By Sophie Oswald
Steffanie Moyers has always loved writing, but it took a while before she seriously pursued it as a career. Before becoming a freelance writer, she worked for a range of companies, like Netflix and NBC. Today she not only writes articles and blog posts, but she is hired to write and edit novels too.
Steffanie has written, edited, and self-published four novels of her own and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. We chatted about the past, present, and future of her writing career, with a special focus on her newest serial killer thriller that came out in April.
Tell me about WHAT HAPPENS IN…
The story follows our serial killer protagonist, Knox. Knox dances at the most exclusive strip club in all of Vegas, The Strip. Hidden on the 69th floor of The Cosmopolitan, the club can only be accessed with the right connections and a lot of money. It serves as the perfect place for her to hide in plain sight. The perfect place for her to occasionally rob or kill the scum patrons of the club…until she makes one too many mistakes and catches the attention of the LVMPD. While out in the casinos one night, she meets an attractive man and a whirlwind romance ensues. She doesn’t know he’s the FBI agent hunting her. He doesn’t know she’s the killer he’s looking for. Are red flags colored from blood, lust, or both? Will they have their answers before it’s too late?
As they say, WHAT HAPPENS IN…well, you know the rest.
You have published some books in the past, but WHAT HAPPENS IN… seems to be new territory for you. What inspired you to write a serial killer thriller?
I grew up loving dark stories. Especially ones that centered around flawed people that you somehow still felt for and even rooted for. Books turned movies/shows like Dexter or YOU or even American Psycho all struck me as fascinating. One thing I wished about any of those stories…is that there would be one about a woman. Why was the killer always a man? Women are dark, flawed, and complex too. I wanted to see the same story but with a fresh take and a female protagonist. That was the original spark for the idea.
How did you come up with this concept? Did it find you?
It totally found me. I am one of those writers who doesn’t outline or draft or storyboard. It always starts the same—with an image in my head. I will write it out, typically it’s a few pages, and I see if there’s more that comes to me from there and write until I can’t anymore. This one took me a year, and it’s by far my best work. I was heavily inspired by dark stories I love, such as Euphoria, Shameless, YOU, and even bits of Kill Bill.
I am pretty sure you have mentioned before how you want to see more books like this from a woman’s perspective rather than a man’s perspective. How does it feel to do your part in making this a reality?
Yes! I love it. I feel like I finally found the story I was meant to tell. I have been a writer since I can remember, and this is the first time I felt seriously aligned not only with my work, but with a higher purpose behind my writing. I want to continue to break the patriarchal boundary that only men can be funny, or complex, or interesting. It’s simply not true, and the more compelling stories we have with female protagonists, the more that elusive boundary comes down.
The main character in your book is a stripper. You’ve done some stripping-related content to promote your book. Did you enjoy this approach? Did it help you get in the head of your character?
I did! I really got outside of my comfort zone and took a few pole dancing (albeit fully clothed) classes. It helped me not only get inside my character’s head, but to also get in touch with my own sexuality and femininity. This is the power of connecting to something you’re writing. I also wanted to market my book in a unique way. I wanted to create teasers and trailers that resembled what you’d see for movies and TV. I also wanted to create TikToks and such from the point of view of my protagonist. This invites strangers who see my content to engage with it, because they don’t know what it’s about and then bam—it’s a book? Where can I buy it?
What are some of your favorite books and how have they inspired your writing over the years?
I’ve always loved books that contemplate the philosophy of life and all its undertones—dark and light alike. My all-time favorite novel is Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. He utilizes the phrase “so it goes” over 100 times as a way of signaling that someone has died. It’s a beautiful metaphor for life itself, to accept what we cannot control. I loved it so much I got it tattooed on my clavicle in 2020. Another classic I love is Fahrenheit 451—again about our society and how we’re supposed to live by others’ rules.
For more contemporary books, I love the YOU series by Caroline Kepnes. I’m also a fan of Catherine Steadman’s psychological thrillers, particularly Something in the Water. She has such a way of building suspense, it’s hard to put down!
I am sure all of your books have a special place in your heart, but you seem super passionate about this one. Is this your favorite project so far?
It absolutely is. It’s the fifth overall novel I’ve written and only the third that’s available to purchase. This one feels like I hit my stride. I tried out different genres before, but couldn’t quite find my voice. I had always loved these darker stories but hadn’t tried my own hand at it. It came to me all at once and I could just feel it—this is the one that’s going to resonate with people—this is my best work. This is the beginning of what I’ve always dreamed of doing with my novels. I can just feel it.
In addition to being a novelist, you are a freelance writer and book editor. Where do you see yourself in the future? Would you like to continue freelance writing and editing, or is the goal to shift into just creating your own content?
It has always been my dream to be a full-time author. I am already working on the sequel for WHAT HAPPENS IN…and have a non-fiction book about the revival of pop-punk I am writing this summer as well. I’m very excited for both! I love that I own my own company that provides book editing and copywriting, and I don’t ever want to lose that. I’d rather get to a point where I can grow a big enough team that those tasks become fully passive for me and I can focus solely on my books in addition to creating content. I have a lot of fun with content creation and you can go so far with it. I’d like writing my own books and creating my own content to be all I focus on and my biggest sources of income.
How can our readers support your journey, and where can they find your book?
Please feel free to follow me to keep up! I love TikTok, and often repurpose content for IG but TikTok is where it’s at. I can be found on both at the same handle @steffaniemoyers
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Just one request, if anyone purchases and reads the book, it would mean the world to me if you leave a review! It seriously helps out us indie authors. The book can be purchased in both physical and eBook forms on Amazon.
Sophie Oswald (she/her) is a writer and creator currently living in Kansas City. She got her degree in mass media with an emphasis in film and video from Washburn University. She also has minors in art, history, and women’s studies. When Sophie isn’t writing or volunteering her time to social justice, she can be found hanging out with her pets.
Photos courtesy of Staffanie Moyers