Interview with Laura Tolomei, conducted by Sassy Brit
Having been lucky enough to read many of your other books, I am beginning to recognize a dark streak in your fantasy work. Are you conscious of this?
I am and to tell you the truth, it surprised me quite a bit. In fact, and please don’t laugh or think I’m exaggerating, I’ve always steered clear of horror movies or books to the point I practically never saw or read one, unless you want to count the movie of the Nautilus disaster as one. For those who don’t remember, it’s about a fancy cruise ship like the Titanic, which suffers the same fate, only people get trapped inside and just a small group tries to reach the surface so they won0t drown. It’s one of those classic movies where a few set off, but only one or two make it, the others dying along the way, and it scared me so much—I was seven or eight at the time—I had to sleep in my parents bed for a week…if you could call it sleep. Every time I closed my eyes, the image of the protagonist, of which I don’t remember the actors name, sealing a place still full of people who refused to follow him, choosing certain death over possible safety, terrorized me to the point I lay awake the rest of the night. And the thing was I imagined it all happened to me, so from then on, I accurately avoided the horror genre all together.
Then I started writing and the prospective changed entirely. Those same things that had scared me to death if I watched or read them suddenly became sensually exciting as if they had lost their power to hurt me simply because I created them. The creation process set the needed distance between my feelings and writing about them, and my previous sensitivity became an advantage in portraying horrible things in all their dark and creepy details, bringing them to life in a way I never thought possible before. So yes, I’m conscious of this dark streak running through my writing and I’m beginning to feel comfortable about it now, after several books I’ve written, and I think readers are starting to like it, too, especially the ones looking for strong sensations.
Which authors do you most admire and aspire to?
Oh, there are a whole list of them, so here they are: Philip K. Dick, JRR Tolkien, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Joyce Carol Oates, Margaret Mitchell, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte, Jane Austin, Robert J. Sawyer, John Grisham, Michael Crichton, Lindsey Davis, Ellis Peters, Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Rex Stout, Evelyn Waugh, Somerset Maugham, Ellery Queen, Katherine Kerr, Emilio Salgari, Umberto Eco, Elsa Morante, Alexandre Dumas, Fiedor Dostoievski, Lev Tolstoy, Bulgakov, Oblomov, Victor Hugo, Charles Dickens, Thomas Mann, Eric Maria Remarque, PD James, Marguerite Yourcenair, Simone De Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Miguel De Unamuno, Albert Camus, VC Andrews, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Albert Camus, Luther Blisset, Wu Ming, and many, many more.
I know you have a full time job, so how do you manage to find the time to not only write your stories but promote them, too? Are you strict with yourself to get the work out? Do you have any ways to make sure you write something every day?
Wow, this is some question, no more than one actually. Okay, I’ll go in order. How do I manage with a full time job you want to know? Well, my working contract is based on a 36 hours/week schedule, which means two days a week I work until roughly 6 PM, the other three only until 3 PM. As you can see, this leaves me plenty of time to look after my “second job” as I sometimes like to call it, except when I’m travelling, which is why I also have a great PR agent who fills in whenever I’m out or too tired to take care of it. And yes, I’m pretty strict with myself, have to be if I want to get any work done, so I try to write something every day, although it’s not always possible, especially now that I’m just editing stories I’ve written a few years back. But somehow, I’ve managed to stay on top of things so far and intend to keep it up LOL
It must take a lot of faith in your work to be able to write as many books as you do. Do you love being a writer, or are there times where you doubt yourself?
Today I can safely say I never doubt myself, can’t afford it since I’m living with a man who’s my greatest supporter and fan. He likes to share my creative periods, always believing in my skills even when I didn’t. And there were times, about twenty years ago when I wrote my first book, I doubted I had it in me to become a real writer, someone with lots of stories to tell, not just a recounting of my personal experiences. Then I came up with Virtus and everything changed, not just because my husband said so, but because I knew I could create stories. And I didn’t get discouraged either after the many rejections to my Virtus submissions, especially since my man kept telling me to have faith because it was an incredible work, so someone was bound to notice it sooner or later. And he was right, someone did and here I am!
If you could share one major writing tip, to help other writers in their quest for publication, what would it be?
I usually tell beginners to be very patient because publishers receive a lot of submissions and often don’t get through them as thoroughly as they’d like, so it’s easy to miss a good work. But if the book’s written in good English, it’ll have a better chances of being considered. It may sound like a trivial tip, but often publishers discard a story simply because it’s not written properly and would entail a lot of editing to make it publishable. And POV issues are very important, too, though I myself learned how to adjust that only after my second release. In any case, I always follow two golden rules, provided by an ex colleague now friend of mine:
1. Never fall in love with words
2. When in doubt, cut
And following these simple advices, trust me, your writing will improve so very much, like mine did.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Sometimes I get in a lazy mood and it’s hard to get out of it.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Deception! I really can’t stand people who lie consistently, especially to themselves like it happens more and more often in today’s world. Hypocrites, it’s what I think of such people, and I try to avoid it in my heroes and heroines, who have a thousand defects, but never that of lying about who they are.
If you could write in any other genre what would it be, and why?
I’d love to write sci-fi, the serious sci-fi, the one with the complicated technological and scientific knowledge that explains how a futuristic world could work. It’s just too bad I don’t have the necessary expertise to help create a credible story, so I keep away from the genre, reading what I can and wishing I could’ve the skills to write one, too.
What are you working on at the moment?
Right now I’m finishing up the edits on Re-Scue, which is probably my most original concept to date, even if I already used it in Divinitas somewhat. To be fair, Re-Scue came before Divinitas, only it’s such an extreme, borderline story, it had trouble finding the right editor. Now it’s housed with Romance Divine and it’ll be coming out first months 2011. The originality is in the fact it’s not one book, but four where the protagonist are the same two souls, only reincarnated in different bodies every time. But if in Divinitas these souls had a purpose, and a strong religious one at that, in Re-Scue there’s no high ambition except in their pursuit of a bloody game of knife and bondage, which neither character can do without no matter how many lives he undertakes. And their connection is so strong they inevitably pull one another into the same life so that they get a chance to play their game over and over. But of course, the game’s just an excuse and the underlying feelings will bring them to tragedy every time unless something changes soon.
Then I have to continue with my fantasy series, the Virtus Saga. Already released the first three chapters—The Sex, The Game and The Festival—I have the next two almost ready, The Leader and The Pledge, so watch out for those beginning next year.
Where can we find out more about you and your work?
However you lived your past, today you’re the key to changing your future.
By Laura Tolomei
GENRE: GLBT, paranormal, dark fantasy, horror, m/m, m/f/f
PUBLISHER: Romance Divine
Only one rule: never fall in love. But the sex and blood is fair game in a tantalizing chase through time and space as two souls inevitably attracted go from one life to the next, hungering for their fill of the savage game they’ve started so long ago now. But are they ready to take the next step?
Unedited EROTIC M/F
“Blood fascinates me.” Stretched out on the bed, Tylean rolled on a side to look at Didri’s battered flesh next to him, littered with many tiny scars, which he washed clean of the blood with tender care, almost lovingly, applying a miraculous lotion of his own concoction that in due time healed the superficial wounds perfectly.
Her life took a turn for the worst, though Didri hardly noticed, too wrapped up in her fantasy world, a misty land where everything seemed blurred. Only her body’s needs were clear, drowned as they were in a ceaseless blood feasting that became increasingly dangerous. Dissatisfied with superficial cuts, Tylean sliced deeper, taking his slow, sweet time in carving her flesh with intricate patterns that left indelible scars despite copious use of healing lotion afterward, until the balance between pain and pleasure leaned heavily on the former.
Not that he consciously tried to hurt her for most of the times, he appeared indifferent to her feelings, pulling back only at the last moment, wanting to push her limits harder and faster beyond the edge. Yet, it made for better sex, as he stated more than once, his cock stiffening from the second the blade touched her skin up to his convulsive release, usually in her ass, after having torn her to a red pulp.
She never complained however, complying with all his whims, overwhelmed by the erotic vortex that made her senses spin out of the mind’s control, which she did her best to ignore by shutting out rationality all together unable to stop craving he take her—any piece of her would do—for his own pleasure being her favorite agony until nothing made sense except his powerful frame pounding hers incessantly. Accepting to be his slave, the obedient servant to his cruel play was enough to feel as if he cared, wanting to mistake his burning touch, whether with a cold metallic blade or with a fiery possessive clutch made little difference, for something she knew it was not. And away from him, nothing changed since Tylean was the only man, the only person, the only thing she could think about, feeling his metal-gray eyes following her wherever she went. Her heart, too, was caught in his game, thumping violently—painfully was more accurate—every time he was near, quickly moving to her cunt until the throb became unbearable.
But what absolutely astonished her was her burning desire to be with him alone every breathing moment, asking for nothing except his presence in her life, forever if necessary or until he struck a vital part, whichever came first. So she lived on an intoxicating borderline of sensations for weeks before she found the courage to call it with its right name. And by then it was too late to do anything about it because she had fallen in love.
Didri had not expected it, of course.
Oh and the excerpt has never been released before!