Viviane Brentanos Interview

I recently read a book called Dreamweek by an author I was not familiar with. The book ensnared me from the very first and I did not put it down until I was finished with it. I immediately signed up to read the other books by this author and found that each one was better than the last. The author's name is Viviane Brentanos and I can easily say, she is my favorite find this year and has claimed a spot on my top ten author's list. I am so thrilled she is speaking with me today, and I would like to say, on behalf of Fallen Angel Reviews, welcome Viviane!

Your books are quite possibly the most evocative I have ever read. I can't remember the last time I have gotten as emotional over a book as I get with yours. How do you do that?

Well, first off, just let me say a huge thank you for all your support and I am so flattered you like my work. So, to answer your question - how do I create the emotion? Mmm - I think, basically, I am an emotional person although I do come across as hard and cynical. I cry at films, songs etc all the time. In fact, I am watching Freddie Mercury as I am answering these questions. I loved that man and every time I listen to him or watch him perform, I cry. For my story lines, although most are fictional, I will delve into my past and open up my box of lifetime hurts. I think, as authors, we have to do this or our tales come across as forced. Saying that, I always try to keep a balance and inject a vein of what I like to call Brit caustic wit into my tales. No one's life is all gloom and doom and people often hide behind humour or use it to get them through difficult times.

I understand you had a personal connection to the story Fragile Dreams. Would you care to share what that is?
Ah, you are referring to the breast cancer theme and not the oppressive husband one, I hope. I just want to go on record as saying my husband is as far from the Greek stereotype you imagine. Someone who pays for you to fly half way around the world to see Darren Hayes can't be bad. So - back to the cancer. Yes, I have been through breast cancer twice in my life. I also lost my older sister to the disease when she was only 35. The point I wanted to get across in Fragile was how the attitudes of others can affect you. Getting through the chemo was tough, yes, but for those who have to do it - we just get on and do it. Also, when one has kids, there is no time to wallow and ask the why me question. The question should be - why not me? Life is a lottery. What I hated was the oft-patronizing attitude, example - oh it doesn't matter if you lose your hair as long as you get well. As if I don't know that?

Written in Stone was perhaps one of the sweetest stories I have ever read and James was one of my favorite heroes. Do you have a character that is particularly near and dear to your heart?
Oh my, now you are putting me on the spot. All my men are so jealous of each other, I have to be careful. Thing is, when I am in the middle of writing, I am in love with that character at the time. I think I am just going to have to be a slut and say I love them all. Saying that….. {teaser time}, the character in my wip is probably the one I have to go with. He has been in my heart since I was 13 but more of him later…. As for females…although Ellie in Fragile went through cancer, she was definitely not me. Too sweet by far. Rachel from Cold, again, I wouldn't be so noble and sacrificing. I will have to go with Rebecca from my up and coming 2012 release, A Little Crushed. A lot of her personality is based on how I was when I was in high school.

Tell me about Daniel Haynes from Cold, Cold Heart. You actually based his character on a real life person, right?
Oh my - Daniel. You see what I mean? I adore my Daniel. It isn't so much that I based Daniel on a real person but more on what that person represents. Both performers, both sweet, sensitive, with boyish charm. It was, however, the music of this guy that inspired the character of Daniel. I am a huge fan of Darren Hayes and Savage Garden and a couple of their songs provided me with an insight as to who I wanted Daniel to be. Check out Savage Garden's first album, simply called Savage Garden.

What provides you with the greatest inspiration for your books?
Life, loves, my crushes, but - believe it or not - mainly dreams. Cold, Cold Heart came about after I had a dream about - wait for it - Eminem. A little Crushed, again from another dream where a teacher bonds with a pupil. Now, Written in Stone was interesting. Without giving away the storyline, it was definitely a case of backwards déjà vu. I met someone after I had finished who reminded me a lot of James.

If I were to take a peek at your personal bookshelf, what would I find?
Not a lot. I tend not to keep books. I always pass them around. In fact, I have two old paperbacks propping up my wonky washing machine. I think you are asking who are my favourite authors. Gosh -I have too many BUT If asked who inspired me, I will have to go with Margaret Mitchell and Jilly Cooper. Strangely enough I do not read a lot of romance. I prefer psychological thrillers. I love Patricia Cornwell, Kathy Reichs and Ian Rankin. I am particularly enamored at the moment with the author of Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin, which, I believe, rivals Lord of the Rings for sheer scale of drama, plot and characterization.

What musicians are you most passionate about?
Ha ha - how long have you got? Ok, you know what I am going to say. Darren Hayes, Darren Hayes and Darren Hayes but here is the surprising thing. If you asked me to pick my overall favourite genre, it has to be Heavy Metal. Basically, I like what I like. It's all about voices, evoking emotion. Freddie Mercury, Michael Jackson but there is something about the sound of an electric guitar that moves me. I also adore Gaga; an extremely talented, intelligent world-savvy young woman.

Your home of Corfu, Greece, inspired the setting for Dreamweek and Fragile Dreams. How closely does it resemble the books?
Kuros, the island features in both books is Corfu, only the places are jumbled up. I wanted poetic license and not have people saying oh - but that isn't right. The beach where the first naughty bits of both novels take place is real. The view I describe from the top of the mountains is real. The houses I used are real. The villa company is based on a real one and my experiences working for them. There is even a 'nasty' Pavlos lurking.

Is there a movie you could watch over and over?
Oh I like this question. Lots. Actually, I am a fan of BIG movies so I shall write you a list of my all-time top movies that I definitely watch over and over again.
    1} Lord of the Rings. In my opinion, the greatest movie trilogy ever made.

    2} Gladiator. Russell Crowe. Nuff said. My favourite actor and I love this character driven movie. Although I can watch it again and again, I always switch off at the last half-hour. I can't stand it. Hans Zimmer's music, as with all his music, has me in bits every time.

    3} Star Wars - the original three. Love them

    4} Close Encounters of the Third Kind. My fave Spielberg movie but I love anything from him, including his Indiana collaboration with Lucas.

    5} Zulu, 300. Lawrence of Arabia, Gandhi, Dr. Zhivago, I am lumping these together as they are all big epics.

    6} Kill Bill. Uma Thurman is my secret lesbian crush in this

    7} Snakes on a Plane - yes, I think I am the only person on the planet who loves this caustic movie

    8} Anything by Monty Python. Everything with Leslie Nielson.

Oh I could go on and on……

Do you have any stories in the works or upcoming releases you can tell us about?
Ah - I thought you would never ask. I am so fortunate to part of the MuseItUp Publishing house and, in 2012, I have two releases due. Past Undone - I suppose a sort of a Romantic Suspense but I really hate labels - and A little Crushed, another contemp romance but I wouldn't like to categorize this one either. And now to my baby - a huge project I first begun when I was, can you believe, 13. I made a promise to myself that, this summer, I would finish it - and I have - the whole 200,000 words of it. My poor agent's blood pressure has risen dramatically but it is something I wanted to do; a return to the 'big' stories. You asked me earlier about my favourite hero. Well, here he is. His name is Finn James and I am and have always been totally in love with him. He is good-looking {naturally,} cool, kind, sometimes volatile when protecting those he loves…I could go on but I will keep some secrets.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Ah so many places, so little time. I love where I live - even with the economic crisis but, if I could, I would love to visit Paris, New York, Boston, San Francisco, Vienna - actually anywhere and everywhere. Notting Hill would be good. Guess who lives there?

Is there anything about you that readers might find surprising?
Apart from not reading romance? LOL. Not sure about surprising. I love to cook {French mother so goes with the territory} I adore animals and, if I could, I would love to sing on stage with Gaga - oh - and I find Simon Cowell and Sheldon Cooper sexy. Say no more. I want to be Stevie Nicks when I grow up. Oh - and I once had to chaperone Jude Law. Well, someone had to.

Do you have a website or blog where readers can learn more about you or your books?
I certainly do and now that my summer job as a hotel receptionist is over, I must get around to updating them. Website, Facebook, MySpace, Blog and Author Page.

Thank you so much for your time, Viviane! I cannot possibly gush over you enough and I hope our readers will discover how amazing you and your books are. Your next release cannot come soon enough!
And thank you for inviting me along. It has been a pleasure.

Interviewed by: Tara