~New Adult Contemporary Romance -- recommended for mature readers~
I know what I am. At worst a cliché, at best a cautionary tale. I put an international border between me and my past, only to wind up working in a low-end titty bar. Even my excuse is as lame as it gets: I’m paying for college, getting my art degree from Montreal’s most prestigious school. Although some days it becomes confusing: am I just a student who moonlights as a stripper, or a stripper who masquerades as a student?
But the inevitable happens and my two lives collide. And now there’s one other person who knows both the quiet, antisocial Hannah and the sensual, shameless Alicia. One person who keeps my secret.
He’s beautiful, he’s sophisticated. He comes from the other side of life, the one where I’m not wanted or accepted. But he calls me la petite Américaine, and his hot, hot hands on my skin promise me things I long ago gave up on.
The problem? He teaches my Classic Photography class.
This is a standalone novel, no series, no cliffhanger.
Can you tell us a little about your latest book?
Shameless is the story of Hannah, an art student who strips to pay her bills… until one night she dances for a hot stranger only to see him at the front of the classroom the next day.
What inspired you to write it?
It’s as much contemporary romance as it is an issue book. I’ve been dying to find a New Adult issue book, think Courtney Summers or Laurie Halse Anderson, and couldn’t, so I decided to write one myself!
How did you come up with the idea for the cover?
Mostly I have to thank my cover artist Najla Qamber. I only had really vague ideas. She found the model who looked just like I saw the heroine in my head… and made it happen. The result is gorgeous.
If it was made into a movie, who would you like to play the main characters?
Emmanuel, the love interest, would be played by Quebecois author Guillaume Lemay-Thivierge. And Hannah would be Rooney Mara… without the goth makeup!
What is it about this genre that appeals to you so much?
The freedom to do pretty much whatever I want, play with tropes and defy genre conventions. And no one’s to stop me!
What made you want to become an author?
Well, I realized I wasn’t pretty enough to be a model… kidding! I’ve always loved to read and I’ve been trying to write a book since I was about six or seven. (It took a little longer to succeed, though.)
How do you come up with character names?
Most of the time they just pop into my head. I have a hard time renaming characters after I’ve finished writing, and I can’t start until everyone has a name that’s theirs! Sometimes they’re names with significance, but mostly they just fit the character as I see her in my mind.
Name one of your all-time favourite books?
I’m a big fan of Lauren Beukes, and The Shining Girls was my favorite book all year.
Who, or what, inspires you?
Like everyone else—especially writers—I’m shaped by what I consume. The books I read, the TV shows and movies I watched when I was in the ages I like to write about (late teens to early twenties) have shaped my writing a lot. I tend to write darker, sardonic Broken Bird-type heroines because they’re my favorite to read about. And the punk, goth and cyber subcultures tend to show up often, even if it’s just an ironic nod.
Where is your favourite place to write?
I finally have my own office after years of living in tiny studio apartments, and I love it! I have a corkboard and a chalkboard to write down notes, and a shelf (finally!) for all my books.
What is your favourite movie that was based on a book?
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was great. I actually can’t choose between the Swedish one and the American one. They both had their pros and cons. I wish there was a way to fuse the two into one amazing wicked awesome super-movie.
Name two of your favourite authors.
Lauren Beukes, Gillian Flynn.
If you could have a dinner party with any authors from any time in history, who would you choose and why?
Gillian Flynn and Megan Abbott. Although the whole time I’d just sit there, star-struck and making tiny squeeing noises. And be a little bit afraid for my life. Or of ending up in one of their books.
Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I finished high school in French. I never went to school in English until university level. English is my second language.
Who would play you in the movie about your life?
Eliza Dushku! Not because I’m on a Buffy rewatch kick right now. Not at all.
Tell us an interesting fact about where you live.
Montreal is known as City of a Thousand Steeples. That’s churches, people. Get your mind out of the gutter.
What are your (writing) plans for the future?
I’m finishing up some books that I’ll be publishing in late fall and winter. One is a YA/NA crossover paranormal, the other is yet another student-teacher romance… but with a suspense twist. I also have some edgier projects in the works, but it’s too early to talk about them for now.
Tell us one thing that's on your bucket list.
It’s kind of common, but I want to see Versailles. I’m crazy about French history and Marie Antoinette is my spirit animal.
Favourite myth / fairytale?
The Leda myth, the one I referred to in Shameless. There really is a Margaret Atwood poem about it. Leda was a great beauty and she caught the eye of Zeus, who turned into a swan and… you know how it goes.
Who or what did you want to be when you were a kid?
Before I wanted to be a writer? I wanted to design clothes, oddly enough. To this day I can’t even sew on a button. After that, I wanted to work at the library. Because then all the books would be mine!
Thank you for having me!
My pleasure, Nina!
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