Season Vining is the author of Beautiful Addictions, her first book. She is also a designer and a philanthropist. Learn more about her here.
NAW- Tell us about your book, ‘Beautiful Addictions.’ How did you get the idea for it? What is it about? How did you select the title?
As cliché as it sounds, this story started out as a dream. It was the alley scene in Chapter One. It was so haunting that it stayed with me for a few days. I wrote it down just to get it out of my head and then rediscovered it a few weeks later. From there, the ideas just grew. It’s a great example of a character driven story, because that’s how I developed it.
Beautiful Addictions is about a broken girl named Josie who self-medicates with one night stands, drugs, and graffiti. She’s a tough girl who takes what she wants with no thought to the consequences. Until she meets Tristan Fallbrook. He recognizes her from a childhood they shared halfway across the country and confesses that he thought she was dead. In her absence, Tristan has fallen in with the wrong crowd. He is far removed from his privileged life and has become one of the tattooed thugs of his parents’worst nightmare. Josie and Tristan must sift through her lost memories and his unsavory associates to piece together their past before it destroys their future.
The title was a collaborative effort between me, my agent, and my editor. We wanted to make sure the contrast of light and darkness were evident. I think Beautiful Addictions works nicely.
NAW- Tell us about the character of Josie. How did you develop her character?
Josie was a really heartbreaking character to write. Admittedly, she is hard to like at first. Most of us cannot identify with her rebellious behaviors. But soon, we begin to understand why she acts the way she does. Josie has terrible things in her past. To deal with these things, she erects this wall between herself and the world. The reader, along with Tristan, has to break her down in order to build her back up.
NAW- Tell us about your other works.
Beautiful Addictions is my debut novel. My second novel, Held Against You, will release in January, 2013. This story is a bit lighter than Beautiful Addictions and contains lots of action and adventure for our two protagonists. It’s The Fugitive meets Thelma & Louise. Only “Louise”is a sexy, nameless bounty hunter who just wants to deliver his target and get on with life. Things are never that simple, are they?
NAW- Do you carry out any research for developing your characters and your stories? How do you go about it?
I research everything I write about. I am a Google professional at this point. I read research papers, infographs, articles, biographies, nonfiction books, watch YouTube videos, and anything else related to my characters, their backgrounds, or locations. Google Maps street view is super helpful when writing about a place you’ve never been. I am really happy that whatever government agency monitoring the internet hasn’t put me on a high profile list for the things I type into those search engines.
NAW- Tell us about yourself. What are your hobbies? What do you do when you are not writing?
I’m an Aquarius. I’m really laid back and chill most of the time. People know, if you see me actually panicking, things just got serious. I love live music, exploring New York City (just moved here from Louisiana–HUGE change), yoga, and graphic design. When I’m not writing, I’m out walking my corgi, cooking large meals, or planning my next tattoo.
NAW- What is the hardest and the easiest part of the publishing process?
The hardest part about publishing is the waiting. Things in publishing take a long time and I wasn’t prepared for that. I guess I want things done on my schedule. Haha. The easiest part is the relationship I have with my fantastic agent and my super talented editor. I’m really lucky to have landed such great ladies who are down to earth and really listen to my opinion.
NAW- Which authors do you like reading the most? Are there any that have influenced your work?
It’s funny. I didn’t read much romance before I started writing it. I used to read a lot of Stephen King, Anne Rice, Dean Koontz, & Dan Brown. Recently, I’m exploring my genre and have become a fan of Jay Crownover, Cora Carmack, Alice Clayton, Sylvia Day, and Helena Hunting. They’re all talented ladies telling stories in their unique way.
NAW- Name your favourite romantic novels.
This is a loaded question and just too hard. I’ll give you my recent favorites, which is still difficult because I returned from the Romantic Times Convention with quite a few books. Clipped Wings&Inked Armor series by Helena Hunting, Better When He’s Bad by Jay Crownover, Poughkeepsie by Debra Anastasia. Some classics: Gone with the Wind, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and The Time Traveler’s Wife.
NAW- What are your upcoming projects?
Held Against You, which I talked about earlier, is my next novel. I’m currently working on my third novel and it’s just too rough at this point to give you any details.
Read the Beautiful Addictions excerpt below-
Clouds stretched across the moon, stealing her natural light. Josie settled herself on the fire escape, drawing by the glow from her apartment window. Dirt and dust on the glass cast a freckled pattern over her. Haunting eyes stared up from the page as she tried to recall a connection to them.
A hooded figure stormed into the alley below, catching her attention. The lead of her pencil ceased in its track, its intended path abandoned. His dark garments blended into the shadows as if she could smudge him out of one of her drawings.
“Fool!”he shouted. His voice rolled up the alley walls until being freed into the sky like thunder.
He pushed the hood back, his nails scraping through dirty hair. It wove through his fingers, staying upturned in a veritable crown of thorns. Heavy footsteps counted off his rhythm as Josie watched him rage.
“Unforgivable,”he said. He tried it again, repeating the quiet chant over and over until it mirrored the beat of Josie’s pulse.
She gasped as he ripped off his hooded sweatshirt and threw it to the ground. Brilliant inked images covered his arms, interrupted only by the white beater that molded to his body. He slammed his forehead into the wall and then landed punch after punch. His blood painted the bricks and Josie knew a part of him would die here this night.
She sat stone-faced, her gaze fixed on the raging figure below. She was envious of such a physical kind of anger. She had never unleashed her fury that way and wondered if it would do any good. His chest heaved in a quick cadence, and Josie fought hard to keep her own breath even.
In that moment, the moon broke through the clouds and cast a blanket of silvery light over the alley. He froze, mesmerized by the grid-pattern shadows created by the fire escape. His eyes traveled up the shadow as if navigating a labyrinth, until a small, solid shape obstructed the path. He looked up, catching her.
The pencil slipped from Josie’s grip, rolling and falling over the edge. As connected as she felt to the lead and wood, she did not watch it drop. Instead, she stared down into the face of something so familiar—heartache. She’d never seen such a beautiful, broken expression, and it took her breath away. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she registered the soft tap, tap, tap of the pencil hitting the ground.
Josie felt bound to him in that moment. They were two souls snared by chance and circumstance. Though they did not feel like strangers.
She wanted more, but she didn’t know what. It tugged at her like the undeniable pull of the moon. She couldn’t name it, but she craved it like her drugs and her art.
A siren wailed from somewhere down the block and they both blinked, released from each other in a defeated kind of way. He turned away slowly. Josie leaned forward against the railing as he disappeared back into the dotted path of streetlamps.
When he was gone, she raced down the steps of her building and retrieved his abandoned hoodie from the alley. Josie wrapped herself in the black cotton and, for the first time in years, slept through the night. Almost every day since, she’d worn the oversize article, growing attached to it as if it were a long-lost friend.