Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Sleuthing Women Authors: Meet Stephanie Damore

Hello Black Words-White Pages fans and thank you for stopping by!! Ready to meet another Sleuthing Woman Author? Today we are featuring Stephanie Damore !! Click on her name to follow her on Facebook!! 

Now to get on with the interview!!

Stephanie Damore

What is the first book that made you cry?
Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Depends on the scene! In general, it excites me. Writing is my passion ❤

What is your writing Kryptonite?
Being interrupted. And I have 4 young children, so…

Have you ever gotten reader’s block?

Yes. I can’t read and write at the same time. I devote everything I am to what I’m reading or writing.

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I have so many wonderful author friends, Liberty Kontransowski is one of my best friends and is an amazing writer. I just love her voice and “realness.”


Knowing an author and reading their works just makes it all the more special. Like I “get” where they’re coming from and what they’re saying.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

A dog. Loyal and dependable, and curled up at my feet. In fact, I think I already have a mascot and her name is Molly.

What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters?

I love watching people—those close to me and strangers—and picking up their idiosyncrasies. These little tidbits find their ways into my stories in one way or another. I’ve never based an entire character off of someone I know in real-life though!

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Do I have to count? I have one for sure unpublished complete book and a notebook full of started stories and plenty of ideas.

Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?

Writing is deeply personal. You’re putting yourself out there and inviting people into your world. So, in that way, yes, it is a spiritual practice to me.

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

Getting their dialogue right. I often think of how my husband or dad would say something and then write it from that perspective.

How many hours a day do you write?

I do two 15-minute power sessions a day and usually get 1-2k words down. It’s the method that works best for me. I occasionally have a power day, but I’m most productive in short bursts. I also dictate a lot because I have carpel tunnel and arthritis.

How do you select the names of your characters?

I think about the way a name sounds, the feelings or personalities they evoke—bubbly, warm, snarky, smart—and make sure they match in my mind. I love using sites like Nameberry and creating name lists. I’m a total name nerd!

If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?

I’ve always worked within writing and communications. It’s who I am. I can’t help it. Blame the planetary stellium in my 3rd house.  

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Oh yes. I love the good ones and shrug off the bad ones (although I’ve never had a truly horrible review. I’m sure that is yet to come!). Your attitude determines your aptitude, and I don’t let other people’s bad attitudes bring me down.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
I hide clues all over the place, does that count? I love pieces a mystery together so that when the killer is revealed the reader is totally shocked, but in hindsight it all makes sense.

What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
I don’t think you have to give up anything to become better. It’s what you’re willing to accept, just as advice or help from fellow authors and readers. My street team is invaluable for their support and insight.

What is your favorite childhood book?
Picture book is Stone Soup. Loved that book as a child. Along with The Giant Jam Sandwich.
I was also an avid Babysitters Club reader. The neighbor girls and I formed our own copycat club and babysat All. The. Time. It was awesome.
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
I can’t force it. I wish I could sit and write for hours at a time, but it doesn’t work that way for me or my poor hands. I also have to work in silence, get my head in the right space, and that’s very hard to come by at my house. The only time that consistently happens is after bedtime, and I’m not creative when I’m tired.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?
6 weeks.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
Janet Evanovich, Charlaine Harris, Barbara Kingsolver, JK Rowling (LOVE HP!!!)

Who are some authors in your genre that inspire you?
CeeCee James, Wendy Meadows, Gina LaManna – You know, the awesome women of this collective!

What are some great books you’ve read recently?
I recently re-read the entire Southern Vampire series (True Blood) and loved it even more. I plowed through those 12 books and never wanted it to end.

What types of books do you enjoy in your downtime?
I like to read what I write. I love the art of mystery and romance. The tension you can create and the laugh-out-loud ridiculous scenarios your characters get themselves into.

What sort of research did you do to write this book?
The Beauty Secrets Series takes place in the fictional town of Port Haven, but it’s very much modeled after Hilton Head, SC. I’ve vacationed in coastal South Carolina for years, and it’s also
where my husband went to middle school and high school. We love to head down south and catch up with old friends and just chill.

The amount of research for the rest of the story was vast. I’m always going after authenticity. And I always write about places I’ve been or put in real-life experiences to add that layer of believability.

How did you come up with the idea for your book?
I was looking for a way for my main character to have access to clients’ homes and personal business. I also wanted something fun and girly. I wanted my characters to be independent and intelligent. So, I put all of that together and thought, “What independent business gives you all of this?” And a beauty consultant was the answer.

What does a typical workday look like for you?
I write during naptime. Not glamourous at all, but it gets the words down! I spend my morning doing social media and correspondence. I also have an hour commute in the afternoon for school pick up. I use this “downtime” to plot out the next scene I’m working on.

What is the main thing you want readers to take away from your book?
A woman can stand on her own. My main character, Ziva, doesn’t rely on anyone to save her. She’s very much in charge and is smart. I want my readers to see themselves in Ziva and realize they’re just as awesome as she is.

If your novel were being made into a movie, whom would you pick to play the lead roles?
Ziva I think of Rosalyn Sanchez (who is Puerto Rican like Ziva)
Finn is Chris Pratt all the way *swoon*
Aria I picture Zoe Saldana

Do you outline books ahead of time or are you more of a by-the-seat-of-your-pants writer?
Outline all the way. I need to know where I’m taking the story before I get too far down the road. I’ve learned this the hard way and it’s what allows me to write quickly. Now of course, ideas pop up during the actual writing process, which is awesome. I find a way to incorporate them and it usually just ends up making the plot stronger.

What do you do in your free time when you aren’t writing?
I love being outside. Nature soothes me. I also love to just sit and be, meditate, and just be grateful for all that I have.

Do you put yourself in your books/characters at all?
I hope I’m a little Ziva, but she’s much more brave than I am! I remember when I was writing the first draft, I’d have to consciously say, “What would you do?” and then I’d write the OPPOSITE because I wanted her to be ballsy—that was not me, but I it is now ☺  

What has been one of your most rewarding experiences as an author?
Readers reaching out and telling me how much they love my books. It’s the greatest feeling in the world!

Out of all the books you’ve written, do you have a favorite?
I think MAKEUP & MURDER is my favorite because it was the first time that I believed I could really do this author thing and follow my dreams. I haven’t looked back.

What are your top three favorite books of all time?
Pride & Prejudice –  Austen
Bean Trees – Kingsolver
Belong to Me - de los Santos

Over 20,000 downloads in the last 6 months.

Who knew selling lipstick was so deadly?

Beauty consultant Ziva Diaz is a girl boss who doesn’t back down from anyone. 

When she’s attacked inside a client’s home and wakes to find a dead body, she gives up the safety of selling lipsticks for the dangerous role of detective. With suspects piling up, a killer on the loose and her own life threatened, Ziva vows to solve the case and digs her high heels in even deeper. 

The last thing she expected is finding another dead body – or befriending the murderer.

The BEAUTY SECRETS SERIES are humorous romantic mysteries featuring Ziva Diaz, a girl boss who doesn't back down from a challenge or chocolate. The books are smart and sassy, and infused with Janet Evanovich style-humor. Read it now!

Beauty Secrets Series Order
Book One: Makeup & Murder
Book Two: Kiss & Makeup
Book Three: Eyeliner & Alibis
Book Four: Pedicures & Prejudice
Book Five: Beauty & Bloodshed
Short Story: A Ring to Die For

Grab a chai latte and escape to Port Haven today!


Thank you so much, Stephanie, for stopping by and letting us get to know you!! This has been a lot of fun!! To know more about this author and her books starting starting on June 12, 2018, join the Facebook group HERE!!! There will be takeovers and lots of fun things to come!!


  1. Thanks for the feature, Jenny! I appreciate you <3

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