... Stephanie O'Hanlon
1. Tell me about your book Affaire de Coeur and where you got your inspiration for it?
It’s about a simple country girl finding love with a man, a Comte, whose life is that of an aristocrat in 1770 Paris. One can imagine how hard it would be to have a relationship with someone who has eyes on them at all times.
My inspiration was various events and people from my own life, as well as from the non-fiction books I used for research. I was also inspired by Marie Antoinette, the film by Sofia Coppola. It started my love for the 18th century and the real Marie-Antoinette.
2. How would you like to be remembered?
I would like to be remembered as a respected writer. I do not like fads and would be pretty disappointed with myself if I only achieved any popularity because my work fit into a fad. I’d like to be revered as a great writer, a timeless writer.
3. If you could interview anyone from your life, living or dead, but not a celebrity, who would it be and why?
I think I would interview Giacomo Casanova…and maybe have a brief affair with him too!
4. What is usually your first thought in the morning?
“That was a weird dream!”
5. Are you mostly a clean or messy person?
I am a very clean person. I am actually Obsessive Compulsive, but I suppose one would say it is on the “mild” side. I don’t have any rituals that are too bad, they do not hinder me from living life, in fact, they help me live life!
6. If someone came up to you and wanted to tell you about an idea or a book they were writing, what would you do? Or what advice would you give?
I have actually had this happen, a lot! I would tell them to write it! I tell everyone they should write, and I also offer my help if possible. Writing is the most important thing in my life, I love it beyond words. So, why not tell someone else to try something I so enjoy?
7. Are the names of characters in your novels important?
I think they are. I feel, as a historical romance novelist, that the names need to be of that era. They also need to suit the character. I sometimes search endlessly for that perfect name for my character.
8. Would you rather write for children or adults?
I would stick to writing for adults. I don’t particularly like children, I can barely stand being around them, never mind talk to them or write something that would appeal to them! Haha.
9. Which do you find more embarrassing to write, violence or sex?
I would say sex. But, that’s something that was worse when I first started writing love scenes. I am much more comfortable now than I used to be. I feel that over time that will continue, I’ll get extremely comfortable writing about it.
10. Do you research your novels?
Well, they are historical, so yeah! I enjoy it immensely! I love knowing all this information, being as accurate as I can be. It doesn’t feel right if I make a mistake. I think it also brings me closer to the era.
11. Do you believe in love at first sight? Have you ever experienced it?
I do believe in love at first sight. I don’t think I have experienced it yet…no, I haven’t. But, I’m definitely waiting for it!
12. How do you overcome writers block?
I end up watching the same films over and over. My favourite two are Jaws & Jurassic Park. Having gone to film school, I own a lot of film books, including several bios on Steven Spielberg. His films have always been a big part of my life. Jurassic Park was the first movie I remember going to see. It also started my love for dinosaurs, which is kind of weird for a little girl! And Jaws I used to watch with my oldest brother.
13. If you could ask your favourite author one question, who would it be and what would you ask?
I would speak to Anne Rice. I don’t know what I would say, what I would ask, mainly because I would be star-struck! I wouldn’t know what to ask, she’s my hero.
14. How did you come up with the title for your latest book?
My latest released or latest completed? Affaire de Coeur I got when I was reading some articles on French poetry. It went on about the Affaire de Coeur, an affair of the heart. It just clicked. My latest novel I completed, that’s a secret!
15. Do you recall how your interest in writing occurred?
It was on a stormy July day. I, for some reason, decided that I would give writing something with substance a try since I was stuck writing scripts because I was in film school at the time. And it just…felt right. I kept writing and finished my first novel in three months. Not that it was an amazing piece of work, I’m re-writing some parts of it. I’m hopeful it will see the light of day soon!
16. What’s your favourite love story? (movie or book)
My favourite love story is the one between Axel Von Fersen and Marie-Antoinette. Does that count? It’s a real life romance, since there is a lot of evidence to prove it. I don’t know why, I guess because it was forbidden love. And Axel refused to be with anyone else because he loved the French queen so much.
17. If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
Submit to Eternal Press! Haha.
18. Someday I want to...?
Build a home in the countryside of France.
19. Name one thing that drives you crazy.
When writers do not do their research, or they get someone else to do their research. I think it is so important for us authors to dive into it, discover what we are writing about, or else it isn’t very real, is it?
20. Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcovers?
I prefer hardcovers. There’s something about a hardcover, I don’t know what it is. I’m definitely not one for eBooks, but I usually buy paperbacks because they’re only ten bucks a pieces, most of the time. If I have the cash, I get a hardcover.
I turned to the voice to see a pair of large dark blue eyes, such a dizzying mix of blue and black with light tints of green staring me in the face. Then his defined, angular shaped face came into focus, which had his straight chin sloping back to his jaw. On top of that I was struck silent by his soft, deep voice repeating my name.
“Madeleine, are you all right?” His dark brown eyebrows arched lightly.
I shook my head, “Yes, I mean, yes.” I quickly nodded my head. I was bewildered by his stunning eyes, a silky strand of dark brown hair falling into them. I quickly averted his stare to his lips, which were curved at the corners in a smirk. The top lip was thinner than the bottom, almost looking as if he was pursing his lips to stop from laughing.
His smile only widened slightly, “We have not been introduced. Your good friend Colette seems to be…detained?”
I looked back towards her as she grabbed a handful of plates and threw them at the wall, Vachel ducking as the porcelain shattered around him. I frowned lightly.
“Yes. So it seems.”
He smiled again, “I am the Comte Lucien de Laurent.” He bowed his head lightly, extending his right arm out and pulling the other to his waist, the tips of his large bow and bag holding his hair back poking out.
As he rose, straightening out his tall, muscular body, I put out my hand nervously, “Madeleine Dumont.”
He took it gently and kissed the back of it, his eyes keeping a hold of my own. “Yes, I have heard.”
My face blushed lightly, “Heard of me?” There was no chance that he could have seen me in the background…all these people. I had not seen him…which was interesting. He was extremely handsome, heartbreakingly beautiful, so much so that my mind was struck silent and my body shook.
Stephanie O'Hanlon graduated from the Toronto Film School with aspirations of starting a career in film, but found herself drawn to writing. After self-publishing her first novel, a vampire historical romance, she decided to narrow her sights on general historical romance, fuelled by her love for history, the 18th century in particular.
Now a full time writer, she lives in the city of Oshawa in Ontario, Canada. More information can be found on her Facebook page or her Blog.