An Interview with Michele Stegman

Please help me welcome Michele Stegman to my blog today. Michele has given me a wonderful interview that I’m sure you’ll enjoy.

Conquest-of-the-Heartx1650_2Tell us about yourself.

I have always enjoyed being just a little bit different. Even when my husband, Ron, and I decided to build a house, I wanted something different. So we found an old 1840’s log cabin and rebuilt it on our property.
With my writing, I try to look at things from other angles, to turn things around and make my books different. For instance, in Conquest of the Heart, my hero is a virgin. The heroine ends up seducing him.
History has always been a love of mine so living in a pioneer built log cabin and sleeping in a 200 year old bed suits me just fine. By contrast I also love technology. Whenever something new comes along, I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Okay, I am a Trekkie and have been since the first show aired. I read science fiction voraciously as well as straight science.

Do you have other talents?
I don’t know about talents, but I certainly have a lot of interests. I have always loved history and want to learn how people cooked and made things “in the old days.” I have a spinning wheel and a couple of looms, all of which I use. I use the yarn I make for knitting as well as weaving. I also enjoy tatting, an old way to make lace. I make my own bread, and sometimes homemade crackers. And I make my own soap.
I also love painting and am a member of my local art guild. And I play the piano for church.

What did you want to be when you were a child? Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

The list of things I wanted to do and be as a child is very long and I am still interested in most of them. Being a fighter pilot appealed to me for a long time. I wanted to join the FBI. Archaeology and paleontology were fascinating and I read a lot of books about those professions. I visited a few digs and helped out with one. I was thrilled when I found a site in our back yard, which is now registered with the state. I wanted to be a research scientist, especially a microbiologist, and sometimes I still get out my microscope and find things in the yard or pond to look at. Astronomy was a strong interest, and, of course, I wanted to write. From the time I realized that books are written by people, I wanted to be one of those people. Fortunately, all those interests that I read about and studied in school have found their way into my books. No research is boring. I’m interested in everything!

What inspired your latest book?

Conquest of the Heart is set in 1067 during the Norman conquest of England. Most “Conquest” books are written about big, strong, never-defeated-in-battle types. I often wondered how a mild, godly man would fare in those turbulent times. I decided to write a story with such a hero. My hero, Ranulf, is a Saxon, and was a candidate for the priesthood until his older brothers die. But he is also a man of principle and duty who learns how to do what is necessary to hold his estates when William invades, including marrying a Norman woman at the command of the king!

Tell us about your hero. Give us one of his strengths and one of his weaknesses.

Ranulf is based on my husband. Well, gee, all my heroes are based on my husband! But especially Ranulf. And, going with that “be different” theme, he is a Saxon, one of the conquered.
Ranulf’s main weakness, as a former candidate for the priesthood, is that he is clueless about women. Thankfully, Madeline is just the woman to teach him all he needs to know!
His main strength is that no one can stand up to him. Ranulf is mild. He is willing to bend. But when it comes to protecting those dependent on him, his strength of will and his courage are overwhelming.

What is most difficult to write? Characters, conflict, or emotions? Why?

Conflict is essential in a book. Unfortunately, conflict is very difficult for me to write. Like my hero, Ranulf, I am a person who likes peace. I want everyone around me to be happy. So it is hard to make my characters miserable or throw obstacles in their path. It’s even hard for me to write nasty villains. I want even them to somehow find redemption.
Give us an elevator pitch for your book.
Conquest of the Heart is a light-hearted romp through the dark ages! Set at the time of the Norman Conquest of England, the hero is a Saxon, one of the conquered, and the Norman woman he is forced to marry is out to seduce him any way she can.

Where can readers find you?

Michele_Stegman_2Thank you so much, Cynthia, for inviting me here today! I had fun answering your questions and if anyone else wants to pose a question, I’d be glad to try to answer it.

Breathless Press:

Her people conquered his country. How can they overcome the distrust they feel to find love?

Madeline wants a big, brash, never-defeated-in-battle, Norman knight. What she gets, by order of the king, is a wiry Saxon who once studied for the priesthood instead of warfare. But is this gentle man she has fallen in love with entangled in the rebellion now sweeping the land?
Ranulf wants to marry the girl next door. What he gets, by order of the king , is a lush, strong Norman woman who just might be a spy reporting his every move. He wants her in every way a man can possibly want a woman. But can he trust his heart to a woman who might have been sent to root out the struggle for freedom his people are engaged in?

She did not cry out or pull away. She opened her mouth farther, inviting a deeper taste of her sweetness, an invitation that this time, he did not ignore. She swayed against him, and the combined heat of their bodies seemed to melt them together, fusing them into one.

Somewhere in the deep recesses of his mind he marveled at how well their two bodies fit together, curve to cavern, hill to hollow, swell to depression. He started when her hand touched the bare flesh of his back, and again when her other one was also laid upon him, was utterly lost to dignity when they moved over his skin.

His own hands began to explore, almost, it seemed, of their own volition, but he drank in their findings, savoring the slope of her shoulder, the long curve of her back, a cresting buttock. His hands found it all, gliding over her, sending searing sensations to him to feed his hunger for her. But it was an insatiable hunger, a hunger that grew with each touch, each caress, each play of tongue on tongue.

One of his hands searched upward from her waist, climbed the mound of her breast, and was rewarded by a hardening nub at the peak. He pressed closer, wanting that union of flesh with flesh that could not be accomplished through layers of silk and linen. He pressed against her and she stumbled back a step. He turned her so that her back was to the oak and ground into her, tongue thrusting, loins pressing in a frenzy to intermesh.

Her hands moved with an equal searching frenzy across his back, kneading, clawing, wanting, urging him on. He grabbed at her skirt, trying to lift it, but the fullness of it defeated him, slithering back into the path of his groping hand, blocking him from his goal of bared thigh and hip and belly. He heard her moan and its plaintive note lent him new resourcefulness.

3 thoughts on “An Interview with Michele Stegman

  1. What a nice excerpt, Michelle. I really like the idea of a beta hero who is as strong in his way as the alphas we always see. I’m certainly looking forward to reading your book. And it’s great to find another author writing medieval. Best of luck with the release. Tweeted and shared.

  2. I enjoyed your interview, Michele. I, too, have a hard time putting the screws to my characters. I agonized over it many a time, but lately it’s becoming easier. Not sure that’s a good thing! I love the era you write in and wish you success!

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