‘Tis a cold, wet morning in Japan. More so over the other side of the Pacific in the USA, where it is a colder-than-a-brass-monkey 40f for Stephanie Mirro, who has kindly agreed to sit down for vol4 of BB10-Q. Stephanie is an author I came across earlier this year and I have stormed through three of her Immortal Relics books. Extremely readable and full of supernatural suspense and mythological mayhem! Buckmaster Books welcomes Stephanie Mirro!
Hello Stephanie. Thank you for sitting down with me for the fourth BB10-Q interview. How are you doing?
I’m good for the most part! Covid threw us all for a loop, but I think we (in the Mirro house) are working our way through it well, now that we’ve gotten the hang of the new “normal.”
“Normal” is a very flexible word these days! I’ve just had another look at your web-site (https://www.stephaniemirro.com/) and was dazzled by some exciting covers there. Can you tell us about the books. What genre are they? What kind of characters do they contain?
This month I’ll have three books published in the Immortal Relics series, an urban fantasy that features sassy ancient gods, mythical creatures, and a heroine who has to overcome some pretty terrible events to learn her true strength. It’s not a trilogy, though, so expect more to come “soon!”
<Not a trilogy!? There’s more to come? Sweet!>
And what are you working on now?
I’m focused on an urban fantasy romance series, The Last Phoenix. It’s a planned 7 book series with lots of potential for spin-offs. All 7 will be published in 2021.
Seven in one year? Wow, not even The Seven could do that! Sounds wonderfully diabolical!
Do you have a writing routine, say getting up early, shunting everyone out the house and pummeling the PC, or sipping on some Chateau de Vinbeaucoup and letting the thoughts flow?
While I love the idea of a glass of wine and writing in the evening, I work much better as a member of the #5amwritersclub. I do some of my best brain dumping when my brain hasn’t woken up enough to start editing in the moment. I’m weird, though, in that I actually prefer the editing/revision process!
<There’s probably some science in there somewhere. I read that there’s a gradual increase in body temperature throughout the morning that improves our working memory, alertness and concentration. It peaks mid-morning apparently. Hmm, so I’m guessing winter mornings might be less productive!?>
And the big question! Why do you write books?
It’s such a cliché answer, but it’s truly what I was meant to do. My parents like to joke that I started reading before I talked, and writing came soon after. There’s very little in life more satisfying than writing and publishing a book, then seeing what people love about it in their reviews.
Destiny! And yes, I absolutely agree about how satisfying it is to write.
CURSE OF THE VAMPIRE
Buckmaster Books will give out two paperbacks of your exciting “Curse of the Vampire”, <competition details in Facebook post>, so could you please write a haiku describing the book? And we will plop a blob of blurb at the end of the interview for anyone needing more to sink their teeth into! <see what I did there?> Take it away, Haiku!
Sera meets old god
Wicked vampires break the rules
Yes, there will be blood
Where did the inspiration for the Immortal Relics series come from?
Despite doing well in school, I was a bit of a space cadet when it came to sitting in a classroom. One day during college, where I studied ancient civilizations and mythology, I was staring out the classroom window and had this idea for the origin of vampires that involved Roman mystery rites. The idea continued to haunt my dreams for over a decade until I finally said enough was enough, and I sat down and wrote it.
This was what really drew me to the book! Roman gods, vampires, lots of claret…of both sorts.
This series is actually a re-release. Can you speak a bit about the rebranding? <Stephanie has delved deeply into the murky world of marketing in the self-publishing game. No mythological beasts but mazes that would fool a minotaur.>
The reason I rebranded my books was to let readers know right off the bat what the stories would include. I researched author branding and how the e-book market has changed reader expectations and buying behaviors, then I chose titles and covers that resonated with those expectations. I call my vampires bacchae, but they’re still vampires essentially. I also followed the same format, “blank of the blank.”
This does make sense. It’s very easy to go for a unique title which means a lot to the author, but will not instantly engage a potential reader. If we look at the Star Wars saga, there are a lot of “<something> of the <something>” and GRRM’s books are all “A <blank> of <blank>”. Food for thought to all you budding self-published authors out there!
And now we have the usual suspects, the more fun, regular questions.
Q1) What book are you reading now? OR What was the last book you read?
I’m reading an advanced copy of The Witching Vault by Kathrin Hutson. It’s a brand new urban fantasy series coming from a fellow indie author, and I just love her style.
Q2) What genre of books do you usually read?
Urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and I’ve just discovered paranormal reverse harem romance. I really love all things fantasy, including contemporary and epic.
<Paranormal reverse harem?! That’s another new one for me after BB10-Q vol3’s dark cottage-core witch-punk romance.>
Q3) What was the last book that made you cry?
Books don’t usually make me cry, but I did get a bit emotional at the end of Darkwind, book 1 of the Starchaser Saga by Renee Dugan.
Q4) What book do you remember fondly from your childhood?
All the Goosebumps books. I just about died inside when my dad told me he donated all my old copies (but to be fair to him, I left them in boxes in his garage).
<This seems to be a hardship all adults must endure: losing treasured childhood books and toys to garage & car-boot sales or charity shops. I sold all my Star Wars toys and my entire Fighting Fantasy collection. Noooooo!>
Q5) Apart from reading, what hobbies do you have?
Does drinking wine count??
Absolutely! Avec fromage, mon dieu!
Q6) Where is your favourite place to read? (Ex. On the train, in bed, on the sofa, in a park, in a coffee shop etc.)
I don’t think I have one! If the book is good, I’ll get absorbed into it anywhere I am, which could be bad on a train if I end up missing my stop. I have this vague memory that this happened once when I lived in DC. Highly possible.
I’m pretty sure I used to wrinkle up something awful when I read books in the bath back in England.
Q7) What book would you like to see made into a TV show and who would you like to play the lead character?
Obviously my own. 😀 But other than mine, I would LOVE to see Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series made into a HBO series like GoT. I would be all over that. But I have no idea who would play the lead, Phedre. Maybe Emma Watson??
Q8) If you could meet a fictional character in real life, who would it be and why?
Holy crap this is a tough question. It’s a toss-up between Arya Stark and Kate Daniels. The why is simply because they’re both badasses.
Q9) If YOU were a character in a book, who would it be? OR What literary world would you like to experience/live in?
I would love to experience the Kate Daniels world. I’m all about the dystopian feel to it all, the rise and fall of magic and tech, the need for both horses and cars. So cool. Oooo! Or maybe the Pern world if I got to ride a dragon. Either works.
Q10) If you could say something to the entire world, what would it be?
Making a career out of writing books is very much like opening a business—it’s exhausting, time consuming, drains your pockets, and can take years to earn any profit. “Hug” an author by leaving a review! Not only can your review encourage other readers to buy the book, but it can also help the book gain visibility. The boost of confidence helps, too. 😉
Here’s a bit more info on Stephanie’s Curse of the Vampire.
“Curse of the Vampire” primarily follows archaeology student Serafina Finch, who doesn’t believe in mythological creatures like vampires, witches, and ancient gods. But after unearthing an ancient Roman amulet, her dreams of drinking blood and violent magic leave behind an eerie sense of foreboding, and even a skeptic like her starts to wonder how real everything might actually be.
When a sinister cult takes a deadly interest in the artifact, Serafina suddenly finds her life in chaos. She’s thrown into a world that shouldn’t exist, where vampires and witches alike claim ownership of the amulet. Her amulet.
As her connection to the artifact grows, she discovers a dark secret about her past. Serafina realizes she must protect the powerful relic at all costs—even if the price is death.
<plus you can read my reviews of the Immortal Relics series on Goodreads>
Thank you to Stephanie for brightening up another BB10-Q! Buckmaster Books wishes her all the best with the new series, The Last Phoenix.
As always, good people of the world, take care, look after each other and have hope things will get better in 2021. In the meantime, pick up a book and lose yourselves in the world of a creative mind! Till next time.