‘Natasha’s Prison’ contains mentions of Emotional Bonding, Abandonment, Clinical Depression, PTSD, Swearing, and Suicide Ideation.
That’s Entertainment: Stefan, thank you for taking time out of your schedule to chat with us. I know this week has to be a hectic one with the release of Natasha’s Prison!
Stefan: It’s my pleasure. Thank you for the opportunity!
TE: No problem! We love talking with authors around here! Can you share with us what got you started down the “writer’s path”? And why that of a novel, instead of say comics or screenwriting?
S: I have been writing from what I can remember since my teen years. I didn’t think anyone would want to read it at the time, so I didn’t keep most of it. I find it safe to express my thoughts on paper. I think writing a novel is much easier than writing comics and screenwriting because I cannot draw at all, and screenwriting is something I do not have experience in, but I hope to gain some experience in the future.
TE: As a quick aside, if you have an interest in comics or find a story that feels better in that medium, you should totally look into it! Write a great story and you can find a great artist to accompany you on that journey! That said, are there any stories from your teen years that you either kept or remember enough seeds of to take a crack at with years of experience now?
S: I have a folder with some short stories on one of my hard drives, but I haven’t looked at them in years! You have just given me something to think about! I am a little scared of what I may find (laughs)!
I love — love.Stefan Stevens
TE: I have a physical file folder from a novel I wrote over 20 years ago when I was a teenager and BOY DO I FEEL THIS (laughs)! On your website, you mention that you find yourself in a world of fantasy before you fall asleep. While Natasha’s Prison is fictional, it’s definitely more of a romance novel. Where did that pivot come from? Any plans to dive into something more fantastical or do you think romance is where your passion lies?
S: Fantasy and asking myself “what if…” or “can you imagine if…” questions are, in my opinion, a magical place to explore. It may or may not influence how you sleep for the night, what you dream of, or allow you to escape your daily life for a moment of peace before you fall asleep.
I am intrigued with the concept of love and the effects it has on us as humans. I love – love. Romance is where I would like to remain, but it does not mean I won’t add some twists and turns in a future book.
TE: There’s always that story where you could combine both fantasy and romance where an elf and human fall in forbidden love!
S: Hmmm, that opens a whole new world of ideas for me. I will keep that idea if you don’t mind.
TE: Looking forward to it! You also mention that you love to travel on your website. Harry and Natasha seem to share that love in the book; how much of your actual travels inspired Harry and Natasha’s travels?
S: Harry and Natasha explore various levels of one another by facing obstacles and asking questions throughout their travels together. The locations mentioned in the book are real; anyone can visit them. I know that my traveling experiences have certainly influenced the book’s direction.
TE: What went into making sure you captured the essence of the locations in the book—since they are real places, you can only make up so much—intense research? Your actual travels? Perhaps a combination of both?
S: The next book I am busy writing is very location-centered, and a lot has to do with the physical locations and their surroundings. In Natasha’s Prison, it has less to do with the areas they go to than what it has to do metaphorically with the character build and experiences they share. I usually try and write about places I have been to because it makes my life as an author easier to describe intricate detail better. I will tell you more about that when the book is completed.
TE: Looking forward to that next conversation! Natasha’s Prison touches on some pretty sensitive subjects (depression, PTSD, etc.)—how hard was it to navigate those waters? There’s a fine line between handling these topics sensitively and handling them with reckless abandonment.
S: I couldn’t agree more. Compared to my previously written books, it was one of the most challenging aspects to cover. I believe I took care of the topics to the best of my ability. Today, where we have access to so much information online, it is easier to see what people experience in our vast world. It is easier to find information and knowledgeable people to talk to about anything. I sent the book to be reviewed by NetGalley, and one of the reviewers has already completed it.
This was a good read that was well written with good character development and a [sic] intriguing storyline. The storyline involves some hard hitting triggering issues but they are handled sensitively and I still couldn’t put the book down.Aria H
TE: There is quite a bit going on in Natasha’s Prison—travel, depression (and those other sensitive subjects noted above), romance, etc.—that it feels like it could have been quite challenging to write. What pulled you in the direction of this love story vs. one that was perhaps a little less complicated?
S: Most stories available today, in book form, poem form, songs, or even some movies, are most likely written with some inspiration from the real-world environments of the writers or authors. I think every person reading Natasha’s Prison would be able to relate in one way or another with the story from their own lives. Writing something less complicated could take away from the authenticity of the story it portrays. I like this method of writing, and it inspires me to write more.
TE: “Write what you know” is the saying! In my experience, authors are always thinking ahead; especially independent authors. While we’re still awaiting the release of Natasha’s Prison, do you have a tease of what’s next for you?
S: I thought one chapter in Natasha’s Prison has some rhythmic flow, so that was sent to a composer and a singer to record. The song Just One More Thing is currently available on Amazon Music, Apple Music, Shazam, and many other platforms.
I am currently preparing the music video release for that, and I am working on my next book.
The next book I am writing is also a Romance Novel; it also has an underline element of travel, adventure, and more suspense. This book will be different from Natasha’s Prison in writing style, content, and characters.
TE: There’s something you don’t see with most books—music! How important is music to your creative process? What went into taking a chapter of the book and translating it into a song?
S: Music is essential to my creative process. Depending what I am listening to at the time influences my creativity. Sometimes listening to nature sounds or waves can also stimulate my imagination. It all depends on the day.
It was a fascinating process that I learned a lot from. I took the words in the chapter and approached some artists that turned me down. I gave it some thought and changed my approach to finding a music composer that would be able to share my vision. I found Nela Ruiz and shared my ideas with her, and through days of working her fingers to the bone, we finally found the direction best suited for the song. She completed it, and I had to find the singer. Searching for someone with the voice I was looking for took days of combing through profiles and listening to many soundtracks. I found Joe Bills, shared my ideas with him, and what he came back with surprised me just as much as Nela did. Finally, it was time to master the song with all the components, and I am delighted with the result, thanks to these two incredibly talented people!
TE: It’s incredible that a song came out of one of the chapters in your book! But that wasn’t enough? Why did you decide to push this concept even further with a music video? Do you know when we can expect to see that go live?
S: I have a vision and a dream for Natasha’s Prison. I hope it will inspire some producers enough to want to produce a miniseries or a movie from the book. Creating a music video for the song does, in my opinion, tie the bow around the package. I was hoping it would be ready for the launch day, but there are some delays. As soon as the video reaches my inbox, I will publish the video on my YouTube channel.
TE: Has the thought ever crossed your mind to produce a full-length album for Natasha’s Prison (or your next/a future project)?
S: I have thought about it, but it will all depend on the market demand for it and if there will be an opportunity for it. I have a dream of being able to go in that direction, but for now, it is only a dream!
TE: It’s certainly a dream worth pursuing, and you already have the experience! Stefan, once again, thank you so much for your time! Before we officially end this, please let people know where they can find Natasha’s Prison and how to keep up with you and your future projects.
S: The book is available for purchase TODAY on multiple online platforms in about twenty countries. My website has links to the most popular such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, etc. There is also an audiobook version available on the leading audiobook platforms. You can also find more information about the book and myself on my website: www.authorstefanstevens.com. My Instagram and Facebook pages are also updated as information becomes available, and I always love hearing from people who read the book!
Thank you so much for reaching out! I had a lot of fun! I am looking forward to our future conversations!
Once again, a huge thanks to Stefan for taking the time to chat with us about himself and Natasha’s Prison. It’s available TODAY from many different retailers (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, etc.) and as you read above, there will also be an audiobook version. BONUS: Listen to Just One More Thing, a song inspired by a chapter of the novel.
Images and Audio provided by Stefan Stevens.
Please note that Amazon links are affiliate links, meaning I get a small kickback from your purchase. Your price stays the same, so it’s a win-win and a great way to help support me!