Lustily Ever After: The Audiobook Musical: AUTHOR Q&A with Stephanie Bentley #blogtour


Today's guest is Stephanie Bentley, author of Lustily Ever After: The Audiobook Musical. We're very glad to have her here today to talk about her new audiobook, writing and what surprised her about getting her book published. 

Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  When did you come up with the idea to write your book?

Lustily Ever After: The Audiobook Musical was truly a passionate passion project born out of the reading of many, many romance novels and a deep love of cheesy 90’s pop music. As a musical comedy improv performer and audiobook narrator I kept having these ridiculous lyrics pop into my head while I was narrating romance after romance in my voiceover booth.

Reading dozens of stories about the richest man in the world who’s totally untouchable but vaguely senses something is missing from his life, “The models in my bed don’t keep me warm at night, and no amount I spend can make me feel alright. What’s a man to do!” The selfless good girl heroine who thinks of herself as an invisible plain jane and is far too busy with her own life to fall in love, “I’m happy and carefree just going along with my little life! Wearing my sales clothes from Walmart, hiding behind bangs covering my eyes.” Finally, and most confoundingly, narrating that indefatigable best friend who is always available for a pep talk in the middle of the night, “I know it’s tough to see past the glimmer and light, yeah my best friend she sure does shimmer bright. But if you look just a teeny tiny smidgen to your right, then you’ll see me, I’m her best friend. Yeah, the best friend in the story of her life.”

Being a working mom of two kids under the age of 4 throughout the writing process I just kept writing down lyrics and recording melodies little by little and before I knew it I had 20 original songs inspired by 90’s pop music and real romance novels. I wanted to reach a larger audience than I could by doing it as a stage show and although it hadn’t been done before, the idea of an audiobook musical seemed like the perfect fit. Then began the search for a novel writer to create a novella length story to be the book part of the audiobook musical, where I was fortunate enough to find very funny girl and erotica ghostwriter Miranda Ray. While she was penning the book, I worked with a music producer to create tracks for the songs and hired comedians from The Groundlings and Upright Citizens Brigade theaters in Los Angeles to voice the other characters. We recorded the whole thing in my professional home studio and now here we are releasing the first audiobook musical for adults!  A two-and-a-half-hour bite-sized comedic musical parody of romance novels, featuring a multicast performance of actors voicing their own dialogue, and 20 original songs peppered throughout the book.

Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

I knew pretty early on that if I were to go the route of an audiobook I would self-publish for a few different reasons. First of all, the project was such a creative collaboration that much of it was created as we went along, and I wanted to see how it would evolve and be able to take my time shaping it into the best version of what it could be. I also knew that I would be able to have access to Audible and iTunes and that felt like a really good home for this project.

Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

Every step of this process was a total surprise! If I had known about half of the requirements when I started, I honestly don’t know if I would have gone through with it! (Kind of like having a baby, maybe?) One of the biggest surprises was just how we had to go about releasing the book because it was in primarily audiobook format. Another surprise has been the slow burn of turning listeners onto the project. I thought people would tune in right away or not at all, but I’m finding that it’s much more of a marathon than a sprint. Also, much like having a baby, I wouldn’t trade it for all the sleepless nights in the world, but damn I’m tired.

Do you believe a book cover plays an important role in the selling process?

As an audiobook narrator I love, love, love book covers. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that a scroll down all of the romances on Audible is just a gratuitous feast of abs for miles. When I started dreaming up this project, I had this image in my mind of our billionaire playboy, Trystan Lay, with a supermodel draped over his arm like a coat in some kind of a deep dipping dance pose. The final product is an evolution of that first inspiration but still invokes that feeling for me of 90’s music, comedy, and romance.

How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

This was a unique project because I wrote the 20 original songs and hired someone to write the novella, but writing songs is still a freaking lot of work! I actually created an entire post titled ‘ How To Write The First Audiobook Musical For Adults Using Absolutely No Time Whatsoever’ to be featured on, where I go into the day in a life of a person who literally has no time whatsoever and is writing a musical anyway, so check that out if you don’t have time to check it out.

Of course, at the beginning of this project, knowing that I had no time whatsoever to devote it was a very good reason to just not do it at all, but I had these lyrics and characters and just endless amounts of daily inspiration, (thanks dayjob!) so I decided I would just do what I could do with the time that I did have one single day at a time. No deadlines, no pressure, and if I wasn’t feeling inspired that day, I would wait for the inspiration to come. The amazing thing about writing something I’m passionate is that it feels a lot like being in love. All day, I’m humming to myself and daydreaming about the characters, lyrics and melodies; writing little love letters to the project here and there in the form of verses and choruses and recording thoughts and pieces as they come to me. The truly magical part of writing this and any other project that I have been passionate about is that as long as I follow the inspiration and divine guidance, there is always enough time to carry on my love affair each day.

What other books are you working on and when will they be published?

This is the only egg in my basket at the moment, but I feel like writing musicals is a calling, a divine appointment, and a way of life. When I’m writing, I’m in love, and who wouldn’t want to be in a love affair for the rest of their days!? Although nothing is technically in the works yet, I could see a sequel to Lustily Ever After: The Audiobook Musical emerging, as well as adaptations to the stage or screen. I know I will be working on something new any minute now…

What’s one fact about your book that would surprise people?

Maybe the fact that it’s the first and only one of its kind. There is another audiobook musical that was released a couple of years ago, but it was a fairy tale for kids, this is the very first audiobook musical for adults only.

Finally, what message are you trying to get across with your book?

I have a good friend who reminds me that the reward for creating is simply the opportunity to keep creating! I hope that this paves the way for more creators to be bold and innovative with their expressions in any medium, and especially in this new genre of audiobook musical. I hope people laugh out loud and sing the songs to themselves at random times. I hope they remember the lighting-in-a-bottle era of 90’s pop music with as much nostalgia as I do, and that they google En Vogue to see what they’re up to. I hope listeners share this book with their friends who read romance and their friends who don’t! I hope more people call this book ‘a musical masterpiece of romance and romantic parody’ in writing (thanks Pacific Book Review, love ya babe). Most of all I hope to carry the message of ‘You can do it!’ to anyone who has a dream.

Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

If you’re still reading this then this audiobook musical is your jam! Go give it a good hard click on Audible or iTunes, and listen to the sample at to get a little snack of how a schmillionaire and a naïve PYT differ in the ‘Talkin’ Dirty’ department. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @lustilymusical for fun excerpts of the book “Be my queen, baby, and we’ll make the whole world our California King.” And when you listen and love it please be sure to leave a review to let all the other future fans know where to find their new lusty listen! 

Meet the Author

Stephanie Bentley

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:

Inside the Book

Lustily Ever After anim

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 clichés 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


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