An Interview with Winona Wilder

Winona Wilder is the Siren-exclusive pen name of bestselling author Stacey Espino. She enjoys delving into the human mind and unlocking her characters’ emotions. The Canadian north is an inspiration for much of her writing, whether hardcore cowboys or shifters roaming the deep woods. Although she loves a happily ever after, she makes her men work for it. She invites you to come along for the erotic ride…

Q: Do you prefer writing contemporary or paranormal?

A: I like to mix things up to keep my imagination fresh. I love writing my damaged cowboys like in Loving Tyler, but I also enjoy escaping into my paranormal worlds where I create the rules like in Alpha Mate.

Q: Will you continue your current series?

A: Yes! I’ve had a crazy few months with moving and family issues, but I’m getting back into the swing of things and look forward to creating more books for my readers. The next Northern Shifters book will feature the alpha of the pack, and if you’ve read the first two, you can probably guess who he’ll choose as his mate.

I also have the fourth Coming Out book planned out, and I’m excited to get it completed.

Q: What got you starting writing m/m romance?

A: I write m/f and ménage romance as Stacey Espino. I’m always looking to stretch myself as a writer, and what better way than trying something completely new to me? I never expected to enjoy the complexities and range of emotions I could get out of my gay characters. There is that element of taboo that still exists that I love to incorporate into my writing to heighten the stakes.

Q: Are all your gay men masculine?

A: I do tend to write masculine/alpha men. Just because they’re gay doesn’t mean they’re automatically feminine on the inside. They prefer male companionship but are every bit as sexy and masculine as their straight counterparts. However, in Alpha Mate I wrote a beta fox because he fit nicely with my alpha wolf. I have no rules in my writing.

Q: Where do you get your ideas?

A: It only takes a single idea, individual scene, image, or conflict for me to develop an entire story around it. The final scene in Alpha Bear was the basis for the entire story. I don’t plot. I just need a general idea to get writing. The characters take over once I develop them, and the story is as much of a surprise to me as my readers.

Q: Why do you write such flawed characters?

A: It makes them real, makes their journey more complex, and their happily ever after more rewarding. Tyler had a couple scenes in Cowboy Drifter. I never intended him to get his own story, but he nagged me and nagged me until I gave him his own. Every man has a story and is capable of being redeemed.

Q: How can a woman write such graphic gay sex?

A: My readers know I have a wicked imagination. LOL. Stacey Espino writes hardcore m/f/m ménage romance, but that doesn’t mean I’ve engaged in the lifestyle personally. Sex is a mix of emotion, dialogue, action, and a dash of filth. It’s a carefully choreographed dance that I enjoy creating in my gay romance.

Q: Do you ever get writers block?

A: It’s not that I get a loss of ideas. However, sometimes my muse has ideas of its own. I could be deep into a book but note that the writing is slow going, like pulling teeth. Once I put it down and work on another genre, the words begin to flow again. It’s one of the reasons I mix up my work.

The other problem is life. With five kids and a mountain of responsibilities, it can sometimes be a challenge to write as much as I’d like.

Q: Do you have any writing quirks?

A: The opening and final lines take me longer to create than some chapters. I like them to be perfect for the book and characters, especially those closing lines. I also like my chapters to be a certain general length.

Q: What do you do in your spare time besides writing?

A: I love to play with my dogs. I have two German Shepherds and a Jack Russell. Our house is in northern Canada with lots of woods and fields to explore. With the coming spring, I look forward to lots of gardening and planting.