Today I’m delighted to welcome Violet Gregory to Me, My Books and I:
ABOUT MY WORK
Let me start by telling you I’m a huge fan of chick lit and new adult fiction – the funnier and sexier the better. I love books with edgy plots and adventurous characters who break all the rules. I love it when I’m kept guessing until the last chapter – and even then I’m surprised. And I do love happy endings.
I couldn’t find enough of the kinds of books I love. So I decided to start writing them myself. Stories that challenge our ‘reality agreements’ of how love and romance should work. Stories full of passion – and art and fashion and shoes and all those other things girls like. Lavish doses of laughter. And – of course – great sex.
For most of my adult life, I have been a writer of one sort or another. I started writing poetry as a teenager when I had a school holiday job in the local Space Invaders arcade, and was the founding editor of my school newspaper.
On leaving school, I caused consternation among my teachers and family by announcing I was not going to be a writer at all, but was planning to study fashion design. However, I quickly abandoned that idea when I realised I’d have to wear make-up and high heels on a regular basis in order to succeed in the fashion industry and went off to University instead.
I discovered University was a much more suitable place for me, as I could wear my Dad’s old pyjama top and monster slippers to class if I wanted to (and sometimes did). I failed almost all my papers in my first year, but was a member of a number of influential groups around campus, including the women writers’ group Venus Envy and KAOS (Killing as An Organised Sport). Eventually I obtained a BA majoring in French and English, one of the highlights of which was being accepted into and completing a year long Creative Writing paper with well known New Zealand author Albert Wendt. Some of my work from this time can be found in the limited edition anthology A Box of Snakes, which was published in 1991.
Since then, I have worked mostly as a business writer and journalist, and have from time to time contributed chapters and editorial input to a variety of non-fiction books. I began writing my first erotic novel in the late 1990s. I sent off four chapters to a number of publishers and received an offer to publish the completed book almost immediately. However, I was disheartened by the publisher’s request for the plot to be changed to meet their ‘formula’, and subsequently distracted from writing by the presence of babies and toddlers in my life, and the novel remained unfinished.
I finally commenced a new manuscript in 2012 and the first novella in my Butterfly series was released in September 2013. But this 21st Century saga is no traditional formulaic romance. The themes are erotic, edgy and challenging, and my characters make their own rules around combining love, sex and fidelity with the practicalities of friendships, family and work in ways that are modern, unexpected and ultimately empowering.
I live on a small farmlet in Northland, New Zealand with my husband, two sons, three chickens, two cats and a large number of mice (less since the arrival of the cats).
To find out more:
Where did the idea for the Butterfly series come from?
The overriding premise of the Butterfly series is “What happens when everything you believe about love, sex and fidelity is turned on its head?”
I couldn’t find enough of the kinds of books I love, so I decided to start writing them myself. The Butterfly series ticks all the boxes for what I would want in a five star rated book. It’s romantic, sexy, fun and full of relationship complications, but it’s also completely unpredictable and makes you think hard about many of the accepted realities of life and love that we take for granted. It steps outside the traditional ‘boy meets girl’ romance formula and goes way beyond the ’50 Shades’ type books in its exploration of relationships and what’s normal.
How did you come up with the title?
The main character, Georgia Daniels, is attracted to images of butterflies – whether it be on clothing, footwear, jewelry or art. It’s something she isn’t really aware of until someone points it out to her – but it turns out to be highly significant as the series progresses. I can’t say any more at this stage without giving too much away.
Why did you decide to make it a series?
Initially, I started writing Butterfly as one novel, but when I finished my first draft of the whole story, I realized it was too long to be just one book. When I looked for natural places to break the story up, the idea of it being a series became obvious. Eventually, the series will consist of four full length novels, each with three parts. These are being released at the start of each month from September 2013.
The other great thing about releasing Butterfly as a series is that I get to share it with the world so much sooner – which I’m really excited about.
How do you decide on names for your characters?
Some of them are just names I like – such as Georgia and Seraphina (Sera). Others reflect the cultural background of the characters – for example Hugh Fraser is of English and Scottish descent and Willa (whose full name is Wilhelmina) van Krevelen has Dutch parents.
If Butterfly was made into a movie or TV series who would you like to play the lead roles?
When I started writing Butterfly, I downloaded photos from the internet that I used as inspiration for some of my characters, but most of them weren’t actors – except Daniel Craig, who I’ve already earmarked as Xavier Bishop. Ellen Page would make a cool Georgia Daniels and Matt Bomer would be delicious as Hugh Fraser (in fact, quite ironic given that, when Georgia meets Hugh, she actually thinks he is gay at first). Alternatively, it would be good to cast a New Zealand actor like Martin Henderson as Hugh. I could see Scarlett Johansson as Willa, but only if she can do a New Zealand accent that sounds faintly Dutch.
What makes it stand out from the crowd?
Butterfly is not your standard formula romance (boy meets girl; they have to overcome some obstacles, but they finally get to be together). Neither is it yet another damaged past/BDSM themed novel where the hero and heroine ‘heal’ each other with their twisted love. But it is utterly romantic and very sexy and it delves into some very challenging topics when it comes to love and relationships. I like to think it will inspire readers to venture down roads less traveled when it comes to future themes they will choose to explore – both in their reading and in their lives. And, who knows – it might even inspire other writers as well.
Do you have any writing quirks?
Apart from being a bit obsessive, not really. I write anywhere, anytime – whenever I can get a quiet moment. The men in my family are all musicians and they’re very loud, so sometimes this involves taking my laptop into my car and driving down the road. We live in the country and I have quite a distinctive car – so sometimes I wonder what the neighbors think I’m doing.
If you could collaborate with any author who would it be?
Sarra Manning – Unsticky is one of my all-time favorite novels. It challenges our reality agreements on what makes a relationship good or real. And I love how it keeps you guessing right to the end.
If you could travel anywhere in the world to do research for a book where would it be?
I’ve always wanted to go to Brazil. And Moscow. When I start writing Willa’s story, which is next on my list, I might do both.
Paperback or eBook?
e-Book for my own convenience. But I do worry we are losing something with the e-book revolution. Some of the books that have had the most impact on me when I read them are well thumbed paperbacks that I found lying around at a friend’s place or picked up in 50c bargain bins at flea markets etc. It’s how I discovered Harold Robbins as a 16 year old!
Heels or flats?
Talker or listener?
Listener – and watcher. Isn’t every writer?
Hot or cold?
Hot – as long as there’s a shady spot – I burn easily. The best place on a sunny day is in a hammock under a tree right by the beach, with a good book. Luckily, I live by a beach with trees.
Sweet or savoury?
Definitely sweet – especially before midday. I’ll always pick pancakes over bacon and eggs for breakfast.
Thank you so much for being here today Violet, it was a pleasure to have you on my blog. I particularly enjoyed reading about how you decided on names for your characters!
Now check out the book:
“The delicate silver filigree butterfly around my neck had been a gift from Hugh … I told myself it was a talisman that would prevent any harm coming to me. But I couldn’t have been more wrong.”
What happens when everything you believe about love, sex and fidelity is turned on its head?
When American artist Georgia Daniels marries handsome, sexy lawyer Hugh Fraser and moves to the other side of the world with him, the fairy tale she thought she was buying into soon transforms into a complex web of secrets and uncertainty.
Ghosts from Hugh’s past surface, making her realize he’s not the shy, innocent guy she thought he was. Her best friend Willa turns out to have secrets of her own that leave Georgia out on a limb when she needs someone she can trust. And every time she thinks she has it all figured out, she gets a call from her estranged mother, whose well meaning attempts to deal with the past and restore their relationship just leave Georgia even more confused.