For my next Author Spotlight I’m joined by the wonderful Vinni George. We talked about imperfectly perfect characters, inspirational teachers, balancing writing with life, and desert island bookcases.
Take it away Vinni…
First things first, please introduce yourself!
Hi! I’m Vinni George! I write humorous contemporary queer romance (for now… I might be dabbling in a bit of fantasy/paranormal soon). I’m on the side of thirty-five where I round up to forty, and I split my time as an author, editor, and mom to a seven-year-old I think is one of the funniest humans on the planet (he also wants to “go into the family business”—his words—and become an author).
Tell us a little bit about your writing style.
My characters have been described as guys you could meet in the produce section of the grocery store and ask on a date, and I think that’s a pretty apt description. My characters are imperfectly perfect, sometimes terrible communicators, and largely embody everything I love (and sometimes loathe) about real people. I really enjoy writing a witty sidekick, especially if they are over sixty-five and have run out of mouth-to-brain filter. My books are lower angst but not conflict free, and lots of the conflict is self-inflicted per the aforementioned poor communication and embodiment of the complexities of real people. I enjoy trying to find new ways to approach tropes
Describe your books in only three words.
Funny, sweet, real.
What’s your next book about and when is it coming out?
My next book is A Foot in the Door, which is book three in the Open Doors series. It is a take on the professor/student trope, featuring a hot statistics professor with a little bit of a hero complex, a ginger-haired grad student, and an opportunity neither can refuse. A Foot in the Door releases May 12.
Out of all your books, which one are you most proud of?
I’m definitely most proud of my debut book, Hold the Door. It took more than two years to get Sam and Max’s story where I wanted it, and I’m so glad it is out in the world. Hold the Door also received honorable mention and was a runner-up in gay contemporary romance in the 2021 Rainbow Awards.
What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer?
In my editor life, I am surrounded by amazing authors who inspire me to keep writing every day. If I go back to the very beginning of my writing journey, I’d have to say my biggest influence was my seventh grade teacher, Mrs. Erwin. She moderated our Power of the Pen competition team and was in general one of my favorite people. She had bright-purple hair and outrageous, neon style and pushed me to push myself harder than I thought I could while also being my biggest champion. She passed away when I was in high school, but whenever I get stuck, then suddenly find the perfect way to unstick myself, I believe it’s her giving me a gentle nudge. My novella, Door Number Two, is dedicated to Mrs. Erwin, and as I say in that dedication, without her, I would never have been a writer. I like to think she’s proud of where I’ve ended up.
What inspired you to start writing?
Sam and Max’s story had been in my head for a really long time. I saw the mistletoe scene in my head clearly for a long time before I ever put pen to paper. One day, I was in the car and heard the song “Peach Fuzz” by Caamp and the scene played out in my head so perfectly I went home and wrote out a version of what would eventually become the prologue in Hold the Door.
What’s your writing process like? Do you have a typical “writing day”?
I try to write early in the morning before #momlife starts and the wheels fall off the bus. Sometimes I’ll bang out a scene or two right before bed, but I don’t necessarily have a “writing day.” I write as much as I can as often as I can, and sometimes that’s 300 words jammed in while I scarf down lunch, and sometimes that’s 3,000 words poured out before sunrise.
What comes first for you – the plot or the characters?
Definitely the characters. I have lists of characters with nuanced backstories I’m waiting to use in future stories.
What’s a book that you wish you’d written?
Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood. It’s such an interesting look at societal, familial, and other pressures to be a certain way and what that does to the psyche. There is a scene that haunts me (in a good way) where the main character dreams she is wearing her husband like a purse, like an accessory, and the imagery is beyond fantastic.
If you could only write one trope for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Totally enemies to lovers. The characters have to grow so much personally to be able to get to a place where they can grow together, and that is right up my alley.
What would be your three desert island books?
This is a cruel question. Can I have desert island bookcases instead? How about desert island series? Yes? Okay, good. In that case, I would have to take the Mortal Instruments series by Casandra Clare (my kiddo is named after Simon Lewis), the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evnovich (there are currently 28 books in the series… see what I did there), and the Forbidden Desires series by Piper Scott and Lynn Van Dorn because baby dragons.
If one of your books could be made into a movie/TV series, which would you choose and who would you cast?
I would have to say Revolving Door, and while I don’t really have a casting choice for either of the main characters, Leslie Jordan would have to play Hank. Like if Leslie Jordan’s not on board, the movie can’t be made. Hard stop.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Do you have a secret passion or hobby that we don’t know about?
I’m working toward a black belt in taekwondo (currently a green belt), and I’m a burlesque performer and pin-up title holder.
Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur?
The correct answer to this question will always be triceratops. And I swear it’s not because I identified with Cera from The Land Before Time as a child.
Vinni George has been a lover of romance novels (of all shapes, sizes, and colors) since she first got her hands on one of her grandmother’s Harlequins and has never looked back. She lives in Ohio with her two favorite guys (her husband and son) and, hopefully—one day—a dog. When not writing her own stories, she can be found helping to polish other people’s novels. In her spare time, Vinni dabbles in performance art, quilting, and various culinary pursuits and enjoys traveling.