Whoever said money couldn't buy happiness has never starved a day in their lives.
My name is Aria Valencia, a third year classical music student at the university, and I was down to my last dollar. Some nights, I seriously considered working at the rippers just to make ends meet, but the thought of my dad's spirit — God rest his soul — scowling at me while I danced up on some drooling degenerate was enough to turn me off the idea completely.
And then one night, chance came knocking on my door under the guise of the Midnight Society, a secret cabal comprised of the most wealthy and influential souls this side of the Universe. Their leader was a man named Shadow, who was equally enigmatic as he was gorgeous and, for some mystifying reason, had his dark brooding eyes focused on me.
Seduced by the promises of fame and fortune in exchange for a seemingly innocent request, I soon found myself drawn into a provocative world filled with both vast riches and unending lies and it didn't take long for me to realize what being a part of the Midnight Society actually entailed: shiny things, sensual romance, and dead bodies.
Being with Shadow came with a terrible price, one that I wasn't willing to pay. There's a dark side to every love story, and this one was mine.
I am a huge fan of your website and specifically your funny personal tales of disaster and mishap. You not only write romance, mystery and suspense well, but you have a talent for comedy as well. Have you always enjoyed writing as a form of expression?
About 60% of my waking life, I'm in a trance-like state, dreaming up bizarre scenarios that really have no relevance on my day-to-day life.
For example, what would happen if everyone in the world lost all five of their senses at once? Or what if someone had a black hole in their stomach that contained a separate universe inside of them?
If I were to discuss these ideas with the people I interact with on a daily business there's a high probability I'd have to waste precious free time undergoing a psychiatric evaluation.
Writing, however, is the perfect way to get my thoughts out there without looking like a complete lunatic. For Semblance, the first book of my new series the Midnight Society, my daydreams at the time involved secret societies, sex, murder, serial killers, assassins, exotic scenery, betrayal, lust, daddy issues, amongst a plethora of other things.
Romance/erotica novels has been a genre dominated by women. What led you to write in this genre?
Vampires had their pasty-white grip on the action/romance/thriller genre for far too long! It was time someone stood up against the hordes of these hyper-sexual neck-biters that line up the romance bookshelves and threatened to steal the hearts of all our human women.
All joking aside, I always loved thrillers and mysteries. Added to the fact that my wife wanted to read something with some sexy time in it, I decided to take those elements and mix them together. The end product of my mad literary alchemy was Semblance — a provocative thriller.
Semblance is so much more than your typical romantic tale. With so much of the story revolving around the secret Midnight Society, it creates a read that is dark, intense, sexy and full of mystery. Where did your inspiration come from to write Semblance?
Once I figured out I wanted to write a dark, action packed, romance thriller, I needed a concept that was unique and original.
I was actually sitting in a coffee shop talking to one of my friends and she asked me "Can you keep a secret?" It was that very question that led me to think about the entire concept of Secret Societies and all the lies and manipulation involved within these dark and powerful organizations.
How has the reception been to Semblance? What has been the biggest surprise about your reading audience?
The reception to Semblance has been amazing. Every time, I receive a new email from a reader telling me how much they loved Semblance, I'm tempted to jump out of my seat and perform enthusiastic hip thrusts in the corner of my office (where my wife can't/doesn't want to see me).
The biggest surprise about my reading audience is just how awesome they all are. In fact, they formed their own community on facebook, an official Midnight Society fan club, where they converse and speculate about the series. The best part of it all, they all treat one another with respect.
Let's face it, there's a nasty side to social media — one that I want no part of — but I can honestly say that every single person in the Midnight Society fan club is amazing. I love dropping in from time-to-time to read what they have to say and what theories they have for the future of my characters.
Shadow is tall, strong, powerful, brilliant, gorgeous and ultimately emotionally broken. What have you seen in Henry Cavill (other than the physical resemblance) makes you think he could play Shadow?
Henry Cavill's performance in Man of Steel truly captured the essence of Shadow, a man drowning in a sea of bones from all the skeletons buried deep in his closet. However, underneath the dark, brooding exterior is someone who wants to live a normal life, who wants to experience love, who wants to be free from all the ghosts that haunt him.
Henry portrayed the emotions of isolation, longing, and newfound love beautifully in Man of Steel, and there's just no other person in my mind that can do the role justice at the moment.
You are also a piano composer. You have two beautiful pieces posted on your website. Does writing inspire composing?
I'd say my music comes from a different part of me all together. Whereas writing requires a lot thought in forming a coherent story as well as constructing lyrical pleasing sentences, music is something I create organically, its roots stemming from my emotions.
One of the paragraphs in Semblance, told from the perspective of Aria (my main character) is:
I hit the first note, creating an instant bond between my mind and my art. I closed my eyes and allowed the spirit of the music to possess me, my hands no longer my own but an extension of the piano itself. I was its vessel, and the intimacy we shared was one filled with beautiful and majestic music.
That pretty much sums up how I feel when I'm sitting in front of the ivory keys.
Semblance ended on a series of very intense cliff hangers. What's next for Shadow, Aria and the Midnight Society?
Aria's an emotional wreck, Shadow is pretty pissed off and ready to tear the heart out of his nemesis, and the Midnight Society is in a state of complete disarray. I'm a bit of a sadist and don't believe in keeping things status quo for my characters, thus I burnt everything down to the ground in Semblance's "WTF" climax.
Penumbra (book two of the Midnight Society series) will basically have our heroes gathering whatever ashes remain from the wreckage and rebuilding their destroyed lives, along with the Midnight Society, from ground zero.
As an indie author, how has social media effected your promotion of Semblance?
Social media has been the holy grail of my success. When I first started writing Semblance, I created a blog, detailing the entire process as well as providing some insight into my crazy antics. I attracted readers to it through twitter, and surprisingly, had quite a few people sign up for my email list.
I think the days of the recluse writer are long gone. Personally I don't think I'd be able to do the entire 'lone wolf' thing well either. I love talking to my readers and feel privileged every time someone messages me, telling me how much they enjoyed Semblance. I try to do my best to respond to all my twitter messages and private Facebook messages.