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Interview with Stephanie Nelson, author of the Gwen Sparks series

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Tell us about the Gwen Sparks series.
In Craved, book one, we learn that Gwen is a witch who can read the memories of the dead with the help of her cat and familiar Aura. Witches are turning up dead, drained of their blood. We soon find out that the spell protecting the magic in their blood has been broken and vampires crave it like a drug, calling it Brew. Because Gwen can read the dead’s memories, she’s pulled into the chaos and tries to help solve the mystery and find the culprit behind the string of deaths.

What genre is it?
Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy.

What kind of readers will it appeal it?
My books are intended for readers 18+. Those who enjoy paranormal romance and urban fantasy would be my target audience.

Complete this sentence for us: If you like ___________, you’ll love the Gwen Sparks series.
If you like the Sookie Stackhouse series, you’ll love the Gwen Sparks series.

Tell us a bit more about Gwen Sparks and the world she lives in.
Gwen is a twenty-six year old witch living in a town called Flora. Her ability to interact with the dead leads her to find out she’s what is known as a spirit walker — a witch with the ability to control spirits. In my story, the humans know the supernaturals exist, but demand segregation. There are magical bound towns set up across the United States that have protection borders to keep humans out. And there are towns that allow humans. Gwen lives in a tiny apartment with her best friend, Fiona. She is being pursued by an alluring vampire named Aiden and eventually meets Dorian, the angel of Death.

You have announced that books 4 and 5 in the series are coming soon. Can you give us any teasers to whet our appetites til they arrive? What’s going to happen?
I just released the third book, Coveted. In the epilogue you get a sneak peak at what book 4, Hexed will be about. Gwen will face off with a quirky witch who plays by her own rules. Book five will be titled Resurrected and we’ll learn what happens when spirit walkers go bad and the other side of interacting with the dead.

Tell us about your Anna Avery series.
My Anna Avery series is based on a twenty-three year old woman who was attacked by a wolf while hiking in the mountains. She learnsTaming the Wolf Stephanie Nelson that it wasn’t just any wolf that attacked though, and soon finds out that she’s now a werewolf. She’s taken in by the Everwood pack. She ranks very low in the ranks, but has caught the attention of the alpha, Adam. Not only that, humans soon start turning up dead and all fingers point to Anna. She must fight for her freedom and against the undeniable pull she has towards her already-mated alpha.

What is it about the paranormal that makes it such an enduring subject for literature for both authors and readers?
My love of books was a result of reading paranormal romance books. Before then I wasn’t much of a reader. It was just a matter of finding the right books to peak my interest. For me, the paranormal is just so interesting. Though we’ve read endless amounts of stories about witches’, vampires and werewolves, it’s cool to see how authors come up with their own rules for the creatures we’ve read about so many times. The possibilities are endless, whereas with human-based characters there are limits to a writer’s creativity. Not that I have anything against those types of books; I’ve read some fantastic contemporary books.

Do you ever get a chance to reread your books after publication? Can you enjoy them the way we do or do you constantly spot things you wish you’d written differently?
I do go back and read parts if I need to remember an important piece of information. However, I don’t read through the entire thing because I know there are things I would change and it would drive me nuts. Ha! When I do the initial read through before publication, I do enjoy the book hopefully as much as my readers do. I even get giddy over certain parts. Which I take as a good sign. :-)

Which of your characters most resembles you, in terms of their personalities?
I like to think that both Gwen and Anna have bits of my personality traits. As a writers, a bit of ourselves always get intertwined in our stories. Both Gwen and Anna share my sarcasm. I appreciate strong women who stand up for themselves. Anna is very independent and unwilling to allow others call the shots for her, whereas Gwen is strong but also has weak moments. I find that very natural in life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m from Illinois where I live with my husband and our furry children. I dream of someday trading in cornfields for the mountains and moving out west. I started writing a little over five years ago. It started out as a hobby, but I quickly fell in love with storytelling and decided to publish. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, playing games, spending time with my family and playing on Photoshop where I make covers for other authors.

Have you got a website where readers can keep up with your work?
www.Stephanie-Nelson.com. Facebook (AuthorStephanieNelson), Twitter (@StephNel1).

Where can we buy your books?
Most of my books are available at both Amazon (US, UK) and Barnes and Noble, though Taming the Wolf is currently just on Amazon until January.

What’s next?
I’ll be working on the next Gwen Sparks and Anna Avery books, but I have so many other new series just waiting for me to finish them. I have a new adult paranormal romance I’m hoping to get to by 2013, and a YA series I would love to start also. For now, the two series I have going are keeping me very busy.

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Enjoyed this interview? Then check out our conversation with S M Boyce.

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