Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Christmas in July with Viviane Brentanos

Today's guest is Viviane Brentanos.  I'll let her introduce herself, before we get to the interview questions.  Take it away, Viviane.
I was born in Reading U.K. in 1958. My father is English and my mother is French although there is a strong vein of Spanish on my maternal grandmother’s side. I was educated at various schools before completing Sixth Form College at St Peter's Huntingdon. I somehow managed to collect A levels in English, French and History and I subsequently won a place at Sheffield University where I decided to read Classical Civilization. Much to my mother's horror, I gave up my studies and went to London to begin a course as a canine beautician. In 1984, my first husband and I parted ways amicably and I decided to visit the Ionian island of Corfu to celebrate my new freedom. It proved to be a life-changing decision. I still remember to this day, sitting in a cafĂ©-bar, overlooking the crystal clear azure sea and saying to my friend. “I never want to leave here.” Writing has become my passion. I have always been a "Romantic", often accused of not living in the real world but who wants to do that? I like to call my work Romance with a quirky, humorous Brit twist and I am always striving to make my characters real, characters we can all relate to. I hope you enjoy my world.

Could you tell us a little about yourself?

This is tough because I am still trying to figure out who I am. I am a wife and a mother but I am still very much my own person. I am lucky in that my husband allows me to be who I am.  My mother tells me I am a non-conformist. This is probably true. I don’t take to rules kindly and this could be why I love living in free-spirited Greece. My friends say I am sarcastic and difficult to please. Maybe this is because I demand loyalty and do not suffer fools gladly. I hate unfairness and bigotry of any kind. I adore animals and I weep for the state of Mother Nature and Mankind in general. If the Messiah is coming, he had better do it soon. I love to write. I love to create worlds in which I can mix romance with life’s nitty gritty all washed down with caustic humour.

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I think when I was born. When I decided that the stories in my head seemed more fun than anything I had read and at least, that way, I could live out my fantasies on paper and get to sleep with gorgeous men.

What genre(s) do you write and why?
I love Contemporary Romance. I am very in to pop culture and I am always using modern music and personalities as references in my stories. I also lean on current world events to provide background. I recently had a romantic suspense accepted for publication by MuseItUp Publishing. I was so thrilled because it was a bit of a departure for me. I am in awe of those that write fantasy. I am a huge fan of Game of Thrones and it amazes me to see the depth of imagination some writers have.

What's a typical writing day like for you? 

Coffee and croissant. Email checking, blog/interview writing {interspersed with Facebook}. I spend some time searching the net, always on the lookout for new promo avenues. If I have edits to do, these will be done after lunch, all mixed in with some longhand work on WIP. During the summer months, when I work as a hotel receptionist, is usually when I begin a new story. During the winter off, I then transfer my notes – which often need the Rosetta stone to decipher them – on to pc and this is when the fun begins. My favourite part of the process. Tweaking, editing, adding, and improving. Always trying to improve.

Do you outline before you write?  If not, what's your initial process?
Mmm – good one but I am not sure how to answer. It depends on what I am working on. For example, my w.i.p – a major epic -   is kind of writing itself. I am writing chapters from different parts of the story as and when the muse hits me. I have never done that before and now I find I must go and try and work out an outline so I can arrange everything I have already done. Does this make sense? If it does, you are a better man/woman than me. I do, however, always have the outline in my head. In fact, I always have the entire story in my head but it will be fleshed out when I come to write. This saga has been in my head since I was 13 and I still remember wholes scenes and dialogue.

What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
Not enough time, trying to fit it in with normal life. Resenting having to come out of the zone to perform mundane, housewife tasks. I want to be successful so I can hire a maid and spend all day writing and promoting. Not being taken seriously as a writer because my name isn’t JK Rowling. How do I get past this? I dream of being on Jay Leno and telling all the scoffers to go to hell.

What are your top three favorite books and why?
Oh now this is a difficult one. So many favorites to choose from. Do I have to? I will list the books that inspired me to write. Gone with the Wind, Harriet {Jilly Cooper} and Five on a Treasure Island. This last one introduced me to reading and to worlds outside of my own.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I love watching good blockbuster movies in bed. I like to swim and drink ice-cold beer with my friends. In the winter months, I love to cook {French mother} and I spend a lot of time talking to my rabbit, Rafa.

If you could have coffee with anyone (living or dead, real or fictional), who would it be and why?
I would love to have coffee with Darren Hayes, Russell Crowe, Daniel Craig, and Rafa Nadal. Conversation would be interesting and – let’s face it – my choices are easy on the eye. As for someone dead – Michael Jackson and Freddy Mercury.

Do you set daily, weekly, or yearly goals for yourself?  If so, what are some of your goals?
I would say I set daily goals. I do try to promote my books a little every day. Sometimes, especially during the summer months when I work seven days a week, it isn’t so easy. My aim is to pen one single title a year. And so far I have managed to do so.

Do you have any unique ways to market your book that's different from how other authors are marketing their books?
I am trying to think about this one. It’s a promo minefield out there. So much to learn and not enough time. I think I try to be original in my blog posts. I always like to post something humorous and give the reader a glimpse of what makes me tick. I think it is more important than bombarding them with excerpts from your book.

What are you currently working on that readers will have to look forward to in the future?
Hah hah – I thought you would never ask. My lifetime project WILL be completed this year. It is a promise I made to myself. It is a huge epic tale of Ballerinas, race horses, rock stars, mean mothers, controlling mentors and jealous rivals. Think of it as a modern spin on tan 80’s blockbuster. Wish me luck.

Do you have any final thoughts to share?
To any aspiring authors out there, I say relax, enjoy your art, stay true to your voice and don’t give up. It is a long, hard road to publication and even then, it’s an even longer one to generate sales. If you are expecting fame and fortune, forget it. Write because it’s what you love to do. Any reward that may come your way is a bonus. Above all, maintain a sense of humor and stay grounded.
Thank you, Susanne, for inviting me here.

Cold, Cold Heart
Author:  Viviane Brentanos

Published:  June 2011

Publisher:  MuseItUp Publishing

Genre: Contemporary Romance Erotica (adult content)
Heat Level:  Naughty with sizzle

Daniel Haynes has the world at his feet- fame, fortune, so why does he feel so empty inside? What is his interest in Rachel Warner, a girl from a quiet Home Counties English town? Why does she hold the key to his happiness?
But Rachel Warner is scared. Daniel's interest in her threatens her ordered yet unsatisfying life because she has to live with the shadow of her ex-father-in-law breathing over her shoulder. Can she let go of her fears?

Today's giveaway is a $2.00 MuseItUp Bookstore gift certificate.
This will be available for U.S., Canada, and international


Joylene Butler said...

Wonderful interview, Susanne and Viviane. It's great meeting another author. Best wishes and success.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Excellent interview I know Reading and Sheffied.


Monti said...

Fascinating interview! I love your exotic background, Viviane. BTW I'd like to sit down and talk with Rafa Nadal also!

Thanks for this, Susanne!


Laura Ann Dunks said...

You're lifetime project sounds like a real winner! Keep working on it. I'm sure it will be amazing!

Laura xx

Karen Cioffi said...

Very interesting interview. Thanks for sharing!

anthony stemke said...

An interesting interview. I like coffee and croisants too. I think Freddie Mercury would be very interesting to talk to.
The "Cold Cold Heart" sounds like a good read. Thank for the interview.

Lynda R Young said...

Great interview. Oh to have more time! hehe I can so relate. Love your advice to maintain a sense of humor too.

BarbaraB said...

Great interview, Ladies. Thanks to you both. I like the questions about favorite authors; I'm hearing about people who are new to me.

Susanne Drazic said...

Hello to everyone! Thanks for stopping by to check out the interview with Viviane. I'd also like to thank everyone who took the time to leave a comment.

Viviane, thanks for participating in Christmas in July!


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