INTERVIEW ROMANCE JUNKIES BLOG
I am so glad you could join us here at Romance Junkies. To start, will you please tell us a little bit about your current projects?
I am just finishing “Enlighten” which is the second book from the Thornhill Trilogy. I plan to have it out there by Feb 2018.
When was the moment that you knew you had to be a writer?
It is hard to say. I always felt the urge from a very young age, but I got distracted by becoming a professional dancer. Mind you, that involved writing lots of grant applications, which, if anything, put me off writing. I started my first book back in 2007. Other than my latest book Entrance, I have only ever published one under a different name.
Who gave you the one piece of writing advice that sticks with you to this day?
I’ve picked up lots of advice along the way. But one that prevails, at least in my memory, was from George Orwell: Never use a long word if a short one will do. And avoid writing purple prose. The latter was difficult for me as I had an unnatural tendency to use an excess of adjectives.
Describe the “perfect” hero. What about the “perfect” hero for you?
In many ways, Aidan Thornhill is the perfect hero for me. I know that is subjective, considering I invented him. Although he had a difficult start in life, Aidan went out and developed not only mentally and physically, but also culturally through art. He is loyal to a fault. And will sacrifice everything for the woman he loves. For him, Clarissa represents everything that is perfect in a woman, not just her physical beauty, but her sensitivity, creativity and intellectual prowess, which he is in awe of. I suppose it also helps that he seriously hot, and as steamy as they come.
What are some of your favorite pastimes? Do you have any hobbies or collections?
I read a lot. I’m still dancing a little to stay fit and I love swimming at the beach.
What has been your biggest adventure to date?
If your fairy godmother waved her wand and whisked you away to the location of your choice, which place would you choose, and why?
South of Spain. I love the music, the spirit and vibe of the place.
When it comes to food, are you the adventurous type who will try anything once, or do you prefer to stick to tried and true foods and recipes?
Being from an Italian background, I grew up with colorful dishes and amazing food. Nowadays, I keep it plain and simple. Maybe not as exciting for the palette, but it’s healthier that way.
What is the one modern convenience that you cannot do without?
What is your idea of the ideal romantic evening?
Dinner at the beach
How do you describe yourself? How would your family and friends describe you?
Impulsive, mentally overactive, and strange at times.
What is your favorite comfort food?
What is your favorite season? What do you love about it?
Summer. I love swimming in the sea.
What is the one modern convenience that you cannot do without?
What project are you working on next?
After Thornhill, I have two ideas for the next book. Both contemporary sexy romances, of course.
Tea or coffee: both
Vanilla or chocolate: chocolate
Early bird or night owl: early bird
Favorite holiday: Europe
Favorite season: Summer
Cat or dog: Dog
Favorite color: green
INDIE BOOK BUTLER INTERVIEW
You’ve just released Entrance, book one in the Thornhill Trilogy. What can you tell us about the story?
Clarissa Moone is a young, classy, impoverished art history graduate. Her life transforms when she lands a job working for the enigmatic billionaire, Aidan Thornhill. As the contract stipulates that she reside at his lavish Malibu estate, Clarissa suddenly finds herself surrounded by jaw-dropping art and opulence. A significant step up from the run-down apartment she shares with her best friend.
Aidan Thornhill is a self-made billionaire whose earlier start in life was riddled with poverty and a dysfunctional upbringing. Running away from scandal, he joins the army and works his way up to the Special Forces. Accompanied by haunting memories, Thornhill re-enters civilian life with a million dollars gifted to him by a dying buddy. He travels to Europe where he develops a passion for art. And after many astute investments, he becomes one of LA’s wealthiest bachelors.
Voluptuous, intelligent and sensitive, Clarissa Moone’s beauty makes Aidan gasp for air. But with a reputation that is as much invented as true, he has to convince Clarissa that he is not a heart-breaker. Aidan Thornhill’s movie-star looks, love of art and passionate support for the downtrodden, soon wins Clarissa’s heart, soul, and innocence.
After living a life devoted to intellectual pursuits and art, being new to love, she succumbs to her smoldering hot boss, who stops at nothing to pleasure her, sending Clarissa off into toe-curling ecstasy.
Behind the scenes, however, the claws are out. Determined to stir trouble, three characters, one of whom, a spoilt heiress, do everything to reap revenge.
With mutual burning passion impossible to extinguish, the couple’s chemistry is so potent that their souls implode when Thornhill’s mysterious past threatens to drive a wedge between them. The former soldier goes into battle determined to have Clarissa even if it means losing everything.
Where did your inspiration for the story come from?
My inspiration for this story came from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. It’s not exactly like that, of course. But Aidan Thornhill has a similar brooding quality to Rochester. Like Rochester, Aidan regrets his past. Clarissa Moone, like Jane Eyre, is self-contained, creative, and although gentle in nature, is tremendously smart. And, as with Jane, Clarissa’s fortune rises when she receives employment working for Aidan Thornhill at his large, beguiling estate. But that is the only comparison, for with the Thornhill trilogy, passion fills the pages early on in the story, and being a contemporary romance there is a fair share of descriptive love-making.
Did you plot the whole story out prior to beginning the writing?
Yes, I did. I sketched the outline for the whole trilogy.
How did you find leaving it open to further books in the trilogy? Was there a natural break point?
In the first book, Entrance, there is a crescendo that naturally leads to the ending pages. Although tearfully dramatic, it ends in hope. The second book was a little more difficult to conclude, given that I introduce a bevy of revengeful, complex characters. I had to find a place in the second book – Enlighten, that ends in a positive tone, while leaving readers wondering if Clarissa can accept Aidan, when she eventually learns of his past. The final book – Enfold, propelled by the drama of the second book, was the easiest to conclude. After conquering the many obstacles that appear in book 2, there is a colorful, exuberant ending that was a joy to imagine.
What are your hopes for the book?
That readers will want to read the whole trilogy.
What are the challenges in writing a great story?
Creating interesting, three dimensional characters that readers care about. To sprinkle just enough drama in the story so that readers worry so much about the main characters they cannot put the book down.
Is there a particular reader that this collection would appeal to?
Women who love contemporary romance novels about successful men who are self-made, handsome as sin, mysterious, edgy, sexy, and who will go to great lengths to pleasure the woman he loves.
Have you received any early feedback from readers?
Yes. So far, very positive, some being 5 star reviews.
Which books have influenced you most, both as a person and as an author?
As a person, the French writers – Balzac, Flaubert, Stendhal, Zola, Hugo, Dumas, and many other 19th century writers. As an author, the English writers – the Bronte sisters, Eliot, Austen, Hardy, Somerset-Maugham amongst so many more. In the contemporary romance world – E L James, Sylvia Day, Sophie Jackson, Lisa Kleypas just to mention a few. They are the ones that come instantly to mind.
How did you set about the task of creating the enticing cover art?
I purchased it from SelfPubBookCovers. It was a very difficult thing to arrive at, I must admit. There are so many male torsos out there, that I was determined not to go down that path. Although, I suspect that the genre I am writing in would probably benefit from a sexy male torso cover. And despite the saying, I sense that today, people do judge a book by its cover.