I hope that everyone had a wonderful and pleasant Thanksgiving. This week our first author is Laura Tolomei. Please help me in welcoming her to XtraOrdinary Romance...welcome, Laura.
At what age did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
Around 40. Oh, I’d written stuff before that, started in high school as a matter of fact, but didn’t think I’d carry it through as long as I did or realize that’s what I really wanted to be.
What has been your biggest influence on becoming a writer?
The thousands of books I read throughout my life. As a reader, I started early on, let’s say 7/8 years with adventure books, Emilio Salgari’s pirate cycle and Alexandre Dumas’s The Three Musketeers, to progress to almost all fiction genres, with the exception of horror and romance. Sounds funny, doesn’t it that I should then specialize in these two in particular, doesn’t it? But that’s why my work’s unique, because it blends history and philosophy into an intriguing sexual pattern LOL.
How did you feel when you got your first publishing contract?
Ecstatic, thrilled, relieved, enthusiastic…actually, there are no words to describe it...LOL!
How many novellas/novels have you published to date? When did you have your first sale?
To date, there’s 6 of them out, including my latest release, Bloody Passion, out Oct. 31st, 2009, eXtasy Books. Here’s a complete back list:
Spying the Alcove, Aug 1st, 2009, eXtasy Books
Roman Seduction, June 1st, 2009, eXtasy Books
Sacrificial Sex, Mar. 1st, 2009, eXtasy Books
Divinitas, Jan. 1st, 2009, eXtasy Books
Trespassing All Hallows Eve, Oct. 15th, 2008, eXtasy Books
Actually, I started with short stories, published in eXtasy’s Anthologies. The first was The Moon Priestess in Atlantis Allure—Mar. 15th, 2008, followed by Hunted in Sanguinary Seductions—Sep. 15th, 2008, and Slave to Sex in Emerald Envisage—Mar. 15th, 2009.
My first quantifiable sales were in April 2009, after 3 books were already out. I guess it always takes time for a new author to be known!
Tell me about your latest release.
Set in 1st century Celtic Britain, Bloody Passion is a dark paranormal horror in which sex, passion, power and transformation meet murder, a borderline action-packed thriller where a Druid, a hunter and his apprentice fight evil first in the form of a dangerous predator, then in the more deadly guise of a vicious killer who massacres innocent girls. But Bloody Passion goes deeper than that, uncovering Cedric’s dark side, which only Rory, the hunter turned lover, is capable of mastering and directing to a good cause. As you can guess, the genre is in my best tradition—M/M, dark fantasy, horror, paranormal with a touch of the historical, Celtic Britain being not just one of my favorite time periods, but also the only one where Halloween makes sense to me. Well, they invented it, so to speak, free of commercial trappings, rather with a spirituality that remains unequalled to this day. So it’s not by accident Cedric discovers his powers on such a night when spirits become real and anything is possible, including incredible transformations and the sealing of a bond destined to last a lifetime. To readers interested in style, I have to mention this is a first for me because it’s all written in first person POV. It was an interesting experience since I’m not familiar with this writing format, so far my only experiment being with Spying the Alcove, where a part of the story was in Lidia’s own voice, my female protagonist. In Bloody Passion though, it was more difficult since Cedric is obviously a man so I had to enlist a very knowledgeable help, read it my mate, to tell me what they think and why they behave the way they do…in and out of bed. Well, what do you know it? It turned out great fun and I think I’m as close to a man’s perceptions as I ever will LOL.
What was your inspiration for this book?
Usually, my inspiration’s already in me, ready to come out at the right time or when the occasion require it. In this case, the theme was Halloween so what better protagonist than a Druid caught in the battle between good and evil? And of course, when we talk of fighting, a hunter comes to mind, his precious skills sometimes worth more than the spiritual ones. And finally, what is a hunter without an apprentice? So this is how I created the gut wrenching horror of Bloody Passion’s action thriller.
How do you categorize yourself: pantser or plotter?
Well, Lynn, I’m more of a pantser, usually acting on my first instinct no matter how rash it can turn out to be. My personality’s fault, no doubt, since I’m too straightforward to go through much plotting or sneaking around, especially since things in my life happened without much planning, rather when I was ready for them.
How do you handle the editing/revision process?
Quite well because that’s when the story really takes shape. While I’m writing it, I forget things, what characters said or did, sometimes repeating things or jumbling them up. Editing is the smoothing process for me, the time I fine-tune what I’ve set on paper and make it shine. And being the perfectionist I am, edits are essential to make the novel sound as smooth flowing as I want it to be!
You’ve received some fantastic reviews...how do you feel about them and why?
Great, Lynn, how else? It’s always nice to know you’re appreciated or to get confirmation of what my mate has been proclaiming aloud ever since he read my first work.
Did anything odd happen while you were researching this story?
Actually, Lynn, it did for I had to get a lot of…first-hand experience to describe this manly world to the best with as many men as I could LOL
Is there a message you want the readers to take from this book?
Yes, Lynn, there is. The reason I write, and in the romance genre in particular, is because I want to tell people there are alternatives to certain destructive mechanisms that seem to dominate relationships nowadays. Sometimes, we deliberately hurt ourselves by behaving according to a social custom we don’t really feel right and those close to us suffer the consequences. What I’m trying to say is that we should always make a choice between our instincts and society’s guidelines to overcome dangerous prejudices that get in the way of our freedom and happiness. Yes, choice is the key to avoid trapping people into convenient categories, going beyond their gender, race or sexual preferences to value them as individuals, not the expression of a “group”. And when we discover the individual…well, things are a lot easier, wouldn’t you agree?
Why are your stories unique?
Because I mix sex with ideas and philosophies designed to make people think and broaden their awareness. In Divinitas, I retraced the story of religion, in my own personal way, of course, to demonstrate humanity hasn’t changed its mystical orientations much over the centuries, only changing names to the gods in a sort of marketing operation that updated them to fit the changing times. In Sacrificial Sex, I addressed genetic manipulation, raising doubts about its destructive impact. In Roman Seduction and Spying the Alcove, I relate of history, the ancient times coming alive through detailed accounts of the period both as part of the story and as archaeological finding. In To Seduce a Soulmate, coming out Dec. 15th, I talk about Plato’s philosophy on the existence of soul mates and mix it with the Indian beliefs about destiny and reincarnation. Thus every story is different from the other, each having its unique challenge both for contents as well as style, going beyond a mere romance to include more significant issues.
Who is your biggest fan?
My mate, no doubt. He’s so enthusiastic about my work, it’s almost embarrassing, and has loved every one of my books. But he’s also my greatest critic, never sparing a harsh criticism when I deserve one. Most of all, he’s the greatest source of my inspiration, suggesting twists and turns, also sexually, which are invaluable since my books are all M/M. Without him, for instance Bloody Passion, just to mention one of my releases, would have never seen the light due to the first person POV issue.
What’s your nickname?
LallaGatta, which is also my website name, not to mention my email addresses, all 3 of them. It’s an Italian combination of a commonly used endearment for people called Laura, Lalla, and cat, Gatta, and I think it suits me perfectly.
Your favorite dessert? Your favorite city? Your favorite season? Your favorite hero type? Your favorite heroine type?
Hate deserts! City: London. Season: summer. Hero: the masculine type who’s not afraid to cross the borders of social conventions and take a chance on improbable causes. Heroine: the one who doesn’t have to act like a man just because she has to prove she’s better than him.
Born 1965 in Rome, Italy, I grew up in Nigeria, US and India, returning to Rome to complete my studies and start a working career. In 2008 I published my first short story in eXtasy’s Anthology Atlantis Allure and have been writing and publishing since then in both Italian and English. since. Still a fairly new author, I have already published three full length novels and several short stories at eXtasy, with more yet to come. Here’s a brief back list:
Bloody Passion, novel, Oct. 31st 2009, eXtasy Books
Spying the Alcove, nove, August 1st 2009
Roman Seduction, short story, June 1st 2009, eXtasy Books
Sacrificial Sex, novella, March 1st 2009, eXtasy Books
Divinitas, novel, Jan, 1st 2009, eXtasy Books.
Trespassing All Hallow's Eve, novel, Oct. 15th 2008, eXtasy Books
Coming soon by eXtasy Books:
To Seduce a Soulmate novel—M/M, contemporary, paranormal, Dec. 15th
Virtus Saga: The Sex, novel—M/M, ménage, fantasy, adventure, series, January 1st 2010.
Virtus Saga: The Game, novel—M/M, ménage, fantasy, adventure, series, March 1st 2010.
Coming soon by Whiskey Creek Torrid:
Tasting Leon’s Mark, novel—M/M, M/M/F, ménage, romance, contemporary, paranormal
For more info, check out my website www.lallagatta.com.
Where can readers find out more about you and your work?
GoodReads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2903352.Laura_Tolomei
Authors Den http://www.authorsden.com/visit/author.asp?authorid=93230
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002DBFPDQ
Thanks for taking part in my 2 for Thursday promotion, Laura. I enjoyed it!