her hips and how fucking beautiful she looked. But she’d been a kid, and what the hell was I doing leering in the first place?
I wasn’t surprised she’d wanted to go away to art school after she graduated.
I’m ashamed to admit how relieved I’d been when Jack told me. The temptation to touch her wouldn’t be as strong, or intensify like it was, if she and her petite, curvy body were out of state. Now, the word made my stomach sink. We were doomed to be complicated, weren’t we?
“Hey,” PJ chirped as she climbed into my SUV. “Dad has a double shift, and Mom is out with Aunt Kate. You can breathe out now.” Her auburn hair poured across her bare shoulders as she fastened her seat belt. As usual, my eyes raked down her body, over the pale blue strapless dress that left just enough smooth, olive skin exposed to drive me crazy. She sat straight up and looked toward the road without glancing in my direction.
I cupped her neck and kissed her. Hard. I didn’t care if neighbors saw us or if they reported back to her parents. PJ stiffened at first and then melted into my arms, her fingers sifting through my hair as she whimpered into my mouth.
“Someone could see. Are you sure you’re okay with that?” she murmured, breathless, against my lips, trying to pull back from the kiss, but I wouldn’t let her.
“That people think you belong to me? Very fucking okay.” I nibbled down her neck and dragged open-mouthed kisses across her collar bone. “Because that’s what you are, Patricia. Mine.” I bit her earlobe and smiled at the chuckle vibrating against my lips.
I covered her mouth with mine again, stopping before I pulled her back onto my lap and had a repeat of last night’s activities in broad daylight.
“This is nuts, right?” She panted against my neck when we pulled apart. “For it to be this intense, this fast?”
“Maybe it is fast, but not for us, baby.” I took her face into my hands. “For us, it’s time.”