Giveaway & Interview Asteria by Tanya Korval

Thursday, March 28, 2013
Title: Asteria
Author: Tanya Korval
Genre: Erotica/BDSM
Publisher: Connell & Parker
Release Date: Feb 25 2013




UN translator Lucy Snow sneaks into an embassy party...and meets Prince Jagor, heir to the throne of Asteria. He's mysterious, charming and supremely powerful, and the chance encounter turns into a steamy kiss in one of the embassy bedrooms.

Their initial tryst isn't enough for the Prince: he offers her a job as his personal aide. Not only is she now conducting a secret romance under the watchful eyes of his retinue: Lucy is only too aware that in the wealthy European kingdom of Asteria, women are ‘owned’ by their lovers.

As the couple battle to keep their love a secret, Jagor shows Lucy a submissive side to herself that leaves her breathless: but is she ready to accept the Prince’s collar and the life in Asteria that comes with it? When their relationship becomes public, can she survive the glare of the spotlight? And, as political unrest in Asteria threatens the entire royal family, exactly how far will she go for love?

This erotic romance includes explicit scenes.

Tanya Korval

Where were you born and where do you call home?
London and London, although I’ve also lived in New York.

What or who inspired you to write?  And how long have you been writing?
My mother, who used to write but, despite much encouragement, never dared to approach a publisher.  I’ve been writing for about ten years, but only started to write ‘for release’ – as in, things that would be seen beyond a tight-knit group – last year.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When my first book came out: before then I was just someone noodling with words.

What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 30 or less words, what would you say?
Asteria: In Love with the Prince.  I would say: ‘Shy UN languages whiz is swept into secret love affair with the fabulously wealthy prince of a country where women are owned as slaves.’

I love reading the warnings on the blurbs for many books. If you could write a warning label for yourself as a person or an author, what would it say?
Warning: this life contains scenes of debauchery that may lead to next-morning regrets, strange British mannerisms including the use of ‘crikey’, fatalism due to Russian heritage and sometimes baseless optimism due to British upbringing.

If you gave some of your characters an opportunity to speak for themselves, what would they say?
Medenko, butler to the prince and his father before him, would say that this entire interview is an outrageous breach of protocol.

The king, who is (wrongly) proud of the English he’s managed to pick up and would ask if ‘You enjoy writing your reading under the bed blog?’

Doracella, who has lived in Asteria all her life and becomes the heroine’s maid, would ask why you Americans find it so hard to stand up correctly – look, like this – and then make you practice standing up and sitting down without using your hands.  Again.

The queen, doesn’t speak English for anyone but would give you an icily polite smile.

Jagor, the hero, has eyes only for the heroine: but Asterian men have a way of looking at you that may well make you go mushy regardless.

And Lucy, the heroine?  That would depend whether she was greeting you as the prince’s aide, his lover, his princess or his slave.

Which character speaks the loudest, to you? Do any of them clamor to be heard over the others?
The easiest to write are the minor characters: Gwen (Lucy’s best friend) and the queen (the mother-in-law from hell).  I love writing them.  I could easily fill a book with those two if I didn’t keep them under strict control.

Do your characters try to make like bunnies and create ever more convoluted plots for you? Or do you have to coax them out of your characters?
They do, but that isn’t necessarily a good thing.  Jagor often reacts in ways that make me throw out my carefully planned plot and rework it: I’ll build up to something and then have to redo it in a more subtle, more complex way because the planned way isn’t true to his character.  Lucy’s the same and when the two are in the same room the scene can easily go in a completely different – but better – direction to the one I had planned.

Have you based any of your characters on someone you know, or real events in your own life?
One of the advantages I have in being a Brit is that we really do have a royal family – and there are several others in various European countries that our media keep a close eye on.  Some of the events in Asteria are based not so much on actual royals, but more on – for example – how the media interact with them.

Do you have a specific writing style?
I’d like to think I’m realistic without being overly gritty and escapist without being unrealistic: is that a style?  Yes a Unique Style 

How did you come up with the title?
The book is the full-length novel version of the four part series I’ve written over the last year: The Prince of Asteria, The Palace of Asteria, The Princess of Asteria and The Fall of Asteria.  Summarising all of that in one novel title was quite hard!  In the end I chose ‘Asteria: In Love with the Prince’ because, in the end, it’s a love story.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
That you should never not do something just because of what people might think, and that you can surprise yourself with what you can become if you give yourself a chance.

Do you have plans for a new book?   Is this book part of a series?
The novel includes all four parts of the series, and this is a complete series – not an ongoing one - so no cliff-hanger ending!  Everything’s tied up at the end.  I may do more Asteria books in the future, but they will tell other stories with new characters. 

Who designed the cover of your book?
I did.  The photo of Jagor and Lucy is by a fantastic photographer known as Kiuikson.

Where do you see yourself in five (5) years?
I want to be doing exactly what I’m doing now, hopefully reaching more readers.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I think I’d live right here in London, actually.  Although maybe somewhere where the roof doesn’t leak.
             
Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcover?
I was a paperback hold-out for a long time: I had this thing about wanting to own something physical.  Then everyone started commenting on how much my posture had improved, and it was because I’d bought my first Kindle as a tentative experiment and I suddenly wasn’t having to haul six or seven books around with me everywhere I go.  So now, it’s ebooks all the way.  I quite like having paperbacks of particularly loved books, though.


What can we expect from you in the future?  ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
My first book (My Secret Life) is a little hard to categorize: it’s somewhere between erotica and erotic romance: it has much more plot than you’d expect from erotica and it’s character led.  But although there is a romance, it isn’t the main thread of the story, so I don’t like to call it a romance in case people are disappointed.  It’s more ‘one woman’s journey’, if that doesn’t sound horribly arty. 

I’ve also done a fantasy erotic romance (The Elf Princess’s Lover) which is pretty much a classic ‘love across class boundaries’ romance but set in a Tolkein-esque world of elves and humans.   I’ve done a contemporary romance (Music) and the Asteria series which is also contemporary.  So I think I’ve settled into contemporary erotic romance and that’s probably what I’ll keep doing, but a sequel to The Elf Princess’s Lover is a possibility if people demand it. 

How do you market/promote your books?
I’m a Brit, so self promotion isn’t something that comes easily to me.  When I started out I had no idea at all – really!  But one of the great things about the indie scene is that people help each other: we all work together and offer advice: it doesn’t matter if you’re writing vampire romances or a non-fiction how-to-do-it on sailing or a zombie thriller.  So thanks to some very nice people I’ve learned – slowly – and can now blog and tweet and get to know my fans on sites like Goodreads.  It’s also through working as a team that we can do things like the Insatiable Reads Book Tour, which I’m currently on.  It’s like a slightly unruly bus loaded up with authors: I’m the token Brit on the back seat with a flask of tea.

What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller ?
I think if we knew that, we’d all only ever write bestsellers.  I keep it simple and just try to write the best books I can.

Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
I have done in the past: now I seem to manage to avoid it.  I think my top trick is that I try to never end a writing session stuck or at a tough part.  I only stop when it’s going well and I know what’s going to happen next.  That way, instead of dreading coming back the next day I’m itching to get going again. 

What was your favorite  chapter (or part) to write and why?
The four parts are quite different.  The first one was fun because, as the kick-off, it was quite a fast, straightforward, erotic romance.  The second one was all about secrecy – the hero and heroine are in love but they have to hide it from the rest of the prince’s retinue and from the press – it was all stolen moments behind unlocked doors, which was fun.  The third one I think of as ‘The Princess Diaries for grown ups’ – it’s basically the heroine making the transition to being a princess, with both all of the glamour and all of the headaches that entails.  The fourth one ups the drama and is full of life and death, political upheaval and knuckle-biting moments: it was fun to write action and suspense mixed in with the romance.  Overall, though, I think my favourite part is when Lucy meets the queen for the second time.  Imagine meeting your mother-in-law-to-be, who’s the queen of a foreign country, in her own palace, having previously lied to her about your relationship with her son.  I had a lot of fun with that one.

What has been the toughest criticism you’ve been given as an author?  What has been the best complement?
Criticism: that a 30,000 word romance was too short.  That bothers me because I don’t want anyone to feel disappointed or let down.  It’s one reason I wanted to do Asteria as a full-length book.  Complement: after writing Music, a fan said that she thought I was actually a musician, because all of the little asides about life as a musician were spot-on.  That’s not really credit to me, though; it’s credit to Dominic, an awesome real-life musician who acted as my go-to expert for that book.

What do you do to unwind and relax?
I’m lucky because I open my front door and I’m in London so there’s never a shortage of things to do (although it’s a crushingly expensive city to live in).  But the main thing I do to unwind is – sorry this isn’t crazier – cook.  I don’t have much time when I’m writing, but when I finish a book I cook something special.  I do also have wild parties in vodka bars, though: honest! When Can I Come Visit LOL WE Need Vodka Bars :)

Have you ever read a book more than once?
Oh gosh yes – I like to be surrounded by my favourite books and pluck one off the shelf just to re-read a certain passage.  Nothing wrong with that.  I often do that while the PC is booting up. 

What book are you currently reading and in what format (ebook/paperback/hardcover)?
I’m re-reading Douglas Coupland’s Girlfriend in a Coma.

Are there any new Authors that have seized your interest and why?
Aimélie Aames.  I happened across Her Billionaire, Her Wolf, which as you may guess is a paranormal erotic romance.  I was just blown away by the writing.  I need to go and read her whole backlist. Sounds Like I need to check her out as well 

Is there anything you would change in your last book and why?
No, but only because one of the nice things about turning the four parts into one novel is that I’ve been able to go back and tweak anything I wasn’t happy with.  Right now this is ‘The Director’s Cut’: ask me again in a few months, of course, and I’ll be unhappy with it again.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write – see the next question.

What is the best advice that you have ever been given when it comes to writing?
Write.  You can easily spend 50% of your writing time reading about how to write and the other 50% on marketing.  Both of those are very important: of course you should always be improving your writing and your books won’t sell without marketing of some form.  But ultimately writing is what will help you most: everything else should be secondary. 


Just For Fun

What are your pet peeves?
I don’t think I have many, really.  I’m a very chilled-out person.  Automated customer support helplines get my goat, though. 

Cats or dogs?
Both.

White Wine or Red?
Red in the evening, white in the day.  Er...does that sound bad?

Coffee orTea?
Coffee mid-morning or mid-afternoon to perk me up.  Tea first thing in the morning and at all other times.

Favorite  Food?
Mexican.

Vanilla or Chocolate Ice Cream?
Vanilla.  Given some of what happens in Asteria, there’s a joke in there somewhere.

What are 4 things you never leave home without?
Laptop, lipstick, cash, phone.  It’s amazing what you can get done with those four.  

Laptop or Desktop for Writing? Or Old School Pen and Paper?
Desktop for long sessions when I’m up against it.  Laptop in a park in the summer when possible (but this is Britain: writing outdoors is practical for about three days a year).

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
Mornings out of preference, and cosied up in front of the fire.

One of your favorite quotes -
I’m afraid this is going to sound completely inappropriate, but: ‘They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.’ – Benjamin Franklin.

List 3 of your all time favorite books?
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – the whole series I enjoyed this series as well.
Anything by Mill Millington, Matt Beaumont or Chuck Palahniuk

List 3 of your all time favorite movies?
Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring
Chung King Express
Pride and Prejudice

An actor you have a crush on –
I should throw in someone new and exciting you’ve never heard of, who you have to go and Google now, just to be cool.  But I’m going to be honest and say Goran Visnjic.

What is a movie or TV show that you watched recently and really enjoyed?
Leverage, which has sadly just been canned: it was a great five seasons, though, and if you like con artists and great storytelling you should check it out.



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Tanya Korval is a British author living in London who was coaxed into writing erotic romance after her boyfriend of the time shared some steamy letters she’d written (he was not forgiven for some time).  She has also lived in New York, and prefers New York sandwiches and coffee but London tea and muffins.

Tanya Korval is currently on virtual tour with 15 other awesome romance authors as part of the Insatiable Reads Book Tour. From March 4-31st, readers will be invited to enter for a chance to win a Kindle, free books, and other fun goodies. Readers will also be able to participate in author chats, get insights into writing and publishing romance, and collect story swag.

Places to find Tanya

Website

Places to find Asteria

Amazon
Barnes and Noble 

Goodreads Please Add Me To Your TBR Pile 


Other Works by Tanya
My Secret Life (Four part series, also available in a money-saving bundle)



Places to find Insatiable Reads 

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