Thursday, December 9, 2010

Interview with author Viviane Brentanos

Today, my guest is Viviane Brentanos. Her erotic romance novel, Written in Stone, will be released by MuseItUp Publishing in February, 2011.

Tell me a little about your book.
 Written in Stone is a tale of two people who, upon first meeting, are inexplicably drawn to each other. Theirs is more a bonding of souls rather than the physical. Both face internal struggles of wanting to be accepted for who they are. It is a relationship that goes outside the box but it works.

What gave you the idea for this particular story?
Can you believe a dream? Well, to be fair, more of a daydream. It was while I was in London, waiting to set off for a Darren Hayes concert that the idea came to me. For those who know me, you will be aware I am a huge fan of the Aussie singer-song writer. Mr. Hayes lives in London; Notting Hill, to be precise – a stone’s throw from the hotel in which I stayed. My friends had joked – we bet you are gonna stalk him. Well, not exactly, but as I sat on a Notting Hill bench, my imagination ran riot. Wouldn’t it be great if he were to walk his dog, Wally, across the park? And how could I introduce myself without appearing scary? The tale of Cassie and James developed out of this.

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time? 
I have to confess to part-time. I don’t think it can be otherwise. I hold down a summer job so most of my writing work takes place during the winter months, although, I hasten to add, I pen my stories while behind my reception desk. I don’t know; something about long, hot summer days awakens the romantic in me. I don’t consider the creative part of writing as work. It is what comes after that is along, hard graft; submitting, edits, endless promotion.

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
Mmm – interesting question. When indeed. I have always had an over-active imagination. I was weaned on Enid Blyton books. I loved her tales of adventure. I wanted to be George from The Famous Five. Miss Blyton took me off into new and exciting worlds. Of course, come puberty, I fell in love – with just about anyone. {Donny, boys at school.} Putting down my inner fantasies was the next logical step. Hell – it beat reality. In my world, I always get my man.

What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
My stories, I hope, although romantic, focus on real issues and the many heartaches woman have to face. I try to make them fun, laced with what I call Brit humour but, at the same time, I want to evoke emotion.

Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?
I wish I could be the next Patricia Cornwell but I seem to have found my niche in women’s contemporary romance – and I stress romance. I am not sure I am fond of the trend towards erotica being masked as romance. The more I write, the more I find I have no need to include in-detail accounts of my protagonists’ bedroom activities. That is not to say I exclude it completely but it’s all a matter of balance.

What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
 Another good question. Writer’s block, the submission process, trying to get family and friends to take your work seriously or all combined? Whatever is one writer’s personal fear, it is not an easy path we have chosen. In effect, we are bearing our soul to the world because, whatever genre we write, we are giving a part of ourselves. I think most of us tend to lean our own personal life- experiences for inspiration. For me, personally, I know one aspect has become easier. Rejection. It no longer bothers me. I have faith in my writing abilities and, let’s face it. We cannot please everyone all of the time. Pleasing oneself is more important.

Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.
Although Written in Stone is a purely fictional tale, it is a tale close to my heart. Simply because, not long after I finished it, I met a young man who reminded me of my story’s hero, James. It was uncanny. I struck up a relationship with this young man which, two years on, is still so strong. I like to call Written a case of Dιjΰ vu in reverse.

 How much is your protagonist like you? How different?
Oh my goodness. Cassie and I could not be more different. Cassie is a girl who has spent most of her life being dominated by, first, her mother and then fiancι. As my own poor long-suffering mother will attest, I was always stubborn and most contrary. I still am.

What Cassie and I do have in common is that we fall in love so easily. We are both sensitive and will fight to the death to protect what and who we love. We share a hatred of injustice, bigotry and intolerance.

Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?
My first attempt at a full length novel. 180, 000 pages of waffle – a great deal of that being sex. Now I look back and cringe. It isn’t that it bothered me writing it. In fact, as my readers will tell you, I am pretty damn good at it. {Great memory I have. lol} It is only, now, I don’t feel reams and reams of who did what to how and how often is necessary to my plots. Hey – that’s just me.

What about your book makes it special?
All my books are special to me. Lol. But Written? Probably because it is such a contemporary issue, one that has received a lot of coverage in the press of late.

What is your marketing plan?
Marketing, for me, is the downside to being a published writer. I try to use as many of the internet’s resources as possible but I do regret not having the opportunity to go out there and set up book-signings. Living on a small, Greek island does not make this an option. But I struggle on. Recently, I have tried to pay more attention to the art of blogging. I think it’s important to let the readers see the person behind the writer.

Cassandra Hall is dumped five days before her wedding. Deciding not to waste the honeymoon, she sets off to London. Her dream week turns into a nightmare time of introspect, self-doubt. Then she meets James, literally falling at his feet in an attempt to save his Afghan Hound from colliding head on with the traffic.

James is witty, charming, too good-looking and also- not available. Despite this, Cassie is captivated by him. What follows is a week of fun, companionship and a bonding that Cassie has never experienced.

James, sensing Cassie’s unhappiness, goes out of his way to make up for her jerk of a fiancé’s rejection.  He is drawn to her vulnerability – something he finds disturbing, threatening to shatter all he thought he knew about himself.  Cassie, he senses, is falling in love with him. He ought to back away but cannot. Cassie bravely makes her true feelings known and when he rejects her, he knows he has broken her heart.

When he asks her to give him time to sort out his life, she agrees. But James does not turn up at their promised meeting place.  Cassie realizes he has remained with his partner, Alex. Exactly what Alex so cuttingly told her would happen. Cassie takes herself off to Cornwall to lick her wounds.

By a quirk of fate, she and Alex become allies. James has been arrested in China and Alex turns to her for support. At first, it seems that there is nothing to be done; certainly pressuring the British Government to move quickly on James’s case proves fruitless.

Cassie then has a brainwave. She tells Alex of the time, when in France, she came to the rescue of a near-drowning child. The child’s grandmother, who had been left in charge, could not express her gratitude enough and told Cassie to call her anytime she needed anything.  Now is the time to call in the chips for the child was none other than the current President of France’s only daughter.

Their mission of mercy succeeds and the President agrees to intervene on James’s behalf. James is safe but Cassie believes she has still lost him. She knows Alex is so emotionally dependent on him. Something James admits to. He seeks Cassie out to tell her that although he loves her, he still has feelings for Alex. Cassie agrees to one night with him. They both agree that they cannot go through life without at least the memory of what they share.

Read Written in Stone to find out the outcome of this dilemma.  Will Cassie end up with James or will Alex?
You can purchase Written in Stone at


  1. Great interview, Viviane. I agree with you about blogging enabling readers to see more of the person behind all the promo
    Good luck to you with Written in Stone

  2. Hi Viviane! Hi Penny!

    Great interview. Looks like being stubborn and most contrary works for you, Viv :) And I totally agree with your blogging statement. We should all blog regularly to keep in touch with our readers more! Hence the blog hop over here:)

    Congratulations on your Feb release :)

  3. Megan, thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you enjoyed the interview and learning more about Written in Stone.

  4. Angelika, thank you for hopping over to my blog. It's always a pleasure to see a new reader. I'm glad you enjoyed the interview.

  5. Very interesting interview, Viviane.

  6. Vivian, thank you for stopping by, and I'm glad you enjoyed learning more about Viviane.

  7. Viviane--I enjoyed your interview. It's nice to learn about other authors. One statement you made really struck home, and it's exactly how I feel but never put it in words. "...the trend toward erotica masked as romance." That was spot on, a perfect way to express the problem. I want the story, and while, like you, I do write in some sex scenes, believe me, they're mild with no mention of body parts.
    (Also, I have a good memory, too!) Celia

  8. Celia, thank you for stopping by and commenting. I'm glad you enjoyed the interview and were able to relate to Viviane's answers.