I'm so pleased to have a special guest visiting. Welcome ANTONIA VAN ZANDT, author and amazing storyteller. Antonia weaves fascinating tales that intersect time and place.
To better understand Antonia stories, let's learn about the writer first.
Where were you born?I was born in the ancient cathedral city of Salisbury in Wiltshire, England (but I’m not telling you when!)
What book do you remember from childhood? Why.
Alice in Wonderland. I always wanted to have her adventures, but I never found a suitable rabbit hole to fall down!
When did you first start writing romance stories and why did you begin?
When I was in my teens I used to make up historical romance stories. Growing up in the UK, I was fascinated by the Regency period and used to read a lot of Georgette Heyer. I wanted to be able to write just like her
Several of your stories feature first person POV. Why do you choose this vantage point?
I write mainly novellas and there isn’t a lot of time for back story. At the same time, the readers want to feel they know the main character well. By causing that character to talk directly to them, I find it easier to communicate his/her personality, feelings, motivations and so forth without holding up the action and becoming bogged down with too much information. Also, I think a lot of readers like to (in some way) ‘become’ the main character. Using the first person, therefore, puts them on centre stage
What influences you from toying with an idea and turning this vision into a manuscript?
I generally start with a main character – usually female – whose appearance and personality forms in my head. Then a plot idea will come to me, usually in the briefest form. Frequently, I’ll start with one sentence which may, or may not remain in the final manuscript. In the case of Vienna Valentine, the first sentence that came into my head is still the first sentence of the story, “Valentine’s Day may be on February 14th, but mine started eight months earlier, on a hot summer’s day in Vienna.” At this point, I switched on my computer and the story unfolded from there.
Your books feature specific and unusual settings. Why?
I live in a rambling old house in a suburb of Vienna. It’s very atmospheric and inspirational and tends to influence my choice of setting. Seducing Amanda, while set in England, takes place in a house with some characteristics that are very familiar to me. When it came to Vienna Valentine, Vienna is such a beautiful city – and, to me, the European capital of romance. My publisher wanted a story with a Valentine theme, there was no question in my mind. I had to set it here.
What are you working on now? Your next story…
A story called, ‘Freya’s Choice’, The Freya in question is actually a major Norse goddess. It’s in its very early stages so I can’t say too much about it. Except it will be paranormal, romantic and erotic. Oh, and there’s an absolutely gorgeous guy in it. Mark Latimer (pauses to swoon). I may have to be unfaithful to the delicious Karl ( in Vienna Valentine)
Favorite Number: Odd or even
My favourite number is 7, so I guess ‘odd’
Feel: Leather or lace
Warm, soft leather
Ride: Hardtop or Convertible or Motorcyle or Bicycle
Hike: Mountain or Beach
Mountain – I love the smell of pine forests
Atmosphere: City or country or…
Depends on my mood. I love interesting and historic cities but I also enjoy the quiet solitude of the countryside
Writing instrument: Pen or computer
You: Extrovert or Introvert
Hand: Right or Left or Both
Strawberries dipped in champagne. The taste is divine and I love the way they fizz on y our tongue. Orgasmus!
NOW LET'S ENJOY A TEASE AND EXTRACT FROM ANTONIA'S LATEST STORY, VIENNA VALENTINE, DELICIOUSLY DECADENT
ON THE IMAGINATION.
On a hot summer’s night in Vienna, wolves dream of passion...
Escaping from a disastrous marriage, Nina comes to stay with friends in Vienna for a much-needed holiday. Love is the last thing she’s looking for, but when she sees the hot couple in the apartment below making love on their balcony, she can’t take her eyes off them. When they invite her to join them for a night of pleasure, how can she refuse? Captivated by the handsome, seductive Karl, Nina agrees and has the hottest sex of her life. It’s just supposed to be a bit of fun. A one-night stand.
But one night of passion with this gorgeous, mysterious man is not enough. There’s something unusual about him. But what is his secret? And why won’t he let her look at him when they make love? When she finally learns the truth, Karl’s life hangs in the balance, and Nina must leave, never knowing if she’ll ever see him again…
In front of the door marked “313,” something made me hesitate. Going to bed with someone I hadn’t even met before would be a first for me. Oh, what the hell, I thought and rang the doorbell.
The man was as tall and broad shouldered as I had gauged him to be. His dark tan contrasted with the brilliant white of his shirt which he wore with buttons unfastened to the middle of his chest. This guy worked out. Those shoulder muscles didn’t get that way by accident. His face broke into a smile as he opened the door wider and motioned me in. His voice was softly accented. “Welcome, Nina, please come in.”
Doors opened off a small, L-shaped hallway and led into the kitchen and the living room, where he now led me. Inside, Magda uncurled her model’s legs, stood up from the settee, smiled, and held a glass of sparking wine out to me. That long chestnut hair gleamed as it cascaded over her shoulders and framed her classically beautiful face with its high cheekbones and dark brown eyes. Bra-less, she was dressed in an emerald green silk robe, tied at the waist but parted enough to show the curve of her full, firm breasts and, as she moved, the glimpse of a black silk thong.
As she moved closer to hand me the drink, I saw her nipples outlined against the silk. The room was pleasantly cool but not cold. Still, I could feel my own nipples hardening and my clit tingling.
“Have some champagne.”
I took the glass from her.
“We have looked forward to this evening very much. We will all have a lovely time, no?”
“Yes,” I said, finding my voice cracked a little. My throat was dry and I was grateful for the cold champagne.
Magda leaned forward and kissed my forehead. Such a simple gesture, but she made it sensual.
“How did you know my name?” I asked.
Jakob stroked my back. “My dear Nina, we know everything about you.”
That brought me up sharp. “How? I mean, why? I mean…”
Magda took my half-empty glass and placed it on the table. As she did so, her gown parted still further, revealing the outline of a dark nipple.
“Shsh, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you are here. And we are here. Soon we will be joined by another. OK?”
I don’t know why, but she was right. At this moment, it didn’t matter. All that counted was that I went to bed with these two beautiful people. They clearly desired me, and after Tony’s ultimate rejection, I could use some ego-boosting.
Jakob had removed his shirt and now, dressed in black trousers that revealed a considerable bulge in the front, took my hand and led me into the bedroom. A king size bed, its mattress covered by a black satin sheet, awaited us. Light poured in through the window until Magda closed the drapes, leaving us in a muted natural light, clear enough to see everything, but dim enough to add atmosphere.
Jakob unzipped his pants, never taking his eyes off me as I sat on the bed. The mattress dipped as Magda knelt behind me. Her delicate arms wrapped around my waist and one by one, she began undoing the little buttons of my blouse, letting her fingers glide over my skin and raising goosebumps in their wake. Then she slid the blouse off my shoulders and down my arms. She unhooked my bra, exposing my breasts to Jakob’s appreciative gaze. My eyes focused on his groin. As he slid his boxers down and stood up straight, his massive cock stood out at a perfect right angle. Hot wetness soaked my panties. I wanted to fuck him now, but he had other plans.
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Author Bio:Antonia van Zandt grew up in the ancient city of Salisbury and is related to deposed European royalty. She now lives in Vienna, Austria with a collection of family paintings and a menagerie of cats