Interview with Vivienne Diane Neal for AuthorMePro

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APKY/AMP: Hello, Vivienne. Welcome to AuthorMeProfessionals as our author interviewee. Please tell us something Vivienne Diane Nealabout yourself and how you came to be a writer. What inspired you to write your first book?

 

 

Thank you for having me as a guest on AuthorMePro. I was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1946, and moved to Manhattan in 1964. In 1977, I received my AA degree from the Borough of Manhattan Community College and went on to complete my BS degree in Home Economics from New York University in 1979. For over sixteen years, I was a consultant to various home care agencies training their home health aides, housekeepers and homemakers in nutrition, meal planning, special diets, budgeting and home management. It was never my intention to become an author, but because of an incident that occurred while I was starting my second online dating site, I wrote an article about the experience and decided to expand that piece into my first book, Making Dollar$ And Cent$ Out Of Online Dating. It is a humorous account as to why and how I got into the dating business and the trials and tribulations that I have faced in the past.

 Shades of Deception, by Vivienne Diane Neal

 APKY/AMP: Now that’s definitely a first at AuthorMeProfessionals – a book about online dating. What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?

 

My genre is contemporary romance. I enjoy writing short stories that center on successful people falling prey to ruthless men and women who use love and romance as embellishments to suck individuals out of their money. Presently, I have not considered delving into other genres.

 

APKY/AMP: Romance is always queen. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

 

Yes. Although my stories are fictional, they are a reflection of what occurs in the real world. Many people rush into romantic or business relationships without first checking the individual’s background or really getting to know that person. I also want the reader to put his or herself into the character’s circumstances and say, “This can happen to me, or I must be more vigilant before I trust anyone and learn how to read those warning signs that say, “Something is not right with this person or what is wrong with this picture.”

 

APKY/AMP: Ouch! And here I am, believing in love at first sightJ. What have you had published to-date?

 

Besides, Making Dollar$ And Cent$ Out Of Online Dating, I have published, Shades of Deception, Malicious Acts and Wicked Intent.

 

APKY/AMP: Very intriguing titles. Maybe I could review a couple for you, if you like. Do you have any advice for other writers?

 

If you have a story to tell, tell it. Don’t wait for someone to tell you if your book is marketable or not. If a traditional publishing house turns down your manuscript, think about self-publishing. Many sites provide the necessary tools to publish your book without costing you an arm and a leg. Avoid vanity press and subsidy publishers, unless you are a trust fund baby. :)

 

 

APKY/AMP: I agree, although the funny thing is that somehow we’ve been conditioned into believing that “you ain’t no author worth much unless you’re traditionally published”, and most people seem to believe in that. You’re a great encouragement to them. Now, could you tell us why we should buy your book?

 

Although my romance stories do not have happily-ever-after endings, I always try to add some humor to my work. My stories are for adults, but they do not contain violence, obscenities or sexually explicit content. I prefer leaving the lovemaking scenes to the reader’s imagination. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a prude, but I feel there are enough books out there for those who enjoy reading these types of novels.

 

APKY/AMP: There certainly are. So let’s come to the author’s hardest task: How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?

 

I have an online dating site and a blog, which I use to market my books, my brand and other authors in the romance genre. I also write articles, do guest blogging, interviews and host virtual book tours. Even though I am helping other authors promote their works, I am also getting more traffic to my site, which enables visitors to see what I have to offer as an author.

 

APKY/AMP: I think I need to take you on as my mentor. I don’t even have an inkling on how I’d do a virtual book tourJ Is there a special place that you prefer when you write?

 

My favorite place is my bedroom, which is my home office, where my creative juices begin and flow into a finish product.

 

APKY/AMP: Right. What are you working on at the moment / next?

 

I am now working on my fifth book, Retribution Unleashed, which is a sequel to Wicked Intent. The saga continues with Honeydew Chew ending up in a mental facility. She believes her son and his lover stole her sixty million dollars. With the help of another patient, whom she despises, Honeydew will unleash her style of retribution by putting together an elaborate plot that will destroy her only son, and the woman she holds responsible for pilfering her money.

 

APKY/AMP: So you have tons to keep those creative juices flowing in future.J Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and off you are with it? 

 

I will get an idea in my head and start writing. Many times, I just start to write without having a clue as to how the story will develop, or turn out.

 

APKY/AMP: That’s me too. Grab the idea and let it lead me by the nose! Do you have a method for creating your characters, their names and what do you think makes them believable?

 

I do not have any particular methods for creating my characters or their names. I try to use names that sometimes sound peculiar, which prevents anyone from making accusatory remarks such as, “You were writing about me, or it sounds as though your stories are based on someone I know.” Some of the names I make up can be quite hilarious and will sometimes provide a clue about the character. The reader may wonder, “Would I trust this person with a name like that? This individual is definitely shady.”

 

APKY/AMP: Great. I might try that myself. Who is your first reader – who do you first show your work to?

 

My first reader is always my mother. She proofreads my work and provides no-nonsense feedback.

 

APKY/AMP: Excellent – you can’t get a better no-nonsense person more believable! Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed? 

 

Even though I have gotten better when it comes to forming my stories, I still find myself doing a lot of editing, rewriting or removing content that may not make any sense or is flowing in the wrong direction.

 

APKY/AMP: Don’t we all.J Do you write on paper or do you prefer a computer?

 

I only write on paper when I am jotting down some notes. I prefer using a computer. Because I have residual paresis on my right side, writing on paper is difficult; it is easier for me to use the keyboard.

 

APKY/AMP: I think most writers jot things down pretty often and in odd places too! What point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person? Have you ever tried second person?

 

With the exception of my first book, which was mostly first person, I prefer third person.

 

AMP: Yapp, the be-everywhere and do-all. My fave too. What do you like to read?

 

I enjoy reading mysteries, suspense, and sinister romance, political thrillers, supernatural epics and biographical stories.

 

APKY/AMP: I’m hearing that for the first time; sinister romance. What do you do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies or party tricks?

 

I must say, I am addicted to television, especially the court cases from which I get most of my story ideas, and true crime stories. I love doing simple crossword puzzles, jumbles and word puzzles.

 

AMP: Aha. Where can we find out about you and your work?

 

Visitors may go to my Blog Lulu.com  Amazon.com  Smashwords.com

 

 

APKY/AMP: Is there anything else you’d like to mention?

 

Yes. No matter how great you think your book is or how great of a writer you may think you are, not everyone will feel the same way. If you self-publish your book, make certain you apply correct grammar, and check for spelling and sentence clarity. Do not be embarrassed if your final work has a couple of bloopers. Some of the greatest books, published by major publishing houses, have had big and small blunders. As the saying goes, “Some of the greatest masterpieces have flaws.”

 

APKY/AMP: That really cheers me up. Call it Schadensfreude! Thank you, Vivienne. I now invite you to include an extract of your writing:

 

The following excerpts are from Making Dollar$ And Cent$ Out Of Online Dating, Shades of Deception, Malicious Acts, Wicked Intent and Retribution Unleashed.

 

 

Making Dollar$ And Cent$ Out of Online Dating:

 

When I decided on the title, Making Dollar$ And Cent$ Out Of Online Dating, I was not joking. My sites were literally making a fistful of dollars and a couple of cents. After all, it took two months to make a three-figure sale from One World Singles. Since there were no sales in June and July, I thought it could only get better. I was forecasting that sales would double during the next three months with fewer or no terminations. Was this a dream on my part? No! There is nothing wrong in thinking big, because there will be days when self-doubting will rear its ugly head.

August is known as the dog days of summer. Perhaps it is too hot to search for love, because many folks are vacationing, traveling or having fun at the beach. So why would anyone want to take time out his or her busy schedule to surf the Internet for romance? Do the seasons really influence the surfing habits of people when it comes to searching for love? Therefore, on August 3, I went back to Yahoo!® Answers and asked, “Which season of the year are you most likely to meet someone?” Within minutes, and before I could say jackrabbit, my e-mail box was full of answers to my question:

 

Shades of Deception:

While reading her mail, Penny fell asleep.

Suddenly, there was a knock at the door.

“Who could that be at this time of night?” she thought to herself.

When she looked at her watch, it was almost 10:00 a.m. When she looked through the peephole, the person on the other end was unfamiliar to her.

She asked, “Who is it?”

“It’s Ebo, your new next door neighbor. I just moved in about a week ago,” answered the man.

When she opened the door, a feeling of delight overtook her body. He was undoubtedly the most handsome man she had ever seen. If she were questioning why her ex had dumped her, it did not matter any more, because Ebo had her full attention, and he was going to be her next main squeeze.

However, it would not be long before her plans to be with him would never come about, and if the neighbors were lacking in friendly gossip, they were about to be hit with the biggest scandal that would rock the city to its core.

 

Malicious Acts:

When Dafoe hired Tiana, she was very impressionable. He made so many promises to her that she actually believed all the rubbish that came out of his mouth, like telling her he was planning to leave his wife when he got his affairs in order. 

The couple would meet in empty for-sale homes and off the beaten path motels and make zealous love for hours.

He would always utter, “You are my soul mate. My wife does not understand me the way you do, and you bring such joy into my life when we are together. I can be myself around you. At times, Hope can be frigid and never wants to try new lovemaking techniques or positions.”

And Tiana would always fall for his lines. When they were together, she was always on planet desire. Sometimes the sex was so intense that she would cry out for more, so much so that her screams of joy would reverberate throughout the place.

As far as she knew, it was just a matter of time before he would divorce his wife, and Tiana and Dafoe would be working together and expanding her agency into a well-respected enterprise.

Then reality smacked her in the face, and when he fired her and turned his back on her, she finally recognized that he was never planning to leave his wife but was just using Tiana to satisfy his own carnal needs. What he could not get from Hope, he got from Tiana.

Even though she was a successful entrepreneur, she was still lonely and agonizing for passion and romance. Dafoe was her first love, and he would be a hard act to replace, but no matter how long it took, she was going to make him pay for his deception.

 

Wicked Intent:

Lance was never going to tell Alia the real reason why he never made it to the restaurant. What was he going to say, “I met an extraordinary woman, and it was love at first sight.” That would have been lacking in taste and compassion. The last thing he wanted to do was to hurt his fiancée even more.

 He could not understand what it was about Grace, who had him longing to be with her. When she asked him for directions to Avenue of the Americas, it was as though she had charmed him into submission. Lance had no will to know the difference between right or wrong, like going off with a beautiful stranger while his fiancée was sitting at the restaurant waiting impatiently for him.

His behavior did not make any sense to him. He would have followed this woman into the depths of hell, thinking it was paradise. This was the power Grace had over him, but the journey she was about to take Lance on would soon lead to his downfall.

 

Retribution Unleashed: (To be released in the winter of 2013)

For nearly two years, the doctors would come into her room and ask the same humdrum questions: “How are you today? Do you remember your name? What year is it? Can you name the president of the United States? Do you have any children? Where were you born? Tell us something about yourself.

The woman would just sit there and say nothing. She had trouble remembering various places and events, and even though the mental facility looked familiar to her, she was like a lost babe in the woods. The staff would refer to her as the silent one.

Soon, that would all change. An unforeseen incident would bring her back to reality and provide her with the mental and physical strength to track down the people whom she believed betrayed her.

It was now 2012, and the silent one was currently sharing a room with a newly arrived patient. Her name was Mary Brooks. Employees and residents would refer to her as the chatterbox lady, because she would talk to anyone who had the endurance to listen to her ramblings about how she met her husband, who turned out to be a double-crossing prick.

The silent one detested Mary. Why she did not like her was a mystery, but in due course, all the pieces would fall into place. Without realizing it, Mary will be the one to bring this patient out of her trance.

 

APKY/AMP: Wow. As I said in the beginning, very intriguing. Thank you once again, Vivienne.

 

You are welcome. It was my pleasure. Vivienne Diane Neal