Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Past Undone, Viviane Brentanos

Today is a returning guest, Viviane Bretanos, here to talk about herself and share an excerpt from latest release, Past Undone.

Author name: Viviane Brentanos
Book Title: Past Undone
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing
Buy link:

Please tell us about yourself with the following favorites:

First off, a huge thank you to Penny for inviting me back. It is always a pleasure to guest on her blog and I love the fun questions. I think it is nice to take a break from wearing our author hats. Anyway, no more rambling and on to the first question

Oh dear, why did you do this to me, penny? I am a foodie. My mother is French and both she and my grandmother were the most amazing cooks in the world and they made sure their children learned the art. Food is very important to the French, as it is to most from Mediterranean countries. Contrary to what people believe, this doesn’t mean they walk around all day with a copy of the Larousse Gastronomique tucked under their arms. No – it is all in the ingredients, using the best, the freshest available. It is about being able to put together a wonderful meal with the most basic of ingredients. I remember watching my grandmother preparing a classic French dressing: olive oil, vinegar, fresh parsley, a clove of garlic and a smattering of Dijon mustard. She spent half an hour slowly stirring until the dressing resembled a fine cream. So, how can I answer this question? What do I love best? Too many to choose from. I love spicy food but I am going to go with the simplest, most guilty pleasure. Greek pitas {but from Greece – not the British pretend one}

Drink (non-alcoholic)?
I suppose I would have to say coffee – as long as it is a good strong cup of filter. I am not too enamoured with these designer coffees which tend to be tasteless and wildly expensive. I only drink one cup of coffee a day, otherwise I cannot sleep but then I switch to tea – and more often than not decaf. Glasgow tea is amazing. It’s all in the water.

Now here is something I have never had to think about. Mmm – so many beautiful ones. Lilies, Orchids. I adore the wild flowers that burst in to life on Corfu in spring time. Blossom – I adore tree blossom of any form. Mimosa, now there is a stunning tree.

Day of the week?
Friday. I don’t know why. I think it stems from my schooldays, when you knew that you didn’t have to get out of bed for the next two mornings. I carried on my love of Friday to when my 
children were at school. I hated getting up early. I still do.

Time of day to write?
Afternoon. I cannot function in the morning. Well, I can for blogging and promoting and such but when it comes to creating then I am better after lunch

Place to write?
At work, behind reception desk. The quiet time between 2pm  - 5pm. Great stuff. I quite like writing by a pool side. There is something about the quiet hush of the wind whispering the trees, the gentle rays of an aftyernoon sun warming me that inspires me.

Each season, for me, has something to offer but let me answer that from a Corfu perspective.
Spring – it has to be; when the island is awakening from a rainy winter, the skies are a clear, cerulean blue, without the oft oppressive heat haze of high summer, the heady scent of awakening blossom is carried on a gentle breeze, the azure ocean laps gently against the sands that are still rippled but the winter rough seas. The house-martins are everywhere, setting up home, the fire flies light up the still fresh nighttime sky. Clean Monday – the start of Lent. Flying kites, picnicking on hillsides under the olive trees, the scent of pine and eucalyptus mingling with the aroma of Corfiot fresh foods. And then Easter – surely the most amazing time of all but I would need a separate blog for that.

Christmas. There is still nothing to beat it, even though I am so anal about decorating the tree. I drive myself crazy trying to get it perfect.   Christmas is the time when I bake. 150 melomacaronas {Greek Honey biscuits} last Christmas. I love the way the house smells; of cinnamon, roast pork and mulled wine. Everything is all red and gold. It is a time when friends and family get together for one long food and drink fest. Presents? Don’t care about them. That’s not what it is about. Without being controversial, there is Christ in the word Christmas for a reason.

Blue. I don’t why but I have always been a fan of blue. I think this may have something to do with my childhood. I was a tomboy and my mother was forever trying to dress me in pink frilly frocks and buckle shoes. Blue was my rebellion.

I adore all animals. I am a staunch advocate of animal rights. I have always been a doggy person and I have had dogs all my life. Before I left the UK for Greece, my ex husband I  showed and bred Afghan Hounds. To this day, they are my favourite breed. Beneath that stunning catwalk exterior lies a champion of dogs,: strong, fast, a cunning hunter with an aloof personality. {Ah, I hear you all say. That explains the Afghan on the cover of Written in Stone}

Hobbies? Do writers have time for hobbies? Well, I love to swim – preferably in the sea. I love watching tennis – especially Nadal and I adore music – Darren Hayes, Enrique…I love all genres. Reading, naturally and especially in the bath.

I used to play squash and I was quite good at it but, other than swimming, I don’t so much but, as mentioned above, I am an avid tennis fan. Soccer -I hate it. Too many over-paid prima donas

Oh my – how can I possibly answer this? I love so may. Anything by Darren Hayes, anything Heavy Metal but I adore Wasp’s The Idol. Fleetwood Mac -Sara {Stevie Nicks is my secret lesbian crush}Run – Snow Patrol. MJ – God rest his troubles soul – everything. Whitney – probably the greatest female vocalist ever. Freddie Mercury – Somebody to Love. Really-too many for me to mention

TV show?
Oh Please ,Penny, dear,  stop making my life difficult. Where to begin. Ok – Big Bang Theory. Sheldon Cooper is…is just Sheldon Cooper. Glee – love it. Supernatural – I am Team Dean but the ultimate in TV experience has to be Game of Thrones

Lord of the Rings – no contest. Gladiator comes in a close second, followed by anything Spielberg, Star Wars. Ok – so I am a geek.

Oh dear, my head… Ok. Gone with the Wind. Scarlett O’Hara – I adore her. Generally speaking, I prefer thrillers and suspense but I will read anything that captures my attention. Romance  -mm – difficult. Anyway, all stories are romance. Life is romance.

Me – no – just kidding. Gosh, that’s a hard one. Jilly Cooper for Brit romantic humour, Tolkien because – well, he’s Tolkien, Ian Rankin for detective, Patricia Cornwell for thriller, forensic yucky stuff and for horror – the master himself, Stephen king

No sure what my favourite word is. I can tell you my pet peeve. The over use of Actually. Favourite word. I suppose I tend say bloody at the beginning of every sentence.

Oh this is so easy….. My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, Commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife, and I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next. So many good quotes in this movie.


Now some easy one-word answers:
Oh Penny, have you ever known me to stick to one word? I will try
Coffee or tea? Coffee
Veggies or fruit? Veggies
Cat or dog?  Dog {although I love cats too}
Plot or not? Depends
Desktop or laptop? Desktop – without a doubt
Pencil or pen?  Pen {but takes me forever to find the right one}
Rain or sun? Sun
Mountains or ocean? ocean
Plane or train? train
Car or motorcycle? motorcycle
Run or walk? walk
Casual or dressy?  Casual { verging on slob}
Indoors or outdoors? outdoors
Reading: EBook or paperback? Can I take the fifth? Ok – paperback for the bath, ebook for the train and plane
Reading: Short story or novels? novels
Theater or rental?  Depends. If it is a mega movie i.e Lord of the Rings, definitely theatre
Vampire or shifter? Do I have to? Ok - vampires
Horror or romance? Horror {yes, I know I write romance}

Tell us about your new/latest release:

I begun Past Undone back in the summer of 2010. Although it is the shortest novel I have penned, it proved to be the most difficult to complete. It was something of a new venture for me and it has elevated my opinion of the suspense writers to awe. I don’t know why but, for some reason, I suffered a serious bout of writers block on this one. My pad lay open on the coffee table while I stared at it for two months. I knew what I wanted to write, I knew where the story was going but it just wouldn’t come. In the end, I forced myself to pick up my pen and once I wrote that first, tough page, all my doubts slipped away. The ending made me cry. Silly maybe but if I can’t make myself cry, how do I expect my readers to share the emotion.

Title: Past Undone
Genre: Contemporary Romance with a touch of suspense and something else but I can’t say or it will give the plot away

At nearly twenty-one, Sofie Jameson is a little tired of paying the price for her director father’s caped crusader routine. She wouldn’t mind so much but the bodyguards he periodically hires to protect her possess as much charm and wit as gulag guard.
Nik Lloyd is no exception.  Mr. Lloyd has one simple set of rules: do as I say and don’t speak unless spoken to. Sofie wants to hate him on sight but it’s a little difficult when every time she looks at him, her feet leave the ground and she spins on an emotional roller coaster. Hidden away together in his beautiful Greek island home, Sofie soon realizes Mr. Lloyd is an ‘international man of mystery,’ and a man, if his housekeeper is to be believed, who is hiding dark secrets. The housekeeper claims he is a tortured soul. The livid scar on his back convinces Sofie she may be right. Who does he cry for at night? And just who is the mysterious young girl, Bella, who turns up out of nowhere, latching on to Sofie with all the tenacity of a limpet?

Short Excerpt:
He watched her, waiting for her come back, no doubt, but she didn’t feel ready to oblige. She’d vented her rage last night. Mentally, she was exhausted.
                  “Miss Jamison,” he put down his fork, “while I realize we may have gotten off on the wrong foot, and at the risk of making it two feet, we need to talk. I must clarify the situation, and perhaps, you will understand the necessity of my rules.”
                  “All I understand is I have been plucked out of college, flown halfway across Europe, missing out on a holiday I was so looking forward to, and then you tell me I cannot keep my phone?”
                  “It’s too risky.” Bridging fingers together, he studied her, as if debating whether to elaborate. “While I understand your pique, I am afraid it is not my concern. I have a job to do, and that is to protect you at all costs. Your father is taking these threats very seriously, and after reading the files on this group, I do not blame him. These people do not joke around.”
                  “Oh piffle.” Sofie crammed more bread into an already full mouth. “They’re just a bunch of ignorant Bible thumpers.”
                  He curved his lips into an indulgent smile. “Ignorance is dangerous, Miss Jamison. These people are fanatics. They have killed before.”
                  Sofie scowled; he seemed determined to chip away at her bravado. “I thought you were supposed to reassure me.”
                  “I deal in realities. It’s the only way to do my job. I want you to be aware of the stakes, here. Your full cooperation is the key to your safety. So…” He raised his glass to his lips, gaze trained on her, expression and tone unemotional. “The rules. No phones, no Internet. Any contact with family and friends will be with my supervision. You will not leave the grounds unless I accompany you. Are we clear?”
                  Too stunned to reply, Sofie stopped chewing.
                  “Are we clear, Miss Jamison?” His eyes grew cold, while his mouth formed a resolute line.
                  “Yes.” She swallowed. “What do you want me to say? It’s not like I have a choice.”
                  “No, you do not.” The lines on his forehead smoothed out.
                  Sofie itched to reach over and empty the contents of her glass in his face.
                  “It won’t be forever, Miss Jamison.” He lowered his gaze, tone placating, as if she were five years old. “I believe the FBI and Scotland Yard are working together on this. Once they find the source of the threats against you, you will be free to return to your life.”
                  “Oh for goodness sake.” Sofie couldn’t hold back. “My name is Sofie. S. O. F. I. E. At least do me the courtesy of using my name.”
                   “I’m sorry.” Unriled by her outburst, he folded his napkin, before placing it next to his half-eaten food. “I thought you understood. We cannot be friends. Don’t try and make us so. It’s the only way this undesirable situation will work. I must remain one hundred percent emotionally detached.”
                  “Emotionally detached?” Sofie let rip with a harsh laugh. “You are severed from the neck up. I bet you can’t even spell emotion. Where did you learn people skills training? The Robot Academy?”
                  “Your opinion is of no relevance. One more thing. Last night I lost control. I apologize. It will not happen again. While you are under my care, you will not see me drink.”
                  “Hey.” She waved a hand, flustered by his act of contrition. A Benedictine monk had nothing on this guy. “Don’t sweat it. It’s not as if you were falling on the floor.”
                  “Nevertheless, it was unprofessional.”
                  “Oh.” She nodded. “I get it. You’re afraid I’ll report back to my dad.”
                  His blank stare told her what he thought of her petty response. “It was a joke.” She affected a pained eye roll. “God, life with you must be so much fun. I pity your wife. You are married, I take it.”
                  “Should I be?” His stance relaxed.
                  “Well…” She sat back, studying him with one eye closed. “I thought—”
                  “You thought you’d be clever and try to goad personal information from me. No, I am not married.”
                  “Girlfriend?” She leaned forward again, elbows on the table, chin resting in bridged fingers. She attacked him with her number one flirt smile. No harm in trying, she reasoned.
                  “No girlfriend.”
                  “Oh, I don’t believe that, Mr.… What did you say your name was?”
                  “I didn’t.” He wasn’t playing. He stood. “But if it will satisfy your ill-mannered curiosity, my name is Nicholas Lloyd. I am thirty-two and single and will probably remain so for a long time. Most important, I am very, very good at my job. That is all that need concern you. I am going for a swim, and then I will sleep for a couple of hours. I suggest you do the same.”
                  Buffeted by his admonishing tone, Sofie squirmed. Her cheeks burned. Talk about making her feel small? He’d crushed her as if she were an insignificant bug.
                  “I just woke up.” Her reply came out too sullen, but that’s how he made her feel: a sulky little girl.
                  “Suit yourself.”
                  With a disinterested raising of an eyebrow, he made for the pool area—only to turn back. “Oh, Miss Jamison, don’t try to leave. The gates are locked, and the security alarms are in full working order. If you wish to go anywhere, I will accompany you, but you do not leave the premises. There is a small cove beyond those trees.” He waved in the direction of a line of cypresses. “You may swim there. It is inaccessible by road, and the local coast guard has been ordered to keep all craft from within three kilometers of the property.”
                  “Aye aye, Captain.”  Sofie saluted. Once again, her sarcasm bounced off his back. His shoulder wasn’t cold; it was sculpted in ice.


  1. Good Luck with your book, Viviane, it sounds great.