is finally live on Amazon and World’s Slowest Reader is celebrating the release with author, V.K. Torston.
Interview with V.K. Torston
World’s Slowest Reader: So a stepbrother romance is really controversial, you either love them or hate them. I am definitely the former. What is it about Stepbrother romance that interests you and made you want to write and develop Dan Cole?
In my recent HuffPost
interview with Mara White, I described “Stepbrother Romance” like this: “Here’s a hot guy who’s face you would totally kiss. Now you have to share a bathroom with him, but you’re definitely not allowed to kiss his face
.” This sort of tension is necessary for a romance novel. Like Allison Temple said:
In a Stepbrother Romance, the same situation that brings the characters together is also the barrier against them getting together. For Defiant Attraction specifically, I liked the idea of forces acting upon the characters, and the characters reacting to those forces. When Dan and his dad move in with Sophie and her mom, the ambitious honor student is suddenly forced to interact with her school’s most notorious Bad Boy (cue: conflict). But as the relationship between their parents deteriorates, they find themselves drawn together by their shared need to survive their circumstances (cue: sparks). And these are rebellious young people we’re talking about, so every time one force pushes them one way, they careen in the opposite direction. With their household spiraling out of control, it’s inevitable that they’ll eventually smash into each other. WSR: As you know, one of my signature things in my blog is my casting corner. How do you rate my cast for your book, who would you personally cast?
VKT: Victoria Justice is hands down the best available choice for Sophia–you nailed that one!
I will say that Justice is a few shades too “classically hot” for the character, but that really comes down to Hollywood’s diversity problem. While we’re starting to see a wider variety of white women and girls getting cast, WoC still sort of have
to be traditionally gorgeous to make it onto the screen. Hispanic/Latina women in particular are disproportionately sexualized
, and usually depicted as vivacious or “spicy”–think Salma Hayek, Penelope Cruz, Sofia Vergara, or Eva Longoria. If there’s no *perfect* casting choice for Sophie, it’s because we just don’t see enough characters like her in the mainstream, or the kinds of actresses who would play them.
One stereotype-defying, half-Boricua actress does come to mind…
But Aubrey Plaza and Sophia Ramos really don’t have anything else in common outside of “not hella cliche’d”. So, 4/5 stars for your casting of Victoria Justice!
WSR: I would have liked to find out a little more about Dan’s background with his father. Are there any plans to go deeper into Dan’s backstory?
VKT: So much about Dan didn’t make it into Defiant Attraction. While I was writing, it was like his character was overflowing with information. I knew what he was thinking and feeling in every scene. If he wasn’t in a given scene, I knew where he was and what he was doing. Entire side-plots emerged.
I did experiment with alternating POVs, but they killed the tension and I didn’t want readers to feel like I was spelling every little thing out for them. I tried to weave more of Dan’s story into Sophia’s narration, but I couldn’t get to everything without A) just presenting it all through his dialogue [lame], or B) making her some sort of stalker.
So what do you do when you have an entire book’s worth of story left over? Write another one! The Diary of Daniel Cole
will be a companion book from his perspective, introducing entirely new characters and subplots over a longer time period. And because it’s presented as Dan’s private journal entries, it’s funnier, angstier, sexier, occasionally unreliable, and deeply felt.
WSR: The story touched on other issues too, such as cyberbullying and revenge porn. Did you create this story with an idea of raising such awareness?
VKT: None of that was planned! These are young characters in a contemporary setting, so I wanted technology to be a realistic feature in their lives. But as a Young Woman On The Internet myself, I’m hyper-conscious of how dangerous these tools can be and how vulnerable we are to abuse. In retrospect, it was like I littered the early portions of the book with Chekhov’s Guns, and only realized what I’d done once I found exactly the moment to fire them.
In the end, I was glad to explore these issues and I think it made the story much more interesting, but I definitely never set out to tackle them.
WSR: You’re obviously a great writer for romance and erotica. What are your personal favourite genres to read in your own time?
VKT: Thank you! And ooh yay now we get to talk about books. I think I gravitate toward novels that deal with intersecting social issues and marginalized people in nuanced ways.
Right now I’m reading The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra, which is a series of interconnected short stories (but ultimately feels like a novel presented as a series of interconnected short stories) exploring Russian consciousness.
Romance author, Mara White recently released a not-Romance novel, Touched.
As soon as I put it down, eyes still wet, I knew it had catapulted itself onto my Top-Five Favorite Books of All Time. Touched
is too vast, complex, and awe-inspiring to even begin to explain, but you can check out my attempt on Goodreads
Another major standout I read this year was The Girls by Emma Cline. Though loosely based on the notorious Manson Family, this story is less about cults and more about the jagged corners of early adolescence and girlhood. I’ve never read a book that took teenage girls as seriously as Cline did, and it was refreshing to see Hippie/late-1960s culture presented so unsentimentally.
When it comes to my All-Time Favorite, it’s a three-way tie between The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter also (obviously) by J.K. Rowling, and White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi. Vacancy is a sprawling, almost Dickensian novel about teenagers sabotaging a local election. Witching is a magical realist novel about a girl who compulsively eats chalk, narrated in part by a sentient (and xenophobic) Bed & Breakfast. And even though I’m just the biggest Potterhead, I’m not actually a fan of fantasy. To me, Potter is political philosophy.
I also read mysteries sometimes, but not very broadly–just Agatha Christie and Robert Galbraith (a pseudonym for my main girl, JK Rowling). It should come as no surprise that my favorites of Christie and Galbraith are the ones that deal with social issues.
About the Author
V.K. Torston is a millennial and ‘cool aunt’ to a brood of nieces and nephews. She was born and raised in San Francisco, attended university in New York City, and aspires to one day live in London. A veteran of the independent music scene, she began writing nonfiction in her late teens. Then she realized that making up stories was way more fun than coming up with endless synonyms for ‘frenetic’ and ‘danceable.’ Her hobbies include drinking too much coffee, making up stupid songs, and ranting about current events. Defiant Attraction
is her first novel.
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