Let's start with you telling us a little bit about yourself, Vanessa.
I'm thirty-six years old and I live in the rural South with my hubs and my twin boys. I read, run, and knit for fun, and before I became an author, I had been a professional photographer, a technology saleswoman, a makeup artist, and a bathroom designer. I tend to live by the seat of my pants, and I love it.
What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
I'm terribly shy and I have two big phobias: flying and talking on the telephone.
When did you start writing, is it something you've always been interested in, or did it develop later in life?
When I was in the seventh grade, I wrote a lot of NKOTB fanfic (though I didn't know that's what it was called at the time), but after that no fiction until a few years ago. When I worked in sales, I was the "go to" girl for proposal writing help, but I don't think that really counts. Sometime in early 2011, I started writing "for real" and that was a huge turning point for me. I wrote three novellas and a novel that year. I never looked back.
Has it been everything you thought it would be or not?
It has been everything I thought it would be and SO much more. Writing is the perfect creative outlet for someone like me, but publishing my writing is rewarding because it has led to connecting with other writers as well as the readers who, like me, are always looking for something new and different to read and a new world to enjoy.
How did it feel when you realized that your very first book was going to be published?
Un-real. No words. It was amazing. It still is. Everytime someone says they read something I wrote, that warm-gushy feeling I got when I received my first publishing contract comes back. It's such a wonderful feeling, but it's also humbling. Someone took their time to read one of my weird little books? It's amazing.
What's your favorite part of writing a book?
Writing the first kiss. I loooove that. Whether it's a "push him up against a tree and get it on" first kiss like in Shifter's Song, or a sweet tender moment of comfort like in Hostile Beauty, the first kiss is always my favorite part to write.
Do you get time to read for pleasure? If so, which books do you enjoy?
If I didn't get time to read for pleasure, I would make time. My reading time is sacred. My favorite stories are usually LGBTQ titles, and I love when spec fic meets queer fic. That's the best. Recently I read all ten books of The Rifter serial by Ginn Hale, and I was blown away--it will go on a very short "lifetime favorites" list.
Are there any other genres you'd be interested in writing?
I am kind of a subgenre hopper within the romance genre. M/M contemporary is my favorite, but I also write paranormal and scifi romances, and I write hetero romances as well. I write a little bit of erotica, but rarely--I like my happy ever afters.
Please tell us a little about your most recent release.
Hostile Beauty is a contemporary retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It's set in a small city with a history of environmental pollution covered up by political corruption. Andrew, our Beast, is intent on exposing the corruption at any cost. Levi, our Beauty, is intent on protecting the two men who employ him. I really enjoyed stretching myself as a writer by taking familiar characters--Beauty, the Beast, Beauty's dad, and the witch, and reimagining them as ordinary Americans in a contemporary situation, but keeping the ideals of the fairy tale alive.
What can we look forward to in the future from you?
I'm planning on publishing several erotica novelettes, beginning with The Dark Collector, a story about a grieving man trying to hold onto the last vestiges of his relationship with a dead artist. After The Dark Collector, expect to see some more M/M contemporary romances, including a sports romance and a story about a demisexual Navy pilot and his on-again/off-again hairdresser boyfriend. Right this moment, I'm writing an M/M romantic comedy featuring a surfer and an octopus shifter. Because why not?
Anything you want to say to your readers?
Thank you! Thank you for reading my stories and thank you for caring about these characters who mean so much to me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Vanessa North's most recent releases:
Recluse Andrew Eccleston wants revenge on the man who destroyed his face twenty years ago, Winnie Wexford--a vindictive state senator not above a smear campaign against Andrew. Andrew's grateful for the help of his erstwhile brother-in-law, David, until the help turns up in the form of PR guru Levi Beaumont, Andrew's every fantasy come to life.
Levi is beautiful, smart, and righteous. When his mentor, David asks him to take on a difficult client for the PR firm, Levi agrees, in spite of a very real risk to his career working with non-profits to get them the attention they deserve. He knows facing off against a powerful politician could destroy his career, but he agrees out of loyalty to his mentor.Andrew and Levi are thrown into tense proximity as they work to protect Andrew and expose Wexford.
As Andrew opens his tightly-guarded private life to Levi, hostility turns to respect, respect to passion, and the stakes go much deeper than career or reputation.
The Dark Collector
Jeffrey Kuyper was a once-in-a-generation talent and I was his muse.
Jeffrey's death shocked the art world and upended my life. His last portrait is an intimate reminder of our final weeks together. Now it's up for auction and I want it more than anything. When a cold-mannered man in a dark suit outbids me, I'll agree to anything to buy it from him--even a weekend in his bed.
Edouard Bonsaint has a bear-sized problem. He hasn't shifted in ten years, and isn't sure he even can anymore. Chaperoned by his youngest brother, Bruno, he heads to the Wiccan Haus to ask Rekkus for help. But when Bruno doesn't show up on the other side of the portal, Edouard's inability to shift is no longer his biggest problem.
Lincoln Tucker has it all: money, fame, and a golden voice. But he's in the closet twice over--few people know he's gay, and even fewer know he can shift into a songbird at will. Downtime at the Wiccan Haus between tours allows him to be himself. Throw a big toppy bear-shifter into the mix, and Lincoln might just have all he's ever wanted--if he can trust himself to hold on to Edouard.
With passions and tempers burning hot, can Lincoln help Edouard bring forth the bear and save his brother?
Excerpt from Hostile Beauty:
Andrew grinned as he pressed “send.” Okay, so maybe it was a little bit mean to send a suggestive text when he knew Levi was having dinner with David. But he really did want Levi to come over after dinner. He’d been thinking about him all day, wondering what guys like Levi did when they weren’t at work. That, and he kind of liked the idea of Levi getting hot and bothered over dinner. His phone buzzed.
He snorted back a laugh. Not so hot and bothered. Okay? He had to up his game.
He made his way to the bathroom and peeled off his shirt. He knew his body looked good—he worked out when he was tired, bored, frustrated, stressed. In other words? Pretty much all the time. It showed. He leaned back and tightened his abs as he got ready to snap the picture in the mirror. He turned his face to the side so most of his scars were hidden. On impulse, just as he took the photo, he reached with his other hand and pinched his own nipple. Then, he hit send and laughed.
He was lighter than air, giddy, high. When was the last time he’d flirted with someone? College? Maybe? Before the accident for sure. There had been a few disastrous visits to gay clubs over the last eight years, all of which ended up with him slinking out the door, alone, only a few minutes after paying the cover. Flirtation didn’t come naturally to Andrew.
Nothing that couldn’t be bought online with a credit card came naturally to Andrew.
His phone buzzed and he laughed again when he looked at the screen. One word.
He’d been hoping to get a workout in this afternoon, so he wore his running shorts. They were shorter and tighter than anything he’d be caught dead wearing in public.
Perfect. I’m half hard anyway, this will be easy. He held up the phone for another picture, stepping back so his shorts fit in the picture too. He thrust out his hips, knowing the resulting bulge in the front of his shorts was a little obscene. Still, he used his hand to outline it a bit. No such thing as too big.
The photo was lewd. It was completely unlike Andrew. But the thought of Levi opening it made him horny and happy, so he sent it.
He waited a few minutes wondering what he should do next—a photo of his ass, the top of his crack just sticking out the top of his shorts? He’d love to get a picture like that from Levi. Hell, he’d jerk off to something like that for weeks.
Levi didn’t text him back. Maybe it was a little much. Andrew growled his disappointment and headed for the treadmill.