Gemma Stone is one of my fellow authors at Deep Desires Press, and today marks the release of the second in her series of Stephanie Spicer novellas, Winner Takes All. So I invited her over for a cup of cyber-coffee, a slice of cyber-cake and a cyber-chat…
1. Hi Gemma, and welcome! It’s lovely to have you here. Just to start off, can you tell us a bit about your new story, Winner Takes All?
Sure! This is the second novella in the Stephanie Spicer Erotic Touch Romance series for Deep Desires Press. The sexually-charged and beautiful Stephanie plays to win as she takes part in an intimate game that will decide who loves, who loses and who lusts for her in her business world. I created a card game called ‘Winner Takes All’ as a central concept for the novella and who knows – it might actually get played in boardrooms to get people talking about their most intimate experiences.
2. How did the Stephanie Spicer series come about?
I worked as a marketing copywriter in the travel industry a few years ago, and I encountered many erotic and exotic situations during the time I spent in that world, both here in the UK and abroad. I wanted to try and distil some of those experiences into short stories initially, and the concept grew into a whole series of novellas.
3. What is it you find most exciting about it?
I have tried to create stories that deliver a strong plot-line with believable characters that readers will relate to. For those who work in the corporate world, the stories aim to present some of the less glamorous side of business in which peoples’flaws and frailties will be exposed, as well as their aspirations for passion and possibly even love.
4. How did you first come to write erotica?
When I was copywriting for the travel industry I used to daydream about the type of people that went on the holidays being offered. Was there a romantic background to their need for sand, sun and (possibly) sex? I wrote some ideas down, and they always ended up with an erotic twist. I couldn’t say I consciously decided to go that route, but things just flowed when the romance was mixed up with some steamier scenes. I quickly found I had ideas that created an ongoing series of stories, and that’s when the idea of putting them into novellas began.
5. You can put one thing you’ve written – it can be a novel, short story, poem, whatever, but only one – into a time capsule for the future. What would your pick for the capsule be?
Right now, I think the fourth Stephanie Spicer novella, Love Plus One, manages to capture some great moments – both of eroticism, and despair at a love that is struggling to survive – in one book. I’m very proud of it. Then again, the fifth book is shaping up very well, and by the time I get to the twentieth instalment of the series I might change my mind again if I was to choose just one thing I’ve written to be captured for posterity.
6. Have you ever written anything that was too extreme to publish?
No – I always try and keep the sexual content of my work at a level that I think a reader would be prepared to believe and enjoy, without becoming too extreme. If it’s something that I would’nt be happy with personally, it’s not something I’d include in my writing.
7. Is there any subject matter you’d love to write about but haven’t as yet?
I will almost certainly try a purely romantic novel with a historical bias at some point. The idea of taking a moment in history and creating a very readable story from it with interesting characters appeals to me. Maybe something set just after the end of the Second World War when life was trying to return to normal, but it was far from that in reality. I’m sure there were lots of romances as soldiers returned home.
8. Where do you draw inspiration for your work from?
Having worked in the business world for many years, it was inevitable that ideas and experiences from that time would colour my writing. Many of the situations that are depicted in my novellas are based on reality and some actually happened to me – but I’m not saying which!
Some of the characters are also based on real people that I’ve known. Stephanie Spicer is based on a young woman I worked with who was very beautiful and dressed immaculately. She was a real romantic at heart, yet struggled to find true love in the world in which she worked. She was a perfect character for me. One of the other characters in the early part of the series is Diane Martin, the wife of the American client that Stephanie falls for. She is the least likeable person you could ever hope to meet in an organisation, yet she is based entirely on a woman I worked with. Again, she was perfect for a part in the books.
9. Apart from Winner Takes All, is there anything else of yours out now or forthcoming that we should look out for?
Don’t forget Stephanie Spicer’s first Novella, Pitch Perfect, which really sets the scene for the whole series. In it Stephanie has to make an important business pitch and in doing so becomes the object of attention for a predatory young female PA and discovers her own bi-sexuality. She also falls for a handsome male client, and it is that relationship that forms an ongoing theme throughout the series.
Following Winner Takes All, Stephanie Spicer returns in Mixed Doubles on 14th March and then Love Plus One on 23rd May. The series of novellas continues throughout the year, and beyond!
10. After Winner Takes All, what next?
In creating strong characters in this series, both female and male, I have got a wonderful ensemble of people that could go off and find their own places in separate series. I will be keeping my mind open to all possibilities if the Stephanie Spicer series ever showed signs of slowing down.
Gemma Stone started working in London’s corporate business world as a marketing copywriter in the travel industry in the ‘noughties’. The many exotic and erotic situations she encountered, coupled with her own creative imagination, have formed the basis of her sizzling short stories and naughty novellas. Mixing sex and romance into the high octane world of business, she has developed her own unique style of corporate smut.
A confirmed fashionista, when she’s not checking out the latest catwalk styles, she can be found walking her dogs Bella and Benji on the beach at the vibrant and sexy south coast city of Brighton, England, where she now lives. She Tweeteth here and hath a Facebook page here.