A.R. Vagnetti Interview Published on: 02, Dec 2019

Who was the most influential person to you growing up? Did you always want to be a writer?

That's easy, my father. He always had time for me, patiently answered zillions of questions, taught me how to fish, camp, build campfires, work on cars and repair everything around the house. He trained with me for my track meets in junior high, in fact my father could outrun me. He is the most gentle, loving soul with a heart of gold and the man I seek for all things spiritual.

No, I didn't even consider writing until I was in my mid-twenties. Early on I was only interested in being outdoors and boys. :)

What inspired you to start writing? How long have you been writing?

I've always been an avid reader of anything romance, but I became disillusioned with the evolution of the paranormal romance. Vampires in particular. Until I came across the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series by J.R. Ward, and I fell in love again. That's when the voices in my head became more insistent, demanding I reveal their stories. But my first work wasn't paranormal. I wrote, and I use that term loosely, a romantic suspense novel in my early twenties, and while I was super proud of myself for finishing it, I knew it would never see the light of day. It was horrible. It wasn't until I was fortunate enough to retire early four years ago that I picked up the proverbial pen again. Paranormal romance is my passion, and the kick-ass women and strong sexy Alpha males warring in my brain needed an outlet, and the Storm Series was born.

What do you love the most about paranormal/fantasy romance?

I'm a huge lover of the strong, dominate, protective immortal who would do anything for the woman he loves, but I didn't want my female protagonist to be some weak damsel in distress who needed rescuing. My series depicts strong, courages women who learn to overcome and concur their fears or traumas through any means necessary. I believe the atmosphere is right for the expansion of protagonists like Nicole, and others throughout the Storm Series, who are strong and choose to give up some power, but only when it is deserved and reciprocated appropriately.

Describe your writing space. What time of the day do you usually write?

In Arizona, where we winter, I share my office space with my husband. We each have our own desks and computers but in the same room. Occasionally, I lock him out so I can get some work done without distraction. I use duel monitors, don't know how I ever got along without them, a corkboard for chapter by chapter summary cards, and notebooks for everything. At our summer home in the U.P of Michigan, my desk is in the great room, which has a great view, but no privacy or ability to escape all the distractions. But somehow I make it work.

I find I'm most creative in the afternoons after several cups of java. Which as you know, is the elixir of the Gods! :)

Have you ever been moved to tears by a story that someone else wrote? If so, what was it called and what was it about?

Honestly, I'm not much of a crier, even at movies. My friends and family are flummoxed by my lack of tears. Until I read, Marley and Me. And horror of horror, I was on a plane at the time. The tears came fast and furious and I was getting strange stares from the surrounding people, so I shoved on a pair of sunglasses and forced myself to finish the book. Now, I refuse to read any books or watch any movies depicting animals. They always freaking die.

What are some under-represented themes or people you feature in your books and why do you think it is important?

In Forgotten Storm, Nicole was sexually abused by her stepfather. Sexual abuse on minors is an ongoing problem around the world and many times goes undetected or unreported. But the impact on the child is life long. For Nicole, it shaped her outlook, her ability to trust or love. She resorted to using physical pain as a coping mechanism. Until she finally understood that dealing with the shit life throws at you alone isn't always the best solution. That needing help doesn't make you weak, it strengthens you. The love and support of people you trust is better armor than any self building wall you've created. If the underlying message in Forgotten Storm helps just one person seek the love and support they need to overcome a past tragedy, it would fill my heart with joy.

How did you begin writing your book, "Forgotten Storm?" What was the most challenging thing about crafting a story full of action and suspense?

What a great question. Nicole and Logan's story didn't even begin until I wrote up a long and short synopsis, extensive character bios with pictures, did considerable research on locations, and created an outline for the paranormal society. Only then, when I felt immersed in their lives, did I start their story.

I love, love, love a story filled with action or suspense, and honestly I had too much and was forced to edit out many of the action scenes. When writing those scenes, I picture it my mind like a movie set. Touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste surround me and I become the POV character. I include everything. Later, I edit the crap out of it for better flow.

How important are names to you when writing a book? How do you go about choosing names for your characters?

In the first draft of Forgotten Storm I created several characters whose names where too similar, which thankfully my editor pointed out. The villain's name changed several times before I finally settled on Dimitri.

For foreign names or other species names, I use the website https://www.fantasynamegenerators.com/ This site was a life savior.

Who inspired the character of Blues singer, Nicole Giordano?

Actually, Nicole is an adaptation of me, only times ten. She's everything I love and hate about myself. I envy her talent, her inner strength. How she uses sarcasm to keep people at arm's length or to deflect emotion. For Nicole to trust, you must earn it, it is not given lightly. She finds the courage to overcome the damaged pieces of herself, but still keeps to the core of who she is, and I love that about her. We are all damaged in some way, and that's okay. For me, Nicole was a cathartic journey into my inner demons.

Why do you think many authors struggle with book marketing and promotions, even if they've written a great book?

There are just so many variables out there. What works, what doesn't. Where to spend your money to get the best bang for your buck. It's time consuming, tedious, and not why I became a writer. But in order for my story to touch people it's a necessary evil. We all wish we could just wave a magic wand and everyone would hear about and buy our books. The reality is, we must engage on all the social media platforms regularly to be relevant. Give our books away for free in the hope the reader will post a review and grant it more attention. Blog tours, interviews, newsletters, tweets, FB post that engage people. It's enough to drive you bat shit crazy. I still struggle every day to figure out what will work and what won't.

Is there anything from the past you wish you could do differently? If yes, what is it?

Oh God, so many things. Ignore boys as a teenager, go to college, take more creative writing classes, and maybe get a marketing degree. LOL

What is the most positive review you've ever received? What about the most negative? How did you handle both?

I've been blessed with only wonderful reviews so far, but the most positive one came from one of my beta readers. It warmed my heart, sent confidence soaring through my system, and validated all the reasons I do this.

Phew, after I finished, I had to step away from the book and just breathe. It was that good! Like going on a mind-blowing adventure, I was glued to it. It had my heart beating faster, shock made my mouth open on occasion and every page or two I burst out laughing.

Nicole is so amazingly sarcastic I want to frame her responses or at least print them on a mug and flaunt it about. When they first met, well the first time she remembers, it is so incredibly hot I doubt I will ever forget it. Logan is yum!

I love paranormal genre, and when it is so well written, every character comes alive and guess what – you believe the world created.

You cry with the terror she had to endure as a child and celebrate the unwilling heroine she grows into. This kickass take no prisoners zero filter between her mouth and brain girl who can sing too. I like the quirkiness – the way she names her gun Annie and her truck Riddick and love the vulnerability she allows herself rarely.

The fight scenes were incredible, and the sex scenes more so (*fans her face). I can hardly wait to read the next one. I hope this turn out into 20 book series because I spy some characters that need their own stories revealed.

Review by @Mia.Fendi.Book

The only negative feedback I've received, was from my editor and it was more constructive criticism to help improve the story. So yay for that! But, it's hard not to take it personally. This is your baby after all. So when the criticism comes in, I take a deep breath, a huge gulp of wine, and remind myself it's to make Forgotten Storm even better.

What is your target audience? How do you balance between writing what you want whilst also keeping in mind the wants of your readers?

My target audience are romance readers, and to narrow it down even further, paranormal romance readers.

Since I am an avid romance reader myself, I always keep that in the back of mind as I'm writing. What would I want as a reader? I work to incorporate all the elements I crave into my stories, and I hope my readers connect with that.

What advice do you have for any budding writers out there who are aspiring to write emotionally engaging love stories?

Write from the heart. Write what you are passionate about and what inspires you. Do your due diligence and research. Make sure you connect with your characters on a visceral level, because if you don't have a connection with your characters or story, neither will the reader.

How were you first introduced to AllAuthor? Do you have any feedback?

I was researching what platforms to utilize as an author. Ones that would help get my book visible and support my marketing needs. AllAuthor has been a great resource for helping create beautiful mockups for social media and connecting me with other wonderful authors to stalk... I mean follow.

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