17 January 2011

Inside the Author's Studio Interview and Giveaway with Stephanie Dray


For this week's Inside the Author Studio I am pleased to welcome. Stephanie Dray!

Stephanie Dray is the author of a forthcoming trilogy of historical fiction novels set in the Augustan Age, starting with Lily of the Nile: A Novel of Cleopatra's Daughter. Before she wrote novels, Stephanie was a lawyer, a game designer, and a teacher. Now she uses the transformative power of magic realism to illuminate the stories of women in history and inspire the young women of today. She remains fascinated by all things Roman or Egyptian and has–to the consternation of her devoted husband–collected a house full of cats and ancient artifacts.

She is currently sponsoring the Cleopatra Literary Contest for Young Women, the deadline for which is March 1, 2011, but join her newsletter now for updates and a chance to win a free copy of Lily of the Nile and additional prizes. You can check out her website HERE!

Describe yourself in one sentence?

I may sometimes look like a buttoned up professional, but I have the soul of a wild child inside and am passionate about Cleopatra, books and cats.

What are the one record, book, and food, you'd take to a desert island?
I’m so not an outdoorswoman, so I would probably wish I’d taken some form of complete protein like nuts, a book on survivalism and an audio recording of the theme to Gilligan’s island. As for what I’d actually want with me? Ice cream, one of George R. R. Martin’s fantasy tomes (they take forever to read) and maybe the soundtrack to GLADIATOR.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be a writer, but that seemed as if it wasn’t sensible, so then I wanted to become a lawyer until I realized how much I disliked that. Now I again want to be a writer when I grow up...

Which book do you wish you'd written?
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

What makes you happy?
Good food, good friends, and good weather.

What makes you angry?
People who don’t believe in the social contract and want us to return to a state of nature.

Name five people who you'd like to invite to a dinner party?
I’d invite Oprah to my dinner party because I want her to read my book. After that, I’d want to sup with Margaret George and Philippa Gregory. And maybe, because curiosity would get the better of me, Hillary Clinton. I’d also invite my sister, because she’s my best friend. It would be a girl’s night out!

What's the scariest thing you've ever done?
I attempted to climb the rain-slick stairs of an ancient Mayan temple in Belize. It was dangerously slippery and there was next to nothing in the way of handrails--it’s clear that Tort law hasn’t reached Belize yet--and I only got half-way up before I froze in fear!

What inspired you to start writing?
My grandmother used to threaten me with purse-beating if I didn’t keep my little cousins entertained, so I would make up stories for them. It has always come naturally to me.

Where would you most like to live?
Somewhere in the Mediterranean, maybe in the South of France or in Italy. Failing that, somewhere warm and tropical. Or at least somewhere without snow.

What is your favorite curse word?
I like them all.

Who is your favorite man candy?
Right now, my favorite man candy is Kevin McKidd. I loved him in HBO’s Rome and now I love him on Grey’s Anatomy. He’s not as chiseled or pretty as some actors, but there’s something very manly about him that really gets to me in spite of the fact that I’m not a big fan of red-heads.

Sum up your latest release in no more than twelve words!

Cleopatra’s daughter struggles for survival in a court of Roman intrigue.

Stephanie is offering up a copy of Lily of the Nile to one lucky commentor. Please comment below to enter. You have until Sunday, January 23rd Midnight EST to enter. Good Luck!

post signature

14 people posted their 2 cents:

Jeannie Lin said...

I've heard about those steps on the Mayan temples. They're supposedly extremely narrow and treacherous. This might be a total fable, but supposedly they're easier to navigate if you loop back and forth in a snake pattern, which is what they'd supposedly do in rituals. Wow, the weird things you remember, right?

Glad I stopped by! I always love learning little tidbits like who you'd invite to dinner. Oprah..d'oh! Why didn't I think of that?

Stephanie Dray said...

Thanks for stopping by, Jeannie! Next time I go, I'll try the looping method if I get brave enough. It was terrifying and my friend had to talk me back down, one step at a time but it was an experience I wouldn't trade for anything.

Robin K said...

What a fantastic cover design. I cannot wait to read.

robin [at] intensewhisper [dot] com

Carol N Wong said...

I would love to read this book. I am fascinatesd by Cleopatria so naturally to read about her daughter would be just as exciting.


Lynz Pickles said...

I am in love with that cover. I kind of want to print it out and use it as a book cover for some of my less-pretty books, just so I can see it more often. Which, I guess, is actually pretty creepy, so I'm just going to stop typing now.

Stephanie Dray said...

Lynz -- If I can find a way of doing it cost-effectively, I'd love to get some posters printed up as swag ;)

Blodeuedd said...

Lol, I like that last question and answer. That is sure one way to sum it up.

I was just wondering, are you working on something new now?

Yay Rome ;)
blodeuedd1 at gmail dot com

Stephanie Dray said...

Blodeuedd, right now I'm working on getting the word out about Lily. It's very hard as a first time author to find your readers. The sequel will come out at the end of the year and I saw the cover--it's killer. After that I plan a third novel of Selene's life, to finish up the trilogy, but it's going to depend on how this does!

So if you like fiction about this time period, please spread the word!

Danielle Gorman said...

I keep hearing such wonderful things about this book. Would love to read it.
Stephanie, I too think there is something unbelievably sexy about Kevin McKidd. I especially love when he talks with his real accent. Aww sigh!


lisa said...

thanks for the contest! i'd love to win a copy of this book i've been hearing so many good things about!

and for the record, i'm a HUGE fan of Rome and an even HUGER fan of Kevin McKidd. rawr.

Ashley said...

I've wanted to read this book for a while now! I keep hearing great things about it, and I definitely want to give it a shot!

basicallyamazingbooks [at] gmail.com

buddyt said...

I have been reading a few books on Egypyt lately and this sounds like one I would enjoy.

If the giveaway is open woprldwide, please enter me.

Thank you.

Carol T

buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

Rachel Jameson said...

Stephanie, I am so proud of and for you! I'm looking forward to reading your opus! Oh, and I love Kevin McKidd. But then, I have a soft spot for gingers.

Stephanie Dray said...

Rachel: <3 <3 <3 ;)

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