April 10th, 2020
I asked A.R. where she would like to chat:
Sunday, mid-afternoon, the sun’s warmth heats my shoulders, the cool, dry air only Tucson can provide during fall eases the ray’s intensity. The wild desert beauty of the Saguaro National Park across the street delivers a breathtaking backdrop to the open patio seating at Saguaro Corners restaurant on the far east side. A lone guitarist on a stool serenades the patrons as they dine on the delicious variety of flavorful American comfort food.
My finger wipes the salted rim of one of the best Margaritas Tucson offers as I enjoy the outdoor ambiance of this local hangout, an icon in Tucson since 1956. The atmosphere is soothing, the wait staff friendly, and everyone seems laid back and in no hurry to depart. It’s the perfect setting for an intriguing interview.
Laura Mae: What inspired you to enter the world of writing?
A.R. Vagnetti: I’ve always been an avid reader of anything romance, but paranormal romance was my passion — vampires in particular. Over the years, I felt the vampire mythology shifted. Vampires could walk in the sun, eat food, and they couldn’t teleport our use persuasion. They stopped feeding on humans or directly from the vein, and some even sparkled. I itched to write stories depicting the vampires I fell in love with, strong Alpha males with all the weaknesses and strengths inherent to a vampire.
In addition to that, an underlying message burned through me. I wanted my stories to depict strong but damaged females. A reviewer described my main character Nicole in Forgotten Storm perfectly. She’s a kick-ass take no prisoners zero filter between her mouth and brain girl who rarely shows her inner vulnerability.
Nicole’s message is that no matter the shit life hurls at you, it’s okay to seek shelter or help in those you trust and love. As much as we would like to believe we are Wonder Woman, the reality is, we all need help at some point in our lives, and that’s okay.
L: How long have you been writing for?
A: I wrote my first novel in my twenties, a romantic suspense that really… sucked. (grimace). I was proud I finished it, but then life just happened, and it sat in a box in the closet never to be seen again. I didn’t return to writing until about three years ago. I reached a point in my life where I had the time and the support I needed to pursue my passion.
L: What are you currently working on?
A: The first book in my four-book Storm Series, Forgotten Storm, launched September 6th, and I couldn’t be more thrilled or humbled by the positive response she is getting. Forgotten Storm is a paranormal romance with a splash of erotica. It takes you on a wild ride, with heart-stopping action, twists you didn’t see coming, and enough heat to have you seeking your partner or your B.O.B. (Battery Operated Boyfriend) LOL.
Blues singer Nicole Giordano is terrified of a past she can’t remember; moving from town to town and always looking over her shoulder. Her only comfort is the beautiful and sexy Logan Moretti who haunts her dreams; claiming to be her Guardian and guiding her every move. But when Logan suddenly appears on her doorstep, it triggers an explosion of suppressed memories. Her mother’s hatred, her father’s abuse, the existence of Other species, and her ultimate destiny; a prophecy foretold hundreds of years ago.
With the help of their friends, Nicole and Logan fight to stay hidden until the prophesied time when she will come face to face with her greatest fear; all the while struggling to control their raging desire. A desire if unleashed too soon could destroy them all.
I submitted Book 2, Forbidden Storm, to my publisher last month. While most of the characters from Forgotten Storm continue into book 2, Forbidden Storm is Lucretia and Kurtis’ journey. It’s about forbidden love and the lengths one vampire takes to protect her secrets. Lucretia Bramen overcame a sordid and violent history to become the first female vampire Guardian, but when old enemies threaten to expose her most intimate secrets, Lu faces the biggest choice of her life; reveal her past betrayal and risk execution, or turn her back on a forbidden love offering everything she desires.
Currently, I’m elbows deep into the first draft of book 3, Fiery Storm — Alexandria and Sebastian’s story. Alone in the world, haunted by the missing pieces of her past, and terrified of her strange abilities, Alexandria seeks comfort in the tall, captivating stranger whose exotic blue eyes light her on fire, but she must break down the barriers around his heart and save him from the demons of his past to have a chance in hell of surviving their fiery storm.
L: What would you say is your favorite book or series of all time? Why?
A: Oh absolutely! The books that got me hooked on paranormal romance were J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series. They depicted strong, damaged Alpha males who would sacrifice anything for their mates. They were deliciously hot, dominate males with soft hearts, and I fell in love with each of them.
I also loved the character Eve Dallas in J.D. Robb’s Death Series. She was a tough as nails cop, who carried some real heartbreak under all that steel. I related to her, and I wanted to create a character that shared traits from Eve and myself, and I think I accomplished that with Nicole in Forgotten Storm.
L: What has been the most challenging for you so far?
A: That’s a tough question because there have been so many challenges. But, if I have to choose one, it’s the exposure of my inner self in my writing. In my life, I’m a very private person, I don’t seek the limelight, and it’s difficult for me to trust or show emotion. In writing Nicole’s journey, it forced me to dig deep, and really examine my flaws and insecurities that only a handful of very close friends even know exist. I hate to look inward, and I’m extremely proficient at compartmentalizing my emotions. So writing the scenes were Nicole reveals her weaknesses, insecurities, or emotions was almost a stopping block for me. I had to sequester myself in my office late at night to even get through them because God forbid if anyone saw me crying. LOL
L: Besides writing, what is it you like to do?
A: Occasionally, my husband drags me out of the office, and we enjoy the adventure of camping, fishing — for me fishing is excellent if it meets my criteria: perfect weather, a decent hour, and the fish are biting. I don’t fall into the whole bullshite of the fish only bite at the butt crack of dawn and when the weather is crap — exploring this great country and others by road, train, or plane. Oh, and I enjoy cooking.
L: Are there any regrets you have or anything you wish you knew sooner?
A: Oh, God, yes! I wish I had taken the extra years to build my author platform and write all four books in the series before I sought a publisher. And take more writing classes because the English language is a bitch. LOL
L: In a brief statement, have you self-published or traditionally published? What was your experience?
A: I chose not to self publish just because I had no idea what I was doing and needed the extra guidance from the professionals. Even though Kyanite Publishing is a small press — which gives the added bonus of a family-like experience — they have held my hand and guided me every step of the way through the terrifying world of publication and marketing. I’m incredibly pleased with my choice.
L: What are you currently reading?
A: Currently, I’m bouncing between beta reading Drink of Darkness for a fellow writer, D.M. Shepard, and Blind Faith, book 3 in the Sin Brothers Series by Rebecca Zanetti. Both are captivating in their own way. Drink of Darkness I would categorize as a historical paranormal romance/horror, and the attention to historical detail is impressive. The Sin Brothers Series is a paranormal romance about four genetically engineered brothers and their fight to save their lives and the women they love.
L: What genre do you typically read?
A: I adore the paranormal romance genre, and I devour every book I can get my hands on that sounds intriguing. But I also love Romantic Suspense and the occasional Historical Romance. For me, stories I read have to contain; intense action, high heat romance, with strong dominate Alpha males and kick-ass women who challenge them, and of course, an HEA (happily ever after) is a must. Forgotten Storm easily falls under those criteria.
L: What does a typical day of writing look like for you? Any rituals or ‘must-haves’?
A: In the beginning, my writing habits were all over the place. Some days I’d spend hours sequestered in my office just typing away, or even late into the night after my husband went to bed. Then I’d try to jam marketing in between somewhere. I found I was sitting at my computer six days a week. My back would protest, my husband felt neglected, and the house suffered.
Now, I’ve worked out a schedule for myself to keep the peace and my sanity. I limit my time in front of my dual monitors to three days a week, sometimes four, if the creative juices are flowing. Mornings are for marketing and afternoons for writing. At first, it was so challenging to stay within those confined parameters, but it’s helped me achieve the ever-elusive life balance authors have difficulty controlling.
L: Any songs or type of music you need to listen to when you write?
A: When I’m deep in the zone, I can’t listen to music with words, so it’s smooth jazz, new age, or spa music, but, the majority of the time, nothing. When I’m editing, on the other hand, it’s a wide variety of music. Two Feet or KALEO for the sex scenes because the sexual, hypnotic beat of their songs elevates my brain to that sexually heightened mood required for those scenes. Dan Owen, for the emotional scenes, because his words and rhythm are a powerful combination that forces me to dig deep and tap into those pesky emotions I hate to examine. For the fight scenes, some high energy pop with a sick bass beat.
L: What’s a word or phrase that people say that always irritates you?
A: Oh man, I really hate it when someone, namely my husband, tells me to “CALM DOWN.” Guys, just so you know, those words rarely have the effect you’re hoping for, and usually escalates the situation. LOL
L: Where would you say you get most of your inspiration?
A: Inspiration comes from many places — the beauty of my husband’s heart to the love and support of my daughter. The picturesque shores of Lake Huron in the summer and the wild beauty of the Arizona desert in the winter inspires my creativity.
A select number of people I’ve met throughout my life who touched me and will always hold a special place in my heart. I’ve even drawn inspiration for my villains from people who are like clouds. When they disappear, it’s a brighter day. You all know who I mean.
L: For aspiring writers out there, what would be the best advice you want them to know?
A: Get the words down, good or bad. Worry about editing later. And what occurs after you’ve written the book is a whole other level of terrifying. The querying process is daunting, stupid stressful, and discouraging. My advice to aspiring writers is DON’T stop. Keep doing what you love. Write the stories that inspire and mean something to you. Because one day, it will connect with others. One day, an agent, or publisher, or readers, if you’re self-publishing, will love your story.
A.R. Vagnetti is a writer of paranormal romance with a splash of erotica. Writing has always been her passion, and her idea of heaven is a rainy day filled with her computer, a steaming mug of coffee, and warm fluffy socks. She draws inspiration from the picturesque shores of Lake Huron in the summer and the wildness of the Arizona desert in the winter. When not immersed in her characters, she enjoys traveling, fishing, and camping with her husband and Labrador.
Forgotten Storm – Blues singer, Nicole Giordano is terrified of a past she can’t remember. Moving from town to town, always looking over her shoulder. When her only comfort, the beautiful and sexy Logan Moretti who haunts her dreams claiming to be her Guardian suddenly appears on her doorstep, it triggers an explosion of suppressed memories: her mother’s hatred, her father Dimitri’s abuse, the existence of Other species, and her ultimate destiny, a prophecy foretold hundreds of years ago.
With the help of their friends, Nicole and Logan fight to stay hidden until the prophesied time, when she will come face to face with her greatest fear, all the while struggling to control their raging desire. A desire that, if unleashed too soon, could destroy them all.
Buy it here!