Interview with Stevie Sparks – Author of Surrendering to the Duke
Happy Monday, everyone – or at least, Tolerable Monday! Today, I present the first in a series of romance author interviews. I’ll feature authors who write in a variety of romance tropes, and I’ll ask questions that will interest both readers and fellow writers alike!
Hi Stevie! Tell us about yourself and your journey to becoming an author.
My name is Stevie and I’m from Windsor in England. My first flat actually looked out over the western edge of Windsor Castle! It was also over a slightly dodgy kebab shop, so take that as you will.
I studied English at Royal Holloway, part of the University of London. After that, I went straight into being a copy editor. After ten years, I got sick of editing other people’s work and started on my own. A year later, I finished Surrendering to the Duke.
Why do you love to write and/or read in the romance genre?
I’ve always been a reader, but romance novels are my true love. It’s gotten to the point that I can’t actually read a novel without romance—and spicy romance at that. For me, it’s always been about escapism. Real life is so bogged down with worries about the world, but book boyfriends will always be there for you (and they’ll always make you come).
What are your favorite romance tropes to read and/or write, and why?
I like a touch of the forbidden. Give me a good age gap any day of the week. I’m not very fond of alphaholes, but god do I enjoy it when they grovel. And epilogue babies. There can never be enough epilogue babies. I need my escapism, dammit!
What is the best writing advice that you have ever received, or that you yourself have to share?
This is a trick I discovered in my copy editing days—use the ‘Read Aloud’ function on Word when proofing your work. Your brain will skip over so many mistakes, but you can’t miss them if you’re hearing them aloud.
Tell us something surprising about yourself that no one would ever guess!
I’ve lived in all of the locations in my books! At least so far. This includes Windsor, Yateley, Guildford, Camberley, Kensington, Andover, Merthyr Tydfil, Cardiff, and Glasgow. Phew. And Leeds, Bradford, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen too, but those aren’t in my books. Yet. My husband travels for work, and I work from home, so we’ve moved around quite a bit. What can I say? It’s good research.
What is the best book marketing advice you have ever received, or that you yourself have to share?
The best marketing for your first book is the second!
Who is your favorite character that you yourself have ever written, and why?
This may be because he’s the lead in my first book, but I love Michael. A brooding male lead tortured by guilt. Kit (the Duke of Aylesbourne) is also a runner up, and his story will be explored in Despising the Duke. The heroine in that book, Annabelle, is a firecracker as well.
For my contemporary work, my favourite character in Heart of Stone is probably Rhys. He’s a smirking, doorway-leaning pain in the arse, and I love him for it.
Are there any other writers who have influenced your own writing, or whose books are comparable to your own?
I adore Kerrigan Byrne’s work. There’s dark themes but they’re woven beautifully into the story (alongside my requisite smut). I also love Elle Thorpe’s books. Again, there’s dark themes there but the smut is just *chef’s kiss*
Opal Reyne is one of the newer authors I love, especially The WitchSlayer. Those duskwalkers though…
Tell us about your latest works.
I have two books coming out in the next couple of months. Surrendering to the Duke releases on the 10th April. One review described the book as ‘Downton Abbey with smut,’ and honestly I think that’s the perfect way to look at it. Surrendering to the Duke, a historical romance, focuses on Michael, the Duke of Foxcotte, and his sister-in-law, Emmeline—his late brother’s wife. There’s that touch of the forbidden in their family bond, and dark themes are present throughout. Don’t worry though, the smut is plentiful.
Tropes for Surrendering to the Duke:
Marriage of convenience
On the 9th June, Heart of Stone will be released. This is a contemporary dark billionaire romance focusing on Kate, a depressed young woman with a neglectful junkie of a father. Chaos descends after her father loses a bet, with Kate being dragged from the house and interrogated. The last person she expects to see is Warren, her brother’s best friend—who, incidentally, was imprisoned after causing her brother’s death ten years ago.
Tropes for Heart of Stone:
Rich versus poor
Hero kidnaps heroine
Brother’s best friend
Unloved by parent
Where can we connect with you and buy your books? (Website, social links, email address, or whatever you want to share.)
My books will all be on Kindle Unlimited. Surrendering to the Duke will release on the 10th April, and Heart of Stone will release on the 9th June. Both are the first books in their respective series. The sequel for Surrendering to the Duke (Despising the Duke) will release on the 10th September. The sequel to Heart of Stone will release on the 10th December.
Buy Surrendering to the Duke: https://mybook.to/DgGt71y
Buy Heart of Stone: https://mybook.to/ABLA
Sign up to my newsletter: https://stevie-sparks.ck.page/9d8c7c495b
Thank you, Stevie!
Thank you so much to author Stevie Sparks for sitting down to answer my questions! It’s been an honor and a joy to get to know my fellow romance authors. Surrendering to the Duke is out TODAY on Kindle Unlimited!
On May 1st, subscribers to my monthly newsletter will get an exclusive first look at my interview with fellow contemporary romance writer, Valerie Pepper, as she talks about herself and her new book, The Widow’s Guide to Second Chances. If you enjoy reading author interviews, sign up for my monthly newsletter TODAY!