Friday, October 16, 2015

Author Spotlight: Steph Nuss

Steph Nuss

Steph Nuss was born and raised in rural Kansas, where she currently resides with her black Labrador son named Gunner. She grew up with a passion for reading and writing. When she’s not immersed into the land of fiction, she enjoys listening to music that came before her time, watching movies and reruns of her favorite shows, and hanging out with her family and friends. She also has a bachelor’s degree in psychology that she’ll never use…unless she’s profiling her characters of course.

Social Links

Twitter: @stephnuss13


1. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m 25 years old, and I come from a big family who always gets together for mostly everything including birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, etc. I was the first harvest baby of Barton County, a true honor in the state of Kansas, but eventually we found out I was allergic to wheat dust and a variety of environmental allergens, pollens, mold and dust mites. I have three older brothers who are triplets, and a grandpa who was a twin, so I never want to have children because I’ll probably end up having quadruplets. As the baby of the family, whenever we went on vacations, we always had to make sure we ate a restaurants that offered chicken strips and fries, because that’s all I’d ever eat. To this day, that’s usually what I’ll order if I’m out to eat; I’m pretty picky when it comes to food (though the scale would say otherwise). I love movies, and own over four hundred DVDs. My dad instilled in me a love for older music from his time, so my iPod is filled with 70s classic rock, although I do love a variety of music. My mom shared with me her love for reading, so I ended up falling in love with in it, too; we share our Kindle and Nook accounts. Growing up, my brothers rarely allowed me to join in on whatever they were doing with their friends, so I usually had my nose stuck in a book instead. But my siblings and I have always shared a love of sports. I come from a very competitive family who taught me to never give up and to work hard for what I want. Our parents made us get jobs at the age of sixteen, and if we wanted a car or a cell phone, we paid for all of that ourselves, even the car insurance. So, we weren’t handed out anything except love and encouragement, which I think was for the best; it made us grateful for the things our parents did provide us (a roof over our heads, food on the table every night, and an endless amount of support). We were involved in 4-H and church groups, but to this day, I don’t miss any of it even though I know it taught me valuable lessons that I’d probably never learn anywhere else (hello, public speaking and the power of prayer). I, myself, am pretty introverted. I like routine, and I like my alone time. I don’t have a problem socializing with others, just after a while, I prefer to be alone with a book or a movie or to take my dogs on a walk. Growing up on a farm turned me into an animal lover. I name everything, even the cows. I get easily attached to animals, and I’ve been known to cry more after losing a beloved pet than people in my life. I treat my animals like family. Gunner, my black Labrador, is very much my son. He has allergies just like I do. He has had surgery on his eyes, just like I’ve always had problems with my eyes (ocular allergies and poor vision). So, I can’t deny him.

My parents say I was like a human barometer when I was little, that I could tell when a storm was coming before it even got to us and that I was terrified of storms. I got over the fear of storms, but I still freak out if/when we’re in a tornado watch; I even have a tornado drill I’ll do. Some other fears include the fear of pregnancy, which started when I passed out while watching the live birth video in freshmen health class (the woman was bushy and didn’t make a sound as she pushed a tiny human out of her, like some freak of nature). I’ve taken it so far as inquiring about voluntarily tying my tubes, but my doctor told me no. So, I have no desire to touch a pregnant belly, and I won’t hold a baby unless it can hold its own head up. I never want tiny humans coming out of me. It’s going to take a real strong, intelligent man to get me to make that sacrifice.

2. What inspired you to write the Love in the City series? What's your favorite book so far and why? Favorite character and why?
My love for series inspired me to write my own. I love shows like Friends, Grey’s Anatomy, The Big Bang Theory and Sex and the City, but I also love book series in general. A strong group of friends that compliments each other is the type of entertainment I’m attracted to, so I wrote what I love. I love when the secondary characters are just as entertaining as the primary, and I love it even more when the secondary characters get their own stories. So, I knew whatever I wrote had to be a series. The series was initially supposed to be called the My Kind of Lover series. I wanted to create a series where each friend found their kind of lover, the person who was perfect for them.

My favorite book so far in the series is Pleasured By You because it’s just so much fun and it was a breeze to write. The humor and the connection between the main characters are some of my favorite aspects of the book, but I also loved adding the younger characters into the story. I feel like we lose ourselves as we age. We lose that resilience we had when we were kids, the idea that we can believe in anything. So, I think that’s why Pleasured By You is my favorite so far. It’s fun. It’s sexy. It’ll bring you back to your youth and make you realize that life doesn’t have to be as difficult as we make it sometimes.

My favorite character in the series is Ellyson Evans. She’s the glue that holds the whole group together. If it weren’t for her, this Love in the City gang would’ve never become the tightknit group of friends that they are. Paige was her roommate in college, Carter was the boy she fell for in college, and Cash was Carter’s roommate. Maverick is Elly’s childhood best friend, and Fletcher was Maverick’s college roommate. Tessa meets Elly at through counseling, and Justin meets Elly through his Grandma, who just so happens to be Elly’s neighbor. So, if it weren’t for her, these characters probably wouldn’t have become friends at all. I guess you can say she’s the Monica of the Love in the City gang, if I had to compare the series to Friends. I’ve also heard from some readers that I remind them of Elly (based on appearance and if they know me personally), but I truly didn’t mean to make her appearance or personality anything like mine. There are some similarities but not many. I feel like every writer has a special connection with their first character, and she was my first. She’s the one I created to begin with and build from, so I think that’s why she will always be my favorite.

3. What's your writing process, do you have an outline, do you let your characters talk to you and go from there?
The first thing I do is profile my characters. I have the Love in the City books all plotted out, but before that, I did these nine-page character profiles on each character in the Love in the City gang. Profiling them really lets me figure out their individual personalities and how they relate to the series as a whole. Then I normally write out an outline for each story, but I don’t stick to it that strictly, meaning I don’t have every detail of every chapter outlined out. I have scenes and events that I want to take place in every chapter, but how they take place and what is said is not outlined. I’ll let my characters dictate whose POV takes over which chapters, but even if I have it outlined a certain way, I’ll sometimes change it because I think it will be better from the opposite perspective. So, I do a little bit of both. I give my characters some free reign, but I don’t let them take me far off track. I’m an organized person, so I like to know where I’m at and where I’m going when I’m writing. With that being said, I always write beginning to end. I’ll never skip around and write certain parts that come to me, even though I do have scenes and dialogue that randomly come to me. When that happens, I usually just make a note of it and add it in when I get to that specific part. Another part of my writing process is editing myself. I know some people think that’s a bad habit writer’s make, but I cannot move on and write the next chapter until I’m satisfied with the previous one in terms of the story.

4. What do you think makes a good story?
When you can put yourself in the characters’ shoes, that’s what makes it a good story. It doesn’t matter the genre. Even unrealistic, dystopian stories like The Hunger Games and Divergent have had me wanting to be in Katniss’s and Trish’s shoes more than once or questioning what they’re going to do next. When that happens, I know it’s good.

5. What book(s) most influenced your life?
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. I don’t even really know why. I read it and I just fell in love with the whole thing. It set itself apart from all the other books I’d read and have read and probably will ever read. There’s nothing out there quite like it. I’ve loved a lot of books, but I loved every single sentence of this one. I felt like Holden Caulfield knew me, and I agreed with everything he believed to be phony. It’s a book filled with such great, meaningful quotes, making it one that will forever be with me.

6. If you had a chance to write a book with another author, who would it be and why would you choose her/him?
I’m going to give you my top six because I can’t just choose one or five.

1. Adrienne Frances because she’s my author best friend. She’s that one person I can message when I’m writing, and she’s there for me no matter what. She’s helped me brainstorm and provided an endless amount of feedback on my work, and I just know if we ever work together that we’ll just click. That’s how our friendship has been, and I know that’s how we’d be as co-authors. We’ve even talked about it, and I think someday it will happen. At least I hope so because she’s a great writer.

2. Jennifer Probst because she’s my writing mentor, the writer I look up to. She was the first person I approached about wanting to write. I provided her with short synopses for each of the books in my series, and she was like, “Go for it! You can do it!” She read the first chapter of my book and provided feedback. She’s encouraged me to pursue this dream of mine, and for that I’m just so grateful for her. I’d love to work with her someday because her and her books are what motivated me to finally follow my heart.

3. Kristen Proby because there’s not one book of hers that I’ve read and disliked. I’ve loved them all. Her With Me in Seattle series is just one of many series that made me want to write my own, and I know she’ll continue to write series that I’ll enjoy. She’s one of those one-click authors for me. I don’t need a cover or a blurb. I just know that woman is going to entertain me, and I’d love to opportunity to work with her.

4. Emma Chase because she’s the master at writing the male point-of-view. Seriously. Every one of her books that’s told from the male perspective is just genius. They’re funny. They’re sexy. They’re beyond entertaining. You want to love them, do dirty things with them and to them. You want them to be your best guy friend. You want them to be your cool brother that you don’t do dirty things with or to. Ha, you know what I mean. I’d love to write a dual POV story with her and feed off of her male perspective as I write the female.

5. Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb. I love Nora Roberts. She’s like the godmother of writing, and all of us writers wish she were our actual godmother. We’ve all read her work and fallen in love with her; how could we not? But if I could ever co-write a book with her, I’d love to co-write a mystery series with her J.D. Robb persona. Her In Death series is one of my all-time favorite series. Roarke and Eve are one of my favorite couples. So, I’d love to write a mystery series with her. Maybe not a 40+ book series like her In Death series, but at least more than one book.

6. Stephen King because he goes so dark and pushes the readers to be uncomfortable yet intrigued all at the same time. He’s a mastermind when it comes to thrillers. I loved the first two books in his Bill Hodges trilogy, and I just know if I ever had the chance to work with him that he’d encourage me to go to the dark side, something I’m excited to write someday. I’d love the opportunity to work on a thriller with him.

7. Give us 5 things about you that no one knows or that are peculiar.

1. I’m OCD about certain things. If you move something and don’t put it back in the same spot, I’ll know and most likely lose my shit over it.
2. I have an obsession with murder mystery shows like Dateline, Cold Case Files, or anything on the Investigation Discovery channel. If it’s about a murder or a murderer, I want to watch it.
3. I’m really good at figuring out whom someone looks like. For example, if we see someone who looks like someone we might know or someone famous, I’ll figure it out. I’m constantly saying, “You know who he/she looks like …”
4. Even though I don’t want kids, they gravitate to me. I don’t beg for their attention like everyone else, so I assume that’s why.
5. I’d rather spend time with dogs than people.

8. If you could go on a date with someone famous, who would it be and why?
Miles Teller. He’s hilarious in the movies he’s in, and I’d like to believe he’s just as funny in person and would be an entertaining date. No, he’s not the sexiest guy in Hollywood, but he’s witty and I like that. And he was the only part of the Footloose remake that I enjoyed.

9. If you had a superpower what would it be?
I wish I could talk to the dead. I’d love to ask some of the deceased questions. I’d love to meet family members I never got to meet because they died before I was born. I’m also curious about how my loved ones are doing, and things that have happened in the past like who killed JonBenet Rasmey or who killed Elizabeth Short (aka the Black Dahlia) or Caylee Anthony. They’d know who did it. Who was Jack the Ripper? Was him name even Jack? I’m naturally curious about those types things, probably because, like I said earlier, I watch too much Dateline and Cold Case Files type of shows. Maybe that’s really morbid of me, but at times I just wish we could call up the dead and ask them what really happened. I have this idea in my head that when I die, I’ll finally get the answers to all these unsolved questions/curiosities that have been bugging me for most of my life. I’ll be pissed if I die and there isn’t an audience of other dead people just waiting to tell me their stories. I believe in the afterlife, sue me. I know I’m weird.

10. Best advice you've ever gotten?
I know this is always the advice everyone shares, but it’s something that we need to be reminded of and that’s to never give up. Don’t ever give up on your dreams. If you want to write a book, write the book you want to read, the story you were meant to share. Don’t think about who will or will not read it. Don’t think about what money you may or may not make off of it. Just write and focus on the story you want to tell and the characters that are part of it. It’s so easy to get swept away with the amazing success others have had in this industry, and I’m so thrilled that they’ve been so successful. But I’m also a big believer in making your own success. Your dreams are yours and only yours, and they can only come true if you let them. Make it happen, and you’ll understand success. It’s not how many readers who have or how much money you make; it’s about achieving your goal and making your dreams come true. Don’t worry about what everyone says about it or any criticism you may receive. Never give up and believe in yourself. One of my favorite quotes is from the movie, Elizabethtown: “You wanna be really great? Then have the courage to fail big and stick around. Make them wonder why you're still smiling.” So, it’s okay if you fail as long as you never give up. 

Books by Steph Nuss

Love in the City Series

Wanted by You
Book 1 
Carter was captivated by Ellyson Evans the moment he laid eyes on her, but she was the one girl who didn't beg for his attention.

He wanted her.

Ellyson vowed to never fall in love, because love can destroy you, but then she met Carter Jennings.

She wanted him.

Unwilling to risk their comfortable friendship, neither confessed their desires.

Losing touch after college, a chance meeting reconnects them.

They want each other.

But love in the city is never quite that easy.
Fantasized by You
Book 2
Celebrity fashion designer, Harper Jennings is only months away from turning thirty, and her dream of living a happily ever after has yet to come true.

She's given up on her fantasy.

Personal trainer and gym owner, Maverick Jones isn't thrilled about having a designer mentoring in his new clinic, but after meeting the brunette beauty face-to-face, he dreams of having his way with her.

He's ready to turn his fantasy into reality.

But when their fantasies collide, love in the city becomes more complicated than they ever imagined.
Pleasured by You
Book 3
One night of pleasure turns into a summer full of lust.

Fletcher Haney owns several businesses all over New York City, gaining him access to tons of beautiful women. He has no intentions of stopping his womanizing ways, until he sees her again.

She’s the ultimate heartbreaker he can't forget.

Pastry chef bombshell, Bayler Jennings knows she can have any guy she wants, but when her only memorable one-night stand confronts her, she breaks all of her rules.

He’s the love ‘em and leave ‘em flavor she craves.

But as the seasons change, this two-of-a-kind pair fights falling in love in the city, and they’ll soon realize that with pleasure always comes pain.
Cherished by You
Book 4
“Move in with me,” he said.

Being cherished is how Tessa Wilder always imagined falling in love. But for years, she’s always gone for the wrong guys. Now that she’s fallen for one of the good ones, she fears rejection.

“I can’t,” she replied.

Justin Jameson quit looking for a woman after being used so many times for his brains. A bit of an introvert and completely oblivious to women’s advances, he can’t even see that his friend cherishes everything about him.

When Tessa needs a place to stay, Justin’s the first to offer her a room. Hearts are opened; feelings are ventured. They’ll finally know what it’s like to be cherished in the city until one moment threatens the relationship they’ve built.

“I can’t lose you.”
Challenged by You
Book 5
  Paige Abram never faces a problem she can’t solve until her high school sweetheart comes back into her life, and she’s bombarded with memories of their relationship. His presence is almost suffocating, but he’s still just as beautiful as she remembers.

His heart beat differently after its first love.

The moment Drake Wilkins sees her again, the numbness he’s felt since he walked away disappears. But she’s not the same girl he fell in love with back then. She’s colder, not as easy going; she’s a complete stranger now.

Her heart nearly quit after its first loss.

When a funeral has them returning to their hometown, a secret she’s kept from him all these years is revealed. She expects him to push her away but he doesn’t; he tests her just like when they were kids.

Their hearts resuscitate, but in the city, their love will face its biggest challenge of all: survival.
Inspired by You
Book 6
 Fame made him selfish.

Hollywood heartthrob, Maxton Waters, has just been named the World’s Sexiest Man Alive. Women fantasize about him. Men want to be him. The paparazzi continuously follow him. His ego is definitely larger than his heart.

Poverty made her grateful.

Whitley Gonzalez has made a life for herself after growing up in and out of homeless shelters. Now a hardworking nurse, she spends her spare time raising her son alone and giving back to the community that helped raise her.

But when Max is sentenced to hours of community services and placed under the single mom’s thumb, working together proves harder than they ever expected, inspiring an unlikely love in the city.
Changed by You
Book 7
  He’s the bachelor who swore he’d never fall in love.

Cash Donovan interviews musicians on a weekly basis. He’s used to sharing the studio with fame and entertaining his fans. So, when he lands an interview with Grammy Award-winner, Lennox, he doesn’t think anything of it.

She’s the rocker who’s satisfied with being single.

Lennox has made a name for herself, and now she’s traveling the United States to meet her fans. When her manager books her first radio interview, she couldn’t be more excited to meet the notorious radio host, Cash Donovan.

But during their interview, the conversation turns flirtatious, and he’s is urged by fans to ask her out on a date. He obliges and she agrees with one condition: don’t fall for her.

In this heartfelt, hilarious conclusion to the Love in the City series, New York’s favorite, smooth-talking radio host has a change of heart thanks to America’s rock chick, but will he be able to persuade her into forever with him? Tune in to 101.7 WLVE to find out.

No comments:

Post a Comment