I'm delighted Keri Stevens is visiting. She's a twitter legend (@KeriStevens) and a talented author. Check out the awesome reviews for her debut novel, Stone Kissed on Goodreads. As Wenj from Black Lagoon Reviews says, "Stone Kissed is definitely a wonderful first novel filled with whimsy and magic."
So, here's Keri. There were questions to be answered, and she stepped up to the plate (I think I've gotten that baseball terminology right?).
It's a cliche question, but only because everyone wants to know. Where do you get your inspiration?
Ideas for scenes and stories come in frustratingly tiny drips and blips—“What if?” moments. Every time I have one I think, “How on earth can I make a whole book out of that?”
In the case of STONE KISSED, the idea came to me while I was exhausted and semi-delirious in Manhattan. I’d been taking a weeklong Oriental dance workshop with world-famous dancer, Morocco. Even though she was almost 70, she kept us moving six to eight hours every single day.
So here I am, sore and slack-jawed, schlepping my dance bag up 20th at the end of another grueling day, staring up at the carved faces in the stone doorways (Animals in Stone: Architectural Sculpture in New York City by Robert Arthur King). I imagined a young girl deep in conversation with the carved face of Old Man Winter Wind—and her mother snatching her away out of fear and anger. He didn’t end up in STONE KISSED, but she became Delia, my heroine.
How would you describe your writing voice?
Do other people find this a difficult question to answer? I have a hard time coming up with words to describe my words.
So I asked my critique partners, editor and agent to weigh in. “Fluid,” and “magical,” came up most often. I’ve also heard “elegant,” “heartwarming,” “sexy,” and “lyrical.” But between you and me, my favorite description is “gleefully twisted.”
The title of your novel, "Stone Kissed", directly inspired this question. What is your favourite statue?
My father did extensive genealogy research when I was a child—long before the internet. I spent my summers eating PBJs in cemeteries throughout the South. My brother and I were bored silly at the time, but I’ve grown to love graveyards. I’m fascinated by the way we memorialize those we love—and those we don’t.
Last winter, I visited my brother in Chicago. What did we do for fun? We took a two-hour docent-led tour of Graceland Cemetery—home of some of the largest, most gorgeous monuments I’ve ever seen. Our parents are still laughing about that.
But my current favorite is a gorgeous monument right down the road from me in a small graveyard in Verona, Kentucky. She’s all the more striking because she is alone—all of the other markers are fairly plain headstones.
If you could have one magical talent, what would it be? And because even magic comes at a price, what would you be willing to give up to acquire the talent? (No more chocolate, ever? No way, not worth it.)
I’d don rainbow-colored thigh-high supeheroine boots and become Psychic Marijuana. I’d walk into any group of people in angst and conflict, and send out mellowing vibes much like Garrison Keillor’s catsup. For this power I would sacrifice the hope of losing these twenty pounds that have glued themselves to my body since I stopped teaching much dance and fitness in order to sit at the keyboard.
When Delia Forrest talks to statues, they talk back. She is, after all, the last of the Steward witches.
After an arsonist torches her ancestral home with her estranged father still inside, Delia is forced to sell the estate to pay his medical bills. Her childhood crush, Grant Wolverton, makes a handsome offer for Steward House, vowing to return it to its former glory. Delia agrees, as long as he'll allow her to oversee the restoration.
Working so closely with Grant, Delia finds it difficult to hide her unique talent—especially when their growing passion fuels her abilities.
But someone else lusts after both her man and the raw power contained in the Steward land. Soon Delia finds herself fighting not just for Grant's love, but for both their lives...