Friday 22 August 2014

Interview: Vivian Winslow[author of the Gilded Lily]

Vivian Winslow was born and raised in Southern California. Before becoming a writer, she made a career out of moving around the world every couple of years thanks to her husband’s job. She currently lives in New York City with her husband and two elementary school age children, and is grateful to finally have a place to call home for more than two years. New York is the perfect city to indulge her love of shopping, the arts and especially food. If she’s not at home writing or running around the city with her kids, you’ll most likely find her indulging in pizza on the Lower East Side or having a cocktail at her favorite bar in Alphabet City. That said, she’s still a California girl at heart and would gladly trade in her heels for a pair of flip-flops to catch a sunset on the beach. You can connect with Vivian on Facebook and Goodreads:

Hi Vivian :) Glad to have you here. 
       Thank you!

Now, to start, what inspired you to write the "The Gilded Flower series"?
I’ve written a few novels but never in the romance genre. A friend suggested that I try my hand at it since it’s her preferred genre. She and I hashed out a storyline one afternoon, and Gilded Lily was born. It was such a fun book to write. There is an incredible freedom in writing erotic romance. It allows me to take my characters to their limits and not gloss over what is a natural and very feminine experience.
The women of The Gilded Flower series are smart, capable and strong, but love men and enjoy relationships with them as well. I didn’t anticipate it turning into a series, but the story lent itself to that so the subsequent books just unfolded from there. What’s really fun about the Lily series is that many of the cities she visits are places I’ve lived or visited. It’s great to be able to incorporate my experiences into these books.
The first book in the second trilogy, which features Lily’s twin sister Dahlia, is due out October 16th. I’m excited to take the story further in this one. Dahlia is unlike her sister in pretty much every way, and her impulsive and fun-loving nature is going to take a back-seat when she is forced to confront her painful past.

How would you describe the story to someone who hasn't read it yet?
It’s a story of self-discovery and sexual awareness.

What do you think makes the women appealing? How about the men?  
       My ladies kick ass. Lily starts out a bit na├»ve in Gilded Lily, having been sheltered in her New York bubble, but by the end of her series in Tiger Lily, she’s strong and confident. Her experiences, both professional and personal, are opportunities for growth and she seizes each one. The same will go for Dahlia and Vi. This is a series about girl power. I want the personal struggles of my characters to exemplify how we, as women, have the ability to take charge of our lives and not be afraid of that power. We can make our own rules and live by them with confidence. Yet still want men and have hot sex. The latter being very important. : )
The men in this series are extremely cool, even when they’re bad. You have your alphas, your nice guys and some who fall in between. Besides their obvious skills in the bedroom and boardroom, what I find most appealing about their characters is that they help draw out the strengths of the female characters, which is their purpose. No one needs to be healed or fixed by anyone else. My intention was to create strong male and female characters that bring out the best in each other, and any insecurities that may come up in their interaction only serve to make them stronger.

How did you create your characters? Were they inspired by real people?
       People and places definitely shape my stories. I can’t say a particular character is based solely on one person, rather they are definitely composites of people I’ve known in my life, male and female.

What scene did you have the most fun writing? Why? 
       This is challenging because a lot happens in Lily’s trilogy. I’d say the scene I had the most fun writing was the one in the steam room with Lily, Dahlia and Vi in Tiger Lily. Their dialogue felt very natural and reminded me of hanging out with my friends.
       Now, if I had to pick a love scene that I enjoyed writing (personally I liked writing them all), it’s the one with Lily and Todd at his bar. It was a liberating experience for Lily who had been going through a lot of personal awakenings since her time in Brazil in Gilded Lily, which made it fun.

Why do you write?
       I started reading when I was four and haven’t stopped devouring as many books as I can since then. About eight years ago, I realized I had enough life experiences and lived in enough places (having lived in six cities outside the U.S. and four in the U.S.) that I wanted to share those experiences through fictionalized stories that take place there.

How did you start writing?
       Several years ago, a story began to buzz around my brain and finally had to be written. That was a few books ago.

Do you listen to music while you write?
       I listen to a lot of music while I write. For love scenes, especially, music helps set the mood. It’s interesting that the kind of music varies by character. I listened to a lot of Lana del Rey while writing scenes for Lily, whereas for Dahlia—the main character in the second trilogy of The Gilded Flower series, which I’m currently busy on—it was a lot of Drake and Miguel.

Did you always want to be an author?
No, I didn’t. I considered being a lawyer, but that was short-lived. I dreamed of doing something I loved. That, I can honestly say, I’ve accomplished.

Does your family read your books?
       God I hope not.

What did you read as a kid?
       I read everything I could get my hands on from the time I was four, from cereal boxes to anything by Judy Blume. I always had my head buried in a book.
By the time I was twelve, I had moved on to the classic romance novels, Gone With the Wind, Wuthering Heights, and Pride and Prejudice. Guess I was a romance lover from a young age. : )

Can you tell me some of your favorite authors? How about books?
       I love classic novels. Edith Wharton and Charles Dickens are among my all-time favorite authors as well as Kurt Vonnegut.  
       Age of Innocence, Great Expectations, and Fear of Flying.

What are you currently working on? 
       I’ve been working on getting the ARCs ready for the Dahlia series, which is the second trilogy in The Gilded Flower series. It’s “Groundhog Day” right now. I write, then read what I wrote, then my editor makes changes and I write again, etc.

A few short answer questions:
Tea or coffee?
       Green tea in the morning and occasionally an espresso in the afternoon if I need a boost to get through the kids’ homework and dinner.

Do you prefer the sea side or the mountains?
       I love being near the water.

Sweet or salty?
       My dirty mind loves this one! Sweet.

Print or ebook?
       Ugh, why make me choose. E-book means I can take almost any book everywhere with me. 

Movies or TV shows?


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