Saturday, July 12, 2014

Author Saturday Spotlight: Varian Krylov *Interview and Giveaway*

Varian Krylov is a diverse author. She mingles in the lines of genre writing. Some might refer to her as a Progressive Writer. I can totally see that. She wrote a book and let it guide her way into the world of MM, though she will say she writes for both MM and HET.

I read books to be entertained and submersed into a world. Reading is a vacation for the mind and Varian very easily can do that. Whether you favor the contemporary romance/erotica of a M/F relationship like in Abduction or a vivacious intense MM tale like in Dangerously Happy, Varian is the author for you.

In my interview with Varian she tackles the controversial question about women writing MM, and helps us see what future projects she has in store for us.

She will be offering up a READER'S CHOICE EBOOK GIVEAWAY for one lucky reader. So whatever your pallet craves, we have it for you today! OF COURSE go to Varian's Goodreads page to see ALL her titles: Varian on GR

Let's take a glimpse at some of her work...

For years, college student Devan Astor has penned erotic stories based on her dark fantasies, but when she's abducted, she is faced with the real terror of being at the mercy of a cruel stranger. She flees, but in the remote cabin where she takes refuge, will she encounter a danger even more frightening than the kidnapper who is still hunting her? At the end of her ordeal, will she be left scarred by the experiences that so closely match her own fantasies, or will she discover fulfillment she never imagined?

Warning: This title contains elements of nonconsensual sex, anal sex and m/m sex

Aidan has always played it safe. Instead of pursuing his dream of creating innovative music that makes his soul sing, he settled for a degree in software, a job in a cubicle, and a spot in a generic band with his buddies.

And he's always been straight. But when he's seduced by magnetic local literary luminary Dario, Aidan must decide whether to keep playing it safe, or succumb to a ravenous passion and a nourishing love unlike anything he's experienced before. Will he find the courage to go after real happiness if it means admitting he's in love with a man?

Their journey together isn't easy. Sometimes it isn't safe. Even if Aidan has the courage to admit he's in love with Dario, can he endure the repercussions of the traumatic event in Dario's past?

This novel has mature content and is intended for readers over the age of eighteen. Although this is a story about two men falling in love, there are extended, explicit sex scenes, including some BDSM, m/m/m and m/m/f scenes. There are references to sexual violence which may be a trigger for some readers, although there is no graphic depiction of rape in the book.

THE APOCALYPSE: A chimera devastates the human population. Technology fails and infrastructure crumbles. Civilization collapses.

AFTER: A generation apart, two women and the men who love them make incredible sacrifices to survive, and to destroy a brutal system of sexual slavery in a world where men outnumber women ten-to-one.

After two years roaming the devastated South alone, eighteen-year-old Eva is captured and held prisoner by the few surviving soldiers at a military base, who haven't seen a woman since The Dying. In Eva, Major Smith sees only the future of the human race, and he'll exceed all moral boundaries to ensure she gives birth to the next generation. But Eva and John--the man she is paired with--are determined to fight for freedom and a better future.

Two decades later, on the other side of the country, a Resistance woman is captured and brutally punished for subverting the Sex Laws. When she flees to the Resistance, Nix must decide if the man who helped her escape can be trusted, or if he's a spy using her to infiltrate the counter-slavery movement. As Nix makes her way east, her story twines with Eva's in a way neither woman could have imagined.

Warning: This title contains elements of nonconsensual sex, anal sex, m/m sex and a m/m/f threesome

These are only 3 of 9 titles Varian Krylov has written. As you can see her writing is diverse, intense, erotic and not for the faint of heart! She is suspenseful and her books are red hot sexy!


If I go to your Goodreads page the selection for your books are very diverse. You write Het and MM. Do you favor one over the other?

When I started writing fiction, I had a desire to write primarily from the point of view of a complex, interesting female protagonist, in part because the women I put in the center of my stories had perspectives, desires, anxieties, and problems that I could either relate to, or that fascinated me. But while I was writing my first novel, Abduction, I found myself repeatedly resisting the insistent urge to let something happen between Vaughn and Conrad (what a different story that would have been!), and there is a secondary gay couple that play an important part in the novel. In After, there's also a significant side story about a gay couple, and their relationship was where I first started exploring writing M/M erotic scenes in the same depth of detail as I've always done my M/F scenes. I took the next step with Hurt, which is a love story about a triad of two men and one woman, and where I enjoyed exploring the relationship not only between Vanka, the protagonist, and her male lovers, but also the rich, complex relationship between Galen and Khalid, which I frankly feel is the more profound love story in that novel. Dangerously Happy felt like the culmination of years of being drawn toward writing a love story between two men.

That's not to say I don't still have some stories centered on a female protagonist burning a hole in my brain. I actually have three works in progress, all set in the same fictional country torn apart by civil war, and each of these is narrated from a different woman's point of view. However, all three of these, too, will be menage stories, exploring relationships within M/M/F triads.

 I was a big fan of Dangerously Happy. Aiden and Dario are breathtaking. They explore A LOT of their sexuality in this book. How difficult was that and did you have to do a lot of research?

I don't know if it's because I hadn't published (or finished) a book in six years, but Dangerously Happy was the easiest novel I've ever written. One day I felt inspired, and started writing the opening paragraph, and I wrote the entire book, in order, start to finish, in less than a month. There was very little struggling to think what ought to happen next; the relationship between Aidan and Dario just unfolded organically, and I felt wonderfully connected to them through the whole story, which makes my work easy, because it doesn't feel like I'm trying to create feelings of attraction, arousal, anxiety, hope, love, etc. and force them onto the page. Those feelings were there, and all I had to do was express them.

As far as the sexual elements, as anyone who's read a few of my books knows, I especially enjoy the fraught moments—the firsts, the crossing of lines that challenge a characters' sense of who they are. I rarely write BDSM in the sense of the lifestyle, but I adore having a dominant character take control of a less experienced character, often to the point of bondage or other forms of psychological or physical control. Having written four novels and numerous shorter works of fiction, my repertoire in this area is pretty robust at this point. My knowledge comes from some personal experience, as well as participating in online groups focused on this kind of play, reading articles, and probably some random osmosis of tidbits encountered as I wander through life. Writing sex scenes between two men (or three or four men) has prompted me to do some research, as well, and I also made a point of seeking out the help of a few beta readers who are gay men to vet the realism of those encounters.

In Dangerously Happy we see a glimpse of a few characters. One in particular stands out, will Xavier get his own book?

I love it that people keep asking me this! Every time I write a love story between two people, and a rather wicked third comes along to complicate things, I always find myself sucked into the intensity and danger that troublesome third brings to the drama. That's how it was with Conrad in Abduction, with Smith in After, and certainly with Xavier in Dangerously Happy.

So now I'm having a lot of fun writing Xavier's novel. He's a pretty heavy character to center an entire novel on. His story will definitely be darker and more brutal than Dangerously Happy. But I'm excited, because it's also a much richer, more complicated plot. What I'm still dying to know—and I'm already 70k words into writing this thing—is whether Xavier is capable of falling in love. What I do know is he's very good at punishing people who do bad things. You'll get to see that in much finer detail in this novel than you did in DH.

 The cover photo for Dangerously Happy *WOW* I mean it grabbed me and was the soul reason I bought it. Who designed it?

I was so lucky to get that photograph. I stumbled across it on Deviant Art, and it took me weeks to get in touch with the photographer, Ekaterina Zakharova, who I pretty much stalked, begging her to let me buy the rights. Since the photograph on its own was such a powerful image, all I did was try to put the title and my name on the cover in a way that would match and not detract from Zakharova's gorgeous photo.

What is the hardest part about writing a book?

This really depends on the book. Since Dangerously Happy pretty much wrote itself, the hardest thing for me was being able to look at it, once the first draft was finished, and have a sense of whether it was any good or not. I don't have the biggest readership, but I do have some very loyal, wonderful readers, and I was terrified of letting them down, especially since it had been so long since I'd put anything out and I knew a few people were excited to finally be able to read something new.

With other novels, I can sometimes get overwhelmed by plotting. Sometimes particular moments, fraught encounters that I feel need to happen between characters, come to me in random order, and it can be excruciating to find the thread that ties together all these times when the lovers are pulling together and falling apart, in a way that is coherent for the relationship, but also for the arc of each of the characters as they struggle through their flaws.

This is a bit controversial but I will ask it. There is so much drama about women writing in MM. You write within both genres so your perceptive is vaster. What are your thoughts on this?

Oh my. I have so many thoughts on this issue it could be a whole blog post, or a whole book chapter. First, many of my fellow M/M writers have already eloquently pointed out that men have been writing about women since the dawn of storytelling, and it's a bit hard to take seriously the idea that women are any less qualified to take on this kind of creative writing. Was Tolstoy overstepping in writing Anna Karenina? Should we toss aside Lady Chatterly's Lover and Madame Bovary because they were written by men, so these glimspes into the lives of women are invalid representations?

On the other hand, I do feel a certain anxiety about writing representations into existence. For me, this isn't only about writing about gay men. I've struggled with this issue since Abduction, and it's troubled me with Hurt and After, too, all for different reasons. Is it wrong for me to write about someone going through sexual assault if I haven't had to survive that kind of trauma? Or a woman living with breast cancer? And although I feel my life has been enriched by reading the novels I mentioned above by Tolstoy, D.H. Lawrence and Flaubert, I do think male authors have had a hand in creating representations of women that have done a lot of harm by perpetuating negative societal stereotypes. Then again, women authors have had a hand in perpetuating tropes of vapid, limp, wealth-starved and silly heroines, too. So I do feel there's always some responsibility to be born in representing people, whether they are women or men or transgender, straight or queer.

But I agree with what many other authors have been saying in response to this question. If writers only wrote about their own personal experiences, the vast realm of literature we have the privilege of enjoying would be far narrower and far less rich. There would be no Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? or Bladerunner. No 1984. No Metamorphosis. No Star Wars or Star Trek. No Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. No Odyssey. No Alice in Wonderland. Oh, the horror!

What influences do you have?

I think my writing style is a weird amalgam of classic literature and bad TV and movies. I may be an anomaly among my fellow writers of erotic romance, because I don't read it. I think my brain is just so stubbornly wired for my own very personal and maybe narrow range of turn-ons, tropes and types. each time I try to read something in the genre, I find myself preferring to write something that caters exactly to my desires.

I do read quite a bit, and have a life mission—which is destined to fail—of reading all the great works of literature. For a couple of years I read only Russian literature, and I adore Dostoyevsky, Gogol, Nabokov and Bulgakov (Tolstoy not so much). Currently I'm on a jag with South American literature: Cortazar, Piglia, Garcia Marquez. Actually, it was reading The Savage Detectives by Roberto BolaƱo, which is written in first person POV but told by many different narrators, that inspired me to play with writing a story in first person, and prompted me to dive into writing Dangerously Happy.

If you could design the perfect writing cave, what would it look like?

I love people watching, but need tranquility for writing, so maybe a bubble made out of sound-proof, one-way glass, maybe in the Plaza Villa de Gracia in Barcelona, where I live. That way I could see the kids throwing water balloons and playing football, see the couples laughing and arguing and kissing, and see the old ladies with their canes sitting all in a row on the benches under the trees that border the plaza, but have my music playing softly so I can still dive into the other world going on in my imagination.

 Can you tell us about your future project (s)?

I think I already let that cat out of the bag! I'm trying to diligently wrap up the Xavier novel. Then, when I can find the time, I'm really excited to dive into the those three civil war novels that have been languishing in the virtual “drawer” for a couple of years. Those three all go back to my favorite set of dynamics, which include a complicated and adversarial triad of two men and one woman, and they also have a setting (a contemporary civil war) which provides all the angst and conflict that is the lifeblood of my writing.

How can readers follow you in social media?
I'm on Facebook. A lot. I pretty much haunt the place.

I'm also on Twitter
Varian Krylov on Twitter 

Varian Krylov's Blog 

To purchase ALL of Varian's books here's the link to her Amazon page with a full library of all her titles: Varian Krylov on Amazon 

I found Varian not only to be as amazing in conversation as she is in her writing, but she's refreshing and confident. That shows in her writing. I KNOW as soon as you all get your greedy little fingers on her work you will fast see what I mean.

Varian is offering a giveaway as I stated above. It will run for 5 days and at the end of the contest I will email the winner. You will have 48 hours to respond with your book choice, format and email to send it to. Varian will email you your winnings. GOOD LUCK!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Very interesting! I know just what you mean about other characters suddenly demanding their own book!

  2. Hi Varian, I enjoyed your interview. You are new to me author and I look forward to reading your books. Thanks for the giveaway.

  3. The interview was great! Thanks for the giveaway; I'd love to enter but I don't do Twitter. :P

    1. It's a Raflecopter fail. Post a comment is supposed to be up there too UHG!

    2. Too bad. :( Rafflecopter was apparently drunk when it got the memo. -.-