Thursday, March 12, 2020

Review & Author Interview: Roman and Jules by Stephanie Fowers

When Jules meets Roman Verona at an exclusive Vegas party, she doesn’t suspect the bad blood that runs so deep between Roman and her boyfriend, Ty, until the two men have it out in front of her. Even worse, Jules finds out that Ty has never loved her. She storms away, only to have her ex’s sworn enemy offer her a ride into town... as well as a shocking proposal.

A nice girl wouldn’t even consider making her ex jealous with a sham marriage, so why does she chance it with Roman?

Acting the role of devoted husband, Roman soon becomes fascinated with more than Jules’s sweet smile and poetic soul. As her band’s fame grows in Vegas so do his feelings for her and what started out as revenge against his miserable cousin turns into something deeper.

But bad boys don’t settle down. So why does Roman risk everything to win Jules’ heart?

All bets are off in this modern and sleek tale of star-crossed love!

Stephanie Fowers loves bringing stories to life, and depending on her latest madcap ideas will do it through written word, song, and/ or film.

She absolutely adores Bollywood and bonnet movies; i.e., Jane Austen. 

Presently, she lives in Salt Lake where she's living the life of the starving artist.

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My rating: 3 stars / I liked it

The characters in this story are vibrant and larger than life. The plot has a swift pace and I was surprised at how quickly I finished the book. I felt like there could have been more exploration of the potential depth and layers to the characters- as they were, they all came off incredibly shallow. It was entertaining in the way a TV sitcom is- interesting premise, funny moments, but everything is kept surface-level. Definitely a fluffy chick-lit read, and will be enjoyed by readers who need a sweet escape and don't mind an over-the-top resolution high on spectacle but low on real emotion and connection.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions expressed in this review are my own)

Interview with author Stephanie Fowers

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

A fun thing about me is how big my family is--I tie for middle kid in a family of 10, and I have 60+ nieces and nephews. Everyone always jokes that I'm the Jo from Little Women in my family because I used to write plays and make my younger siblings perform in them. Before I learned to write, I put together picture books, and then later loved making my schoolmates and teachers fall out of their chairs with laughter while I read my stories aloud to the class. I entered every writing contest, and took a lot of pride in my essays and creative writing. I've been writing novels since junior high, and would read my stories aloud to my little sisters at night. I published my first book in 2003 and I've been writing and publishing ever since! I've got 13 books out in the public sphere and PLENTY of books that I still need to get out there that I wrote back in the day. Strangely, I started out with fantasy and got into romance writing later. And recently, I've been doing a little mystery and suspense too.

What do you do besides writing? 

I love hiking--the mountains of Utah are so beautiful and I explore what I can. I enjoy singing and have joined multiple choirs, and I even had my own band in college. I've also starred in multiple plays since elementary school. It all started after I won the beloved role of the "evil professor" in second grade. I ran home and told my family, and they were so excited for me (so I thought). But apparently, no one knew the significance because my mom was super surprised when she came to my play and found out that I was the leading role. She watched me robustly sing solo after solo until I flung myself on the ground and acted out the ultimate tantrum (as only an evil professor would do) and was pulled off the stage. She just sat there, wishing she'd brought some sort of video camera. I'd assumed that my family would all know the professor was a main role, but they were so used to us being excited for every little role that they had no idea.

Do you have images you can share that come close to how you picture your characters? Do you like to find visual inspiration for your characters before or during your writing process?

*as featured in the Character Casting on this event
I make slideshows for every book that I write because it helps me to describe the characters and the scenes. I haven't been to every location that I've written about, but that doesn't stop me. I interview people who have been there and find lots and lots of pictures to inspire me. It's like drawing a picture and having the model sit for me, but not only do I try to describe the physical, but also the emotions in the face and what drives each character. It's a very fun process for me.

What are some songs that you listened to or inspired you while writing your book?

I make a playing list for every book that I write. So this is my playing list on spotify:
Some of my songs on there are: "Vegas" by Cody Fry because, of course, the setting of "Roman and Jules" is in Vegas. "When He Loved me" by Samantha Barks because Jules is getting over a heartbreak, and "Pretender" by AJR because her ex boyfriend, Ty pretends to be a good guy and he's not, and "Rescue" by Lauren Daigle because God hasn't forgotten Jules, and He sends Roman (in my humble opinion) to help His girl out. And then I put in a lot of versions of "Sweet Child of Mine" in there because it's like the perfect "bad boy" song and the main characters have lots of riding motorcycle moments. So yeah, it's a blend of popular contemporary, Christian music, and rock ballads--pretty much anything that strikes me as belonging to my story. Haha, it's a 7 hour playlist! But hey! I have to have something to listen to while I write my books :-)

What message would you like readers to ultimately take away from the book?
I want ladies to find a man who appreciates them--no more going after guys who can't commit and who don't cherish them. It's better to be alone and growing and progressing and leaving our hearts open to healthy and loving relationships than to be stuck in an abusive situation. Jules learns in the course of this story that she is worthy of love and cherishing. Roman happens to help her see that, but I hope that every woman can learn that for herself, with or without a relationship before her.

What can we look forward to coming from you in the future?

I have a fireman series that I'm working on with Jennifer Youngblood. Each of the authors in the series have chosen a fireman in the house to star in their book, and mine is the rookie. He has a childhood best friend that he needs to sort out his feelings for. She's built up all sorts of walls because of a tragic childhood and has no idea how to let him in, but she's had a crush on him since elementary school. Now they both need to figure out how to make it work. The book comes out March 10th. After that, I have some books coming out with Gelato Publishing--they are part of a billionaire series with another group of authors. My first one is about a billionaire who shatters his leg after a climbing accident and has the leg amputated. He hires a physical therapist to help him climb again. She jumps at the chance because she is running from an abusive ex boyfriend and she wants to use the advanced security of his mountain retreat to stay hidden. Of course... the evil ex-boyfriend WILL come after her.

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