Sunday, February 13, 2011

Laura Tolomei in the Author Spotlight

Cate: Please welcome Laura Tolomei. Laura, will you please share a short bio with us?
Laura: Right away.
Born 1965 in Rome, Italy, I grew up in Nigeria, US and India, returning to Rome to complete my studies and start a working career. In 2008 I published my first short story, “The Moon Priestess”, in eXtasy’s Anthology Atlantis Allure and have been writing and publishing since then in both Italian and English. Still a fairly new author, I have already published several full length novels and short stories at eXtasy Books, with more yet to come also on Whiskey Creek Torrid and Romance Divine.

Cate: Tell us about Visionquest and where it's available.
Visionquestavailable @ eXtasy Books and AREis 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.

Cate: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Laura: How about both?

It wasn’t till he took me to his bed and made love to me, for the first time—no competition between us, no unspoken challenge, no master-slave, no blood, no death, nothing but intense emotions overwhelming me with the sheer power of his feelings, a sea so deep, a tide so strong I thought I’d drown as he took me face up, raising my legs above his shoulders and plunging deep before preying on my mouth, too, in a never-ending kiss that took my breath, not to mention my resolve, away—that in spite of everything, I gave him what he wanted most, my soul in its entirety, for I knew right there and then I was sealing my destiny forever.

“Yes, I need you to fight the darkness.”
“A great lord like you needs someone as lowly as me?” Baffled, I stared wide-eyed.
Sprawled on his giant bed in the master chamber, the Seigneuros stroked my hair, caressing and playing with the thick strands. “Aye, I do. You see, the world is full of evil dressed up in one shape or another. Some take the form of beasts, others of demons or vicious entities, though none is more dangerous than those that remain human in only outwardly, concealing their unspeakable blackness beneath apparently normal features.”
“And you fight against them? How?”
He was silent for a moment until his hand slipped around my shoulder. “Little one, what I’m about to reveal is one of the best kept secrets of Griphonis Castle.”
I raised my head, offended he could only think of me as a traitor. “I’d never betray you, Master. I swear!”
He smiled gently. “I know you won’t, because you’re as much a part of it as I am.” He shook his head. “No, I’m simply warning you the truth about me might be harder to handle than you imagine.” He took a deep breath while continuing the slow massage on my back. “What you see of me now is only half of what I am. And since the half you see can’t fight evil, I need to rely on one you can’t see right now.”
“What’s your other half like?” Though afraid of the answer, I knew I had to ask the question.
“It’s a raptor, an eagle-like predator whose only purpose in life is to destroy the dark forces trying to obscure the world’s light.”
As suddenly as if lightning had struck me, I understood my role. “But you can’t turn into it as you’d like because—”
I need a Visionario like you, someone who sees and feels the evil as if it were part of himself, no matter where it happens, then shares it with me through thoughts, images, sensations, anything more than simple words to urge me into the necessary change.
“The nightmares!” And as strange as it sounded, it finally made sense as I opened my mouth wide in understanding.
Exactly. He nodded in agreement while placing a hand over my mouth. But use your thoughts to reach me.
I can actually hear you in my head.
Yes, little one, and I need this to transform into the beast half. You’ll have to be my hunter, the one telling me of the visions and making me turn one form or the other.
The task seemed far too big for my limited possibilities, so I started to tell him, but he had already read my mind as clearly as if I’d spoken the words themselves. You simply need training and that’s what you’re here for. I’ll have my hunters pour their experience into you until you’ll reach their level while I…
The thought trailed off as his hand closed on my ass. I’ll take care of the fun part.

Cate: Tease us with one little thing about your fictional world that makes it different from others.
Laura: Well, in this world long hair is a sign of rank, so only noblemen are allowed the privilege. But my hero, Ilenio, thinks otherwise and lets his hair grow to an impressive length, which is what Lord
Brahany notices of him. Here’s a brief excerpt of their encounter:

“Hey, boy, who are you?” The commanding voice broke through my thoughts.
“I’m Ilenio, son of Corias, sir.” Then I bowed not knowing how else to respond to his authoritative tone. “I live here, in the village right under—”
He raised a hand to stop me, obviously uninterested in my whereabouts. “Turn around,” he ordered instead, after another thorough look over.
I obeyed without hesitations and I felt him curl his lips at the sight of what he shouldn’t have found on someone like me.
“You dare follow our customs?”
Cruel and sarcastic, his snarl was meant to belittle me, so I threw back my shoulders and raised my chin to muster all the dignity I could show him. “Seigneuros, I didn’t mean to—”
“Shut up!” He cut me off brusquely. Then to my surprise, he gave me an unexpected order. “Take them down.”
With trembling fingers, I reached for the large pin holding my hair in a tight crotch and removed it to let a mass of reddish-gold strands tumble down my shoulders and all the way to my ass. I was inordinately proud of their length and wavy patterns, so much better than many noblemen’s poor supply of ugly, straight strands that simply hung there without any grace. Mine instead were brilliant in color, shapely in their waves, soft to the touch and very tempting according to what girls told me.
To emphasize the point, I dared shake them a couple of times, just to let him appreciate the curls’ full effect, particularly if they captured the bright light, until hearing nothing behind me, I braved a peek over my shoulder and discovered I was alone in the clearing, the Seigneuros having vanished without a trace or sound.

Cate: What's next for you?
Laura: As far as writing goes, sci-fi. It implies too much technical and scientific knowledge and I possess little of both. But I love reading it, particularly the one written by women, which tend to make it more human, less technical somehow, although I have to confess my favorite author of all is Philip K. Dick.

Cate: What inspired you to draft your first story?
Laura: The first full-length story is an untitled manuscript, written with my faithful typewriter of almost 30 years ago, of which I remember NOTHING, not even what inspired me. The inspiration I do remember is for my second story line, the Virtus Saga, which dates back to 2006, and it has to do with a recurring image I kept visualizing before I went to sleep or while I was lying on the beach under a torrid sun. In my head, I kept seeing this horseman apparently lost in a land that should’ve been familiar to him, then darkness and a heavy rain fall on him until he sees a light in the distance and knows he’s safe. So he hurries there and knocks on the door of a run-down shack, a place he had no chance of seeing before because he’s a prince and lives in a grand estate, but the young woman who opens the door is not a stranger to him, though he couldn’t tell her name or why he would’ve known her. Mystery and more mystery, and the answers are not so forthcoming, but that’s how Virtus began with its first book, The Sex, now available, along with The Game Book 2 and The Festival Book 3.

Cate: Do you have a writing routine?
Laura: Absolutely not! I hate routines in whatever shape or form, so I avoid them strenuously. I simply go with the flow of things according to my mood and the momentary inspiration, nothing planned or set ahead.

Cate: Where can readers find you on the web?
Laura: A variety of places. Here’s some of them:

My Web



The Blood Bank (Bitten by Books):

Erotic Romance Writers & Reader:

Cate: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Laura: Yeah, I’d like to know what they think of my books in general, if they caught any messages in my writing, and if so, did it enhance their reading pleasure or reduced it.

Cate: Readers, Laura’s giving away a book, The Game, to a random commenter... so start commenting. She'll pick a winner on Feb. 15th, and announce the winner here.
Thanks so much for being my guest, Laura. Best of luck to you.

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