Stephanie Draven on Heartbreak and Heat–and Minotaurs

Today, Preternatura welcomes author Stephanie Draven, whose new paranormal romance, Dark Sins and Desert Sands, came out recently from Harlequin Nocturne. Stephanie, who lives in Baltimore and writes historical fiction as Stephanie Dray, is going to talk about heartbreak–something we probably all know too much about. Read on to win a copy of the book! For more information, visit her website at 
ABOUT THE BOOK: Escaping a Syrian prison, U.S. serviceman Ray Stavrakis emerged with mind-control powers and an ability to morph into a mythical Minotaur. As a half man, half bull, Ray had legendary power, but only one woman could prove his innocence. The woman who’d driven him to the brink of insanity with her cool-eyed interrogation and her hot-blooded sensuality. But Vegas psychologist Layla Bahset had no memory of Ray or her past. Only a feeling of being stalked by a nonhuman predator. Was it Ray…whose eyes condemned her soul even as his hands ignited her body? Or was another evil force at work? But nothing could stop Layla from remembering what she was…and what her creator had planned for her and her soldier lover….

The Mythology of Heartbreak

by Stephanie Draven
The ancients thought the heart was the source of all human emotion and passion. This is probably because of the way our heart thumps when we fall in love, and the way our heart seems to seize inside our chests when we’re frightened or grieving. The heart is a wonderfully resilient muscle, soft and fleshy, yet we describe the fracturing pain of loss as heartbreak?

The strange thing about heartbreak is that almost everyone experiences it at some point in their lives, but almost nobody can explain what it is. Still, since love, heartbreak, and redemptive happy endings are a romance writer’s stock-in-trade, it behooves authors like me to try!

Heartbreak is an emotional distress, but physically painful, even though no physician would ever be able to find the wound. And it can seldom be cured by anything but true love.

If you’ve ever experienced heartbreak–true heartbreak–you know that it changes you. After a bad breakup, people aren’t just depressed. They tend to internalize their feelings as a loss of self. Divorcees often describe a sense of alienation from themselves, as if they don’t know who they are anymore in the world without the love of their spouse. Heartbroken people talk about having a hole in their heart that they fear will never be filled. They have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, as if they had woken up without a limb and weren’t sure how to walk again. They might think they’ve forgotten how to laugh. Their taste in music may be changed forever. Their sense of identity, warped beyond recognition.

Today we have many fancy clinical ways of explaining these changes in personality, but when the ancients couldn’t explain something, they turned to mythology. They knew what heartbreak does to a person–how one shattering moment can take away everything you’ve ever believed about the world and your place in it.

The sad stories of ancient mythology spoke to me, and that’s why I chose one to be the heroine of my romance novel. I wanted her to have a happy ending…one that shows how love can mend a broken heart. How love can give us all second chances, because love also changes who we are; it makes us stronger.

So when I started writing the novel Dark Sins & Desert Sands from the point of view of an ancient sphinx whose heart was crushed by the god who created her, I kept these things in mind. Layla Bahset is an ancient and marvelous creature, a lioness, a riddler, a guardian–but the man who broke her heart took all of that way from her.

Now she can’t even remember who she is. She can’t enjoy food, color, sex…she can’t enjoy anything. She’s a passionless husk, just aching for someone to come along to show her not just who she really is, but who she could be in the future.

The person who gives her life back to her is Rayhan Stavrakis, a man accused of a crime he didn’t commit, a fugitive so transformed by rage that he has become a rampaging modern-day minotaur. He is also a man that our has wronged. His forgiveness opens her up to forgive herself and I can think of nothing more romantic!

So, let’s hear it. How has love gotten you through your first, or worst, heartbreak?

Thanks, Stephanie! So, weigh in–has love gotten you through a heartbreak? I guess my biggest heartbreak was not what you might think–not a romantic heartbreak but the heartbreak of what happened to my much-loved city of New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina, and the love of my friends definitely got me through that–from letting me crash at a home for two months while I couldn’t go back to my own home, to making that first trip to the city once the mandatory evacuation had finally been lifted…love and heartbreak comes in all forms.
So, leave a comment about love and heartbreak (or just say “I want the book already!”) and be entered to win. You know the drill: comment for one entry, with extra entries for blog follow, Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and a Tweet or Retweet. Now, break some hearts!
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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and suspense. As Suzanne Johnson, she is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, Belle Chasse, Frenchmen Street (March 2018). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance; ILLUMINATION); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the Wilds of the Bayou series (Wild Man's Curse; Black Diamond).

20 thoughts on “Stephanie Draven on Heartbreak and Heat–and Minotaurs

  1. Half man, half bull! That’s definitely a new one for me! Sounds like an intersting must read!Fortunately for me, I have never experienced true heartbreak like you described.

    GFC follower Missy

    Thanks for the chance!

  2. I’d love to read this book! With love there is always the risk of heartbreak and that is makes it worthwhile. It means giving your trust and heart to another.

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  3. My best friend helped me through the only heartbreak I’ve had so far. She brought me ice cream, and we just hung out. Ice cream really does help. Yum.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

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  4. Ice cream is a good solution for heartbreak – as long as you have chocolate syrup on top!
    I want the book too!

  5. I agree with the author. True heartbreak changes you. I’ve experienced it and for awhile I was definately not the same person. I had loss a sense of who I was. Fortunately I got over it!
    I’ve had this book {Dark Sins and Desert Sands} for a couple of weeks (I get a shipment of Harlequin books every month) and I hadn’t cracked it open. After reading this I’ll try it tonight!

  6. “I want the book already!” It sounds great and I also really like the cover too!

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  7. A book with a minotaur and a sphinx certainly sounds unique. Luckily, I’ve not experienced much heartbreak in my life. The worst was when my mom passed away, but there’s no getting around death is there?

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  8. OMG, this sounds like a fab story. I love mythology and you seemed to bring it to life with fresh new twists! Looking forward to the read 🙂


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  9. As for love, I’m in the middle of a crises, being single again after 8 years, so, well, books are helping me!

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    aliasgirl at libero dot it