October 1, 2012

Interview & Giveaway: Stephanie Doyle

Image credit: Florin Gorgan

I’m so happy to welcome author Stephanie Doyle to the blog today. I’ve been a fan ever since earlier this year when I read The Way Back. Her new book, One Final Step, releases this week and I can’t wait for you to read it. It’s a lovely Contemporary with a very special hero. In the meantime let’s give her a warm welcome! 

Hi, Stephanie! Welcome to Romance Around the Corner. I’m having a love affair with your books, so I’m very pleased you could join us today.

Q. First, for all of our readers who are not familiar with your work, tell us a bit about yourself and your books.

SD: Well I’ve been writing for about sixteen years now. All my published books are with Harlequin, but every now and then I take time out to do something off the beaten path. I’ve written a contemporary about a woman golfer who competes with the men which I recently self-published and some crazy mystery/romance historicals. One I’m actually shopping to publishers now. 

I wish I could talk about really cool hobbies and other things like that, but mostly I’m either working at my day job, writing or watching re-runs of Lois and Clark The Adventures of Superman with my cats.  Thank you cable for bringing back all my favorites!

Q. You get your inspirations from some unusual people like Tiger Woods and Monica Lewinsky, and I wonder what is it about those scandals that made you think they would fit the Romance genre? Did you have difficulties selling the stories to your editor and publisher considering that sex scandals is something we seldom see in Romance?

SD. I am actually blessed that way. I have an amazing editor, Wanda Ottewell, who a) told me I could write Superromances when I didn’t think I could. Up until then all my books had dead bodies in them. And b) really trusted me to do the stories I wanted to do. 

When coming up with ideas it’s usually the things that impact my life. I’m a political junkie and so when the whole Monica Lewinsky scandal broke that was all that was on TV.  And she became in so many ways a punch line – I wanted to think about a story where we knew the real woman behind the joke. And how years later what her life looked like. 

Same with Tiger. I’m a huge golf fan. Love watching him play. But then bam turns out he’s a total jerk. I didn’t so much care about his love life off the field, but it did make me wonder how any woman could ever trust him again. His cheating wasn’t private. It was fodder for the world. So how do you have a relationship with someone you know going into it, has cheated in the past.

They might seem like non-romantic concepts, but it’s all about relationships and dealing with those relationships when you have a lot of baggage. I’m just trying to be creative with the baggage I give them. 

Q. The hero in One Final Step is very unique. I don’t want to spoil people by saying exactly what he suffers from, but could you tell us a bit about him and the process of writing a hero unlike any other we have seen so far? (If you don’t mind people knowing go ahead and tell us. I just consider it a spoiler since the big reveal happens around the middle mark)

SD. I’ll leave it vague for now, maybe that will entice more readers to buy it! I will say I wanted to take a very different approach to men and women and sex. And I wanted to write about something I’ve never seen written about and to try and really strip away people’s walls.  

Michael Langdon is without a doubt my most favorite hero to date, because he allows himself to be completely vulnerable with this woman who he’s falling in love with and yet I think he maintains a real feeling of strength about him. I love him. I love all the men I write, but I think he’ll always hold a special place with me.

Q. What else can you tell us about One Final Step?

SD. It’s a story about healing. We start off with two highly intelligent people, very successful in many ways professionally who are completely messed up emotionally.  It’s more than just about falling in love with these two. It’s about finding themselves and becoming complete people again.

Q. Your characters have shown us that there’s plenty of room for uniqueness and originality in a genre that’s often criticized for being predictable. Do you think that characters, and not stories, are the key to avoid repetition in Contemporary Romance? 

SD. Yes. Contemporary romance is a challenge because you don’t get many of the bells and whistles. There is no world building, or super powers, or dead bodies and serial killers. In straight contemporary romance it’s really just about life. And the stuff that happens to people and why sometimes they fall in love and sometimes they can’t make that work. So for me I want to read a spectrum of everyone. I don’t want the same people all the time. I want different people with different problems and I want to watch them overcome that with love.

Q. What are your favorite and least favorite Romance tropes? 

SD: Boss/Secretary is absolutely my favorite. Josh and Donna from the West Wing was like torture for me because they waited so long to get together. I’m actually doing a play on that in my next Super – An Act of Persuasion - which features Anna and Ben from One Final Step.  My least favorite is probably the secret baby. I’m single, I don’t have kids – but I can guarantee you there is no way in hell that if someone I was  having sex with knocked me up – that I wouldn’t let him know about it.

Q. What are you working on now? What can we expect from you in the future? 

SD. I just turned in my revisions for Act of Persuasion. I believe that will be out in March of 2013. And as I said that is Anna and Ben’s story. And in that story we meet Mark, who is kind of a fascinating guy and I’m currently working on his story now.

Q. Finally, what’s your favorite Romance Novel?

SD. That is a completely unfair question. I spend hours, I spend days thinking about my “island” books. The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt. Kresely Cole’s Immortal series. Molly O’Keefe’s Can’t Buy Me Love and Can’t Hurry Love. She’s actually a friend of mine so I get to read her books in advance which is always fun. Sherry Thomas – I couldn’t pick only one of her books. And Sara Mayberry is currently my absolute favorite category author.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer the questions!

SD. No, thank you. And I would love to give away a copy of One Final Step. So if someone wants to leave a comment we can draw a winner randomly and I’ll send them out a copy. (Keep reading for the giveaway details)

About Stephanie:

I started writing romance when I was twelve. I fell in love with Princess Leia and I wanted to write a wedding story between her and Han Solo. It was all very dramatic and romantic.

Soon however I wanted to write my own heroines and tell their stories. Who are these women? My heroines are always strong, always ready for whatever adventure is thrown at them and they need a hero who is strong enough to keep up with them.

Sometimes they're in over their head - but doesn't that happen to all of us?

As for me most of my adventures happen only on the page, but my travels have taken me from Ireland to Paris and as far away as the Galapagos Islands! For the most part though, I'm at home in New Jersey with my three (yes I did say three) crazy cats.

You can find her on:

About the book:

A new image…step by step 
Who said moving forward is easy? Car thief turned race car driver, Michael Langdon has worked hard to build his image. Now to take it to the next level and become a successful manufacturer, he needs to kick that image up a notch. Enter Madeleine Kane, a genius at adjusting public perception. 
With her in charge, he's guaranteed to look better while keeping his darkest secrets where they belong—in the past.

Doesn't take long, however, for his ambition to change and the campaign to become personal. Because he wants Madeleine—as beautiful as she is talented and smart. First, Michael must overcome her reservations about crossing professional boundaries and persuade her he's worth the risk…without revealing those buried parts of himself. Good thing he's very persuasive.


Stephanie is giving away one copy of the book, this one is for US residents only. For a chance to win just leave a comment with your email. 

  • One winner get a paperback copy of One Final Step by Stephanie Doyle.
  • Contest open to US residents only.
  • Comments must include an email address.
  • Ends on 10/07/12
  • Winner will be chosen using random.org and announce here and via email and will have 72 hours to respond.
  • For more details read our giveaway policy.


  1. Hey! How cool! One Final Step just arrived on my Kindle so you can take me out of the running for the giveaway - but I can vouch for how good it is - REALLY GOOD!!

    I have a question for Steph - I think you've taken on a couple of taboo romance novel subjects in your books - are there more you'd like to take on?

  2. You know in all honesty I don't think about it that way. It's not like I start with ... here's a taboo... let me see what I can do with it.

    But I will say I want my contempories to feel real. Real problems facing real people where love can help you overcome.

    So there is nothing out there in terms of taboos that I wouldn't take on.

  3. Whoa, which is the book inspired by Monica Lewinsky? I, too, always thought she'd make a great fictional protagonist - a human being as complex as any other, reduced to a punchline by a set of dumbass choices she made in her early 20s. (Everyone who never made a dumbass choice in their early 20s, well, feel free to judge the rest of us.)

    I'm hearing a lot of good buzz about One Final Step. Do you think you'll stay in Superromance, or do you think you might move more toward single-title? And did your experience with the self-published book influence your thoughts on this?

    1. Hi, Cecilia!

      One Final Step is the Monica Lewinsky book, so now you have one more reason to read it.

      I agree that she's an interesting and complex woman to use as inspiration for a romance protagonist. And I liked the motivations that Stephanie gave to her character. The book also portrays the brutal and, in my opinion, unfair consequences of her actions.

  4. I love that this author is doing something different and taking totally controversial events, usually played out in the media, and using them as a basis for her romance. Seems like she is showing that anyone can get redemption. The concept is awesome.

    And the hidden baby trope infuriates me too! I'm with Miss Doyle...let a man get me preggers, he will definitely know about it.

    Anyways, the books sound interesting! Thanks for the awesome giveaway!


  5. Cecilia - this book is my what I call what happened if Monica Lewinsky was actually George Stephanopoulis (I hope I spelled that correctly!) the result is Madeleine Kane.

    As far as ST probably not contemporary but I'm trying other things. And the self publishing experience for me just reminded me why I like to be traditionally published! Too much work. Too little pay off for someone like me.

    And thanks Jade. Good to know there are at least 2 women out there not planning on hiding any babies :)

  6. This is such an interesting premise for a book! I'll definitely have to check it out.


  7. I love romance books .. always a HEA. But the journey there is what makes it specially. And I love different or seemingly impossible stories. Love to win a copy of your book. Trishleroy49 at gmail dot com

  8. I'd love to read this one, and I'll keep an eye out for it on the shelf too. bookslistslife at gmail.com

  9. Sounds like fun. I'd like to read it. shadreDOTannaATgmailDOTcom


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The books reviewed here were purchased by us. If the book was provided by the author or publisher for review, it will be noted on the post. We do not get any type of monetary compensation from publishers or authors.