This is an opportunity to go behind the scenes, get into the nitty-gritty of the many paranormal worlds and enter into the fertile imaginations of authors I love. Bring a flashlight. It’s sometimes dark in here, but so worth the trip. Remember, monsters need love too. Otherwise, how would we ever have baby monsters?
Think on THAT a while…
Welcome, Author Rosalie Stanton! You’re nearing the general release of LOST WAGES OF SIN. Tell us a little bit about your story.
Well, thank you very much for having me! I’ll start small and get bigger…Lost Wages of Sin is the first in a planned 8-book series involving the Seven Deadly Sins, the Seven Virtues, Lucifer, Big J (for Jehovah), and a cast of other characters, villains, et cetera. The debut book features Ava, the Sin of Greed, fleeing from home because a mistake she made comes with the penalty of, well, death. Enter her best friend, Dante, a vampire who’s been in love with her since pretty much forever, and Ava finds herself not only looking for a way to save her own skin, but unable to avoid feelings she’s done a good job of avoiding for an unreasonably long time.
Do you consider your book(s) urban fantasy or paranormal romance? What attracted you to the genre?
I consider my books primarily paranormal, but with heavy urban fantasy influence, which essentially means the side characters are nearly as important as the leads. The romance is front and center for most installments, but each book builds upon the last or to the next.
I’ve always loved larger-than-life stories. All my personal heroes, aside from Mr. Darcy, have come from fantastical settings— from Han Solo to Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. For Lost Wages of Sin, and indeed the whole Sinners and Saints series, I tapped into my own demons (pardon the pun) regarding religion and my upbringing, and largely explore themes and questions that I had when young, and while minoring in religion in college. That said, the series is not at all reverent, which might bother some people. My saints and sinners are interchangeable on the morality scale. No one, least of all Lucifer and Jehovah, are wholly bad or good. I am prepared to make readers, particularly devout readers, uncomfortable. And maybe angry. But I also don’t consider the work disrespectful at all. As with all things, your mileage may vary.
Let’s talk beasties. Do any monsters make appearances in your novels. If so, tell us about a few of them. Do you have a favorite? Don’t lie. Every parent…erm…author…does. Spill it. If not, what makes your book paranormal, urban fantasy or science fiction?
Vampires have always been my favorite (thanks again, Spike). And they’re hard to part with. That said, I am navigating new fields. This series has creatures without set rules. The Sins aren’t demons, rather beings of immense power. Similarly, the Virtues aren’t angels. I have gods, demigods, and a few creatures who don’t make an appearance until later. The hero of Lost Wages of Sin is a vampire, and he was so because vampires were my personal go-to beastie when the book was first conceptualized. Since then, no other vampires have made an appearance in the series. I might have to change that.
Is this a series? Stand-alone book? If it is a series, what does the future look like for this series? How many more books to come? What can we expect and more importantly…WHEN!
Lost Wages of Sin is the first in the Sinners and Saints series. Each installment will follow a different couple (so expect new heroes and heroines), but feed off the last, so it might be difficult to follow if read out of order. I HATE doing this to readers (I do—and this happened by accident. I didn’t do it on purpose!). Yet when you’re dealing with Lucifer and Big J, some plot threads are too complicated to tie up, and larger than expected when you begin unraveling. I will say each installment will have resolution for our main couple, and there won’t be any cliffhangers.
Book 2, Sex, Sin and Scandal, is set to release September 26. Book 3 is written, and I’m 20k into Book 4. So hopefully not too terrible a wait!
What else are you working on?
I have half a dozen plot threads I’m following mentally, but all my creative energy is going into this series at the moment. Most of my work is paranormal, and I have a few pure urban fantasy stories I’d like to try and pen, but it hasn’t happened just yet. I also have a contemporary plot bunny I’ve been kicking around a while. My writing time is limited, though, so I can’t divide attention between projects like I once could. I might tackle one of these other ideas over NaNo, as Book 4 should be written by then.
Of all the characters in your fictional word, which one or couple would you most like to hang out with over a long weekend? What would you do together? What actor or actress would play him/her in a movie?
Hands down, Lucifer. He’s an interesting guy to write. He’s fun, complex, has a dorky sense of humor, but is not someone to piss off. Ever. He would have a blast doing anything remotely self-depreciating. I’d like to see him on Hell’s Kitchen, or at the RT Book Lover’s Convention. He’d sport his devil horns—the way you know he’s in a good mood is if he’s wearing devil horns—and make vague, enigmatic, pun-worthy comments the entire time. He’d be played by Henry Cavill (more his physical appearance), but any actor would have to inject a good amount of Tom Hiddleston to nail the personality.
Let’s talk about craft. Are you a plotter or pantser? What are the first steps you take before diving into the writing of the next book?
I am such a plotter. I have physical notebooks and Word docs with detailed chapter-by-chapter outlines. Though I will say, for smaller projects, I don’t need a full outline and have been known to pants a time or two…though I always feel out of sorts and that the end result isn’t as good as it could be, even after a polish. I was blocked for so long on Book 4 because the characters hadn’t yet told me how they were going to get to the end. I had the beginning nailed, and the end was set. Everything in the middle was a giant gray blur. Thankfully, the characters finally opened up and told me what their story was going to look like.
How long does it typically take for you to write a novel. Best case scenario? How about editing? How long will you pick at it before setting it free to the world?
In my current life? I had to set a daily word count goal, since I have two jobs on top of writing. I hope to have Book 4 complete at 90k around the end of summer. Since I double as an editor, editing my own work is a crapshoot. I would pick at any project until the end of the world if I didn’t have deadlines. Sending the final version of Lost Wages of Sin to my own excellent editor at Totally Bound, Sarah Smeaton, was nothing short of terrifying. I didn’t want to consider what I might have missed in my own reads. Ultimately, though, authors can be their own worst enemy, and I had to trust that anything that absolutely had to be changed had already been caught by the aforementioned excellent editor, and that no work, despite how many edits or reads it undergoes, is ever perfect.
Do you have any advice to new authors or anyone considering writing fiction?
Not all publishers are created equal. Do your research, ask other authors, and be protective of your work. In the age of digital publishing, everyone with a laptop and an internet connection thinks they can run a publishing business. There are horror stories out there for a reason. That said, don’t be quick to write off publishing in favor of self-publishing. Self-publishing can be incredibly rewarding, but it is not for everyone. To be successful, you need someone who is a better editor than you are a writer on your side, a brilliant cover artist, and a formatter with professional-quality portfolio. These things are NOT cheap, nor should they be. Editors, formatters, and cover artists are invaluable. You wouldn’t have a product without them.
A decent publisher will cover all of these important things, and more. If you’re serious about your work, you’ll look at all options and make a determination based on what is best for you (obviously) as well as the work in question. Many people are very successful at both. Look both ways before you leap.
Can you give us a taste of what to expect?
Working for Lucifer is the best job in the universe, until the day it’s not. Then you’re on your own, with Hell at your heels.
Ava, Sin of Greed, has had a rough week. The angel she planned to make a life with left her with nothing but a Dear Jane letter. Even worse, Lucifer believes she spilled Hell’s secrets to her ex, and her boss’s temper is notoriously apocalyptic.
For centuries, Dante has kept his feelings for Ava under lock-and-key. The one time he pursued something more, he nearly lost her for good. Lesson learned. However, when he hears of her planned elopement, all bets are off. Not having Ava was a reality he could have accepted. Losing her to an angel is something else entirely.
Now, Ava, once Hell’s golden child, is fleeing for her life. When her old friend Dante shows up, her first instinct is to send him packing. But Dante is more than a friend—he’s the only other man who tempted her, and his fierce loyalty challenges everything she thought she knew about him. As Ava prepares to battle the devil himself, she can’t keep from getting closer to Dante…though given what happened the last time, she doubts her heart can survive another break.
Someone thumped her on the shoulder and sent her spiraling out of her thoughts. A jolt rushed through her body and everything went on autopilot. Ava jumped to her feet, formed a fist, and landed a blind punch in less than three seconds. It took another ten seconds for her scattered mind to piece together what had just occurred, and by then she was staring into an all-too familiar pair of crystal blue eyes.
Ava blinked. Hard. “Dante?”
“Fucking hell,” he cursed, cradling his nose and scowling at her. “What’d you do that for?”
“What the hell were you sneaking up on me for?”
“I didn’t sneak!”
Ava looked around, then waved a hand. “This is a graveyard, Dante. In the middle of the night in Nowheresville. You don’t just…I dunno, touch someone. You let someone know you’re there.”
“And here I thought getting your attention would do that just fine.”
“Not like that!”
“Next time I’ll read the fucking rule book.” Dante dropped his hands and sniffed. A small fleck of blood colored the space between his nose and lips, but other than looking a little swollen, he seemed otherwise undamaged. “If this is the way you greet your friends, it’s no small wonder the whole of Hades is after your sorry ass.”
Ava’s shoulders dropped and she rolled her head back, a long groan riding off her lips. “You know about that?”
“What other reason would I have to be… Where the fuck are we?”
Dante offered a dramatic sigh, though something in his eyes told her he’d only asked for show. Even at his drunkest, he wasn’t the sort to forget what state he was in.
“Mississippi,” he muttered. “So that’s what that smell is.”
On the other hand… Ava straightened her spine and arched an eyebrow at him. “So…what? You come out here to make fun of the locals?”
“No,” he replied coolly, wiping the stray speck of blood off his otherwise pale, pristine skin. “I came here for you.”
Everything in her stilled. Though she’d heard him the first time, the words had a way of really sinking in upon repetition. As though it took a time delay for her to realize there was no reason aside from her current problem that Dante should be out here with her—or here at all. He wasn’t the sort of guy to crash in antebellum tourist traps.
“You came here for me,” she echoed. “Why?”
He shrugged a shoulder, his face blanking the way it did when he wanted to appear blasé. “Why not?”
“Thought you could use a friend.”
Ava stared at him a moment longer, then sighed heavily and tore her gaze to the ground. Yeah, she supposed she could use a friend. Or a whole army of them. And though Dante wasn’t the first person she would have called, she couldn’t deny she was happy to see him.
Not that his presence answered her questions. If anything, he added to the pile.
“I take it Merle gave you the message,” she murmured. “About…”
“The angel?” One perfect eyebrow arched. Actually, there wasn’t much about Dante that wasn’t perfect. Physically, at least. One of his most annoying qualities also happened to be his most prized. There was nothing worse than a man who knew just how damn good he looked.
Truly, Dante had always seemed a bit too perfect when it came to the male form. He was only a few inches taller than she and had a body built for debauchery, complete with strong arms and a marble-carved chest. Tonight, he was wrapped in a snug pair of jeans and a form-fitting long-sleeved navy tee, which made his pale skin seem paler. His hair was coal black and his eyes sparkled blue. Ava had always loved his eyes.
And thinking about his perfect eyes right now on the cusp of a broken heart while all of Hell nipped her heels was probably the last in a very long line of bad ideas. At once she felt overtly vulnerable, exposed. Standing in a strange town under strange circumstances with him, her oldest friend, seeming one part savior and one part…pissed.
Nothing in her world made sense right now. Dante had just muddied things up even more.
“Yeah,” she said when she remembered to speak. “The angel. Merle told you.”
Dante nodded solemnly. “That was the plan, right?”
Ava released a shaky breath, her mind spinning so fast it was a small wonder she remained standing. Looking at Dante now with everything that had happened in the past week still heavy on her heart, with the uncertainty of her future, took her suddenly oddly-shaped world and turned it on its head. She felt like she was living in the funhouse mirror version of her reality. Sebastian, then the Binsfeld Six, and now her vampire.
At some point she had to wake up.
“What are you doing here?” she asked again. “Do you have any idea what’s going on?”
“Not much,” he admitted, stepping forward.
There was something guarded in his gaze, and so help her if she started analyzing every little look from Dante, she would lose her mind. Trying to figure out what he was doing here was work enough.
He nodded. “Just that you were out here. And you could use a friend.”
This admission did little to answer her questions. Her friendship with Dante was not a secret, by any means, yet she couldn’t speculate as to why anyone right now would decide to throw her a lifeline. Being alone certainly hadn’t done much for her…yet there was a good reason she hadn’t gone to Dante in the first place.
Dante was the kind of friend who was there for the good times and gone for the bad. At least in her experience. If he had any idea what was really going on, he’d make tracks. The large, cartoonish kind.
But Dante didn’t know. Hell, he didn’t even know what she was. His knowledge beyond his own kind was rather limited, and while his experience with others of Lilith’s children left him with a relatively grounded understanding of how the world worked, certain things—like Hell and all its residents—remained more or less relegated to the realm of other. He was aware Hell existed, sure, and had figured her for a demon early in their relationship, but otherwise boasted little knowledge of Lucifer or the pit beyond what was assumed through myth.
Seven centuries and he had no idea she was part of that myth. She’d never mentioned it, and he likely hadn’t thought to ask. His perception of her role had been established on the legs of their meeting, which, as it was, had been entirely accidental. It just so happened she didn’t like watching anyone, demon or otherwise, suffer at the hands of holy men, and in saving Dante’s life all those years ago, she’d earned a permanent ally.
Well, until now. Her own brand of permanence was about to run out, and of course Dante wouldn’t know why. If she explained the significance of what had occurred with Sebastian, and how limited her future was, he would be gone. She wouldn’t know to miss him.
Still, she owed him explanations. Dante was the one loose end she had—the only one who wouldn’t know why she was gone when Lucifer finally came to collect her life. Her siblings knew what was coming. Dante was the last person to whom to pay her regards.
Perhaps that was why someone had sent him to her. So she could do right by her one earthly friend and say goodbye.
“I could,” Ava admitted softly. “Use a friend. I’m glad you’re here.”
A shadow crossed Dante’s face. “That’s not good.”
She frowned. “What? That I’m glad you’re here?”
“Yeah. You’re never glad I’m near these days.” He laughed shortly. “You must really be into some deep shit.”
“You have no idea.”
“All this over an angel.”
The corner of Ava’s mouth pulled into a grin, and for a moment she felt somewhat like her old self. “More or less.”
“An angel, Ava. For fuck’s sake, what happened to your dignity?”
“Where were you three weeks ago?”
“I dunno, but if I’d known you were gonna be falling for one of those winged assholes, you’d better believe I’d have dropped everything to beat some sense into you.”
She snickered. “Like you could take me.”
“You never give me the chance to try,” he retorted, his eyes gleaming.
“Your ego is too fragile to handle getting your ass handed to you by a girl.”
“So you’ve told me. And told me. And told me. You know what they say about words and actions, don’t you, love?”
A small thrill raced down her spine, her insides igniting with heat and a rush of good old-fashioned nostalgia. “Wanna grab a beer?” she asked. “Or, you know, a burger? I don’t think I’ve eaten in a week.” She paused, then waved at him. “You can consider it the last meal of a condemned man.”
“‘Cause you’re gonna kick my ass, right?”
“That’s the plan.”
Dante grinned ear-to-ear. “Thought you’d never ask.”
Where can we find you and your books online?
Rosalie Stanton is a multi-published erotic romance author, with emphasis in paranormal and urban fantasy. A lifelong enthusiast of larger than life characters, Rosalie enjoys building worlds filled with strong heroes and heroines of all backgrounds.
Rosalie lives in Missouri with her husband. At an early age, she discovered a talent for creating worlds, which evolved into a love of words and storytelling. Rosalie graduated with a degree in English. As the granddaughter of an evangelical minister, Rosalie applied herself equally in school in the creative writing and religious studies departments, which had an interesting impact on her writing. When her attention is not engaged by writing or editing, she enjoys spending time with close friends and family.
Rosalie is represented by Tish Beaty at the L. Perkins Agency.