About Me

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Welcome to Heartstrings.Thanks for stopping by. I am a mother, a grandmother, and an author of historical western romance and contemporary romantic fiction. Ethan's Heart, book one of The Blackwood Brothers' series won the 2017 Maggie Award for Excellence. Book two, Escorting Darby Bloom, features Blackwood brother Isaac and will be released in December 2017. Stay tuned for more books in this series. If contemporaries are more your thing, check out Carly's Rule and Dusty's Fate. They are both Amazon Best-Sellers.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Interview with Paranormal Author Tmonique Stephens
Author of Eternity
"Where the Gods Come to Play"

Vickie:  Tmonique, since you have a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing, you must have known for a long time that you wanted to write.  Was there one specific moment or incident that pointed you toward writing?

Tmonique:  I started reading Harlequin romances in middle school. Back then they were sweet sex free novellas. There was one story about a sheikh and his captive bride. I fell in love with the character and started creating stories about them. I did this for a while until the Winter Olympics in 1980 when the US hockey team won the gold medal. Oh Boy! Big, brawny men beating each other with sticks! I picked the cutest guy, added a heroine, a lame plot and voila, I had my first novel. And it’s all because of the US Hockey Team.

Vickie:  I love that you post excerpts from your book by way of Six Sentence Sunday, Sweet Saturday Sample and Two Paragraph Tuesday.  How did you come up with this clever idea for sharing excerpts from your book?  (See the Blurb for Eternity at the end of the interview.)

Tmonique:  I wish I could claim credit for Six Sentence Sunday and Sweet Saturday Sample, but other fantastic authors came up with these wonderful ideas. Through talking to writers on different loops and blogs, I stumbled across the websites. Both sites offer writers the opportunity to show the best snippets of their work.

Vickie:  Do you know how many books your publisher plans for your Egyptian gods series?

Tmonique:  Unfortunately, I don't know how many books my publisher would like. The sequel, Everlasting, is almost complete, and I plan a third novel that will take my readers to ancient Egypt.

Vickie:  Do you have any plans to write in any other subgenre of romance?

Tmonique:  Though paranormal romance has a firm hold on my heart, I’m re-writing a women’s fiction novel I wrote a few years ago. Four women will have the bonds of their friendships tested when their marriages crumple all within the same month.

Vickie:  What or who has been the biggest influence in your writing career and why?

Tmonique:  My mother has had the biggest influence in my writing career. She wasn’t a reader. She didn’t understand my need to write. Also, she thought I was wasting paper when I wrote. My mother had a ninth grade education and we had little in common, but with all my heart, I know she would’ve been proud of me and my novel.

(Vickie:  This answer tugged at my heartstrings.) 

Vickie:  Tell us about your writing schedule.  For example, do you write anytime of the day, or do you prefer a specific time?  Do you write for a specific number of hours or pages?

Tmonique:  My ideal time of day for writing would be nine p.m. to two a.m. I find my brain flows better in the evening hours. However, I work a regular job so I can’t always write late into the night. Weekdays my writing schedule is three p.m. to eight p.m. and I do most of my editing in my downtime at work.

Vickie:  Do you ever experience writer’s block?  If so, how do you cope with it?

Tmonique:  Yes, I do! Every writer has a block now and then. Two things work for me. The first is writing long hand. Yes, I actually love a blank piece of paper, preferably white computer paper (weird huh?) and write. Long hand forces me to think about each word, sentence structure and dialogue.

The second thing I do for writers block is free association. Or as I like to call it, my Twilight Zone. When I lay down to sleep I like to think about any plot issues, character problems, etc. and usually I work them work out.

Vickie:  I agree with you that writing long hand helps, except I need lines on my paper.  LOL.  I love free association writing, too.  I first learned about it in Techniques of The Selling Writer by Dwight Swain.  Sometimes, I even use this technique for plotting.

Vickie:  What is the most challenging part of the writing process for you?

Tmonique:  Grammar kicks my butt and sentence structure. Sometimes, I write the way I think which is not always a good thing. Growing up in The Bronx with a large West Indian family, proper grammar did not exist. At my core, I am that person and occasionally I revert back.

Vickie:  Do you plot first, or do you write strictly by the seat of your pants?

Tmonique:  I used to be a pantser (writing by the seat of my pants) I have several unfinished manuscripts to prove it. Now, I plot the beginning, the end and as many key points as possible. I’ve discovered by plotting first, I’ve reduced major re-writes. If I had taken the time to plot Eternity I would have shaved two years off publication. 

Vickie:  What is your personal writing goal?

Tmonique:  Sure, I would love to write a best seller and God willing that will be in my future. Right now, I have a two-year writing plan. My goal is to complete the sequel to Eternity and re-write one of my old manuscripts by the end of this year. In 2013 I will write the third installment in the Egyptian God series and begin plotting my angel vs demon series. 

Vickie:  Describe your writing space, that one corner of the house that is dedicated to your writing?   

Tmonique:  I have a messy corner in my bedroom with my desk, two laptops and an extra monitor (for watching Netflix) and two short file cabinets stacked with handouts from workshops and conferences. I work best in organized disorder. 

Vickie:  What are you the most proud of accomplishing in your life? 

Tmonique:  My biggest accomplishment would be raising a wonderful daughter. She keeps me focused and grounded. She has always given me a reason to keep going. 

Vickie:  What is the strangest thing that ever happened to you that is in any way associated with your writing?  What is the funniest? 

Tmonique:  I never thought I was the type to be star-struck but February 2011 I met on of my favorite authors, CL Wilson at a local conference. She wrote an amazing fantasy romance series. The director of the conference introduced me to her, and I froze. I had my deer-caught-in-the-headlights moment. Then I gushed about how much I loved her first book but hated the ending. Luckily, she laughed.

Ms. Wilson gave a lecture on world building. Afterwards, she took questions. I had a well thought a question prepared and after she answered it, she asked me about my world and characters. For ten whole minutes she talked to me about my writing. That moment will always be a high note in my life. 

Vickie:  Name at least three things you can’t live without. 

Tmonique:  Chocolate! Hook me up to an IV and pump it in! Designer purses. It’s my one shopping addiction. Mechanical pencils for writing long hand. 

Vickie:  If you could choose anywhere in the world to write, where would it be?

Tmonique:  I haven’t found that place yet. As a former NY’er I love the city, but could never reside there again. Remaining in Florida the rest of my life doesn’t hold much appeal either. I would love to travel, vacation in exotic places for a month so that I can truly absorb the culture. That would be ideal. 

Vickie:  As a teenager, I fell in love with The Girl of The Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter.  I still love that book and have it in both e-book and paperback. Do you have a favorite book? 

Tmonique:  I don’t have one favorite book. I have favorite books from favorite authors who made me fall in love with the written word.  Skye O’Malley by Beatrice Small made me love historical romances and strong heroines. JR Ward and the Black Dagger Brotherhood made me love vampires. Tom Clancy’s Red Storm Rising put the third world war in my palms. I never looked at dogs the same way after reading Cujo by Stephen King. And finally Shakespeare. Twelfth Night still cracks me up. 

Vickie: I love your answer about your favorite books.  When you read for pleasure, are you drawn more to romance or do you find yourself reading other genres?  If so, which ones? 

Tmonique: Sometimes I get romance overload. When that happens, I clean my mental palate by reading horror. Stephen King is my go-to guy when I want to be scared silly. I truly enjoy Preston and Child’s Pendergast series and have started re-reading several of their books.  I also enjoy Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein series. 

Vickie:  What advice or tips would you like to pass along to other writers? 

Tmonique:  Don't stop writing! My biggest regret is that I stopped writing after college in 1989. What if I hadn’t? If writing makes you happy then write. Also, no chapter, scene, paragraph, sentence or word is sacred. Critique partners and editors are your allies. Treat them well. 

Vickie:  This last question is one that Tmonique is asked so often that she keeps a prepared answer.  When asked why she writes about Egyptian gods, she had this to say.

Tmonique:  About five years ago, I decided I wanted to write a series.  I’ve always loved paranormal romances, vampires, werewolves, the fey, shape shifters, novels about other worlds inhabited with different species.  Naturally, I gravitated to what I enjoyed reading, but I was tired of the usual books populating the genre.  I considered writing about the Greek gods, but I had recently started reading a popular series about the Greeks, and I felt I had no new ideas to offer.

Then I thought of the Egyptian gods.  Ancient Egypt is one of the most well documented cultures.  Although the Egyptian gods have a wealth of history and folklore, there aren’t many fiction books about them.  Their story still remains untold.

Eternity is a story of reincarnation and redemption.  Roman Nicolis, a mercenary falls in love with the Elyssian, the wrong woman.  He seduces her, taking her virginity and cursing them both.  For two thousand years, Roman wanders the earth searching for the only woman he can love.  Time and again, Roman finds her, only to lose her horribly.  Now, in present day New York City, they meet again.  And this is his last chance to get things right.

Tmonique, thank you so much for a great interview!           


In high school, Tmonique Stephens wrote her first novel about a reporter and a hockey player after the U.S. hockey team won gold in the 1980 Olympics. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing from City College of New York where she won an English Department Award for her play Tea with Salt in 1987. She took a break to graduate from college, get married, have a daughter, but she never gave up on her dream.

She loves paranormal and fantasy romances and will read anything about fairies, demons, or angels.  She also enjoys Stephen King and Dean Koontz. The first romance she remembers reading was a Harlequin about a sheikh and his forbidden love for an American woman way back in middle school. That’s before loves scene were included. Tmonique loves writing flawed characters who reflect the emotional baggage we all carry. She writes complicated stories for complicated people. Hopefully, you will enjoy her efforts.

Tmonique Stephens was born in St. Thomas USVI, but she grew up in The Bronx, New York one mile from Yankee Stadium. She loves the SyFy and History channels, and Asian cuisine. But her heart and stomach longs for anything from the Caribbean. Have any Caribbean recipes out there? Please share! Her mother died before she had a chance to teach Caribbean cooking secrets.

Currently, Tmonique is working on an Egyptian god series. Why the Egyptian gods, you ask? She challenges that with, “Why not?” All the other gods have been extensively covered, except the Egyptians. Undiscovered territory has always appealed to her.

Expect her first book, Eternity, out this August from Soulmate publishing. You can find her on her fan page Author Tmonique Stephens and Like her.    facebook.com/pages/Author-Tmonique-Stephens

Also stop by  http://tmoniquestephens.com/ to read an EXCERPT and for more information on future projects.

Eternity Book Trailer on YouTube.  http://youtu.be/WLBSiOVSltg

Cursed for 2000 years, Roman Nicolis has tracked his lovers’ soul through each reincarnation only to lose her horribly every time. Reclaiming their love is their only salvation. He’s been her friend, her father, her neighbor, but never again her lover … until now.

A late night walk home throws Stella into the path of a killer. The last thing she remembers are the deep blue eyes of the man trying to kill her—and the first things she sees after a seven day coma are the same blue eyes in the handsome face of the man hired to protect her. Is he truly the owner of a security firm assigned to protect her or the man who wants to finish her off? Is it fear she feels when Roman touches her or the memory of something sweeter? She will have to push past her fears and reclaim a love that has lasted two millennia.

Past secrets haunt them. An angry demon stalks them. 
Roman will do anything to recover what they had. Though Stella’s ruined childhood has made her closed her heart and body to any man, he must get past the walls around her to gain her love and trust for it will take their union to defeat an unexpected enemy sent from the Egyptian Gods. A man Romans respects, and Stella trusts.


Coming August 15th from Soulmate Publishing