I had the pleasure of interviewing, Vivienne Savage, author of Dawn of the Dragons (formerly Loved by the Dragon), The Wild Operatives, and Impractical Magic series. They all look so great, I don’t know where to start reading! Vivienne also works under a couple of different pen names, so if urban fantasy or sci-fi with romantic qualities are more your style, check out A Spellbound Consortium and Across Our Stars by author A. Payne & N.D. Taylor.
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Welcome to PNRLovers, Vivienne.
Tell us about yourself.
Well, surprise, there are two of us behind the Vivienne Savage name!
We’re two moms and best friends who live in different states, but we write together incredibly well. The internet is amazing in letting people connect and work together. Vivienne is what happens when you have an authoring version of Captain Planet made of only two people. One of us is the mean one, the other is the sensitive one, and by our powers combined, you get raunchy shifter adventures.
One of us is a nurse, currently working in hospice, and the other is a stay-at-home former Navy woman. So a lot of life experience tends to go into our writing. Between the both of us, we have a menagerie of different animals and a host of former careers to fuel our stories.
Can you take us through what a typical writing day looks like for you?
It’s funny because our days mirror each other in many ways. Wake up, get the kids off to school, start some tea, pop in a movie, then stare at the computer screen for awhile.
Really, there is no ‘typical’ day because each one is different Some days a ton of writing gets done. Other days not so much, but we still try to make the day useful. Even if the words aren’t flowing, a good brainstorming session tends to help while drinking tea and watching movies.
And on the oddest days when writer’s block has us firmly in its clench, we skive off from our writing duties and play a multiplayer game called Elder Scrolls Online. It’s never failed to get the creative juices flowing again.
What words of wisdom would you impart with your younger self if you could go back to when you were writing your first book?
Oh wow, what wouldn’t there be to say?
Watch your passive voice. Research your editors. Really research this one. I’ve run afoul a few times of bad editing, and it leads to such an awkward situation. Study cover trends. Tighten up your script so things don’t ramble.
One of the greatest complaints about my first dragon novel is the amount of sex. Part of me wishes I could tell my younger self to scale it back, but on the other hand, the Vivienne of today says, “No! Let those people bone frivolously!” And I know I wouldn’t have it any other way.
A lot has been learned since the book that launched it all.
In Paranormal Romance terms, how would you classify yourself, Alpha, Beta, or Omega? And why?
This one is tough because I think a lot of people have different ideas of what an Alpha is. Or what it means to be a Beta.
I’ll say this: if our lives were a television show, we’d probably both be labeled the elusive and sometimes celebrated Strong Female Character, and then we’d be killed off in season 2 because male viewers are threatened by our forceful personalities.
Have you ever written in collaboration with anyone? If so, who, and how did you like the experience? If not, would you like to? Who would be your dream collaborator?
Besides each other? No. Writing together with someone takes tons of trust and a good relationship. You have to understand each other and be in synch. Complement one another.
Of course, if Stephen King or Anne Rice came knocking I wouldn’t turn the opportunity down.
Social media plays a big part in self-promotion, but can also be a huge time suck. What strategies (if any) do you have to maximize your time?
This is a hard one because it’s true, FB sucks you in like a black hole and before you know it, half the day is gone and you haven’t done anything but make a few posts and watch cat videos. So closing FB down and resisting the urge to ‘peek in’ is really the key. Setting aside a dedicated hour or two for social media, with an alarm set, helps out. I like to use a timer, and then once the timer ends I force myself to close FB. Sometimes I have purge days where I logout of Facebook and don’t return for three days or even longer.
And now for the silly… if you were the leading lady in your favorite Paranormal Romance novel, who would you be?
Out of the Vivienne Savage books? It’s a toss up between the two heroines of my dragon shifter novels, Chloe and Ēostre.
Chloe is carefree and strong, in touch with herself and what she wants. She defies the modern conventions of slut shaming and knows what she needs. So often, I’ve read books where the male character is free to have sex as often as he wants, so in creating Chloe I wanted a strong woman who was not a “slut” but someone who simply knows what her body wants. There’s no shame in that. Many of us have wanted to pick up the hot guy at the bar, and Chloe is the woman who does it.
As for Ēostre, she’s the wiser woman who’s been hurt by love before, whether it’s losing a partner to divorce or to the fickle gloom known as death. Some of us have been there before, too, but what matters most is picking up and moving forward to discover love can happen again, at any age, for anyone.
Out of books I’ve read for my personal enjoyment? So, I haven’t read a lot of adult PNR lately. I’m trying to expand my horizons to new and different things, so my answer is probably far from what you’re expecting. Of books authored by other individuals, I’d have to say my current favorite leading lady is Rose Hatheway from Vampire Academy. I love her! While I’ve only recently started this series, I find her honesty endearing and hilarious. She makes mistakes but she learns from them. Plus she has a hot Russian love interest so what’s not to like???
Do you have anything specific that you’d like to say to your readers?
No, really, thank you. Without readers, we would be writing stories for ourselves. All of the readers out there have given us a body of people with whom we can share the neverending stream of stories in our heads. They’ve given us confidence, a source of income, and so much joy whenever they visit our Facebook author page or comment on our personal wallsl.
What’s in the works for you right now? When can we expect to see it released to the world?
Lots of projects!
Several readers expressed an interest in seeing a redemption story for a certain henchman from the Wild Ops stories, so you can expect a novella there. It’s funny how a minor character often stirs up people’s sympathies. This one should be out this summer if all goes well.
Normally, I’d keep it secret, but you know what, here’s the blurb for your enjoyment since I toiled so long over this baby.
Ex-narcotics peddler, convicted felon, crippled shapeshifter. As the former enforcer for one of East Texas’s most notorious drug kingpins, Lyle Davis is newly released from prison. With a laundry list of offenses tainting his reputation, the unforgiving population of Quickdraw, Texas is reluctant to forget until Sheriff Ian MacArthur conscripts Lyle to mentor their town’s at-risk youth.
Wily coyote shifter Serena Bearheart teaches wounded warriors to walk again as a researcher for a special program. When the recipient of her most recent project loses his life, she’s left without a subject until her close friend Ian concocts a plan. What begins as an aversion for the amputee dog shifter gives way to interest — Lyle’s open honesty and genuine nature is a relief, an abrupt change of pace from stuffy boardroom executives and military suits.
Lyle needs a second chance. Serena needs to see her work in motion. Every dog has his day, and maybe Lyle will finally have his.
More dragons are coming, too, as well as the remainder of the Wild Ops team. I don’t have dates though, sorry.
Can you share an excerpt of your upcoming book, or recently released one?
Once Astrid’s peaceful face went slack and her chest moved in the tranquil rhythm of sleep, Ēostre took her mobile phone with her to the balcony. There, she lowered into one of the patio chairs and dialed Max.
“Happy birthday, Ēostre. Pleasant night with the family?”
He laughed. “I could never forget your birthday Ēostre, but you beat me to the call. Was the day enjoyable at least, or did you spend it working hard?”
“I purchased my dress for Duhane’s party, spent time with the family, and then Astrid joined me in bed.”
“Ah. I do not know whether to pity or envy you, then I remember Brigid’s wild sleeping habits and sleepless mornings of her tossing and turning beside me.”
“I will not sleep a wink for most of the night,” she agreed, “but that isn’t why I called you.”
“Oh?” His chair creaked with movement, and soothing notes of jazz filtered into the line. She easily pictured the man comfortably seated behind his office desk, a snifter of brandy beside his keyboard, music playing in the background. Shirtless. Clothed in only a pair of boxers — if he was clothed in anything at all.
“I am ready to win our little wager, Maximilian. For my completely selfish act, I have decided I want you to take me to the beach. I want reservations at Catalina Island’s best hotel.”
Dead silence came from the other end of the line until she picked out his measured breaths and finally, seconds later, his laughter.
“How is that a truly selfish act? Did you know you are the only dragon I have ever known to sunburn?” he inquired.
“Because you’ll be my Speedo-clad manservant,” she crowed triumphantly.
Maximilian’s stunned silence sent her into a fit of childish giggles. He finally ended it with a gently uttered, “I don’t own a Speedo.”
“Then you’ll buy one. If you can throw away an undisclosed sum on zebras for Astrid, you’ll buy a tiny swimsuit to wear beside me. Come prepared to apply sunblock.”
“Clear your Saturday and Sunday. G’night,” Ēostre said. She crawled into the bed and beneath the sheets, satisfied with the outcome. Max would live to regret his challenge, and she would be the victor.
“I hope he’s prepared to lose one of his treasures,” she mused to the quiet bedroom. “Because I intend to win.”
Maximilian upheld his part of the bargain and agreed to humor Ēostre’s idea for a spontaneous weekend getaway. After enduring a dull cocktail party honoring his acquaintance in the Senate, she deserved it.
They reached Catalina Island sometime after two and passed the time until check-in by lounging in the lobby with fancy tropical mixed drinks from the bar. Ēostre balanced her tablet over her lap, peeking up on occasion for a stealthy peek at Max.
Good. Her victim was none the wiser, absolutely ignorant to what she had in store for him.
“I can hear you cackling, Ēostre. What are you doing?”
“Oh, nothing,” she assured him.
“I can’t believe this is how you chose to spend your wager,” Maximilian mumbled under his breath. “Of all the things to do.”
“You told me it must be truly selfish, and trust me, I’ve only just begun to use this to my advantage.” Smiling sweetly, Ēostre sent Maximilian to the front desk, where he paid the exorbitant fee for their two rooms overlooking the ocean.
If she’d been wise, she would have told him one for the pair of them was enough, but in hindsight, that seemed like too much at once.
This is so silly of me, Ēostre thought. Where has all of my common sense gone? Max’s presence gave her flutters in her tummy, and whenever he was near, it was as if she had a head filled with sawdust. She smiled as she watched him converse with the hotel employee, receive their keys, booklets, and return.
Andrew lurked nearby and monitored the exchange. All of his squad members had accompanied them to the resort island, dressed down in casual wear so as not to draw attention to themselves or their charge. They were eager to enjoy the amenities during their downtime as they rotated on and off duty. According to her dear friend the governor, time-and-a-half, excellent rooms, and a free trip to the beach weren’t enough. He’d paid them each double the salary for the job with a bonus.
Max was such a handsome man, and an even handsomer dragon, but what she loved most about her dear friend was the kindness in his soul. Power, fame, and fortune never changed him, and unlike most of his fire-breathing kin, he took great pains to control his raging temper. With his ability to befriend anyone, he would have made an amazing silver dragon.
Ēostre struggled to suppress her anticipation, but once they split to their individual rooms, she found she was brimming with nerves. Nudity had never bothered her. It was natural and normal. Stripping from her clothing to transition to her dragon form was one thing, but wearing a sexy garment to highlight her assets and draw the eye was another. According to Chloe, Ēostre was bound to have the attention of every man on the beach drawn to her.
Looking at herself in the mirror, she was certain Chloe was right. The silver strips covered barely anything at all yet still managed to support her breasts and push them up.
“Last chance to back out,” she murmured to herself. The idea was tempting, but the thought of losing the bet spurred her competitive spirit back into gear.
She pulled on a floral cover-up and stepped from the room to find her travel companion waiting awkwardly in the hall. His bare chest was already bronzed from hours spent poolside at his manor, and every inch of him was sculpted to masculine perfection from his chiseled pecs to his trim waistline. Her eyes scanned downward, skimming the carved indent of hip muscle above the band of his shorts.
“That isn’t a Speedo.”
“If it’s good enough for Daniel Craig, it’s good enough for me,” he retorted. “Besides, I think this is, ah—”
“Much better,” Ēostre agreed, sharing his sentiment after another appreciative look. The black shorts — tiny, tiny shorts — clung to his hips and defined upper thighs like a second skin. So well, in fact, that she thought he looked better than James Bond.
How can our readers get in touch with you? Do you have a newsletter they can sign up to?
I certainly do and they’re welcome to sign up at http://bit.ly/VSnews
And of course, there’s ye olde Facebook Author page here: https://www.facebook.com/Savage.Books/
Don’t forget Twitter if that’s your thing. https://twitter.com/MsVSavage
I also have a FB group for readers who want to better keep up with me. It’s not a street team in the usual sense. I don’t require people to share my posts or go vote for me in whatever random contest is happening that week. Really it’s just a place where I share snippets, recruit beta and ARC readers, and generally try to get to know the people who help me succeed as an author.
Check out my entire website at http://www.viviennesavage.com where I post information about all of my books and upcoming appearances. Thanks for reading, goodbye now!