Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Interview with Stephanie Bentley Author of Lustily Ever After: The Audiobook Musical

Stephanie Bentley is the creator and composer of Lustily Ever After: The Audiobook Musical, a funny, sexy love story inspired by romantic fiction and ’90s pop music. Stephanie is a musical theater/musical improv comedy performer and audiobook narrator with experience acting in television and film. She studied improv at Upright Citizens Brigade and has performed all over Los Angeles and New York.

Stephanie and her cast are available for live performances of pieces from the book.

Listen to a sample of the audiobook here:

Combining a titillating collection of romance tropes, LUSTILY EVER AFTER: THE AUDIOBOOK MUSICAL, created and composed by Stephanie Bentley, and performed by a multitalented musical cast from the Groundlings and Upright Citizens Brigade, makes a surprising and innovative contribution to the audiobook listening experience. With 20 original songs inspired by ’90s pop music and a spicy story penned by erotica ghostwriter Miranda Ray at its core, the musical parody pushes the limits of sexual innuendo right to the edge before tipping over into the throws of uproarious ridiculousness.

When sassy Raleigh Jackson interviews for a six-week contract to be the fake girlfriend of Trystan Lay—schmillioniare playboy, politician, ex-Navy Seal, songwriter/astronaut, and “the world’s most perfect human”—she knows the outcome will change her life.

A student/waitress/intern living with her obligatory best friend, Kim, Raleigh overcomes her medical condition—chronic clumsiness—and snags the job, thus beginning a whirlwind of extravagant travel and glitzy events.

LUSTILY EVER AFTER: THE AUDIOBOOK MUSICAL covers the span of romance novel clich├ęs from the brooding playboy to the fake romance with sprinkles of paranormal love. The story is sultry, silly, snarky—and hilarious. Chapter titles are sung in harmonies invoking the R&B group En Vogue.
The characters voice their own dialogue and routinely burst into song, as they fumble through pillow talk, and relive steamy memories in songs such as “Talkin’ Dirty” and “50 Shades of Lay.”

The creator’s inspiration for LUSTILY EVER AFTER: THE AUDIOBOOK MUSICAL came from her unusual day job. “I’m a romance audiobook narrator by day and a musical theater performer by night. Every day in the booth, I giggle at the same tropes coming up again and again. Then these song lyrics just started coming to me, “The models in my bed don’t keep me warm at night,” for example. I started writing and pretty soon, the whole musical just came tumbling out!”

LUSTILY EVER AFTER: THE AUDIOBOOK MUSICAL has an e-book companion containing the story and all of the lyrics, and there may be plans for a sequel: “I thought we had hit most of the tropes, but now I realize we may have only just begun,” Stephanie says.

Book Info:
Audiobook, $6.95; 2 hours 37 minutes; ISBN: 978-1089023753
E-book, $2.99; 104 pages
Publication date: August 2019
Published by Stephanie Bentley


Amazon →

Thank you for this interview!  I’d like to know more about you as a person first.  What do you do when you’re not writing?

I’m so happy to get to do this interview, thank you so much for having me!! So, when I’m not writing musicals, I’m a fulltime audiobook narrator and mom to two adorable and loud kiddos.

When did you start writing?

I have been writing sketches and song parodies forever, in fact I was the song chair of my sorority Delta Gamma where my job was to change the lyrics of popular songs to include the names of the dorms or pizza or whatever else college kids talk about. I wrote my first musical, which I performed at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater in Los Angeles in 2017, and it sparked so much excitement and inspiration in me that I’ve been doing it ever since.

As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?

I know this is a little different since I’m a musical writer, but the thing that I can really attribute to changing me from just a performer into a writer was studying and performing improv and musical improv. Getting up on stage several nights a week to create entire musicals in the span of 30 minutes and leaving with some of those songs still in my head, inspired me to believe that if I could help make up 6 songs a night, maybe I could actually write at least 1 song, and then another, and another…

If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?

I’m not sure yet what my next musical will be, but I would go wherever I felt the most spiritually connected to the universe, and demand to know what to do next! I was in Hawaii recently and the stars there were other-worldly, I bet if I went there I could get some answers from those stars.

If you had 4 hours of extra time today, what would you do?

4 hours!?! That is the hugest amount of time I have ever heard of in my life since having kids! I want to say that I would do 60 things, but I would likely spend the first hour struck dumbfounded that I had that much time and paralyzed not knowing what to do first, then go race through my to do list as fast as possible (so boring I know! I wish I could say I would get a massage and take a nap, but a mama’s gotta do what she’s gotta do to work, raise kids and publish a book, ya know?)

Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?

That’s such a fun question and it always makes me think of Disney movies (or maybe that’s just because I have Stockholm syndrome from my captors forcing me to watch them 24-7) and how they always have such a colorful different setting. My first musical was set in NYC, Lustily Ever After: The Audiobook Musical is sort of set in the ‘big city’, so maybe something different like a small town or an island…like Hawaii…(can you tell I’m just gaming to get myself back under those stars?!)

Back to your present book, Lustily Ever After: The Audiobook Musical, how did you publish it?

This one is self-published because although I obviously have relationships with publishers who I work for, I wanted this to be something I could shape and release from start to finish, and I have been really happy so far with the way it’s happening!

In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research?

Hawaii? Sorry, I’ll stop talking about Hawaii, although this is really the questionnaires fault if you want to place the blame…. OK. The place I really did my research was inside the amazing double-walled giant voiceover booth sitting to my left as I write this. As an audiobook narrator reading mostly romance, I am reading 5-7 romance novels a month, which might not sound like a lot to some readers, but for me is 5-7 more romance novels a month than I had ever read before. Now, of course, I have been bitten by the romance bug and I can’t get enough. Every day in the booth, though, I get to giggle about some trope or stereotype that surfaces once again, and pretty soon these lyrics just started coming into my head: ‘The models in my bed don’t keep me warm at night, and no amount I spend can make me feel alright…’ for example. I had the incomparable gift of on the job inspiration day in and day out, and as you can imagine, the rest of the musical pretty much wrote itself.

Why was writing Lustily Ever After: The Audiobook Musical so important to you?

I’m one of those performers who must be creating, or I feel out of alignment with the universe, and since having kids, I haven’t been able to do as much live theater, improv or singing. I knew I wanted to create something, and once those lyrics started coming to me, I knew it would be a parody of romance novels. Since I couldn’t easily set up a stage performance, I decided to try something totally new that hadn’t really been done before and make an audiobook musical. I believe that this genre is going to really blow up for those of us who love audiobooks and musicals, and I’m so incredibly excited to be a pioneer in this area sharing the first of its kind with the world!

Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is?

I usually get my ideas when I’m in motion, doing something simple like dishes, walking the stroller or driving the car, so I always try to have my phone nearby to record voice memos of whatever is coming to me. I think it may be because it’s the only time my brain turns off enough to hear the divine inspiration whispering through the air…or more likely it’s one of the only times I’m not being climbed on by tiny little people yelling ‘Mom! Mom! Mom!’ and wiping sticky fingers into my hair.

Any final words?

I’m so overjoyed to get to share this audiobook musical with your audience and I hope that it tickles them to see these romance tropes get a song and dance salute, in a cheeky love letter to everything that makes romance novels and conventions so compelling to those of us who cherish them!

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