24 August, 2012

#BookReview & #Interview :: The Lust Garden by Billy Jolie

With her perfectly tousled blonde hair and pink, pouty lips, Gianna Salvani is the girl everyone loves to hate. She has it all - fame, fortune and unrivaled beauty. But behind the seductive smile is an insecure girl who still grieves for the father she lost years ago. With a controversial new film in the can, and the release of her debut album looming, Gianna is poised to take center stage. But when a shocking secret leaves her exposed, her fame will bring her face-to-face with a nightmare she never saw coming. Because lurking in the shadow of her spotlight is an obsessed killer with plans of his own for Gianna. Ignited by his first conquest, Gianna's greatest admirer begins a brutal hunt to claim her as the ultimate trophy in a string of look-alike murders. Motivated by envy, he forces himself into her seemingly untainted world and threatens to ruin everything she's built by revealing a hidden tie that binds them. And if you knew his secret, you'd want to kill her too.

Gianna Salvani is perfect. From her looks to the way her career is shaping up. She is the girl everyone is attracted to and she is the girl that everyone envies. But then there is more to this diva than one expects. She is grieving for her father while trying to handle her alcoholic mother. Her boyfriend is too occupied with himself to ‘actually’ understand her. Even her best friend isn’t really a friend. She is lonely in ways that one can only imagine. To top it all, a serial killer is after her.

The book is focused on both Gianna and the serial killer after her. The diva’s character can be confusing in a good way. Sometimes I felt that she had it all only to realize that she didn’t. Sometimes I felt sad for her and sometimes I hated her. For one single character to evoke so many emotions, it is really amazing. The perpetrator in the story is another thing on the whole. He managed to give me goose bumps with his psycho ways. 

The setting and background of the story is that of the glamour world. Though I cannot claim to be an expert on it, but the author’s description of it seems very authentic. Behind the spotlights and all the glamour, it seems to be a very dark place. Behind every successful artist there are people who are trying to bring them down because of petty jealousies, rivalries and politics of the business. Gianna is subjected to all of that and because of her secret she seems very vulnerable.

The plot is simply amazing and with the author’s magic touch in the style of storytelling, there is nothing that can stop you from getting sucked into the story! As a reader I lived and experienced the situations with the characters because of the very detailed and vivid descriptions that make everything seem and feel real. Mr.Billy maybe new to the publishing world but he sure has mastered the art of storytelling. I cannot wait to see what he comes up with next. In the meantime I would recommend this to all with a strong heart and taste for mysteries.

Interview with the Author

Billy Jolie graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in Mass Communications. He lives in the Tampa Bay area. Follow him on Facebook / Twitter / Blog / Goodreads   

DDS: Tell us a little bit about yourself. 
[Cue some karaoke music.] “Just a small town girl boy, living in a lonely world, she he took the midnight train going anywhere…” who likes to write fiction. Sorry, I hate this question. 

DDS: What got you into writing?
I don’t think there was a single event that got me into writing. I read a lot as teenager. Both activities were always an escape for me, still are. I remember early on that I was a good “story teller” and that I needed a creative outlet. It’s hard work, but it’s a natural talent.  

DDS: Tell us about the The Lust Garden
It’s definitely a wild ride. At its core, the novel is a dramatic journey through the minds of two very extreme characters.  We have Gianna Salvani, the ultimate Hollywood “It” girl, strutting her way through fame and dealing with its drawbacks. Her quest for love, acceptance, domination… and in the background of all this glitz, we get to experience the real darkness of a serial killer who is obsessed with Gianna and the idea of physical metamorphosis.  You’ll be dying to figure out his secret.

DDS: What was the hardest part about writing this book?  
Deciding the fate of a character you’ve grown to love is always difficult.  Knowing you can’t change it is even harder.  Technical aspects are tricky. Keeping the pace was challenging. One of the characters, Zak, is British.  It was hard making his dialogue seem believable. 

DDS: Any unpublished work - that’s still somewhere in your drawers, that we should know about?
Absolutely. I have two completed novels that I wrote when I was in high school, and they’re exactly as you described – inside an old shoebox and buried in a drawer somewhere. I doubt they’ll ever see the light of day, but it’s fun to go back and look at them from time to time. They’re sort of like little time capsules.

DDS: What are your writing pet peeves?  
I don’t know if it’s a pet peeve per say, but I only write at night. I can’t seem to create anything worth keeping during the day. It’s a little odd, and I like music playing in the background. It helps me focus. Lately, I’ve been writing to film scores. Black Swan and Drive are my current favorites.

DDS: Who is your favorite character? (one of your own creation – published/unpublished)  
The Lust Garden has a huge cast of characters and I love them all for different reasons. Gianna, the main character, is my heart, but if I had to choose a favorite, I’d go with Rachyl. She’s the underdog, the nemesis. She was the most fun to bring to life because she’s just so over the top. I had absolutely no boundaries with her, and that was really refreshing.

DDS: Now time for some fun facts about you. If The Lust Garden was to be turned into a movie – which actor/actress would you like to see playing the characters?  
I wrote a fun blog post about this very question a few days ago. It’s something I debate constantly.  Gianna is an extreme character with alternating highs and lows.  She’s a bit bipolar, and the actress would have to possess vocal talent.  I’m going to say Scarlett Johansson. For Rachyl, I’d love to see Megan Fox get gritty and take on the role. For Blair, Gianna’s assistant, I see someone like Zac Efron – if he could step outside his comfort zone and play a gay character. The hardest role to cast would be that of the serial killer. He’s intense, terrifying, but charming, too. His eyes are the key… Maybe Ian Somerhalder or Wes Bentley. I love their blue eyes.

DDS: Who is your favorite author & which is your favorite book? I know it is beyond difficult, but you can name only one in each category!  
Bret Easton Ellis is definitely my favorite author, so that’s an easy answer. I enjoy controversy, so I’ll say his novel, American Psycho, is pretty high on my list. I remember reading it for the first time in high school and just being completely mind-shattered.

DDS: Do any of your favorite authors influence your writing style? If yes, then who and how?
Of course, I think in today’s market it’s pretty hard to be truly original. I grew up reading Stephen King, Anne Rice, Jackie Collins and Bret Easton Ellis, and they’ve all influenced my work. I’ve been compared to Collins and Ellis a lot, which is a huge compliment. I think it’s probably most evident in the way I construct dialogue. I can be manic, everything reads like a screenplay for me.

DDS: What’s brewing? What can we expect from you next?
I’m working on a new novel now, actually. I’m about a third into it and hope to complete it by the end of the year. I write slow, but I edit at the same time, so it’s two-fold. The new book is completely different than The Lust Garden. No fictional celebrities, no serial killers… It’s more of a coming of age tale. It centers around three unlikely friends that come together over the course of a summer in Upstate NY. A decision is made by one of them that changes their lives forever… It may sound a little warm and fuzzy, but it’s anything but. Things get really, really intense for these kids. I’m so excited to share it with my readers.

DDS: Anything else you would like to say to your readers/fans? 
I love connecting with my readers. I’m the kind of guy that would go to Starbucks and chat with a fan about the book. I love hearing feedback on my work. I’m pretty active on Twitter and Facebook, so find me. Say hi, I don’t bite… hard.

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1 comment:

  1. Very interesting story. :D I would love to know more about Gianna Salvani. Her world seems really controversial and would love to know more about it. From the description, this is really something that I would read.. Added the book to my Goodreads to-read and wish list shelves :D

    - Ara of My Book and My Coffee