Laura Tolomei Interview

Today I have the pleasure of speaking with author Laura Tolomei. Thanks for taking time to talk with me today Laura.
Hi, everyone, it's a pleasure to be here and share some of my time with y'all!

To start, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I've had my share of adventures, during my time, and even if it's hard to sum it up in just a few words, I'll try. Born in Rome, Italy, 1965, I got an early start on my traveling, moving to Nigeria, Lagos at age 5 and living there until I was old enough for high school. Then my parents got transferred to Atlanta, GA, where I lived until my college days. But I returned to Italy to graduate in Political Science, going back and forth from India where my family had moved in the meantime. Now I line in Rome and work for the same government agency my parents did, helping Italian companies export their products abroad.

As for writing, it's a passion that started early, from high school, but could not have the time it deserved until I turned 40. Life, love, work, health, money, all seemed to get in the way of writing somehow. But at 40, I changed my life. I got married to the person I'd been with for 20 years, went on a 2 months honeymoon around the US and returned with the intention of being a writer. And that's exactly what I've been doing for the past 3 years!

Could you tell readers a little bit about your newest release?
Visionquest is my latest release, available @ eXtasy Books and ARE, a shape shifting horror fantasy set in medieval times and told in first person POV by Ilenio, a young man from a small village who is chosen by the nobleman in charge, Lord Brahany, to become his personal assistant in solving a series of horrible murders. The choice is hardly casual because Ilenio is a Visionario, one who has visions about the killer and his slaughters, so Lord Brahany needs his skills in order to change into an eagle and fight the evil darkening his land. So their connection must be as intimate as it can get to trigger the transformation. It's shape shifting at its best, only a bit different from what readers are used to because the emphasis is on sensations and emotions that will pull them into a unique relationship where sex is just one of the means to accomplish their mission.

Have you ever gone back and read your own books for pleasure?
Every time I read my books, it's for pleasure. Sure, I also do extensive editing while I'm reading, but I never forget I'm a reader first, and have been long before I was ever a writer. In addition, I have the advantage of having a fabulous mate who enjoys reading my books out loud, and that's really a pleasure because I get a feel of the story I wouldn't otherwise if I read it alone.

How important is research in your writing?
Research is important depending on the genre. I have a vast range-from contemporary to fantasy, horror, historical, and paranormal-but not all of them require research. The contemporary, fantasy and paranormal rely solely on my imagination and knowledge, whereas in historical contexts, I use Internet to fill in the gaps of what I don't already know from my extensive studies and readings. To me, history is a fascinating subject and my good memory has stored a lot of information that have come useful in my books, although sometimes it's not enough. My novel Divinitas, for instance, would have never seen the light without a solid research behind it because it's set in and portrays ancient myths and legends of the past, spanning from Ancient Egypt, to the Persian Empire and to Celtic Britain. So I needed to understand thoroughly both the times and the myths before I changed them to fit my own imaginative story line. Research also had a fundamental part in Roman Seduction and Spying the Alcove since I wanted to get the customs of 1st century AD as exact as possible.

This form of research, like I said, is mostly based on books and Internet, but there is another, very pleasurable type of research that has to do with travel. And since I've done a lot of it in my times, I've also used it extensively in my books to describe settings, culture differences, moods, nuances. For example, my stay in India, however brief, found its way into several books, from Trespassing All Hallows Ever, to Divinitas, to Re-Scue and Tasting Leon's Mark. Or my month long vacation in Sicily returns in Spying the Alcove, while my trip to Jordan became the setting for my Virtus Saga.

Where would you say that you get your most creative ideas?
My best spot of all to get creative is lying on a beach under a torrid sun, which is where the Virtus Saga began, or listening to a friend's complaints about her boss while under the same hot sun gave me the idea for To Seduce A Soul Mate. But any place could spark my imagination. Like I said above, traveling is a great source of inspiration, and it's what happened with Visionquest, born after my visit to Dracula's castle in Romania. Other times, it can simply be passing a shop in a street like it happened with Tasting Leon's Mark that began when I saw an auto repair shop and imagined what it would be life for a woman to work in one. So I guess anything goes with me when it comes to inspiration LOL

If you could ask readers any one question, what would it be?
What do you enjoy most about reading? Is it the story, the plot, the setting, the characters, the genre?

If you could pick any celebrity to be on the cover of your book, who would it be and why?
Johnny Depp on Visionquest would be just perfect because he's like Lord Brahany, and I bet readers would have no trouble in imagining him turning into a splendid eagle.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I think I've got a few. One of them is certainly my spanning among so many different genres, something readers aren't used to because usually authors specialize in one or another. Me? I get bored of writing the same things, so vary my range to fit my needs for diversity.

Another is certainly my going beyond a purely erotica genre and use sex to make readers think. Where else would you find religious themes mixed with hot sex if not in Divinitas? Or Plato's theories on soul mates described in To Seduce A Soul Mate? I give my novels contexts, plot, even philosophy to bring my readers to question values, beliefs and prejudices they take for granted, and realize they can make alternative. It's all part of the message I blend in with the sex, which makes the story more powerful while equally enjoyable as any other erotic tale.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Late in life, after my 40s, but let me start at the beginning. I started early, in high school, even if I didn't have the slightest idea I wanted to become a writer, only reached that conclusion until almost 30 years later. My very first beginning was to publish a short story, Nostalgia, in the high school's journal, born out of my longing for my country. Then I continued in college, writing articles for Emory U's Journal, The Phoenix, but when I returned to Rome, Italy, I concentrated on more "serious matters" like graduating, finding a job, blah, blah. Well, I had to live life for a long time, rather than write about it until I had to give voice to an experience that had tormented me since my American days, which came out as a novel, Piccolo Crocevia a Cinque (loosely translated Little Five Points). This set me right back on the writing track, although again it wasn't a continuous commitment. I had to wait until about five years ago when I came to a turning point in my life, in order to decide to become a WRITER, expanding my work in English, too. But it wasn't until after I published my first two/three books that I considered myself an AUTHOR, or rather, I think it was after I received the 2010 EPIC nomination for Sacrificial Sex. That, more than anything else, told me I was getting somewhere…finally!

If you had a warning label, what would it say?
Highly intoxicating material!

Which one of the characters you've created is most like you?
I tend to avoid posing myself as a character. I don't think I'm interesting enough nor have the qualities to become a heroine of mine. But I do use bits and pieces of real people to craft my characters, so if I have to be honest I'd have to say I used a lot of my personal experiences and traits on Janet Ramsey, from Tasting Leon's Mark. She's an accountant at an auto repair shop who apparently has nothing to do with Leon and Sean's age-old relationship, yet she turns out to be the key to change a pattern that has become stale. And like me, she struggles with weight problems and with an unresolved affair with a woman she had fallen in love with when very young, not to mention her unique sensations about people, which I often get myself.

What can your fans look forward to in the next twelve months from you?
Soon to be released @ Romance Divine, Re-Scue - however you lived your past, today you're the key to changing your future, the prequel to Tasting Leon's Mark, an original borderline story about two souls chasing one another through repeated lifetimes in order to satisfy their bloodlust through a passionate game of sex and knives. No feelings is the only rule the hunter warn, but his prey inevitably falls in love with him, which results in tragedy most of the times until…well, you just have to read it, even if true balance is reached only in Tasting Leon's Mark, the sequel now available @ Whiskey Creek Torrid.

Then I'm working on the next release of the Virtus Saga, The Leader Book 4, where Duncan will officially come to power, but only if he learns to accept his responsibilities, the ones to his beloveds among all, the same he needs to convince them into The Pledge, Book 5.

Is there anything else you would like to add today?
Yes, where to find me. Here's a list of the Internet addresses I use most frequently or where you can find news about me. My Links.

Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions for us today Laura.

Interviewed by: Tammy