When I heard about Stephanie's upcoming novelette, A Song Beyond Walls, I was immediately intrigued. After following her for a while, and growing more excited for the book after she shared snippets and moodboards and a gorgeous cover, I knew I had to have her as a guest.
Stephanie is so kind and supportive, and she is a huge inspiration. I'm awed by her motivation and creativity, and I'm so excited for her book. I hope that you enjoy what she has to say about writing, ghosts, and keeping everything you create.
To kick things off, please share a bit about yourself!
Thank you, Madison! To put it simply, I am a myriad of people and places: sometimes an empress, other times a wearied scullery maid, even a potion-brewing hag…there really is no limit (though I’ve tried finding it). On the surface, however, I am a mother and wife who bakes a lot, obsesses over animals and nature, and waits anxiously for my next opportunity to write. I am something of a foodie and a huge nerd when it comes to my fandoms.
What has your writing journey looked like?
I was a toddler when I began scribbling words next to my drawings on paper, asking my mom to staple the pages together so that I could make a book. As a pre-teen, I would go to school without having slept because I had stayed up all night, every night almost, writing fantastical stories that fulfilled me more than any waking day ever did. My stories are what I survived off of well into my young adulthood, when I decided that there was no other path in life for me: I had to write books! Conjuring the right story to publish had been the struggle for many years, but when I moved with my husband and daughter into an Airstream trailer in the middle of the woods—with no distractions and more than enough inspiration from nature—three books poured out of me in the form of a fantasy series; and even more has since then. My priority now is to have all of my work published.
What are some books that have impacted you?
I will narrow it down (painfully) to the ones that have impacted me most as a writer. The Wise Woman by Philippa Gregory was the first Historical Fiction book I ever read. Before that, I never thought I had a taste for anything that wasn’t contemporary, but that book brought a darker, grittier, and more feminist tone to my work. It also gave me an insatiable desire for witch stories. Most recently, I was impacted by Anne Rice’s The Lives of the Mayfair Witches series (aye, more witches). That series impacted me on an almost-astral level, capturing my innermost desires and aesthetic dreams in a way I thought I could have written them myself. To me, having work be so intimate is what being an author is all about.
Your novelette, A Song Beyond Walls, is coming out soon! What is this story about?
A Song Beyond Walls is the love story between Claire, a Victorian-era spirit who has been haunting her home since her death—and Dorian, the young man who moves into the dusty, dilapidated house in 1923. Though separated by time, space, and death, the two of them find that no barrier is too great for a love they’ve waited their entire existences for.
Halloween is an important theme for this story, so my goal is to have the book released before then. My cover artist did such an amazing job, I decided to have it published in hardcover in addition to e-book; potentially in paperback as well. The e-book releases on October 27th, stay tuned for more info regarding the physical release!
What inspired this particular story?
Well, I have always wanted to write a melancholy romance about a lonely, tweed-clad man being haunted—and enchanted—by a lovely Victorian spirit. The opportunity to delve into the tale arose when I found a paranormal romance anthology seeking submissions for a ‘Halloween ghost love-story’. I ended up being far more passionate about the story than intended and my husband suggested that I remove it from the anthology and have it published myself. It’s still only novelette length, adhering to the anthology’s standards, and I’ve considered making it a novel, but I’m quite fond of the length and the way it is. Perhaps one day I will expand on it. I already have some ideas.
What sort of reader do you hope A Song Beyond Walls attracts? What do you hope readers gain from this story?
A Song Beyond Walls is certainly one of my milder stories, so it may appeal to a broader audience than my typical work would. The characters are both light; their love is pure and innocent, which I feel is a pleasant contrast to the theme of death. I hope this story reaches those who love a good romance and have a spooky bone in their body; but I think more than anything, there will be those who think about this story after they’ve read it, and ponder the depths of the universe that no one truly understands (which I explore in this story). That, and feel grateful to be alive.
What do you find interesting about paranormal romance? What are some challenges with this genre?
I think many of us have wondered (or perhaps still wonder) what possibilities are out there in terms of the paranormal; and what’s even more mysterious, and thrilling, is the idea of being loved by someone otherworldly. Perhaps that’s just something particularly yearnful people dream-up, and I certainly had been that in my youth. After all, it is that yearnful era of youth from which much of my love for paranormal romance stems.
As for the challenges, I feel this genre can be trite; a lot of the same stories and characters have been overdone. Also, this genre allows for much exploration of the metaphysical, and many stories leave those deep, unfathomable waters untouched.
Do you have any more projects in the works?
Why yes! I’m still pitching my fantasy series to agents and, once A Song Beyond Walls is on shelves, I will pick up my pen again and begin writing some of the stories that have been desperate for release. One of them is another paranormal romance, also taking place in a different period…only this time it will be a novel. Possibly even the beginning to a chronicles.
If you could share one piece of advice, what would it be?
Keep everything you write. If a paragraph, or even a description, isn’t relevant to your current work—don’t delete it; record it elsewhere, in a document or journal dedicated to discarded pieces. One day you will look back through it and feel overcome with pride for yourself, and even if you do not use the pieces in any future works, they can always be used as writing prompts.
Anything to add?
Never give up, be ever-curious, and leave nothing unexplored.
Follow Stephanie on Instagram: @stephaniefiction