Thursday, June 10, 2010

An Interview with Stella Xanthakeos

Stella Xanathakeos is the heroine of my erotic thriller Exposure. She's the sort of kick-ass woman I wish I was. Stella works as an exotic dancer at the Peacock Lounge. One night she accepts a contract to do a private dance for a city bigwig and ends up as the only witness to a double murder. Before long she realizes that she can't trust anyone, not even her old friend, Police Detective Jimmy Ostrowski. Her only option is to untangle the motivations for the murder by herself. Her quest for the truth makes her everyone's target, and she risks losing everything she cares about.

Lisabet: Greetings, Stella! Welcome to Beyond Romance. I wonder if you could tell my readers a bit about your job. Why do you work as a stripper?

Stella: You want the truth? I like it. Heck, I love it. I've always liked to dance. Working at the Peacock lets me do what I love and get paid pretty well, too. And I'm not being conceited when I say that I'm very good at what I do. Ask Joey, my boss, or any of the other girls. Or better yet, ask the customers! I leave them gasping for more.

Lisabet: Doesn't it bother you to show off your body to strangers?

Stella: Not in the least. It's a kind of revenge, in a way, for all those awful years in school when guys would tease me about the size of my tits. Not to mention how everyone was always trying to get into my pants. Now I'm the one in charge. They can look, but they can't touch. I'm not a hooker, you know; most strippers aren't. I'm pretty choosey about men—I have to really like a guy, really trust him, before I'll go to bed with him.

Lisabet: So how do you feel about Jimmy Ostrowski?

Stella: Ah, Jimmy! I've know him since high school. He never had the courage to ask me out, but when I went to him about the murders, I could tell he really had it bad for me. He's solid, the kind of guy I could get serious about. But now I'm not sure I can trust even him. The night I went to dinner with Jimmy, somebody broke in to my house and messed up all my things. Nobody but Jimmy knew that I was going to be out that night...

Lisabet: And what about Francesca Pinelli? How do you feel about her?

Stella: Tony's widow? Well—she's smart, that's for sure, and she knows what she wants. In some ways she's like me. It's hard to say no to her. When she asked me to be her campaign manager, I practically laughed in her face. A high-class woman like her, running for mayor, and she wants a stripper to manage her campaign? But I ended up agreeing. I'm still not sure that was the right decision, but I thought being around her would give me some opportunities to investigate why Tony was killed.

Lisabet: Well, I don't want to ask you too many more questions. Since Exposure is a thriller, I definitely don't want to give away the plot. So let me ask you one last thing. Do you regret anything you've done since Tony was shot?

Stella: Hmm. That's a tough question. Would there have been less violence and tragedy if I'd minded my own business and not tried to figure out what was going on? Could I have avoided the emotional scars? Maybe. But you know, I'm just not the sort of person to shrug my shoulders. I'm not going to mind my own business, if something's wrong. That just isn't me.

Lisabet: And you'd never have discovered how you feel about Jimmy and vice versa.

Stella: Maybe not. In any case, it's kind of pointless to play these “what if” games. We all do what we have to do. Then we take the consequences.

Exposure is available from Phaze Books. (

Note that the book includes F/F as well as M/F interactions.


Jeremy Edwards said...

Terrific conversation between author and character! The two of you obviously have a great rapport.

Lisabet Sarai said...

Gee, thanks, Jeremy!

She's actually my all time favorite character.


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