If you’ve been around then you know that I’ve been gushing over this book- A War Like Ours. It was a debut book (and if you read it you’ll realize that it was better than a lot of books by seasoned writers), and seriously people, if you haven’t read it, I really really recommend it if you’re hungry for something dark and fucked up.
Where was I going with this? Oh yes, so turns out the author’s not only an awesome writer, but also an amazing person, and I had a bunch of delightful chats with her. And, she also agreed to answer some of my questions.
Stick around till the end, there are a lot of hilarious things she’s shared.. and a sneak peak into her next book. It’s pretty exclusive.
Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you—
Saffron A Kent
Romance Writer and Reader. Coffee Addict. White Russian Drinker. Imaginary Ballet Dancer. Wanna-be Poet. Lana Del Ray & Gillian Flynn Worshiper.
I am a big believer in love (obviously). I believe in happily ever after, the butterflies and the tingling. But I also believe in edgy, rough and gutsy kind of love. I believe in pushing the boundaries, darker (sometimes morally ambiguous) emotions and imperfections.
My stories are grey-shaded and NC-17. I write what I love to read. And what I love to read is always twisted and angsty and emotional. The kind of love I write about is flawed just like my characters. My characters desperately need therapy. They tend to kiss a lot too, among other naughty things. And I hope by the end of it, you’ll come to root for them just as much as me. Because love, no matter where it comes from, is always pure and beautiful.
So, before we go on to the proverbial heavy stuff, what would you like to tell us about yourself? Go on, go on- tell me anything you want, like the day you accidentally busted two street-cats dry humping each other, or any secret fetishes, or anything that is completely ridiculous but kind of makes you who you are because you can’t get it out of your head anymore.
S: Something ridiculous about myself, huh? You don’t ask the easy questions. Well, one thing that is absolutely ridiculous about me is that I am addicted to trashy reality shows. I mean, who doesn’t watch Bachelor? But I don’t stop there. I watch Naked Dating. I watch Naked Dating: playing for the keeps, which is essentially like Bachelors but the people are naked on there. I watch Judge Judy, Dog the Bounty Hunter, Married at first sight and Gosh, there are tons I can’t even remember right now. So yes, I am a certifiable addict of reality shows and drama.
As a writer, I would assume you would be a reader too? So as one, from 1-10 how high up the reader scale are you? (I should let you know I hang out with the junkies, and we are beyond any saving, and we are also recruiting 😛 ). Also what is your favorite book? When you read a book, what is it that you value the most- the language, the plot, the grammar (because the existence of the Grammar Nazis have been proven), or the author (because crazy fan-girls are real)?
S: I think I’m up there with 11 or 12. I will always be a reader first and a writer second, and I mean that very literally. I have lost writing days just because a book is so grabbing I can’t stop reading. Ah, to do that to your reader would be such a dream come true. All these writers I love are very cruel in that aspect! My favorite writers are many. I can’t even name one. But one person that comes to mind is Gillian Flynn. I’d kill for her, just saying. In fact, I want to write a love story where I take one of her characters and make them fall in love. I’d imagine it would be extremely fucked up and twisted, and probably, I’d be the only one who’d read it! Anyway, to answer your question about what I look for in a book: I am a language whore. I love pretty language, shocking phrases, word-play. So if your writing is pretty I’ll read it no matter what you’re writing about. I’m superficial like that 😉
On the off chance of sounding too cheesy, what/who inspired you to write?
S: I think whatever I read inspires me. I read a lot of romance, of course. But I also read a lot of literary fiction. So all of that inspires me. The more I read, the more I want to write. Oh and music. I listen to all those emo, deep/dark indie songs (Ha!) and that just fill me so much angst that I have to write about it.
So, I’m completely stealing now, but what is your dream job, and what is your actual job? Have your dreams come true?
S: My dream job is to be a full time writer or at least, make enough money to buy myself pretty things. My husband can take care of the household and the kids, when we have them. And I’m a full time writer right now. I just don’t make any money. I used to be a researcher in the oncology department of a university hospital, but that job just wasn’t for me so I quit.
Tell us something about your debut novel- A War Like Ours. Where did the story come from (other than your head of course)? How long did it take you to write it?
S: It took me a long, long time to write that story. Two years, perhaps. I think I’ve written that book about three times, from the scratch. I was trying to find my voice, trying to find what my characters wanted, because trust me, those characters aren’t very easy to work with. It started out as a rom-com which completely turned into something else. In fact, I studied Gillian Flynn and her writing during the time and then, wrote what came to me. That’s why they’re probably so fucked in the head (ha!). The idea of this story came to me long back when I was reading The Girl With Dragon Tattoo. The heroine starts dating women because of the trauma in her past, and she is so harsh and cynical. I wanted to explore her emotions. I wanted to see what would make a person so devoid of hope, so tired of life that they would purposefully destroy oneself.
James and Maddy are brilliantly complex. Where did the inspiration for their characters come from?
S: So as I said, Madison came to me while watching a movie and the story grew from there. James’ character came to me as is. I was probably reading something during that time that triggered him into this semi-depressed character who is filled with so much guilt. The trait about his self-harming came from Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects. As soon as I read it, I knew James would be a kind of person who’d do something like this to purge himself of his guilt and self-loathing.
Like I said in my review, AWLO deals with a lot of issues (ex: rape, cutting, cheating to name a few), and you have dealt with them very professionally. Are any of those off first-hand experiences?
S: Ha! Fortunately, not. There are a lot of issues and the situations are very extreme in my story. Nothing like that has ever happened to me and I pray it doesn’t happen to anyone. But still, I have put a lot of me in the characters. Their reactions and the things that they do – I can relate to all of them because they might be a very extreme or even distorted version of me. I do think somewhere deep down we’re all capable of things they did. It’s just that we never think about it or it just doesn’t register in our day today lives. Or maybe I’m just crazy. It’s okay for writers to be crazy, so I’ll roll with it.
So this was something I said in my review of AWLO, that I didn’t think your aim in the book was to make us fall in love with James and Maddy. I think you wanted us to understand them more, to understand why they did what they did. Is it true? How exactly did you want your readers to perceive them?
S: Yes, I wanted people to actually get what they were about. I wanted people to understand them. Many did but many didn’t, and that’s totally fine. I wasn’t out to please people, that’s for sure. What I wanted really, was for people to root for their love. That’s all I wanted. I wanted to show that love isn’t always meet-cute or Cinderella romance or even all dramatic. Love is love. It can happen to anyone, anytime. You can fall in love on your death bed with your nurse and even though you know it’s doomed, it’s there. Love isn’t defined by viability or happily-ever-after. And with every story, I am going to do the same. Though rest easy, I am not that cruel as to not give my characters their HEA. Despite the evidence to the contrary, I can be romantic sometimes.
AWLO is your debut novel. How was the state of your emotions in the days leading up to the release? Was it an experience of a lifetime? Was it everything you hoped it would be?
S: Ah. Well, I was shitting my pants! I was nervous and yes, excited too but mostly, I was afraid of sending my babies out in the world. I think, no matter how many books I write, J and M will always be my first love, and that just made me very possessive of them. The release day was great. I had so many people reach out to me, saying they loved my story. They understood what I was trying to do and that just blew me away 🙂
Are there more books in progress? What is the next thing you want to do now?
S: Yes, I am finishing up a book called, The Unrequited. It’s not at all dark. Though I do explore the themes of one-sided love and that desperation you have for someone to love you back. And what are the consequences of such a desperation. That’s the main theme. But it’s also a student/teacher romance, with the girl having an affair with her married professor. If you know me, then you can imagine that this isn’t a typical student/teacher romance that you read. I am super excited about it, but of course, super nervous.
As a writer, what is your one nightmare?
S: To be not noticed. Ever. That scares the bejesus out of me. Love me/hate me, don’t ignore me. Every artist feels that way, I think. I’m not saying I am an artist yet. I have a loooong way to go for that but you get my meaning.
Let’s end on a high note, tell me one hilarious incident that happened in your writing career.
S: Hmmm. Again, a very tough question. I am more comfortable talking about sad things (Ha!). My hilarious thing is also the most embarrassing thing that happened to me. I wrote a play for class and I didn’t know we had to enact it too. In hindsight, it should’ve been obvious. And gosh, I kept mucking up lines and it was so freaking embarrassing. That was the day I decided that I am never writing a play again.
Thank you so much for hanging out with me Saffron! It was awesome talking with you!
Go and show her some love people, and don’t forget to check out her website, because it’s so effing awesome!♥
A War Like Ours
Three weeks ago, James Maxwell’s wife died in a car accident, but he hasn’t been able to tell his five-year old daughter the heartbreaking truth behind her mother’s death. Instead, he packs them up and leaves for a summer resort in upstate New York to spend a few peaceful weeks and to gradually break the news. But a spirited and outspoken maid at the resort has figured out his secret.
After witnessing her mother’s violent death at the hands of her stepfather, Madison Smith has turned aimless and bitter toward the world—men, in particular. Her dead-end job at the local resort and her convenient girlfriend barely keep Madison from falling apart. When she meets James, however, she’s driven to protect his child from the darkness she sees inside him.
A forbidden kiss…
But Madison doesn’t expect to find that very darkness irresistible. Drowning in guilt and memories, neither does James expect to be drawn to the sharp-witted woman who has made his life miserable. When their tempers flare, a brutal kiss triggers a need that blurs the lines of hate and desire. As their lust spins out of control, they must decide if their attraction is worth fighting for or if love is the real enemy.
Please Note: This book is intended for mature audience. 18+ ONLY.
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