☆ Author/Character Interview ☆
Welcome, and thank you for stopping by! Tell us a little about yourself and your writing goals.
Thank you so much for having me! I write primarily in the M/M romance genre, though I’ve also had one M/F love story published in an anthology (I say love story, because it wasn’t a Happily Ever After, which is a prerequisite to qualify as romance). My goal at the moment is to increase my readership. Aside from He is Mine I have one book coming out in October with Nine Star Press. It’s the second in a series, and I’m working on a historical M/M romance. For next year, I have three potential projects planned.
Congratulations on your new release. Please tell us a little bit about it. What’s your favorite aspect or part of the story? Do you have a favorite character? Who/Why?
He is Mine is a psychological romance novel. It has some suspense elements, and it’s quite dark in places. The story revolves around Vivienne Aubert, who is a Hollywood actress who falls in love with her colleague Damien. Damien doesn’t return her feelings, though. It’s also the story of Brad Moretti, a detective with the NYPD, who’s just coming out of a very bad breakup. He and Damien meet, which makes the who situation messy and painful, and pushes Vivienne down a dark path.
This book is a bit of a departure from what I’ve written before. Vivienne is a central figure, and I’d never written a full novel with a female main character. She’s not a heroine, she’s really quite nasty. But while writing the book she became dear to my heart, with all her flaws and neuroses. I can’t hate her, though I think a lot of readers will.
He is Mine is a story of fatal attraction. There’s betrayal, emotional blackmail, stalking, delusion, the works. But another strong theme is mental health, and the struggle those of us face who are caring for someone suffering from mental health issues. It wasn’t an easy book to write because those themes are close to my heart.
I think it’s going to be quite a controversial book because of the portrayal of the female MC and because the things I address aren’t often handled in that way.
How do you develop a story idea? Do you always use the same method? Specifically, which do you develop first in your story building, the characters or the plot?
It usually starts with a scene. I see something in my mind’s eye, a strong visual prompt that makes me curious about the people in it (my plots so far have all been character-driven). With this story, I first knew about the female character, that she was an actress and that she wasn’t terribly nice. There’s a scene in the book on a roof terrace in Las Vegas, that was the first image I had. It’s a sweet scene, actually, and I think it shows some interesting things about Vivienne and who she is. It also introduces the person she becomes enamored with, and it doesn’t show him in the best light, which I found interesting. Vivienne was quite a challenge to write because she’s not a very reliable narrator and she’s sometimes pretty nasty. I wanted to balance that with her good qualities, but it was tricky.
What do you find to be the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
That question made me grin, because one of the things I hear most frequently is the sentence, “Men don’t talk like that!”. My partner reads the majority of what I write, and he’s a great balance in that respect. I think women are often much more vocal about all the things they’re feeling. I myself don’t tend to ruminate about feelings so much, so sometimes I also need to make sure I put enough internal dialogue for characters’ motivations and emotions to become clear.
I know I write in a genre that’s sometimes derided for being unrealistic because the characters are usually male and the authors tend to be female (though that’s a generalization; there are many exceptions and a lot is changing right now). But I don’t think of my characters in that way. They’re all people first (I haven’t yet written about aliens though I’d totally love to) and humans are much more similar to each other than we’re sometimes led to believe.
How do you select the names of your characters?
That’s honestly my favorite part of the process! Some things about a story come to me when I’m in the shower, or when I’m out walking, and names are the most likely to come that way. I rarely consciously plan the names for the MCs. It’s like I can get my brain to run through options on auto-pilot, and stop on the perfect one. For the next book I’m working on, which is set in the 1950s, I spent a little bit of time researching names to make sure I wouldn’t pick something that’s completely unlikely. But out of those, I took the ones that felt right, rather than research their meaning.
Sometimes for minor characters I’ll do research to make sure the names have a specific meaning (like a cypher for the function they have in the story), but my main character names have all happened organically so far. I’ll have an aha! moment when the right name comes along. Then I’ll think about who they are and will find a suitable surname that reflects that. For example, in He is Mine I have a character called Brad Moretti. His Italian heritage isn’t hugely important, but I made sure it was fleshed out a little: his best friend is called Maria, and he has dark hair. In my mind’s eye, he looks Sicilian.
Who would play the main characters in a movie about your book?
I won’t make any suggestions for Vivienne because she’s not very nice and feelings might get hurt. But have a look at the Ocean’s 8 cast; I thought a few of those actresses would work really well. Not because they’re nasty people but because they can play very interesting, multi-layered characters.
The one character that’s really easy to cast is Damien Thomas. He’s Kit Harrington to a T! I hope Kit will forgive me, but visually, he was who modelled for me to create Damien in my head. The hair makes me swoon!
The best person to play Brad would be Jon Bernthal, I think.
What’s your most useless talent?
I can make very poignant, sarcastic comments at the drop of a hat. I always thought that was pretty useless, but actually, it’s great for kidding around with people on Twitter, especially if you want to be noticed by celebrities. I mostly follow famous and popular authors these days, and they seem to like a funny turn of phrase.
Ask permission or beg forgiveness?
Beg forgiveness, I’m afraid. I’m a very impatient person, and also pretty stubborn. Shooting first and asking questions later, as it were, is just so much easier!
Today, we have actress Vivienne Aubert with us, for our popular 12 Question feature! Vivienne will soon start filming for the female lead in Dark Core, director Victor Cahn’s new and ambitious SciFi opera. Of course, Victor is also Vivienne’s husband. Should make for interesting dynamics… Welcome Vivienne, and let’s get started right away!
What is your name? Do you have a nickname? If so, who calls you by it, and how did you get it?
My name is Vivienne Aubert. I got married last year [shows us her rose-gold wedding band studded with diamonds] but Victor said I should keep my maiden name. Because of my brand, you know? Everyone calls me Viv…except my mother…[frowns, then shakes back her long blond hair and smiles]
How old are you?
Not something you ask a lady, is it? [she winks] I’ll tell you anyway, because nobody believes it. I just turned thirty.
Do you ever lie? If so, when?
Oh, I don’t know what you mean with lie? I mean, what’s truth anyway? It’s just another story, right?
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Maybe I’d change my nose. I mean, people say it makes me look interesting, but I don’t know…I think it’s a bit too hawkish. What do you think? [turns her profile, grimacing a little]
What is your greatest weakness?
Hmm, difficult one. I think I’m sometimes impatient. But really, it’s just because I want everything perfect, you know? I’m impatient with myself too, and push myself really hard. People give up too easily. We should have higher standards.
How would you describe your childhood?
It was really hard work. [laughs] You know I was a dancer and a model before I became an actress. I started at the Paris Opera when I was eight. Sometimes I think that’s when my childhood ended. [is quiet for a moment] But I wouldn’t have wanted a different childhood. I guess…
Are you an optimist or a pessimist?
I’m a pragmatist. [laughs] No, seriously, I’d say I’m pretty optimistic. When you’ve got your goals laid out clearly before you, you automatically strive and hope for the best.
What is your greatest extravagance?
I guess I do like clothes a lot, and shoes and bags. But most of the really expensive things in my closet were given to me by designers and labels to wear to events. It’s great promotion for them, and I get to keep the pretty shoes and bags!
Do you plan things out or are you spontaneous?
My husband would say I’m a daydreamer and let life carry me wherever it pleases. But that’s not true, he just likes to tell me what to do – and I like to ignore him.
What are your pet peeves?
Give three words to describe yourself.
Pretty, hard-working, ambitious.
What is in your refrigerator?
Right now? A few bottles of champagne, in case someone drops by for a chat. Lots of fruit. I’m currently on a melon trip, don’t know why. And lots of Perrier sparkling water.
Thanks so much for your time Vivienne! If our readers are curious to find out more about the famous actress, maybe go with her behind the scenes on her next movie set, you can follow her Instagram now at instagram.com/vivienneaubert