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VANA VARGAS INTERVIEW AND BOOK GIVEAWAY
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I started reading fictional novels, mostly historical romance, when I was about eleven. By the time I was fourteen, I was able to predict what was going to happen in the types of stories I was reading and I became bored. I decided I could write something interesting and unpredictable, and so I started playing with short stories. It was only a hobby for MANY years, with me telling myself, “One day, I’ll publish a book.” Well, that day finally came because I finally got off my butt (or shall I say got ON my butt) and kept company with my laptop for months on end. I wrote my first novel, Saletti Blood: The Order.
I’d also like to give credit to my eighth grade English teacher, Mrs. Schrum, who encouraged me to continue my passion with writing. I remember amazing her with class assignments that were supposed to be ATLEAST a certain amount of words, with papers she’d have to put a CAP on for me. I tended to go overboard and write mini-novels when all she wanted was a 500 word story. She appreciated my creativity, which was a great motivation for me to keep at it. To this day, I’ve never forgotten her (and trust me, it’s been YEARS since I was in the eighth grade!).
What character(s) of your book(s) do you most relate to??
The character I relate to the most in my book, Saletti Blood: The Order and also Saletti Blood: Sins of the Father would be Novella Lachlan. Truth be told, she IS me. Her personality is mine, from the way she reacts to things to the way she can be hilarious without even realizing it. She loves from the heart and hates where it’s deserved. She doesn’t always make the right decisions, but she’s woman enough to admit when she’s messed up. I wrote her based on how I’d see myself in her situations, if I were seventeen again.
How do you visualize your stories? By dreams? Inner monologue with your characters, dreams, etc.?
I lay in bed at night with my headphones on, and while listening to music I daydream of ideas. They come to me so easily when I’m relaxed and in the dark. I keep a notebook and flashlight on my nightstand, so as I think of a scene in my head, I scribble it down to play with in the morning. It’s how I wrote the outlines for both of my books, and how I’m working on the third.
What is your writing ritual? Music?? Silence? Meditation?
Great question and I admit I have to have music playing while working on the laptop. If you ask what type of music, it depends on the scene I’m writing. If it’s a club scene, it’s definitely HOUSE music or reggaeton. If it’s a sad scene, then I tone it down with something that makes me want to cry – and trust me, I’ve done a LOT of crying while writing the first book of the series! I have to be in the mood of the scene, and music is crucial.
I’ve written the series listening to Matt Goss (love his “Is This What You Want” and “Change Me”), Demi Lovato’s “Skyscraper,” and a lot of Keri Hilson. I’ve also gotten through some scenes with Massari blasting on the surround sound, as well as Britney Spears and a few others.
What inspired you to write Saletti Blood?
Saletti Blood: The Order began as a piece I wrote for what I like to call “self-therapy.” Let’s just say that some of the experiences in the book, which Novella is forced to endure and overcome, were experiences that I had to survive through. Although I’ve changed the scenario and shifted a few incidents around, the experiences in the story were mine. The abusive relationship Novella finds herself in was one of my own, as well as the harsh relationship she had with her mother.
There were a lot of things in the book that touched home for me, which was the point of writing them. I needed to get my emotions out there because I’ve carried them for years, but while I wanted to share them with the world, I also wanted to make it “entertaining.” So, the book became a love story with Vincenzo Saletti, who is COMPLETELY fabricated because I’m still waiting to find THAT MAN! Ha-ha…
If you could be a book genre? Which one would you choose and why??
I’d choose fictional romance, just because it’s something that comes easily for me.
What knowledge do you want to share with aspiring authors like myself??
I think it’s important to NEVER give up on your dreams, especially if you’re aspiring to be an author. You hear the horror stories of people being turned down by publishers because their story didn’t meet their guidelines or just wasn’t something they wanted to represent, and I’ve found there’s a greater market of people who’d be interested in reading your material than those who are interested in turning it down.
Practice your editing skills, unless you have someone to do it for you. There’s nothing worse than reading material that your elementary student could have written, so brush up the skills before you make an honest attempt at introducing yourself to the world. Honestly, I admit my first book was a learning experience for me and it’s easy to see once you’ve moved on to the second book. There’s an improvement in the writing itself, which can only be gained by experience.
Above all, TAKE YOUR TIME and don’t rush the story. It’s not about quantity on the shelves, but quality. Everyone wants to have a dozen books selling on Amazon, but if they’re not well thought-out, then no one wants to read them. Have a plot before you post!
If you were stranded on a deserted island, what 5 things would you bring and why??
Well, let’s see… For one, sunscreen! My white butt would be burnt by nightfall if I couldn’t find a shady palm to hide under all day.
I’d bring a stack of paper and pens so I could keep a journal. It’s just the way of a writer and it would be a great way to kill time while waiting on a ship to cruise by.
I’d also like to have a volleyball named WILSON. Hahaha!
Pictures, for sure, of those I love and those who have inspired me.
My eyebrow pencil! I never leave home without it, so I suppose it would have to be in a pocket before I ended up “left behind” on the island.
What other books do you have to write or be written in the horizon??
I’m currently writing book 3 of the “Saletti Blood” series, and once that’s completed I intend to work on a paranormal book. As a ghost hunter, I’ve had some interesting experiences that I’d like to share with the world, but I’ll turn them into entertainment by writing a fictional novel. It’s more fun for me to write that way because I absolutely HATE having to stick with FACTS. I like to expand my creativity or else I feel trapped, like I’m back in school and having to follow the assignment guidelines. I write for my own pleasure, so why not have fun?
I also have a sci-fi idea that I’ll be working on. It’s sort of an “end of the world” type of story, but with a different kind of twist from the “natural disasters” everyone’s expecting to occur.
If you could have dinner with anyone alive or dead? Who would it be and why??
I couldn’t WAIT to answer this question! Hands down, it would be Luke Goss (the actor). He’s the inspiration for my main character, Vincenzo Saletti, in my “Saletti Blood” series. As frightened of me as he may be by now, hee hee hee, I’d really just like a one-on-one with him to tell him of my appreciation for the inspiration he’s given me. I don’t think I could have finished the books without imagining him as Vincenzo. He’s literally made my character come to life – made it so EASY to write the scenes because I already know the sound of his voice and the expressions he’s capable of making.
I’ve studied all of his movies just to memorize how he sounds, looks, and how he reacts to situations. There’s nothing the man can’t ACT out, whether it’s playing a king or a criminal, a hit man or a lover, an average man or a creature. He’s given me so much to work with, that I can see him in my mind like I’ve watched him performing my scenes in person.
I’d like to buy the man dinner and Vodka! (Maybe a few Vodkas!) LOL
If you could time travel, what time period would you go to and why??
I like this question. I’ve always believed I must have had a past life, because I’ve been drawn to the 1800’s since I was a teenager. I feel such a connection to the days when the Native Americans were still flourishing across the West, and if I could go back in time, that’s where I’d like to be. I’d be the only crazy white girl running TO the Sioux while my immigrant family would be running FROM the arrows and war cries! Hahaha… There’s just something about the wild frontier with open land and buffalo, horses and cowboys and Indians, that I can’t resist.
But then I’d miss my IPhone… L
How do you write your books?? By the seat of your pants? Or is it plotted out in advance??
I absolutely HAVE to have an outline. In fact, the outline to my first book was 50,000 words. I can’t work on the seat of my pants when there are so many details to involve, and with my books ranging around 160,000 words, it’s a good idea that I don’t try. I might forget things or get off track, so I like to follow an outline.
How many books in the future do you see in the Saletti Blood series?
I started this series without it being a series. It was only supposed to be ONE book, but I’d left it open with the possibility of a second. Never thought I’d continue with it because I wanted to move on to another idea, but then I had so many women falling in love with Vincenzo’s character that I decided to write a second. Now, with so many emails from women who can’t get enough of the man inspired by Luke Goss, I’m on book 3. I’d planned to stop after this one, but I’m debating now. I’ve received threatening emails from my fans that I better NOT kill off the man they’re in love with – that there better be a 4th and 5th book coming… LOL… So, I’m conflicted now with how many more books will come. To be honest, I simply have NO CLUE!
Here is a twist…10 words or less, what comes to your mind first??
Owl Pellets (thanks to my friend JULIA who collects owl pellets! Gross!)
Moon Twilight, what else? And spirits – they have more energy when the moon is full!
Fantasy Luke Goss (lmao – hey, he came to mind!)
Fairy Godmother… And Tinkerbell!
Book I better get back to writing…
Bird Crap! I have endangered birds nesting outside my house that are dropping all over my patios!
Balance I think of the scales of a Libra (I’m a Libra), but don’t ask WHY because I have no clue.
Chaos 2012… Y2K… LOL… My daughter running out of hairspray before school.
Beauty “Is in the eye of the beholder.”
Rainbow Leprechauns, as I am Irish. Gotta represent my lil fellows!
Feel free to add anything you would have liked me to ask and your social media links.