Aviva Vaughn is the author of BECKONED—slow burn women’s fiction inspired by food, travel, and Jane Austen. A lifelong bibliophile, she enjoys a wide variety of genres from historical fiction to science fiction to non-fiction, and loves reading, and writing, hot—scientifically accurate—sex.
As a young adult, Aviva rejected the romance genre. “My mother had at least sixty of those old-school romances with the Fabio-esque covers. I didn’t like the way they depicted women or sex,” she says. However, after becoming a mother herself, she recognized the potential power of fiction as a force for female empowerment.
Her series—BECKONED—features strong, educated, diverse characters, with heroines who speak their mind and heroes who respect them for doing so. She writes so that her daughter will have inspirational, multicultural book characters to identify with, and a depiction of what a healthy relationship looks like both in the power dynamics and in the sex itself.
Aviva is not afraid to try new things, which has made for an interesting—although not always straight forward—life. Her favorite “two truths and a lie” line is: I have ridden bareback in the Navajo nation, I have jumped out of an airplane over New Zealand, and I have gone spelunking in Costa Rica. The answer appears at the end of BECKONED, Part 4: From Barcelona with Love ;^)
For a list of her favorite books, visit AvivaVaughn.com/about
Jann: Let’s welcome Aviva Vaughn to A Slice of Orange blog today to chat about her series BECKONED.
Jann: When did you start writing? Why romance?
Aviva: I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write creatively. I’ve written songs, poetry, and fiction at least since I was thirteen, if not before. I’ve always been fascinated with books and words, and have been an avid reader my entire life. Although my writing covers a variety of genres, the first book I decided to publish was a romance, and the reason why was because it told me to. My slow-burn contemporary series, BECKONED, has been a very bossy master. It wouldn’t leave me alone … it beckoned to me. However, it makes sense that I would start with a romance, because my favorite stories are always the ones where the human relationships are the focus, and the challenges that come up are the all too real challenges of human interaction and miscommunication. I mean, I like plot too, but what makes stories pierce your heart is not plot, but the human relationships. What would Star Wars be without the angst of Darth the wayward father, or the war-torn love of Han and Leia? It’s the relationships that hold one captive, and the stories that focus on them are the ones that I return to again and again. Authors like Jane Austen, Edith Wharton, and Margaret Mitchell, who create characters that just seem to keep missing each other over and over, those are the stories I love, but I wanted to give them a modern twist.
I often describe BECKONED as “a modern story told in an old-fashioned way.” By “modern story” I mean that it’s set in contemporary time, and the characters are diverse, and the heroines are strong. By “old-fashioned” I mean that the language and scene setting are very descriptive and literary feeling. My tagline for BECKONED is “slow burn, second-chance romance inspired by food, travel, and Jane Austen.” If your readers would like to read my series starter for free, they can sign-up for it at SmartURL.it/BeckonedLondonFree
Jann: Your series BECKONED–how, when, or where did your idea for the series come to be? Do you have a goal for the series?
Avivia: BECKONED was birthed by a couple of ideas. The first was that as a multicultural reader—I’m of Asian, Polynesian, Hispanic, and European descent and I was born and raised in Los Angeles—I was never able to find a character that looked like me, not even one. I wanted to create characters that my own mixed child could relate to and look up to. So I fashioned Angela: an aspiring entrepreneur putting herself through MBA school who just happens to be of a mixed background. The second idea was kind of inspired by one of the parameters Stephenie Meyer uses in TWILIGHT; in her books, vampires’ personalities are fixed when they become vampires, so her hero, Edward, has the values of someone from the early 1900’s. I liked the tension that it created having her modern heroine fall in love with a old-fashioned guy. I also wanted to have a hero who was the complete opposite of my fiery, multicultural Angeleno, and so I looked to Denmark which is a very homogeneous society and is famous for its gender equality and it felt perfect. So I created my hero, Soren Lund, who is a humble, polite real estate heir that has lived a life of boring privilege until he meets fiery Angela—who melts his heart—and realizes he doesn’t want to live without her.
Those twin inspirations, along with my love for food and travel, are what inspired the series. As far as my goal for the series, I want women to feel inspired and empowered by BECKONED. Many readers have said that they look up to Angela and I think that’s wonderful. I happen to know many women like Angela, so she’s not aspirational, she’s inspirational.
Jann: Beckoned Part 6 – Adrift in New Zealand makes its debut on May16th. What can you share with us about this new book?
Avivia: Hhhhmmmm … all I can say is that books 1-4 are kind of like “The Bachelor,” where there is a love triangle, and the man who doesn’t get the girl becomes the focus of Books 5 and 6. Readers have loved that I’ve been tying up the loose end of the guy who “lost”. Part 6 will be a very satisfying conclusion to this part of BECKONED.
Jann: What’s the best writing advice you ever received?
Avivia: The best writing advice I’ve received can be summed up in four points
My tip: I carry a Bluetooth keyboard so that I can “write on my phone.” This lets me write everywhere. I’ve had this $20 keyboard for four years and it’s still as responsive as ever and it weighs nothing. https://amzn.to/2TpmMli
Avivia: I’m working on a collection of steamy slow-burn stories as a way to introduce different couples to my readers and get their feedback on whom I should turn into my next full-length book. I’ll also have some previously unwritten scenes for Angela and Soren to introduce new readers to BECKONED. This collection might come out as early as March 2019, so stay tuned!
Jann: What’s the funniest (or sweetest or best or nicest) thing a fan ever said to you?
Avivia: I don’t think I can pick just one! Some of my favorite quotesfrom reviews are:
Jann: Do you have a website, blog, twitter where fans might read more about you and your books?
Avivia: Choose your favorite way to follow me! I love interacting with readers. If you are in the Southern California area, I have a bunch of readings and signings coming up.
Jann: Thank you Avivia for chatting with us here on A Slice of Orange.
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