Q&A with Velvet author Temple West

Last year I came across this awesome book called Velvet.

When I read the description of the book I sort of feel in love with the idea of the book. I didn’t get to read it until like two months after I bought it, but I was super glad I did. The book was perfection and ever since I read it I’ve been obsessing with it, I mean you could probably guess so from all the posts I’ve done about it.

You can read my review of Velvet here.

Well about a week or so ago I got in contact with author Temple West and we did a little questions and answers about her future book and how she came up with Velvet and some other questions I had.

So instead of telling you all this stuff I’m just going to let you have it. Here it is, my Q&A with author Temple West.

Q: How did you come up with Velvet? I remember you mentioned you wrote it when you were 19 and I just wanted to know what could have been going on in your mind to write about vampires being bodyguards ?

A: I actually came up with the idea when I was reading through the Old Testament of the Bible and came across a few references to this race of people known as the Nephalim. It’s not entirely clear what they were, exactly, but they were said to be the “men of old” and had superhuman strength. Other people groups feared them. I was already a huge fan of vampires (this was actually pre-me-hearing-about-Twilight), so I figured, what if Nephalim were actually vampires?

What if that’s their origin story? While I eventually dropped the Nephalim entirely from my mythology, that was sort of the catalyst for the concept. As for Adrian being Caitlin’s bodyguard (and a vampire) in Velvet, I think I was unconsciously looking for a way for them to be sanctioned, by adults, to be a faux couple, but forbidden, by the same adults, to actually fall in love. That scenario just tickled my brain.

Q: Why make your main character a fashion lover that lives in the middle of nowhere? 

A: That is an excellent question. I don’t know. Ha! Especially back then, I wrote on instinct. I would come home from classes and write a new chapter with absolutely no idea what was going to happen in that chapter. When I found out Caitlin was a designer-in-the-making, it was a complete surprise to me. As for living out in the middle of nowhere, I think there’s something a bit mythical about tiny towns, especially ones tucked away in mountains. It also helps constrain the boundaries of the story as far as the cast of characters go.

Temple West Twitter

Temple West Twitter

Q: What was the hardest part about writing Velvet?

A: The business side of things. That was completely foreign territory for me. I’d been writing my entire life, that was familiar. Once you start throwing contracts and legal terms and marketing plans in the mix, it gets a little complicated.

Q: What was the easiest?

A: Writing the first draft. Never had anything come so easily to me in my life, writing-wise.

Q: How was it to get the news that it was going to be published?

A: Like learning you get to go live at Disneyland. Unbelievable and like my heart was going to burst out of my chest. It was like someone you’ve had a crush on your entire life finally admitting that they love you. That may seem melodramatic, but I remember being on the phone and getting the news and trying not to burst out into maniacal giggles.

Q: Did you go through a moment of panic once Velvet was published?

A: Absolutely. I’d submitted the book to my publisher knowing there were a lot of things about the story with which I was unhappy. Unfortunately, the editing process was so quick that I wasn’t able to address or even get feedback on some of the things that I was concerned about. I think some of the feedback I’ve gotten post-release (from Goodreads, etc) is totally valid. That’s the lovely thing about trilogies, though, you can address those kinds of concerns in the following books.

Q: Did you panic once you had to start writing Cashmere?

A: Yes. I had massive writer’s block until, honestly, September of this year. There were a lot of reasons for that, but it came down to the fact that I was psyching myself out, putting a ton of unnecessary pressure on myself. Every time I sat down to write I would get sick to my stomach. And then Kate Evangelista, a fellow Swoon Reads author, posted this on Twitter:

“If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way. If it isn’t, you’ll find an excuse.”

And that was just like a lightning bolt to the brain for me. I sat down, made a new schedule that included writing for 3 hours every morning before work as well as dedicating weekends to writing, and I made Cashmere my priority. In the past two weeks alone I think I’ve written 40,000 words. I’m on-track, have my beta readers ready to go, as well as a book trailer ready for release and a Thunderclap campaign in the works. If all goes according to plan, people will have Cashmere in their hands by Christmas morning.

**I should mention that she already finished the first draft so this might be very true.**

Q: One of the things I loved a lot about this book is that the romance wasn’t so over the top, but it was still there. How did you manage to write it in such a way that the romance doesn’t hit you in the face?

A: Well, I myself have been in a total of two romantic relationships, and they were both very slow burns. I was friends with each of them a long time before we started dating, so it was natural for me to allow Caitlin and Adrian to be friends before they developed any true romantic feelings.

One of my pet peeves, especially in YA romance, is the unbelievable insta-love when characters fall for each other in the first chapter, or sleep together after knowing each other for two days. Call me old fashioned, but I just like the idea of people actually getting to know each other before they make grand declarations of love or jump in bed. To me, the everyday stuff between Caitlin and Adrian is what’s important, not just the lovey-dovey / steamy moments.

Someone who reviewed it once said that it felt more like a contemporary YA romance than a paranormal one, and I take that as a compliment. I wanted this story, their story, to feel grounded and real, even while supernatural things are occurring. Their arguments, their friends, their school work, they’re all just as important as portals to hell and Adrian’s father and the mystery of Caitlin.

Q: Now that you have been intensively writing Cashmere what things you wish you would have written differently in Velvet?

A: So many things. I’m a very different person at 27 than I was at 19. I view relationships very differently. However, I think the fact that I was a teenager when I was writing a story about teenagers helped the story more than it hurt it. Caitlin and Adrian both make dumb mistakes. They’re immature. They do mean things and hurt people because they have not yet learned how to be adults, because they aren’t adults yet. That’s why I’m so excited that this story is a trilogy. You get to watch them grow up. You get to watch them learn how to make better decisions.

Q: Does Caitlin read? if she does what is her favorite book?

A: She does, but not often. Between the two of them, Adrian is by far the bookworm in the relationship.

Q: Will we learn a deep secret about what or who Caitlin is? Is she supernatural? (you don’t have to answer this if you don’t want to I just feel like I should ask still lol)

A: Ha! Well, I’ll just say that many secrets will be revealed. Mwahahahaha!

Q: Is there a playlist for velvet or cashmere? or a certain song that you feel is just so much like Caitlin and Adrian’s song?

A: Ooh! No, not yet. But there should be. Dang. Hmm. I feel like it would either be a Florence & the Machines song or a Halfmoon Run song.

Q: Anything you can tell us about what is to come from Cashmere? 

A: More fashion. Much bigger cast of characters. More vampires. More supernatural elements.

Q: What would you say to aspiring authors struggling to finish their novel or trying to get it published?

A: I think a writing schedule is actually way more important than an outline. I’m not good at outlines because I write from the gut. But if I’m writing every day, then it takes less time to sink back into the story, mentally. So I can writer faster and longer every day because I’m doing it every day, at the same time. Right now, that’s 6 am to 9 am. Sometimes after I get home from work, too, if I still have the energy. And because I’m on a deadline, weekends as well. Like Kate said, if it’s important to you, you’ll find a way.

If it’s not, you’ll find an excuse. You just have to decide whether writing your novel is something you’re going to find a way to do, or if it’s something you’re going to find an excuse not to do. If that’s not enough, consider finding a writing partner. I currently have a standing meeting twice a week with my LA-based screenwriting partner. Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-6 pm we get on FaceTime and work on our television pilot. I am doing this while writing Cashmere. Committing to a schedule — and taking my writing as seriously as I take my day-job —  is pretty much the only reason I’m accomplishing anything.

There you have it you guys, isn’t she awesome?

I’m very excited to read Cashmere and I cannot wait for at least a description on Goodreads. In the meantime if you have read Velvet and are wondering why she didn’t write the book until recently, she explains it on the video below.

If you have yet to read Velvet I don’t know what you are waiting for, seriously this book is awesome. I reviewed it last weekend and I can assure you, it’s one of the best books about vampires I’ve read in a long while. So go and grab a copy of it before Cashmere comes out.

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