About the Author
Vivian Winslow was born and raised in Southern California. Before becoming a writer, she made a career out of moving around the world every couple of years thanks to her husband’s job. She currently lives in New York City with her husband and two elementary school age children, and is grateful to finally have a place to call home for more than two years. New York is the perfect city to indulge her love of shopping, the arts and especially food. If she’s not at home writing or running around the city with her kids, you’ll most likely find her indulging in pizza on the Lower East Side or having a cocktail at her favorite bar in Alphabet City. That said, she’s still a California girl at heart and would gladly trade in her heels for a pair of flip-flops to catch a sunset on the beach.
What inspires you to write romance books?
I’ve written a few novels but never in the romance genre. A friend suggested that I try my hand at it since it’s her preferred genre and had been wanting to read something a little different than what was out there at the time. She and I hashed out a storyline one afternoon, and Gilded Lily was born. It was such a fun book to write. The women are smart, capable and strong, but love men and enjoy relationships—and lots of sex—with them as well. There’s an incredible freedom in writing erotic romance. It allows me to take my characters to their limits and not gloss over what is a natural and very feminine experience.
I didn’t anticipate it turning into a series, but the story lent itself to that so the subsequent books just unfolded from there. What’s really fun about the Lily series is that many of the cities she visits are places I’ve lived or visited. It’s great to be able to incorporate my experiences into these books.
Tell us about how you write:
Once I get my kids off to school, I come home, take care of some things around the apartment, then I sit down and write. Usually I talk to my friend, and we discuss where the book may go that day. She’d probably tell you that the majority of the time it rarely goes the way we discussed. But our talks help me frame the general story and character development. It’s the latter that I find most important. In this genre, especially, characters make the stories. They are who the reader will connect with most.
I listen to a lot of music while I write. For love scenes, especially, music helps set the mood. It’s interesting that the kind of music varies by character. I listened to a lot of Lana del Rey while writing scenes for Lily, whereas for Dahlia—the main character in the second trilogy of The Gilded Flower series, which I’m currently busy on—it was a lot of Drake and Miguel.
Also, I can’t say it’s interesting, but I become laser-focused on my writing. I write about places mostly from experience, but I do lots of online research on things like fashion, home design and interior decoration and, for the Dahlia trilogy, surfing.
Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Not talking so much as listening to a constant dialogue or seeing it playing out like a movie in my mind. Either way, there are always voices in my head. It can get a bit crowded sometimes.
What advice would you give other writers?
Don’t be afraid to try something different. There are many tropes in this genre, and readers have come to expect specific outcomes or HEA’s based on the numerous books that are published every year. Trends will come and go, but what matters is that you produce a story that satisfies you. There is an audience for your book, you’ll see.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Romance readers are fickle but generous to indie writers. I’ve sought to go down the traditional route before and there are more hoops than self-publishing, which is far more gratifying, albeit a lot more work for the writer. It pays off in the end when you hear from fans thanking you for allowing them to read your books.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think with the help of social media and blogs, indie publishing will continue to be a growing force that will challenge traditional media houses. There’s room for everyone in this business, but more and more, I think digital publishing will take over. In Super Sad True Love Story, by Gary Shteyngart, Lenny fervently keeps his collection of books aptly referred to as “printed, bound media artifacts.” I don’t think that world is too far away.
What genres do you write?
What formats are your books in?