Maggie Blackbird

Romancing Canada's Indigenous People

Today, I have author Stephania Thompson in the interview chair.  We’re discussing her latest release Woven, book one in the Charm City Threads series, a romantic suspense.  Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.

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1. What inspired you to write this book?

Stephania:  I wrote two great articles about this for Orange Blossom Publishing’s blog. The first is called The Write Inspiration ( https://www.orangeblossombooks.com/blog/the-write-inspiration-part-one) and the second is called The Write Timing (https://www.orangeblossombooks.com/blog/the-write-timing).

2. What can we expect from you in the future?

Stephania:  Woven is the first novel in my Charm City Threads series which features childhood friends David, Josh, and Kate as they navigate love, loss, and life together in Baltimore City. The second book is well underway and set to release next year!

3. Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?

Stephania:  Definitely! I’d love to explore David, Josh, and Kate at work, apart from each other. Or in college, several years prior to Woven’s time frame. A YA book about their teen years might be an interesting project to tackle once the series is finished. I currently have several spin-off books in the works with friends they’ve met along the way. More information about those will be forthcoming!

4. How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?

Stephania:  Initially, the chapters each had quirky titles that didn’t tie together. My publisher then suggested focusing on home repair/improvement in a way that tied the current chapter’s renovation woes to David, Josh, and Kate’s larger concerns, and the plot as a whole. I think in most cases it turned out well and was a lot of fun to write/research. I’ve learned more about home renovation than I ever thought I would care to know!

5. Where did you come up with the names in the story?

Stephania:  I’m a pretty big fan of Twenty One Pilots. I’m not going to say Josh was named after drummer, Josh Dunn, but… As for David? He’s a character with quiet strength, much like the biblical David, part warrior, part shepherd. The name fit him. And Kate? She just felt like Kate and I liked the name, honestly. It sounded good with Josh and David.

6. What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Stephania:  Everything. I loved getting to know the three main characters. It was fun, imagining their reaction to a given situation, picturing what they might order at a restaurant, buy at the store, and so on. It felt, at times, like I had three actual people with me, which was kind of cool and kind of weird…but never boring.

7. Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?

Stephania:  David, Josh and Kate are the main characters. They split the narration and I viewed them as mostly equal protagonists. Though, if I had to pick one main character, it would be David. I believe he describes the three best in the first chapter. Here he is contemplating how they ended up together in Baltimore City in a crumbling row home…

Once Josh gets an idea in his head, there’s no persuading him against it. Kate and I eventually agreed—we needed somewhere to live after all. Maybe it would be fun?
And it has been.

A disastrous, chaotic sort of fun. We’ve learned a lot about each other, which really says something because we already knew a lot about each other. Like the fact that Josh is a perfectionist, I’m a procrastinator, and Kate’s indecisive. This translates into Josh dictating everything, and Kate and I struggling to complete the few tasks he delegates.

Or, as is often the case, us hiding in the bathroom.

8. How did you come up with the title for your book?

Stephania:  There were multiple titles before Woven, which fit, but not perfectly. I have to give credit to my publisher—the title Woven was her inspiration and I loved it instantly. Thank you, Arielle

9. Who designed your book covers?

Her Instagram handle is @blacklady_design check her out! Fast, professional, extremely talented. I loved the cover immediately, and everything I’ve seen her create since!

10. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Stephania:  The beginning starts off a little slow and has more backstory than I would have liked, but overall, I’m very happy with how the book turned out.

11. Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?

Stephania:  So. Much. Too much to share in a paragraph response, but yes! I learned a ton just by the sheer process of writing and rewriting, and rewriting, and editing. I also learned a lot of fun, random things like when National Rice Ball day is and how massage therapists deal with smelly clients.

12. If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

Stephania:  I would LOVE for Woven to be made into a film, but I’m withholding a response until that time because I want readers to form their own image of David, Josh, and Kate

13. Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

Stephania:  A very heartfelt thank you. Time is valuable these days, and I’d be honored to have you spend it with David, Josh, and Kate. They’re like family to me, and my deepest hope is for others to connect with them. I realize not all books and characters are for all people, but if you feel a connection…if their stories stay with you long after putting the book down, then I count it a success!

14. What is your favourite part of the book and why?

Stephania:  This is such a HARD question! It’s like asking who is your favorite child! There are so many scenes I love, but if I had to pick a few favorites they would be Kate’s April Fool’s prank on the boys, the Lucky Charms scene, Kate’s unfortunate face plant at the wedding, and the entire last chapter.

15. If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

Stephania:  I’d like to spend the day with Josh at work. I didn’t go into much detail about any one character in their work setting, but I’d love to see Josh in action. We’ve had to call paramedics on multiple occasions, and I stand in awe of first responders. Josh is a paramedic, in part, because of the incredible kindness and competence I experienced during several harrowing medical situations.

16. Did your characters hijack the story or did you feel like you had the reigns?

Stephania:  Yes, and yes. They absolutely hijacked the story, but I’d like to think ultimately it was a joint effort. I could tell whenever I was overriding their direction because the flow felt off.

17. Convince us why you feel your book is a must-read.

Stephania:  I think you’ll find Woven unlike any book you’ve read. There’s a little bit for everyone inside its pages. Friendship, romance, affection, humor, sadness, suspense…forgiveness and faith. And characters so real you won’t soon forget them. My favorite books are those with cringy, awkward moments…moments that have you laughing and crying on the same page. My hope is for Woven to evoke those same feelings within its readers.

18. Have you written any other books that are not published?

Stephania:  I have more books than I can count in various stages of progress. Several soon to be novels, a poetry anthology, a number of children’s books. The only component missing is time. With four children, time seems to be the one constant I lack.

19. If your book was a candle, what scent would it be?

Stephania:  Sea Island Cotton…and if you read the book, you’ll know why!

20. What did you edit out of this book?

Stephania:  What’s the saying, kill your darlings? It really does feel that way. I ended up taking out quite a bit. A number of supporting characters I liked but who didn’t move the plot along. Several scenes I really enjoyed writing, but also, didn’t move the plot along. One involving some Harry Potter themed yoga pants, another about a Backstreet Boys concert gone wrong. I also took out a good amount of backstory to help with pacing. Perhaps one day I’ll take all my darlings and make a prequel

21. Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would it be and why?

Stephania:  This is probably a cliché answer, but the Harry Potter series had such an impact on me as a reader and writer, I’d love to spend an afternoon with J.K. Rowling. I want to know how she kept all the characters, settings, and plot points straight. I have a hard enough time doing this in a setting I can visit and Google, I can’t imagine keeping an entire world in order.

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Title: Woven
Series: Charm City Threads, book one
Author: Stephania Thompson
Genre: Romantic Suspense

Blurb:  Bound by a devastating secret, childhood friends David, Josh, and Kate take on home renovation as a means of healing from a dark, shared past.

Their only promise? Friendship first—no hookups.

Only several months after moving into their Baltimore fixer, the aptly nicknamed Canton Catastrophe, walls are crumbling, sparks are flying, and promises are getting ignored.

Josh, a paramedic, is plagued with panic attacks, haunted by the past, and sharing a room with David, who he is definitely not attracted to. And then there’s Kate. She’s having a job crisis, popping pills, and pretending she doesn’t notice how distant the boys have grown. And David? The eternally calm, blue-eyed beauty’s health is deteriorating and he’s mysteriously blacking out.

But when they learn someone may have discovered their darkest secret and is now stalking them–and blackmailing Josh’s father, a conservative media personality with secrets of his own, renovation and relationship woes take a back seat. Suddenly, their past is unraveling, and the shocking truths unearthed will have them questioning everything from family ties and friendships to love, loss, and the lengths they’re willing to go for each other.

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Purchase at:

Amazon | Orange Blossom Books | Author’s Site

Our bedroom wall rattles to life, and I peel one eye open.

I love how the pipes clang so loud that I don’t need an alarm in the morning, and I hate everything else about plumbing. And home improvement in general. One day I’m going to live in a pre-furnished fully decorated condo and pay exorbitant homeowner fees, so I don’t have to lift a finger.

I tunnel under the covers and indulge this fantasy while listening to Josh in the shower. It was his idea to buy this place. A project, he’d said. Something for us to work on together.

Once Josh gets an idea in his head, there’s no persuading him against it. Kate and I eventually agreed—we needed somewhere to live after all. Maybe it would be fun?

And it has been.

A disastrous, chaotic sort of fun. We’ve learned a lot about each other, which really says something because we already knew a lot about each other. Like the fact that Josh is a perfectionist, I’m a procrastinator, and Kate’s indecisive. This translates into Josh dictating everything, and Kate and I struggling to complete the few tasks he delegates.

Or, as is often the case, us hiding in the bathroom.

Not that you can hide in this house. We tried in the beginning to maintain a pretense of privacy, but then the three of us got sick from Kate’s cooking. One bathroom, paper-thin walls. Need I say more?

Anyway, Josh and I share a room for now. It’s a bit small. But that’s typical for a turn of the century Baltimore row home. Every room feels like a glorified closet. We’ve been here four months now, and there’ve been some hurdles. Remember that old Tom Hanks movie, The Money Pit? Picture that. Kate refers to our little city fixer as The Canton Catastrophe. Josh and I just call it The Shit Box.

But back to our bedroom situation. I don’t mind sharing with Josh. Over the years, he and I have spent more nights together than apart. We’re about as close as two humans can be. Which sounds like a good thing—and it is. I love Josh.

I love Kate, too.

Our situation is a little…complicated.

She tiptoes in, all stealth-like.

“Stop staring,” I say, without opening my eyes.

She slides beneath the blanket. “How do you always know?”

“Extrasensory perception,” I say, pulling her close. She’s damp from the shower and smells of Sea Island Cotton-scented body wash. We all use the same soap. Is that weird? I’m pretty sure body wash is for girls, but Josh and I are addicted to it.

I sort of love how we all smell the same.

Kate doesn’t talk for a few minutes. This has become our morning routine. She showers first, then snuggles with me. Josh used to hold that coveted position, but he got bumped—from the shower, I mean. He and I snuggle all the time.

Here’s something about Josh—he takes absurdly long showers. It doesn’t take a crime scene investigator to figure out what’s going on in there. But really, should it take that long? Kate didn’t think so. After a month of freezing-cold-post-Josh-shower taking, she put her foot down. The order now stands Kate first, then Josh, then David. I haven’t had a warm shower in months.

But it’s fine. I’ll sacrifice for them. I’d do anything for the two of them.

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Stephania Thompson is the author of Woven (Orange Blossom Publishing 2022). As a poet and multi-genre author, her work has appeared in a variety of online publications as well as several print anthologies.

Formerly a CPA in the corporate world, Stephania now writes from the comfort of a modern day crumbling castle alongside her very own knight in shining armor. Together they have four valiant offspring, a brave aussiedoodle, and one not-so-fire-breathing dragon.

When not writing, working, or waiting in a carpool line, she can be found running local trails and escaping in a book at her favorite café, iced latte in hand. She is a sucker for quirky romance, is addicted to audiobooks, and finds herself hopelessly drawn to flawed characters, raw honesty, and life’s cringiest moments.

Follow Stephania:   Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Bookbub | Amazon | Goodreads

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4 thoughts on “Stephania Thompson – Woven

  1. Steph says:

    Thanks for featuring Woven on your blog! I appreciate your support 🙂 If you connect with the story, I encourage you to leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, Bookbub, etc. and continue spreading the word! Thanks again. ~Stephania

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beatrice LaRocca says:

    A beautiful cover and an intriguing synopsis and excerpt, Woven sounds like a must read for me. Thank you for sharing the author’s guest post and book details

    Liked by 1 person

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