Today it’s great to welcome Felice Stevens back to Sinfully HQ, where she joined me on the Sinfully couch for a cosy chat. Bubbly flowed, choccy biscuits were scoffed and Felice spilled the beans on life, writing and her gorgeous guys!
Plus…There’s an exclusive excerpt from her latest release: One Step Further and a Giveaway too…Dont miss it!
Macky and Felice Chat
Macky: *Places bottle of bubbly and choccy biccies on coffee table* It's an absolute pleasure to welcome one of our much loved authors, the lovely Felice Stevens, back to Sinfully today. She's agreed to open herself up to a bit of a grilling (Lol...poor Felice!) so it's time to get the skinny on what makes her tick and why these sexy but emotionally tortured men have hounded her to tell their stories. Hi Felice. Ready to spill the beans? (pours Felice a large glass of Champers and offers biscuits)
Felice: Ooh you know me so well *hold up bottle of Chambord* Kir Royale, anyone?
Macky: Ah well, only the best for our guests! Lol... Anyway, before we get to the nitty gritty, we'd like to wish you huge congrats on the release of One Step Further. *Clinks glasses* Cheers Felice! How are you feeling now it's all happening?
Felice: Nervous, happy, exhausted, and thirsty.. *sips drink*
Macky: Yeah, I would imagine there's lots of different emotions bombarding you around a time like this. *Fills glass again*
You've probably answered this one hundreds of times, but how did you first get involved with the world of M/M Romance? Were you a reader before taking the plunge as an author and if so can you remember the first M/M book you ever read and its impact on you?
Felice: I was laid up after having surgery a few summers ago and rediscovered romance novels in general. After exhausting all the historicals (my first love) I have no idea what pulled me towards Erotica and MM in particular. I think a desire to see what else was out there.
My first MM book was If it Flies by L.A.Witt and Aleksandr Voinov. I was like, “Hmm this is pretty damn good." LOL So I found the genre on Amazon and discovered Amy Lane and Keeping Promise Rock and was blown away by the writing and the emotion.
Macky: Oh yeah... those are all great introductions to the genre. There’s no doubt; once you start, it's definitely addictive! Sinfully… hahaha…sorry, couldnt resist! But back to the serious stuff…in your author info you say that you love a juicy historical romance, so do you think you'll ever write a m/m historical?
Felice: I have four M/F Regency Romances completed that I’ve never sent out; my first one actually has a gay couple—two Viscounts. My beta reader always nagged me to write their story, so maybe one day…
Macky: Oh I hope so...I do love a hot Regency M/M myself. *Chomps choccy biccy*
You're a lawyer, which must be a really demanding career, and writing must take up a fair amount of your time outside of it, so how do you manage to juggle work, writing AND a family? I'm exhausted just thinking about it!
Felice: Have you seen my apartment?? It’s a bomb. Luckily my kids are grown (in age if not in wisdom) and don’t require my active supervision. My husband works late so I am home alone most evenings when I get home from work and I can write then and on my lunch. And weekends are great. I get up much earlier than everyone else so I have that morning alone time.
Macky: LOL...Still sounds a busy agenda to me; although I suppose writing is like a release too.
I've noticed a lot of your characters work in the medical community. You've introduced us to doctors, male nurses and veterinarians. What is it that pulls you to write about characters in that area of contemporary romance?
Felice : I don’t know; my husband’s a dentist, so maybe I’ll write one about a hot dentist one day. I think there’s a lot of potential for the characters to interact and dealing with health issues is something we all can relate to, in one way or another.
Macky: Oh yes...hot dentist would work. *Looking dreamy*… Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah…
I get a sense when I read your books that family values are something very close to your heart. You write family and friendship conflicts as emotional plots in your men's lives, but you also have older female characters who are very loving, strong, voice of reason females. Did you have someone in your life that you based them on?
Felice: Oh those elderly female characters are all an amalgam of my mother. Esther, the wise grandmother in the Through Hell and Back series was like my mother in her love of family and acceptance of people for who they are. What Ruth went through in Memories of the Heart was exactly what my mother experienced going through early on-set Alzheimer’s and breaking her hip. Ethel, her friend was my mother in her hey day—fiery, funny and always putting her family first.
Macky: Bless...Your mum sounds like an amazing lady Felice; Ruth and Ethel are lovely characters.
Okay, let's hit the Champagne again and talk about sex! There's some mighty fine hawt smexing in your books! Do you approach writing a sex scene with dread or glee! Lol...I'm thinking it might be the latter. And...erm...is there much 'research' done...No taking the fifth on this one Ms Stevens!!! <Grins and tops up the bubbly!>.
Felice: Haha.. I’m not gonna lie, I do like writing the sexy scenes, but that’s because I usually write quite a bit of my romance element at that point. And I’m all about the sweet talk and loving. But that wasn’t always the case; in the beginning I was more hesitant. Now I’m much more sanguine about it.*Sips more drink*…I have discovered the evil known as Tumblr and can get lost there and Pinterest quite easily. As for the porn sites, yeah, some are pretty hot but after a few minutes it gets a bit boring. The act itself isn’t what holds the reader’s attention, I think. It’s the way you make them fall for each other, the push-pull between them and the realization that they want the other man so desperately that makes them come alive on the page, and causes a reader to fall in love with them.
Macky: LOL...yep...Tumblr does come in handy! *snorts*
Talking about inspiration. How do ideas come to you? A lot of authors say their characters talk to them. If that's that the case for you Felice; just how insistent do they get.
Felice: Well for Rescued, I was walking home one day from work and the entire storyline came to me; names, plot, everything. I hurried home and wrote what I could and it just flowed. The Hell and Back series came to me as I was falling asleep, I just had an idea to write about three foster brothers growing up in an abusive household. I don’t plot, so everything that happens in these books occurs as I’m writing and sometimes surprises me as much as the reader.
Memories of the Heart was a tribute to my mother and is the most personal of all my books. And of course Alex had to have his own book because I fell in love with him. LOL.
Macky: A lovely tribute…and I bet you fall for all your guys! <Winks>…
Your debut novel was a standalone story but since then you've now got two serials running and a third starting in August. Omg! That's a lot of projects and characters vying for your attention! Are you able to write them all concurrently or do you generally finish one book before you start another.
Felice: I wrote Memories while I was writing After the Fire and I won’t make that mistake again. I will not write two books at the same time; my head almost exploded.
Macky: Oh sooooo not a good thing! *Hic* Felish…erm Felice. Ooh, these Kir Royale’s are going down very nicely! Well they say all good things must come to an end so thank you so much for coming to see us today. I know how busy you must be, with this being release week for One Step Further, but It's been lovely having you on the Sinfully couch and a lot of fun. Just one last thing...anything else you can tell us, about what's on the horizon for the Felice fans? Or is that hush, hush at the moment! Haha...don't suppose I can top that glass up for you again! *looking innocent*
Felice: Innocent my foot, Macky! *holds out glass*. I have a new series starting in August called The Breakfast Club. It’s a story about a group of men, friends since childhood and college who manage to make time for each other despite their busy lives, by meeting for breakfast every week. None have been lucky at love, but that’s all about to change.
The first book is titled Beyond the Surface and is about Julian Cornell, fashion designer who reconnects with his high school love the closeted 9/11 firefighter, Nick Fletcher. If I have to say, these two men ripped my heart out. I can’t wait for you to meet them.
Macky: Omg! Tissue Alert!!! Sounds like there’s going to be a lot of readers counting down the days till August methinks. That calls for a last top up…*Pouts* ...Damn! Looks like we've pretty much inhaled those Kir Royale's Felice. Hmmm...I think we might have another bottle in the fridge...time for another before you go? *Totters unsteadily to the kitchen while Felice attacks the biccies*
One Step Further
Published ~ 28th June 2015
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
Alex Stern has it all; good looks, charm, a job he loves and everyone calls him a friend. He lives life to the fullest at a breakneck pace, in the city that never sleeps. But Alex is also a master pretender; not even his best friend sees the pain that Alex hides so well. Alex himself isn’t sure who he is or what he’s searching for, he only knows that he hasn’t found it yet.
As a veterinarian, Rafe Hazelton loves each animal that crosses his path; they don’t care if he stutters a bit or that prefers men. Their love is unconditional, but his life is still empty; they can only give him so much. New friendships convince him it’s time to break the wall of loneliness he’s hidden behind since childhood and discover what he's been missing.
Alex and Rafe forge a friendship that turns physical, and they both swear that the relationship will last only as long as the fun does. But when old heartaches come to light and secrets hidden for years are revealed, Alex and Rafe discover if they accept what’s in their hearts and take it one step further, the greatest reward is waiting for them in the end.
The gym was surprisingly empty; only a few women on the treadmill and one other guy in the weight room with him. Maybe it was because the gym was so new. Alex enjoyed having the space almost to himself, and not having to wait for a machine was a bonus.
His body humming pleasantly with the increased endorphins from his activity, Alex re-entered the locker room, intending to take a shower. He rounded the corner and picked up a towel. When he turned around he came face to face with a very hot and sweaty Rafe.
God damn. The man’s shirt was damp, his skin pink and glowing from his exertion. His reddish-brown hair was plastered in wet curls to his head, and his chest heaved from his run. No man had ever looked as desirable to Alex and he couldn’t help himself.
Alex slid his hand around the nape of Rafe’s neck, his fingers sliding through the curling tendrils of Rafe’s hair, as he pulled the man into his chest. Rafe tipped his head back, his eyes dark and wide as they searched Alex’s face.
“What are you doing?” Rafe licked his lips and another bolt of want shot through Alex as he followed the trail of Rafe’s pink tongue.
“Damned if I know,” Alex muttered, then lowered his mouth to Rafe’s. Soft and warm, Alex couldn’t remember ever feeling lips so velvety plush and full against his own. Rafe gave a muffled squeak, then melted into Alex’s arms, returning the kiss with an intensity that surprised then excited Alex. Uncaring that they were out in the open area of the locker room where anyone could walk in on them, Alex sucked on Rafe’s plump lower lip, before sliding his tongue into the warm, accepting cavern of Rafe’s mouth, where it met with the hesitant, then increasingly strong thrust of Rafe’s tongue. Alex sighed with longing from the firestorm exploding in his bloodstream.
The unexpected hunger surging through him threw Alex off balance, but he couldn’t control the need to feel Rafe beneath him. Alex shoved Rafe backward up against the wall, covering Rafe’s body with his own. Through the fog of lust swirling in his brain, Alex pushed up against the hard thrust of Rafe’s erection, rubbing against the thin material of Rafe’s shorts. Rafe groaned, his hot breath gusting past Alex’s ear.
Thank God he wants this, wants me too. Alex took Rafe’s face between his hands and teased his nose up against Rafe’s before gently kissing his mouth, not bothering to question the unexpected tenderness stealing through him. He trailed his fingers along the line of Rafe’s upper lip, tracing the sweet curve of his cheeks, before finally cradling Rafe’s jaw with the palm of his hand and planting tiny kisses on Rafe’s cheeks and trembling lips. Rafe moaned and molded his body up against Alex’s, burying his face in the nape of Alex’s neck. Alex was surprised to feel Rafe’s body shaking in his arms and pulled him to his chest, soaking up his warmth.
They stayed like that, simply hugging, before Rafe took a deep breath and pushed away from Alex, his brown eyes sparkling with golden lights.
“Wh-what was th-that?”
Alex hated hearing Rafe sound so nervous and unsure, as if he questioned Alex’s motives.
“That was me, kissing you.” Alex nuzzled Rafe’s neck now, inhaling the man’s warm, soft scent. No matter they were both sweaty from their workouts, Alex could have stayed like that for hours; holding Rafe, feeling the play of his long corded muscles beneath his fingers, tasting the saltiness of Rafe’s skin on his lips.
“Are you serious?” Alex grabbed Rafe’s hand, half dragging him into the bathroom where they faced a full wall of mirrors. “Look at you.” He placed his hands on Rafe’s hips, aching to slide his arms around Rafe’s waist and hold him close again.
But Rafe remained unyielding, his face creased in confusion. “I don’t understand.”
Alex pushed aside the hair at Rafe’s nape and pressed his mouth against the soft skin there. Rafe trembled but Alex held him firm, continuing to nibble and nip at Rafe’s neck.
Connect with Felice
Felice is generously giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky reader. For your chance to win just enter the Rafflecopter below…GOOD LUCK!