Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your writing?
Books, reading and writing have been my big love for as long as I can remember, maybe because my mom and her sister were voracious readers. Mom and I lived in California, and my aunt lived in Seattle, and in the pre-ebook days, I remember them shipping boxes of books they'd read back and forth to each other—a couple cartons every month. I'm not saying I didn't watch way too much TV growing up, but I loved reading, and before I could ever properly spell or write legibly, my mom was transcribing little stories I'd come up with, typing them up for me. And when I was seven, our teacher taught our class about poetry, and everyone made a little book of poems, with Haiku, Iambic Pentameter, etc., and for the next twenty years I wrote a few reams of fairly awful poetry riddled with youthful angst.
When I started college, I took some creative writing classes, but I'm a fickle lass with a short attention span, and I never managed to finish so much as a short story until I was in my thirties, writing my Master's thesis. Actually, it was ten years ago, this year! I think so much intensive ananysis and academic writing was twisting my brain in a knot, and I started writing a story that, to be honest, was rooted in an erotic fantasy I'd had since I was a teenager. That story turned into my first novel, Abduction, which I first posted for free on Literotica, and which was later published by eXcessica. Now here I am, publishing my seventh novel!
Can you tell us about your new release? What inspired you to write it?
The God of Jazz was largely inspired by two things I love: my adopted city of Barcelona, and (surprise!), my adoration of jazz music. I moved to Barcelona a couple years ago, and ever since, I've been wanting to write a book set in this fascinating, complicated city. And, well, I suspect I'm not alone in thinking musicians are sexy as hell. Now that I think about it, Ángel (the god of jazz) is the third musician to have a central role in one of my novels—there was also Vaughn in Abduction, and Aidan in Dangerously Happy, although they are rock musicians. Anyway, Barcelona has a great jazz scene, so all that came together pretty naturally.
I also wanted to write something a little different from my other novels, which tend to be on the dark and gritty side. The God of Jazz is hands-down the lightest, sunniest novel I've ever written (not that there's not a little pain along the way). After writing Trasmundo: Escape, which deals with a civil war and ethnic cleansing, and wrestling with the sequel (which deals with the hardships of living in exile) for over a year, I also just needed a mental health break. I came up with the idea for The God of Jazz one afternoon, started writing the next day, and about six weeks later, it was done! I can't tell you how fun it was to write, and how good it felt to get a book done, start to finish, after battling the other work-in-progress for so long.
Penis envy? Haha, kidding. Maybe.
Well, of my first three novels, two were primarily M/F, and one was M/M/F, but even when it wasn't the plan, somehow some sexy M/M sex and sweet M/M romance has always burrowed into whatever I've written. I in no way identify as trans, but something at the core of my brain deeply connects to male sexuality. From a very young age, I've always leapt between female and male POV in my private erotic imagination. It would be quite an effort to avoid doing the same in my writing.
Do you have any genres you prefer reading, and if so what are they? What book are you reading at the moment? What other novels do you adore/ writers you follow? Do you have a favourite genre that you like to write in? What book do you wish that you had written?
I go through phases. Actually, they seem to be geographical phases, rather than genre phases. When I was in my twenties I fell in love with Russian literature, and then French. These days, I'm pretty focused on South American literature—not so much magical realism and boom literature, but post-boom experimental fiction (although I'll never say no to Borges).
I wish I'd written ALL the books. Yes, I'm that greedy. Or that jealous, haha. I'm just in awe of what some authors are capable of.
Are there any characters that you write, that are based on you, or people you know?
Nope. Seriously, never. Of course everything is colored by my own experience, so certain interactions and emotions derive from things I've gone through, but I don't cast people from my life in my fiction.
Do characters and stories just pop into your head, or do you take your time thinking about them?
This varies vastly from book to book. Abduction sprouted and flowered in my mind for years before it even occurred to me to make a novel out of those scenes playing in my imagination. Dangerously Happy and The God of Jazz practically wrote themselves. But After, Bad Things, and Trasmundo required a lot of plotting, outlinining, and laborious re-sculpting as I wrote.
Do you write often? Is it on a schedule, or whenever you feel like it?
Generally speaking, I'm either not writing at all (like right now—I just can't find the focus because I'm in the middle of a move, I owe a late chapter of my thesis to my academic advisors, and I'm launching The God of Jazz), or I'm buried up to my eyebrows in writing, ignoring my social life, grocery shopping, the front door that leads out of my house...
If you could have any superpower or magical ability, what would it be and why? What would you do with it? And yes world domination is an acceptable answer.
I would give almost anything to be a brilliant vocalist and musician. (Please don't tell me that's not a super power.)
If you had access to a time machine just once, is there anything you'd go back and change? Either on a personal level or an historical event?
Oh, the do-over game is tempting, but dangerous. There are many things I'd be tempted to change, if I could, but when I really think about it, there's nothing I would want to change about who and where I am today, except a few things that are still very much in my power to change, despite the fact I don't.
Contemplating history... that's incredibly tough. So many horrific wars and genocides could be undone, but one thing that upsets me every time I think about it is the trifecta of deaths in the 1960s. I can't help longing for the United States that might have been if Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy had not been assassinated.
What are your writing and personal goals for 2016 and beyond?
I'm eager to get Trasmundo: Exile wrapped up and out to the readers! And I've been putting together the framework for a mystery/thriller that I'm absolutely giddy about. I've never written a mystery, before, so I'm having a lot of fun working out how to build up to the delicious twist that's the nucleus of that novel.
Personal goals? To start learning Catalan (the local language here in Barcelona and the rest of Cataluña), and to do a better job of getting out and making new friends here.
Are you a cat person or a dog person? Can you tell us about your pets?
I grew up with dogs. My mom and I always had tons of pets, actually. Two dogs, plus an aquarium, parakeets, parrots, hamsters, hermit crabs, lizzards, snakes. But for the past ten years or so, I've had cats. I love all the furry friends!
Thank you so much for inviting me to chat with you and your readers! Besos from Barcelona!
TITLE: The God of Jazz: Fugue, Concord
AUTHOR: Varian Krylov
COVER ARTIST: Bey Deckard
LENGTH: 117,450 words
RELEASE DATE: September 16, 2016
BLURB: After years struggling to realize his dream of directing a feature film, on the final night of his fundraising campaign Godard is on the cusp of having everything he ever wanted. The man he loves is upstairs waiting for him, and he's just a few dollars short of his GoFundYourself goal.
Then everything falls apart.
His personal and professional life in ruins, when his old nemesis from film school offers to fund his dream project if he's willing to shoot it in Spain, Godard knows it's a deal with the devil. But he also has nothing left to lose.
Among the labyrinthine streets of Barcelona's Barrio Góthico, the city's vibrant music scene, and the sun-gilt beaches of the Costa Brava, Godard begins making shooting his dream project and putting his life back together, largely under the domineering gaze and deft touch of Ángel, the god of jazz.
But Ángel is keeping a secret, and a deal with the devil always comes at a price.
“Bienvenidos...” After a glance back at his band mates, the trumpet player fixed his intense gaze on the audience and welcomed us in a low, smoky voice. Almost instantly the crowd went quiet, like everyone there was desperate not to miss a syllable. Of course, the remaining crumbs of my high school education in Spanish didn't get me past the first word, except I did catch their names as he introduced his bandmates. Jaume on the drums. Alistair on bass.
The stunner with the trumpet and the arresting eyes that were the color of Amaretto di Saronno in the sun, but almost black in the hard shadow cast by the spotlight hitting his striking, upward angled eyebrows, was Ángel. He shot a glance at the drummer, who set a rhythm, brushes hissing over the heads. The low thrum of the bass came in as an electric smile spread over Alistair's handsome face. The tempo of the music echoed faintly in Ángel's subtly swaying body for a few measures as he let the music lull us out of the hectic pace of our day, the frenetic energy of the crowd that had been bantering and calling for drinks and jockeying for places to sit or stand, into the soothing rhythm. Then he brought the horn to his lips and kissed our souls.
Sultry, thick and sweet, tinges of melancholy. The notes stretched and yawned, curled around us like smoke. Slipped into the gaps in our broken, rusted armor and soothed our wounds.
I felt almost ashamed, in the midst of that transcendental rapture, that I couldn't look at Ángel without conjuring the memory of his naked body, lax and faintly sheened with sweat as his broad shoulders flexed when he'd shifted his weight. The taunting temptation of his bare ass. Impossible to stop trying to imagine what he would look like, standing alone on that stage, under those lights, looking down at me, naked. Picturing his cock hanging, limp. Wondering if, when hard, it would stand up straight, jut off at an angle, or stick out from his groin.
At some point I had stopped looking at the other two sharing his stage, and just stared at him. The slight inward slope of his narrow nose. The delicate bow shape of his upper lip, slightly prominent, overshadowing his narrower bottom lip. Wanting him, almost willing him to turn those intense eyes on me again. Would it feel like a touch, the way it had at the beach? Was he caressing every man and woman in the bar with that gaze? Were they all secretly quivering and warming under his stare?
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Growing up near Los Angeles, I spent much of my time frolicking in the Pacific Ocean and penning angst-twisted poetry. Now I'm living in sunny Spain writing pathos-riddled fiction. Ironically, two of my favorite things are traveling, and swimming in the ocean, despite increasingly intense phobias of sharks and flying.
I've always loved the music and substance of words, always loved writing in well-worn notebooks by hand, tapping at the keys of the computer, and, of course, conjuring up stories.
And from my earliest memories, I've always been fascinated—maybe obsessed?—with sex and sexuality.
In my writing, sex is the medium, the expression, and the tool of discovery for my characters' insecurities, the needs that drive them, the comfort they can't live without, the joy and relish of life that makes each of them intense, strange, and alluring.