Interview with Author Laura Tolomei

My guest today is author Laura Tolomei. Hello! Welcome to Writing in the Modern Age! It’s such a pleasure to have you here. 
Hello!  Thank you so much for inviting me on your blog today!
Of course! 

Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book? When did it come out? Where can we get it? latest release, Virtus Sex, is a revitalization of the first book of my most successful series, the Virtus Saga. This book was originally published as The Sex, but after 10 years from its release, I felt the need to rewrite it in my current style.

Yes, because when it was first written, I was just starting out as an author, so my style, plot construction and character building were…primitive at best :-)

This is also why the full title of this novel is Virtus Sex, The Sex: Author's Cut.

Now the story is much more fluid and the characters practically jump out at you—that's how real they are!

To understand about Virtus Sex, you must first understand about the saga itself.

It's an Erotic Dark Fantasy Paranormal Romance Series that Explores the Dark and Light Sides of Power and Love between Three People.

But it's also the Making of a Trio: the Virtus Saga shows how power and love can be equally shared.

It's comprised of 10 books in all that must be read in sequence, one after the other for the story to make sense. There are 3 amazing characters with super-powers. There's 1 sinister pyramid, but 1,000 scorching MMF erotic scenes. Mostly, there's 1 tense battle of good versus evil.

Now completed, this erotic dark fantasy series is continuing to receive critical acclaims. The concept of a world free of violence attracts readers. The fiery MM and MMF sex keeps them hooked to every page. Dripping passion and lust woven inside an imaginary frame ruled by magical powers, this saga is nothing more than the age-old battle of good versus evil, only without the violence usually associated to such fierce struggles for survival.

The titles say it all:

The Sex
The Game
The Festival
The Leader
The Pledge
The Heat
The Princess
The Lord
Not In The Game, Deleted Scenes from The Game
Virtus Sex, The Sex: Author's Cut (previously published as Virtus, The Sex but has been completely revised and doubled in size with the addition of many new scenes)

The way it all starts and progresses, nothing is as it seems. 

Soul-mates Prince Duncan Caldwell and Lord Christopher Templeton share a love that is unrivaled, until Duncan takes shelter in Ylianor Meyer's dilapidated shack. Ylianor has always loved Duncan, and while Duncan is attracted to her, she remains a servant—okay to bed, but not acceptable consort material. Unwilling to accept it, Ylianor vows she will do anything, even come head to head with his insufferable lover, to stay at his side.

But there is more going on than either of the three realize.

Lord Arthur Fairchild, Leader of the High Council, knows his planet Sendar is doomed unless the predestined Hero steps in and blocks the darkness threatening to take over. And even if one person alone fits the bill, Arthur does the unthinkable—not only does he summon the Hero, but the Hero's consorts as well.

Sendar needs these three special people to become fully aware of their powers and learn how to use them together, working as one above and beyond their personal issues. They must become one whilst being three to make it through the difficult times ahead. If they do not, the Virtus which holds all of Sendar's secret could destroy them all. And then how will their world survive?

Regarding book 1, Virtus Sex, The Sex: Author's Cut, this is the first installment, the book that starts the entire saga. As I said above, this new edition is so much richer than the original version. The characters are more vivid and three-dimensional. The plot is more linear and direct. The story is more detailed and articulate. The sex scenes are more torrid and satisfying. All in all, this new book 1 of the Virtus Saga gives readers a better grasp of the series and it's a highly recommended starting point for all those interested in dark fantasy romance.

Where can you find Virtus Sex?

In most major e-bookstores.

Okay, great! 

Is there anything which prompted this book? Something that inspired you?

Yeah, the three amazing characters who dominate not just this book, Virtus Sex, but the entire series of the Virtus Saga.

Duncan Caldwell, Ylianor Meyer and Christopher Templeton filled my day and night dreams long before I realized I wanted to pick up my writing career.

I always find it interesting to see where the muse takes us as writers.

Let me ask a different question.

When did you know you wanted to write? Or has it always been a pastime of yours?

Never just a pastime, writing has definitely always been part of my life ever since high school. Publishing "Nostalgia", a short story in the school’s journal was my career's peak, which I topped in college with several articles written for The Phoenix, an Emory University journal. Believe it or not, I also wrote a full-length novel in that period, which I remember nothing about except the title that is "Untitled".

But writing and knowing you want to write are two different things.

So when I returned to Rome, Italy, I abandoned writing in favor of more “serious stuff” like graduating, finding a job, blah, blah, blah. To make a long story short, I lived life rather than write about it until I had to give voice to an experience that had tormented me since my American days. It came out as a novel, Piccolo Crocevia a Cinque (loosely translated Little Five Points), but I had to wait 10 more years, before I 'knew' I wanted to be a writer. And I haven't stopped since :-)

It started out with the recurrent visions of Duncan riding at night, utterly lost in a land that should’ve been very familiar to him, having to take shelter in a village shack by a coming storm. But the dark, beautiful woman opening her door is not the stranger he believes at first. From that moment on, they were constantly with me. Whether asleep or awake, I kept thinking of them as though they were parts of my real life. Not a fantasy at all, it was like I grew more and more obsessed with them until I had to set their story down on paper. And believe it or not, I didn’t start out with the idea of writing a series!

The story developed on its own, the characters telling me bits of it until I saw the greater picture underlying it all. In a way, it was odd in that I discovered the plot as if I were a reader, not the author, for many things didn’t make sense at first, their explanation coming much further down the road, like why doesn’t Duncan remember Ylianor, someone he’s grown up with and shared his childhood days?

But this didn't stop me. I kept writing and rewriting the 10 books of the series. And now that I've gone back to the beginning, it's like I've finally completed a circle.

Do you have any favorite authors yourself, Laura?

I got plenty! A ton of them actually, ‘cause I read so much in my time, I’ve had to give books away for lack of space.

My favorite authors are mostly fiction, history, fantasy, sci-fi and paranormal.

No, no horror ‘cause I’ve always been too impressionable (funny for me to say it, uh?) and can’t sleep easy after watching or reading something in the horror genre.

Here’s a brief list to give you an idea of my tendencies: Philip K. Dick, JRR Tolkien, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Joyce Carol Oates, Margaret Mitchell, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte, Jane Austin, Robert J. Sawyer, John Grisham, Michael Crichton, Lindsey Davis, Ellis Peters, Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Rex Stout, Evelyn Waugh, Somerset Maugham, Ellery Queen, Katherine Kerr, Emilio Salgari, Umberto Eco, Elsa Morante, Alexandre Dumas, Fiedor Dostoievski, Lev Tolstoy, Victor Hugo, Charles Dickens, Thomas Mann, Eric Maria Remarque, PD James, Marguerite Yourcenair, Simone De Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Miguel De Unamuno, Albert Camus, and many more.


So, do you write in a specific place? Time of day?  

I don’t have any specific place or time when I write. I hate routines. I write when I feel like it. Could be early morning, middle of the afternoon, late late at night, but mostly when I get inspired. And it could be any place. From my bedroom to the living room, but also on the beach, a place where I spend an inordinate amount of time during spring, summer and fall.
Cool! :)

Are there any words you'd like to impart to fellow writers? Any advice?

First of all, to believe in oneself always and no matter what because if you don’t, no one’s going to do it for you. And this is true for any occasion!

Secondly, to be patient. This industry, meaning publishers and editors, has its own times and sometimes, or rather most of the time, they never coincide with an author’s time.

So just hang in there and never lose hope!

Such helpful tips!

Thank you so much for stopping by to visit us here today at Writing in the Modern Age. It was wonderful having you!  :)

Readers, here is the blurb for Virtus Sex, book one of the Virtus Saga.

When Prince Duncan Caldwell loses his way home and knocks on a stranger’s door, looking to find shelter, he doesn’t know his life is about to change forever. Not because he can’t tear his gaze away from the beautiful woman who opens that door, but more so because she’s a stranger yet he can’t shake the feeling she belongs to him. And discovering she’s been banned from his home can’t stop the vortex of his feelings nor the truth of his world from crashing down on him.

This is just the beginning of the Virtus Saga, where nothing is as it seems. Not the world, since its all-pervading sex drive hides a scary lack of violence. Not the people, since soul mates Prince Duncan Caldwell and Lord Christopher Templeton share a love that is unrivaled until that fateful knock on Ylianor Meyer’s dilapidated shack.

This book starts the love and the passion that entwines fiery sex into this intricate three-way relationship. It’s a unique connection, laced with jealousy and violence that are unknown to their world. This is not just another erotic dark fantasy series. This is the making of a trio. Of three remarkable characters that must overcome their uncontrollable lust to face the truth about themselves and their planet if they want to defeat the darkness about to devour them. To be as one whilst three! To share power and love in equal measures. This is their real challenge, the lesson they must learn. Otherwise, how will their world survive?

The genre is Erotica, Gay LGBT, Ménage à Trois, Dark Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Series, m/m, m/m/f


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Here is an excerpt from the book.

Where the fuck am I?
Glancing dejectedly at the unfamiliar land, he felt utterly lost.
Which was impossible.
Born and raised in the Silcamore District, he knew Black Rose had to be just around the corner, had probably been circling it for the past hour or so. Yet the fact remained. The more he raced his horse, the less he recognized the territory.
Damn! The entire day spent riding home only to be in the middle of nowhere!
Annoyed for the waste of time, his knees tightened around Fuzeon’s belly, vowing he would reach home if it were the last thing he would do. And he might just have gotten his wish had a fat drop not hit his nose first, then his forehead.
Rain, great! That’s all I need!
Night had just fallen, with Stella setting at the twenty-fifth hour, an hour ahead of time given the full day of cloudy overcast sky. Now it looked anything but friendly, and the big black clouds that had steadily gathered over the horizon promised nothing good, as did the ominous thunderbolts that pierced the velvety darkness with distant flashes.
Goddamn it! He needed cover and fast, but none seemed available in the flat emptiness he was crossing. Just my luck! Where’s a shelter when you need one?
To think his father had taken such pride in running the Shelter System, making sure that all travelers on Silcamore’s roads had adequate hospitality to see them through their journey. Too bad he hasn’t placed one here, wherever here was, or wherever he would be going as he hurried away from the wet drops.
The downpour suddenly increased as though to spite him. To irritate him mostly, since the watery droplets had the most unfortunate habit of infiltrating through his long hair and clothes to run down bare skin.
Snorting, the horse reminded the rider he might not be the only one feeling uncomfortable. “Hey, Fuzeon.” Bending toward the black head, he spurred him. “Let’s get a roof over our heads before we both drown.”
Fuzeon nickered softly in agreement and accelerated as if he had just such a place in mind. So, the man raised his gaze and noticed a distant light on the left. Faint and unstable to be sure, still the first sign of life in what seemed to be an eternity.
Quickly steering Fuzeon, he rushed in that direction, only to realize he was at the village’s outskirts, just a stone's throw away from Black Rose. But by then, he was too tired and wet to care.
Reaching the pale glimmer, he realized it came from a poorly kept and neglected shack, with an annexed stable that looked like a palace.
Must be Fuzeon’s lucky day. Getting off the horse, he tied him up next to an empty trough. At least he’ll be sure to spend a better night than his master will.
Then speeding to the front door, he knocked loudly, trying to ignore how run down the rest of the place was.
“Yes, just a minute,” a female voice answered.
After a few moments, she appeared on the threshold.
“Good evening, sir.” Lit from behind, a complete stranger stared back at him with huge, green mesmerizing eyes.
And what he read in them was something so unusual he could not help sinking in it. A mix of relief, happiness, anticipation and so much more jumbled together, so strong, he feared he would drown in it.
“May I help you?” As though she realized the effect she was having on him, her expression changed to a faintly mocking one.
“Yes, I...” If he hesitated, it was because he was pulling himself together and trying to recover a semblance of control. Too many emotions were surging to the fore all at once that he simply had to stop to analyze the person in front of him.
At first glance, he could have sworn he had never seen her before in his life. But the second glance told a totally different story, until awareness hit him like something long repressed or unjustly forgotten.
By the gods, I know her!
Which seemed as impossible as his getting lost in a territory he knew like the back of his hand.
Breath caught in his throat, he checked her over one more time. Young, tall, very slim with well-shaped muscles that testified to a life on horseback, dark hair and extremely beautiful—he could not shake the weird sensation of looking in a mirror, as if she were his reflection or a twin he had somehow lost without remembering where or how. Because something about her colors and general build was impressively like him.
Eighteen or nineteen at the most, her thick, silky hair had the same raven black hue and texture as his, even if hers was longer also compared to his below-the-shoulder cut. Her perfect oval face had stolen some definite features from him, like the straight nose, exquisitely designed soft lips and the clear-cut almond shape of the dazzling green eyes. If this was the only discordant note, for his eyes were as black as cinders, it only strengthened the feeling he knew her at some intimate level he could not quite define at the moment. No, not a casual acquaintance at all—the more he examined her, the more she felt over and beyond familiar as if she belonged to him, which again was impossible because no member of his family lived in the village.
Maybe she has worked at Black Rose. But hard as he thought of the many women employed at his home over the course of his twenty-one years of age, he found no trace of a name to associate to this startling creature.
“Hem...” The woman cleared her throat. “May I help you?”
“I’m sorry, Milady.” Snapping out of his odd musings, he shifted on his feet. “But with the storm and all, I seem to have lost my way to—”
“Black Rose?” There was a note of incredulity in her voice he found a bit taunting.
“Well, I guess you know where I live.” Then again, everyone in the village knew of Black Rose.
“Also who you are, for that matter.” The hint of a smile curved her lips before she made a show of bowing. “Welcome to my humble home, Prince Duncan Caldwell.”
“All right.” No surprise here, either. He was the local celebrity after all. “Since you seem to know all about me, may I enquire on your name, Miss...”
“Ylianor.” Angling her head, she leveled her gaze with his. “Just Ylianor.”
“Who’s there?” The angry man’s voice broke the strange magic that had trapped him, rooted him to the ground it seemed, to the point he had also ignored the rain beating down on his back.
“I’m sorry.” With a start, she jumped away from the door looking every bit as bewitched as he was. “It’s raining harder, and I’ve kept you outside.” She gestured behind her. “Please, come in.” Then turning around, she raised her voice, “Coming, Father.” Focusing back on him, an apologetic smile split her lovely face. “If you’ll excuse me...” Without waiting for a reply, she went to a nearby table, picked up a small candle and disappeared up a flight of stairs.
Hailed by loud thunder, he entered the house, as poor and desolate on the inside as it was on the outside. Sparse candles lit the table and the few chairs scattered around a cold fireplace next to an empty kitchen. Nothing more to see, he waited patiently for her to return, which she did shortly after.
“Here.” She handed him a towel. “At least you can get dry.”
“Thanks.” He smiled gratefully, shifting the long hair to rub the back of his neck.
“Would you like to stay the night?” Slightly embarrassed, her cheeks colored of an adorable red shade. “I mean, with the rain and all, maybe it would be better.” She seemed to pull herself together. “There’s a free bed upstairs, and I could fix you something to eat.”
Judging from the little furniture he had seen, he guessed the small shack would be unable to provide for too many sleeping arrangements. “Where will you sleep?”
“Oh, I won’t be doing much sleeping tonight.” Retrieving his towel, she folded it on the back of a chair. “My father is dying, so I’ll keep to his bedside.”
“I’m sorry.” He really was, even if nothing she had said so far had shed any light on who she really was, or on what her connection to him might be. “Can I be of assistance?”
“No, thank you.” She did not sound sad, just exhausted. “He’s been ill for a long time, but tonight I feel it’s his last one in this dimension.”
“I see.” Not sure he did, he tried to be convincing.
Averting her gaze, she glanced out the window. “If you’d like, I’ll take care of Fuzeon.” For a moment, she seemed lost as though fascinated by what she was fixing so intently. “I’m sure this thunderstorm has frightened him enough already. My father always keeps a few bales of hay stashed away for just such occasions.”
“You seem to know an awful lot about me.” Surprised, he cocked his head. “And about my horse.”
“Not to worry, Prince.” She patted his shoulder gently, as though he were a child in need of reassurance. “I’m the stable keeper’s daughter, so not only do I know your family quite well, but also your horses.”
“You are John Meyer’s daughter?” That explains the familiar air!
But not why he did not remember her.
At her nod, he knew things were not adding up at all. “Until he became ill, John stayed in Black Rose.” That had happened a year or so ago. “He had a place above the stables that was for him and his family—”
“I didn’t live there,” she was quick to grasp where he was going.
Too quick.
“I lived here, in the village.” Then she pursed her lips, evidently unwilling to keep talking about it.
Which only perked up his curiosity. “Never even came to visit him while he was working?”
John Meyer had been Black Rose’s stable-keeper forever, the man both he and his father had blindly entrusted with the precious charge of their four-legged friends. Like Prince Charles loved to tell his son, John had no equals, and it had become more evident since the man had fallen ill and left his service without Duncan being able to find an adequate replacement anywhere.
“No, I never did.” Averting her focus, she stared away from him. “About Fuzeon, would you like me to—”
“Yes, please, if you could look after him, I’d be most grateful.” Following her gaze, he noticed that the window next to the door gave a clear view of the horse inside the stable. “We come from a long journey, and maybe I taxed him more than I should have.”
Nodding in understanding, she grabbed a candle and went outside. He spied her from the window as she entered the stable to reach Fuzeon, his dark frame already moving to welcome her. Then resting his muzzle on her shoulders, he allowed her to caress his back. So he grew more perplexed.
Fuzeon was a very special horse that did not trust people, often including his own friends. Fuzeon privileged him alone after he had managed to overcome the horse’s diffident nature. And considering the fact he had accepted neither his mother nor his sister, the animal’s behavior seemed even more puzzling.
On returning, she placed the candle near the table and pulled out a chair. “You can sit if you’d like.” Her voice trailed to the kitchen, “While I fix dinner.”
Accepting her offer, he plopped down, feeling every tired bone in his body. On the opposite side, she gathered a few plates then retraced her steps, bringing a vegetable soup, some bread and a small piece of cheese.
“Here you go.” She set everything in front of him. “I know it’s not much.” A trace of regret veiling her lovely eyes, she went around the table to sit in front of him. “But with Father’s illness, I haven’t had time to look after anything else.”
“Aren’t you going to eat?” Not that it was enough for two, practically not for one either.
She glanced at the little food as though it were her dinner and breakfast. “I ate already.”
It sounded like a lie, pure and simple. And judging from her extremely thin frame, he was about to decline her offer when a noise distracted him.
“Hey, slut, where’s my food?” The voice upstairs shouted, “Are you going to let me starve, you bitch?”
No, he could not believe his ears, nor could he recognize his friend since childhood in the spiteful vulgarity of this enraged tone. His John Meyer had been a quiet and patient man, not very talkative, much preferring the company of his beloved horses, always hard at work with a passion few others possessed.
“Please forgive my father.” As though reading his mind, she leaned forward. “He’s very sick. The disease has consumed his mind as well as his body. Now he doesn’t know what he’s saying half the time.” She got up from her chair. “If you’ll excuse me, I’ll bring him dinner.”
“Is there anything I can do?” Rising himself, he felt embarrassed and concerned for her.
“No, thank you.” But she seemed to have things under control. “No one can do anything for him anymore.” In the kitchen, she grabbed a tray and headed upstairs.
Falling back down, he tasted the first spoonful of soup, wondering where she found the strength to put up with this strenuous situation. True, she seemed resourceful and organized. Yet also alone, as alone as if she did not have a living relative besides the one who was dying now. Not one person in the whole world who gave a damn about her—
“Are you done, stupid cow?” John’s overbearing voice crashed in his thoughts. “Get out of here! I don’t want to see your ugly face again. Fuck off and leave me alone.” There was a slight pause, as though perhaps she was trying to make him see reason.
Only he could not catch her soft voice.
“I said get out! Get out of my house and stay out!” John’s breath appeared to be unusually strong for a dying man. “Leave, filthy bitch. Do you hear me?”
Next thing, she came down two steps at a time, face pale and drawn.
“Are you all right?” He immediately got out of the chair and strode to meet her halfway.
“Yes, I’m fine.” Another lie, though he lacked the heart to challenge it. “Don’t worry. I know it’s hard to believe he’s dying, but it will happen tonight, so...” She shrugged as if to indicate she would tolerate the nasty behavior to make his passing easier.
“Maybe I could talk to him.” He tried to ignore the fact she had read his mind again, for the second time. “We used to be friends when he worked at Black Rose, and he’s taught me all I know and appreciate about horses—”
“No, please.” She raised a hand in frustration. “His mind is so far gone that he hardly recognizes anyone anymore. Or if he did, he’d just treat you as badly as he’s been treating me lately.” She peeked at the stairs behind her shoulders, her long hair falling on her breasts. “It’s best if you remember him in his better days, handling his adored animals, rather than this bitter shell that has nothing left of the man he used to be. Besides, his energy’s slipping away fast, and it might be too much of a strain for him.”
“Maybe you’re right.” Understanding her point, he let it go. “But what will happen to you when he does pass away? Will you stay here?”
“I...” At the hesitation, her brilliant green eyes clouded. “I might.”
“Is something wrong?”

Intriguing...add this novel to your Goodreads bookshelf, readers! 

The book sounds like a great read! We'll be sure to check out this steamy, dark fantasy paranormal
ménage romance!

Get it now!

Author Bio

With original borderline stories at the edge of accepted conventions, Laura Tolomei guarantees an erotic earthquake with each new novel.

Laura Tolomei lives in Rome, Italy, and is the author of 28+ books in her very particular and unique genre—Erotic Romance with an Edge. Novels on the edge of accepted conventions written in her breezy narrative style that hooks you from page one, such is her trademark, and she guarantees an erotic earthquake with each book! Among others, they include the critically acclaimed scorching dark fantasy Virtus Saga, all ten books of it, along with the kindred spirits of both the ReScue and the Soulmate Series, not to mention her horror novels as well as a few historical ones.

On a more personal note, she has been traveling the globe since age five and has no intention of quitting. Having been an avid reader her entire life, she decided at age forty to write her own stories and is still enjoying every minute of it. A convinced vegetarian for over 10 years, she had to be more "elastic" in her eating habits due to health issues. Regardless, the world she has built for her renown Virtus Saga is strictly vegetarian, and no human living there would ever dare eat meat. She also loves cocktails, and her favorite one, Negroni, is featured prominently in her ReScue Series.

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