Message From The Author

Author's Message

Breaking the Rules, Fan Fave Stephanie Mittman Dishes on What's Next

If you've been wondering whatever happened to Stephanie Mittman, then wonder no more. The bubbly author, who penned nine historical romances in the late 1990s and won an RT Career Achievement Award in 1999 for Americana Historical Romances, experienced a bit of a career crisis, switching to contemporaries and penning 1999's romantic comedy Head Over Heels (Dell) before dropping out of the romance scene for a while. The Long Island, N.Y., native and her family moved to rural upstate New York in 2001, and it took Mittman some time to get over the culture shock. "I think I am the only person in Ithaca who wears high heels," she laughs, admitting the hilly terrain makes it a challenge.

But as her neighbors immersed themselves in worm composting and deer season, Mittman took stock of her surroundings and was inspired to pen a new novel. "Suddenly, we were far away from everything that was familiar to me, and I started to wonder about who I was and who I would have been if we'd lived somewhere else, if I'd married someone else," she says. "We are so much a product of our environment and the people with whom we surround ourselves."

This month, she releases the Harlequin Next novel Who Makes Up These Rules, Anyway?, which is about one very desperate housewife. A fun, edgier novel (under her playful nickname Stevi Mittman), she warns that this is not a traditional romance.

"It's about friendships between women in a dog-eat-dog, my-lawn-is-greener, my-diamond-is-bigger world," she explains. "Teddi has always lived on Long Island and always will, but she just doesn't belong there. She doesn't get how it works." Teddi, who is dealing with slightly crazy mother June, neurotic best friend Bobbie and restless hunk of a husband Rio, laments: "Unlike my mother, unlike Bobbie and most of my neighbors, I can't seem to get my hands on a copy of the Secret Handbook of Long Island Rules. All of them deny such a thing exists, but I know better. How else can they all know which is the 'right' kind of car to drive this year and where, which piece of jewelry is the 'right' one to wear this month and when, and which is the 'right' store to buy whatever's in this week and why?"

As for Mittman, she's having no trouble figuring out the rules of life in upstate New York anymore. Those heels she wears now? "High-heeled hiking boots -- really adorable ones that I wear with lace-topped socks!"

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