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Saturday, May 1, 2010

"The Hungarian" Blog Tour – Stephanie Burkhart

Anne: Joining us today is Stephanie Burkhart, author of "The Hungarian." Welcome back, Steph!

Steph: Anne, I just want to say I'm excited to be here at your blog, the 3rd stop on my blog tour for "The Hungarian." Thank you very much for having me today.

I thought I'd share just a little bio with you before we got to the questions. I was born and raised in Manchester, NH with a hungry appetite for reading gothic romance, especially by Victoria Holt. I served in the Army for 11 years from 1986 to 1997 and spent 7 years in Germany. My time in Europe inspired two passions – my love of history and the paranormal. Currently, I live in California and work for LAPD as a 911 dispatcher.

Beware. The Wolf is coming.


Anne: Where did the inspiration to write "The Hungarian" come from?

Steph: I'm a member on writing.com and I found a contest with a simple prompt: write a romance about a werewolf who falls in love. Out of that prompt grew a short story were a Hungarian Count, Matthias Duma, hires Katherine to be a nanny for his young daughter, Emily. It was well received and I submitted it to the Writer's Digest Popular Fiction contest in the romance category. Out of 3,000 entries, it was selected as an honorable mention. Encouraged, I decided to make the story into a novel.

Anne: What was the road to publication like?

Steph: One pothole after another. My first draft should have stayed in the closet! *grin* The plot wasn't really viable, but it allowed me to get to know the characters. My second draft was more polished with a solid plot. It was written in the first person from Katherine's POV. I showed it to Gail Delaney (editor-in-chief) at Desert Breeze who said, "I like it, but can you write it in the third person?" I did and the result is the current manuscript.

Anne: Do you have advice for aspiring writers after what you've been through?

Steph: Be patient and flexible, but most of all, be willing to take constructive criticism. Be able to step back, and willing to make changes.

Anne: What is "The Hungarian" about?

Steph: It's about the man who is a wolf. Count Matthias Duma, my hero, was attacked by a group of gypsy werewolves near Lake Balaton in Hungary and made into a wolf. He has a staff to help him through the full moon. Resa is a gypsy witch. Lazlo is his faithful friend. The wolves who attacked him killed his then wife, Beth, leaving him to raise his three-year-old daughter, Emily. Matthias believes he doesn't deserve to fall in love again until he meets Katherine. Then he thinks, do I even have a right to make her fall in love with me? I'm a wolf.

Anne: Why did you pick 1901?

Steph: I'm completely fascinated by this time period. Imperialism was in full force throughout Europe. Old world ways collided with new world technology. Automobiles had been invented, the phonograph and telephone were in use, yet radio wasn't in use yet, nor were there airplanes. The "myth" of the werewolf was from the old world, yet it was real and Matthias is proof of it.

Anne: Do you cast your characters?

Steph: I sure do. It helps me to get into "character."

Anne: Who is Matthias? Katherine?


Steph: I love Jonathan Rhys-Meyers work in "The Tudors." He wears nobility well and he has the "eyes" of Matthias. For Katherine, Justine Cotsonas work as "As The World Turns" stood out. Not only that, has the hair for Katherine.

Anne: What makes "The Hungarian" different from other paranormal novels?

Steph: My focus is on the man, not the wolf. How does Matthias handle his condition? Is he bitter? Mean? Moody? Does he bear his condition calmly, with quiet nobility? Dare he fall in love or make a woman fall in love with him knowing what he is? I loved exploring the psyche of the man.

Anne: Is there a sequel?

Steph: You bet! It's called "The Count's Lair" and it's the story of Katherine's friend, Amelia, and Matthias's rival, Count Anton Varga.

Anne: Thanks for stopping by today, Steph. Your book sound fascinating and I love the cover!

Steph: Thanks for having me.

Here’s an excerpt:

She caught his lips with hers. He responded in kind, wrapping his rugged arms around her, holding her tight. They kissed for the longest time, their lips deepening the kisses between them until their tongues began to mingle against each other, yearning with the sensual heat of desire. Katherine felt a deep physical agitation pooling inside her. His full lips tasted sweet, like a sinful treat she could easily become addicted to.

Then, with an abruptness she hadn't expected, he put his hands on her shoulders and broke the kiss with a jerk. "Katherine, do you realize what you're doing?"

"Tell me."

He cupped her cheek, looking at her with a deep intensity that burrowed into her soul. "It's too soon," he whispered.

"Too soon for what?"

"Don't I scare you? The way I look?"

"No."

"My scar? My eyes?"

"Not in the least."

"It doesn't bother you I'm a widower? That the Ashtons are openly seeking to prove me a poor parent so they can take my daughter away from me?"

"No." None of what he'd mentioned bothered her. From what she had observed he was honorable, exuding more nobility than the Ashtons ever would.

Matthias tore himself away from her and left the gazebo. He took long, quick wolverine-like strides toward the roses.

"What are you doing?"

He plucked a rose from a bush without any hesitation and held it up to her. "I love roses, Katherine. They're very soothing to me when I'm alone late at night, trapped by the moon. I want you to have this one. I am not an ordinary courtier, Katherine. I would not woo you with British practicality, but in ways that are foreign to you--"

"What are you saying?"

"If you think you are strong enough, if you think you can endure the summer's challenges, if you think you could find a life with me, then send this rose back in a week's time and I will ask Lord Archibald his permission to court you."

Steph: Check out "The Hungarian's" Book Trailer at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZwaF8hAdow

Goodie Time -

I'll pick two winners out of those who post on today's blog to receive an autographed postcard of "The Hungarian's" Cover.

To qualify for the GRAND prize: You have to post on every blog in the tour. I'll put your name into the "hat." Then I'll pick the Grand Prize Winner's name out of the hat.

The GRAND prize: A coffee mug with "The Hungarian's" cover, a mousepad with the cover, magnets, and a set of autographed postcards.

The Hungarian Releases today 1 MAY 2010 with Desert Breeze Publishing. Here's a link to the site: http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-87/%3Ci%3EBudapest-Moon-Book-One%3C-fdsh-i%3E-cln-/Detail.bok

13 comments:

Diane Craver said...

Hi Steph,
I read Victoria Holt too! "The Hungarian" is going to be a great read for me. I like that you focus on the hero instead of the wolf aspect.This time period will be fun to read too. Good luck with sales.

Great interview, Anne and Steph!

StephB said...

Hi Diane! Thanks for popping in! I found the man fascinating. Matthias has a lot of issues to juggle. I really enjoyed reading Victoria Holt when I was younger.

Smiles
Steph

Miriam Newman said...

Congrats on your release, Steph! This looks like a fascinating book and I love the time period and setting you have chosen.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Steph,
I love what you said about the potholes on the road to publication. I've fallen in a few of those myself. Think I blew out a tire once too. But you were dead on when you said to be flexible and persevere. Learning which criticism is constructive is also helpful. I'm glad you stuck it out and I predict it will be smoother traveling from here on out.

Cassie Simmons said...

Hi Steph,
Your book does sound like a thrilling read! I'll have to check it out.

Thanks for another great interview, Anne!

Mona Risk said...

Steph, I love learning a little bit more about you with each blog. A 911 dispatcher what a useful job. You must have saved many people.

Patsy said...

Hi, Stephanie,
I imagine you have heard this many times, but I have to say it: the cover for The Hungarian is beautiful! Those eyes are...wow. I love the excerpt and can hardly wait to read the entire book. I'm certain you have a winner with this book.
mom1248(at)att(dot)net

Keena Kincaid said...

Steph, I didn't read Victoria Holt, but I almost wore out my copy of Wuthering Heights. One of the days, I'm going to write that story the way I think it should have ended.

I'm enjoying the tour. If only we could really travel to Budapest.

StephB said...

Miriam, *waves* it was a real interesting time period. In ways it was modern as we think of it, in other ways not.

Maggie, *smiles*, yes, I've blown out a few tires, too. Thanks so much for your encouraging words.

Cassie, nice to meet you. Thanks for popping in.

Mona, it's a very demanding job. It keeps me on my toes. You have to be 100% focused.

Patsy, oh, yes, Jen Ranieri, the cover artist, did a wonderful job, didn't she? Sigh...

Keena, Wuthering Heights has been on my reading forever. LOL!! I loved the recent Jane Austin movies "Becoming Jane" and "Pride and Prejudice" with Anne Hathaway. I need to crack the binder on WH though - soon.

Sigh.. I wish I could take you all to Budapest and sit down at a cafe next to the Danube and share a glass of wine or a mug of beer.

Smiles
Steph

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Steph,
I loved Victoria Holt also.
Great excerpt. Love the era.
Regards
Margaret

StephB said...

Thanks everyone for popping in! Congrats to Miriam and Cassie for winning the postcards. Please send me an email at sgcardin1@yahoo.com or botrina_buchanan@yahoo.com with your snail mail and I'll send those cards right out.

Remember to post on the other blogs in the tour to be eligiable for the Grand Prize at the end which I'll announce on 8 MAY.

Smiles
Steph

Erotic Horizon said...

My focus is on the man, not the wolf.

Well said and a definite change from the wolf pack influx of book out there..

Nice touch..

Congrats..

E.H>

liana laverentz said...

I like it that you focused on the man and not the wolf. And changing from first person to third, what a challenge that must have been. Sometime you'll have to share the experience in a blog.