BLUE DAHLIA IS THE FIRST INSTALLMENT OF
THE DAHLIA TRILOGY OF THE GILDED FLOWER SERIES.
New York socialite Dahlia Baron is falling for her Latin lover, Rodrigo Cruz, the scion of the Mama Linda Latin foods empire, and hopes to take the relationship to the next level. But there’s a dark secret that she must deal with first in order to truly give her heart to him. When Dahlia visits the man from her past, will the undercurrents of her emotions let her go to Rodrigo or will they pull her back to the one person who stands between them?
Blue Dhalia is available October 16th! Put it on your book list!
Interview with Vivian Winslow!
Q & A
1. I loved The Gilded Flower Series. (sorry not a question). What made you decide to become a writer?
I don’t mind a non-question.:) I love that you loved it!
Writing is probably the only thing I’m qualified to do after all the moving around I’ve done without a steady job. Haha.
Seriously though, having lived in a variety of cities and countries and encountering so many different types of people along the way, I just started to imagine what it would be like to fictionalize my experiences and those of some of my friends. At some point, a story began to swim around in my head, and I couldn’t shake it, so I finally decided to get it out. It felt wonderful to connect with the characters and develop stories for them. That was a couple of books ago, and I haven’t looked back since.
2. Do you plan to continue writing this genre (Erotica Romance Hotness)? Or will you be moving into other directions after this series?
I’m quite enjoying this genre right now. I’ve written women’s fiction and YA, so this has been a welcome change. It is incredibly freeing to be able to write steamy scenes and just go to that sensual place with your character. Sex is such a natural act, and I think that, if it’s incorporated well, it can really enrich a story. That said, once I finish The Gilded Flower series (and perhaps the extras that come with it), there’s a YA book that is screaming for me to finish. Hopefully I can get to it by next summer. I can’t work on multiple projects at one time. I worry that one voice will bleed into the other, so I prefer to keep projects separate.
3. How did you come up with the storyline?
I was suffering from some serious burnout with a women’s fiction manuscript I had been
working on for a long time. A friend of mine suggested I try writing in the erotic romance genre, which is one of her favorite. She helped me hash out the storyline, and Gilded Lily was born. Although it didn’t have that working title at the time, since Lily’s original name was Sara. About a quarter of the way into the book I changed it to Lily, and somehow the rest (the title of the book and characters’ names) came together. The one thing I was pretty clear about is that I wanted the story to include places I’ve lived or visited since I love to travel and feel that it provides the perfect kind of challenge for a character to adapt to a new setting. Once I had introduced all of the main characters in Gilded Lily, I realized that it would lend itself to a full series, and suddenly The Gilded Flower series was born.
4. Who would you cast as Lily, Gustavo, Dahlia, Alejandro, Todd . . . I could name drop many more but that would be a massive collage!
After watching the Endless Love remake, I would love Gabriella Wilde for the roles of Lily and Dahlia Baron. Kim Basinger as Poppy, the twins’ mother, and Dennis Quaid for the twins’ father. Who wouldn’t love Scott Eastwood to play Todd? He looks like he could play the sexy bartender. There are some great Latino actors who would be well-suited to play the leading men in Lily and Dahlia’s lives: Brazilian actors Cauã Reymond as Marcelo and Rodrigo Santoro as Gustavo; William Levy for the part of Alejandro; and Diego Boneta as his younger brother, Rodrigo. Victoria Justice would make a beautiful Rosa. There are so many gorgeous Indian actresses who can play Vi. Deepika Padukone would be great for the role.
Just wait until The Dahlia Trilogy. There will be more gorgeous men!
5. Lily has such a major transition from book 1 to book 3. What did you want the readers to think about her? (Only asking because I usually want to punch the main characters. Lily is not at all annoying and whiny).
I’m glad you didn’t want to punch her.:) I quite like her as well. I hoped readers would go from sympathizing with Lily to appreciating how she worked through her personal issues. Like most people in their twenties, Lily needed to work out what she wanted in life, both personally and professionally. Maybe some women have it figured out, but I certainly didn’t, so it was natural for me to write a character who needed to come into her own and figure things out as she goes along. By figuring it out, I mean, learning whom she can trust, who is worth giving her heart to and how her family and past influenced the choices she made in her life. I went through that in my own way, as I think many have. And I believe that when you come out of that and can own the choices you make, it makes for massive personal growth. I hoped readers would get that.
6. Did you plot all three books of the Gilded Flower Series at once? Or did you write while you went?
It probably would’ve made my life easier if I had outlined the story. It didn’t seem necessary for these novellas. It was quite fun just to let the characters lead and allow the story to evolve that way. If I had had a fixed idea for how I wanted the story to go, I don’t think they would’ve been as interesting. That said, I do try to have some vague idea of the plot so that the story flows and ties well with the previous books.
7. There are so many characters in these books that have left me wanting to know more about them! Can we expect more books including them? If not, please? I am counting about 20 more book! Three to match each person.
Ha. If that happens, I’ll be writing non-stop for the next several years. As it stands, only Lily, Dahlia and Vi will have their trilogies. There are a few more who may get their own standalone novellas. This will depend in part on how the story ties up by the end of Vi’s trilogy. Right now, I’m planning books for Poppy (the twins’ mother), Todd (the sensual bartender), and Rosa (the youngest of the Cruz siblings).
8. How did you want to portray Gustavo as a person as a whole? Not just personal, business as well. I can give you a 3 page essay about what I think of him. However I will restrain myself.
Awww. He’s someone you love to hate. I had no idea how Gustavo’s character was going to evolve until I was writing Calla Lily. Until then, I was (get ready for this) even considering him as Lily’s HEA (I can’t believe I just wrote that!) Gustavo, to me, embodies the qualities and attitudes of powerful businessmen and alpha lovers I’ve encountered over the years. Their intelligence, charm and sexuality make it difficult to dislike them fully. But once he tried to buy Lily’s family’s company, I realized there would be no redemption for him.
Love and hate are two sides of the same coin. If Lily and Gustavo were going to end up together, she would’ve ended up on an entirely different trajectory as a character, and the story would’ve had to focus on forgiveness and her ability to make her peace being with a man who was married when they met. I feel like his being married was key to her growth and maturity as a character. If they were going to come back together, his marriage would’ve become their greatest obstacle, which would’ve diminished her personal growth. This is a series about women coming into their power as individuals. Finding love is a wonderful and fun consequence, but not the main objective. Had Gustavo and Lily stayed together, the series would’ve only been about their relationship and not her growth as a person.
9. Also, Todd. At first I can’t say I was a fan. But there is a story to his past that is screaming to be written. Will he get his story told?
Yes!!! I like Todd’s character a lot. I didn’t realize when I wrote him in Gilded Lily that he would be a recurring character. But something about his quiet, self-contained, and sensual manner made me want to bring him back. His backstory is interesting, and I look forward to sharing it with readers. I’m considering a trilogy on a few of the men of The Gilded Flower series, which would include stories for Todd, Ben and . . . name your third. Not sure about that one although I have some idea based on The Dahlia Trilogy. And no, it won’t be Gustavo. My sincerest apologies to anyone who would like for him to have a separate book. I do love his scandalous character, but his story won’t make an interesting book.
10. Would you ever want your books to be considered as possibilities for a TV show or movie?
Absolutely. There are a lot of characters in this series, and the storylines definitely lend themselves to a TV show more than a movie. When I realized that The Lily Trilogy would become The Gilded Flower series, the story began to take a telenovela-like feel, which is such fun to write.
11. Getting a massage after reading Gilded Lily sounded like a must! It was absolutely hot..and Marcelo. What happened to him? Sigh
In one of the original storylines, he was going to be a bigger character than he turned out to be. I thought perhaps Lily would end up falling for Marcelo and bring him back to NYC. (It no longer fit once Gustavo became such a major character). Marcelo wasn’t her HEA (that was never in the cards for them), and it didn’t take long before I realized that it would’ve taken the story in an entirely different direction. It wouldn’t have been a balanced story, with the rich girl-poor boy scenario. I wanted the characters to be on more equal footing, though not simply in terms of wealth, but also of life experiences or emotional maturity. I didn’t want any of the characters to have to be “saving” the other. There would’ve been a lot of turmoil between Lily and Marcelo, and I didn’t want that for either one of them. I’m not especially fond of two characters going back and forth for too long. She has her back and forth with Gustavo, but it works. Not too much tormenting and I love you/I hate you. That gets old really fast.
12. Latin guys, huh? I’m starting to think you may know a little more about them then I do. Explain!?
Haha. You want me to tell you all my secrets, don’t you?:) I lived in Spain and Brazil for a few years, as well as other European countries. Something about Latin men stands out. Can’t explain it. Perhaps it’s the macho thing combined with their general love and adoration of women. (I’m generalizing, I know, but have you noticed how much they show their appreciation of women?).
13. Now the fun questions! Favorite city: Rio, NYC or Miami?
Ugh. Why make me choose. They are all hot and sexy in different ways. To live, NYC. Miami for a short getaway, and Rio for pleasure. If I really have to choose, then I’d say NYC. It’s an all around awesome city that has everything.
14. Cuban food vs Martini’s vs NY hot dogs?
Again, do I have to choose? Martinis at Bar Pleiades (where Lily has her voyeur experience in Calla Lily). They use gorgeously large, green olives. Cuban food is a close second.
15. Favorite ice cream?
Earl Grey and Pistachio are my all time favs. Were you expecting me to say mint chocolate chip? :)
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About the Vivian Winslow:
Having spent most of the last two decades abroad, Vivian Winslow currently resides in New York City with her husband and two grade school-aged children. Her stories are heavily influenced by her ex-pat experiences. The Gilded Flower Series is her first foray into erotic romance.
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