The Golden Locket (Unbreakable #2) by Primula Bond-Interview, Review and Giveaway with the Author
The Golden Locket
Unbreakable Trilogy #2
by Primula Bond
Release Date: December 19, 2013
Genre: erotica, romance, contemporary, adult, 18 +
ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date December 19, 2013
Temptation would test them…
The second novel in the Unbreakable Trilogy, The Golden Locket follows Gustav and Serena to New York.
Ensconced in their Manhattan penthouse, all seems blissfully happy for Gustav and Serena. Still in the first flush of love, they have every satisfaction they could need.
But as they enjoy their New York pleasure ground, ghosts start to emerge from Gustav’s past, and when his damaged younger brother, Pierre, comes back into his life, he brings with him a dangerous threat…
With temptation waiting at every turn, can Gustav and Serena survive all the excitement that the Big Apple holds?
The sexy sequel to Primula Bond’s Sunday Times Top 20 bestseller, The Silver Chain. Perfect for fans of erotic romance.
REVIEW: THE GOLDEN LOCKET is the second instalment in Primula Bond’s contemporary, adult erotica series focusing on twenty year old photographer Serena Folkes and billionaire recluse Gustav Levi. If you have ever watched the Tom Cruise movie-Eyes Wide Shut-there is a similarity to much of the storyline premise.
Following shortly after the events of The Silver Chain where Gustav comes face to face with the brother he has not seen in five years, Gustav will embark on a soul searching and revealing promise to reunite with his brother Pierre. Pierre and Gustav’s adult history together is fraught with betrayal, lies, accusations and misunderstanding which is dramatically different from their early years. Gustav is still a dark and tortured soul whose love for his brother is tempered by a betrayal he considers unforgivable but a betrayal where he believes his brother was used as a pawn in a game of deceit and revenge.
The relationship between Gustav and Serena is sensual, daring, dark and passionate but Gustav’s past life in the BDSM scene threatens the building relationship when friends and acquaintances want more from Serena than either she or Gustav are willing to accept. Gustav pulls Serena into a lifestyle she knew nothing about and in return will discover that he is having a hard time accepting that Serena is a willing participant in a different game. As Serena’s career begins to flourish she is drawn into a web of seduction and danger with every job opportunity.
Pierre Levi is a man possessed. He wants what his brother has-success, wealth and love- and he will go about capturing it all even the woman who is not his to possess.
The storyline is darker and more sexually erotic than The Silver Chain. Primula draws the reader into a world of domination and submission; betrayal and trust; manipulation and degradation. Although all of the people are willing participants, there are varying degrees of acceptance and in this a line was crossed on a couple of occasions.
The erotic and sexual content is sensual between Serena and Gustav but becomes aggressive and demanding when other people become involved. Our couple are willing to experiment and consider all of the options but it was uncomfortable at times when our heroine Serena appeared to be pushed into situations where she had very little control or say. This was not the fault of her lover but of other people taking advantage of her naivety, youth and connections to Gustav and his dark and dangerous world.
Primula Bond has written a storyline about two tortured souls-brothers-who have fallen victim to the same woman time and time again. There is an odd pull between Gustav and Pierre as it involves said woman, but the pull towards Serena may be the only thing that saves both men in the end. Serena is the woman to pull Gustav back from the edge but Pierre is a man looking for someone to pull him back.
Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley.
Reviewed by Sandy.
TRC: Hi Primula and welcome to The Reading Cafe. Congratulations on the upcoming release of The Golden Locket-the second instalment in your Unbreakable Trilogy.
We would like to start with some background information. Please tell us something about yourself?
Primula: If there is a specific image for how an erotic writer should be or look, I certainly don’t match it or indeed any kind of stereotype! From seeing me at the school gate you would assume I was a well educated, respectable mother of three with an admittedly racy sense of humour and an addiction to cooking programmes. You certainly wouldn’t suspect that I harbour secret cougar fantasies, require a brisk flogging before doing the weekly shop, or leave the other yummy mummies to return home and bury myself in the steamy world of erotic romance.
I was educated at a Catholic convent where I was head girl and sang soprano solo, and later studied English at Oxford. After graduating I broke away from my conventional life in London and took a job in Cairo teaching English to Egyptian children, which turned out to be two years which would change my life. Not only was I a tall red-headed single English girl living and working in a Muslim country, but I learned some Arabic, travelled all over the country and saw all the amazing tombs and temples, and also met an English guy who became the father of my eldest son.
I was then a single mother for several years, working in various legal offices and writing the occasional freelance features article on single parenthood and other aspects of my own life before meeting my husband and having two more children. I now work part time for criminal defence lawyers, take in foreign students, do portrait photography, and when I’m not writing erotica I still write freelance articles on various aspects of my life and experiences as well as (so far unpublished) short stories and novels under my own name – all of which contain some element of the adventures I’ve had in my own life.
TRC: Your storylines are all erotic and sexual in nature. What was the precipitating factor or ‘light bulb’ moment behind your decision to write erotica literature?
Primula: I’ve been writing stories since I was about eight years old, won poetry competitions as a school girl, and as I say wrote freelance features about various topics such as being a single mother and later an ‘older’ mother. About 23 years ago, when I was still a single mother with long lonely evenings to fill, I started sending various works to editors before giving in to my romantic streak and sending three chapters off to Mills and Boon. They rejected the submission but unlike many pro forma rejection letters they took the trouble helpfully to explain why: my sex scenes were too explicit. On that note I furiously decided, after licking my wounds, to turn that ability to my advantage, and in the space of a very heated lunch hour I bashed out a short story about a man in a cage delivered as a birthday present to a frustrated spinster, sent it to For Women magazine, and they accepted it, published it, and paid me £150 for it!
TRC: What difficulties have you encountered getting your books published?
Primula: My ‘literary’ or mainstream works, especially the short stories which I love writing under my own name, have so far not been published (except by myself, on Amazon) but since that first erotic short story I have had little problem in getting erotica published. When I started there was For Women and Forum magazines, as well as Black Lace and Accent Press, all of whom regularly took my work.
TRC: THE GOLDEN LOCKET is the second instalment in your Unbreakable Trilogy. Would you please tell us something about the premise?
Primula: Serena Folkes is a beautiful auburn haired girl a little like I was at that age – but with knobs on. Or, as I choose to put it like the Berocca adverts, me, but on a really good day. Unlike me, though, she’s had an unpleasant, upbringing with adoptive parents, and she is also not your archetypal innocent virgin, having had one quite rough teenage boyfriend, but she has come through her childhood with a fiery urge to love and be loved. She also has a ferocious artistic talent, and when she and Gustav, who is several years older and after an abusive marriage very wary of any kind of intimacy, collide in London on Halloween night they turn out to be twin souls.
On the surface it looks as if he is her guide and mentor, as well as financial patron, but she is soon teaching him lessons about life, too, and the physical attraction is what breaks through the ice in the end. I have used their situation to indulge my love of photography and travel as they move through their story.
The Golden Locket picks up when they have arrived in New York to live together and pursue their individual careers and business interests, but they have to deal with the unexpected reappearance of Gustav’s long-lost brother Pierre, who ran off five years ago with Gustav’s ex-wife. He is as troubling and charismatic as Gustav, and his connection with Margot, the ex-wife, threatens the Gustav and Serena. But Gustav will do everything to repair his relationship with his brother.
TRC: Have you considered writing a spin-off series featuring Gustav’s brother and the time period after their tumultuous divide?
Primula: It’s a great idea, but much of that estranged time period will become clear in The Golden Locket when we get to know more about Pierre and just how troublesome he is, and when he tells both Gustav and Serena some of what went on not only when he and Gustav were kids but during the five years that he left with Margot and was estranged from Pierre.
I do have another burning idea, though, for a spin-off novel which would be like a prequel, involving Serena’s biological parents, their forbidden love affair, and how they came to abandon her as a newborn baby.
TRC: If you could virtually cast the characters in the UNBREAKABLE TRILOGY, which actors or models would you use for the major characters within the series?
Primula: I have had great fun googling actors who fit the bill. My instinct if a film were made would be to swerve the Hollywood hype, be groundbreaking and original, and go for gorgeous unknowns. But to give an idea, I’ve always had Olivier Martinez, the French actor, in my mind for Gustav, Josh Holloway from ‘Lost’, or Dominic Zamprogna (from ‘General Hospital’). They must have silky dark hair, haunted, Slavic cheek bones, black eyes, and the constant hint of unshavenness. Amanda Seyfried would make a great a red-haired Serena. Pierre would have to be a thicker set, younger version of Gustav, the Puerto Recan actor Sharlim Ortiz perhaps if he put on a little muscle. Polly could be the Swedish actress MyAnna Burring who was in ‘Twilight’ and also ‘Downton Abbey’. Salma Hayek, Diane Lane, Rachel Weicz or Demi Moore could be Margot, the evil but charismatic ex-wife. Tilda Swinton could be Crystal, the enigmatic housekeeper, but she might steal the show!
TRC: Amazing images for sure!!
TRC: When writing a storyline, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?
Primula: I always have a vague story line in mind, but I have to start with clearly delineated, three dimensional characters and they really do direct the action, like a play where the actors do their own ‘improv’. What is particularly interesting and/or distracting is when secondary characters become far more interesting than they are supposed to be. This can even happen in a short story. One of the aspects of conventional romantic fiction that puts me off now is that secondary characters are discouraged other than as ciphers or confidantes, whereas in my trilogy they help to drive the action and motivation of the main characters – and nearly destroy them!
Book #1 THE SILVER CHAIN is available for $1.99 or less from most e-retailers
TRC: Are you a plotter or a pantster?
Primula: I read a blog recently which said you could steer a middle ground and call yourself a ‘planster’. So that’s what I am, but mostly I’m a pantster. It’s a bit different when you’re at the stage I’m currently at, which is nearly finishing book 3 of a trilogy. But even if I was starting an entirely new novel or series, for my own peace of mind (and to have something to show my editor!) I would still like to have a fairly sturdy outline of the plot and action, and even break it down into chapters, because once I’ve done that I can work out how to make each chapter build to the next, and lead logically and believably to the climax. It also helps visually to see on the screen how I am likely to end each chapter at its own suitably dramatic moment.
I find it very comforting before starting a novel to see that outline in front of me (and some people lay it out all over the floor on sheets of paper so they can physically touch it and re-arrange it – which must be plotting rather than pantsing), and it even helps me plan how long each chapter will take to write, and how to approach the finale – a little like a flight plan, right down to the landing. Although, unlike a flight plan, I can deviate from the original idea if I choose. Which now I’m analysing myself and my writing habits, happens pretty rarely these days, and mostly only if my editor suggests it!
I’m sounding more and more like a plotter, aren’t I, even though I thought I was more of a pantser. So I must be a planster. My outlines are usually only a page or so. I don’t plan dialogue or scenes in much detail until I get down to writing, but then the ideas fly in from all directions, especially when I’m away from my laptop in the bath or in the car or at the stove, and then I have to write them on envelopes or the back of my hand. They might be a comment someone will make in a few chapters’ time, or how to round off a current conversation, or a description, or an explanation, to clear up what I’ve already written.
Sorry, I haven’t really answered that question, have I? Hell – I’m both! I’m a Gemini. Capable of being two things at the same time..
TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the storyline so that they experience the emotions along with the characters. What do you believe a writer must do to make this happen? Where do you believe writers fail in this endeavor?
Primula: This goes back to creating unique, rounded characters from the off, believing in them, making them three dimensional, inhabiting them and their head space without being brazenly autobiographical or self-absorbed, and then making the reader see the world through their eyes, even if that world is extraordinary, tragic or surreal. The greatest skill for example is to write through a child’s eyes without being twee or mawkish and the best example I have ever read of this is ‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close’ by Jonathan Safran Foer (incidentally, the film no way conveyed this same truthfulness). A book which also has the dubious accolade of making me cry at the end.
So this viewpoint may only be through one character’s viewpoint, but this mustn’t be claustrophobic and the actions and reactions of the other characters around him, her or them must be lively and real. Even if the main character is ‘unreliable’ ie unhinged, or evil (a murder, for example). To help me achieve this, and to try to avoid telling not showing, I envisage my novels very much as plays or films, so I can see the action in front of me and hear the dialogue at it might be on a television or a film. So much so that I am thinking of doing a course in screen writing which would hone the idea of dialogue with minimal stage direction.
A writer has failed in this mostly if they have fallen back on telling not showing, and also if they have made a character unsympathetic or uninteresting. A character can be horrible, evil, nasty (see murderers, above) but they must still draw the reader along with them. But they have to have three dimensions, a fascinating back story, and some kind of logic, albeit flawed, in the way they move through this slice of their life.
TRC: How do you keep the plot unpredictable without sacrificing content and believability?
Primula: Content and believability are maintained by setting up character and situation skilfully enough that whatever happens makes sense, no matter how, as I’ve mentioned previously, odd or eccentric, dangerous or worrying that situation turns out to be. I think tension can be held nice and taut by having passages of apparent calm and sensuality which move the story along, but all the while the reader knows, because the skilled writer has set the characters up to be troubled or deceitful, or the external elements such as the weather is bad, or there is a financial or physical threat looming, that this calm won’t last and we are being dragged inexorably along the plateau towards the next mountain top/climax, or the next valley/disaster.
These moments are then shaken up not necessarily with a car accident, say, or a murder (although of course you’re allowed some real, bloody drama if the story merits it), but a more realistic short, sharp shock will do just as well: the phone call or the text, the unexpected visitor, the accidental pregnancy, the dreaded diagnosis, a missed train or a dropped priceless artefact – something that pinches or cracks the fabric of the characters’ lives and shakes the kaleidoscope. Because that’s what happens in real life – certainly all of the above have happened in mine!!
TRC: How do you handle the pressures and anxiety of deadlines?
Primula: With difficulty. At first I resent them and fight against them and find any excuse to get on a train to London or clean out my jam jar cupboard or try out the new coffe shop in town or watch daytime TV, but after allowing myself to do this for a day or so I force myself to at least sit down and write the outline as I’ve described already. That might be all I do in the first day. Then I’ll make notes on a calender to work out how many days or weeks I will allow to write each chapter – allowing a week or two for redrafting. And then on the third day I make myself write at least the first paragraph, so that I’ve got something to work on when I start in earnest.
TRC: What do you believe is the biggest misconception about you?
Primula: Personally? That I’m aloof, when really I’m quite shy, but once I make a good friend I’m chatty, love intimacy, and think I’m a good, humourous, supportive friend. That I’m calm and sorted, when really I’m like the swan, gliding serenely on the surface but paddling frantically beneath. And that I’ve had an easy life, when actually I’ve had some knocks (which makes me a better writer as well as friend, hopefully) eg when I was an apparently successful Oxford student secretly wrestling with depression, or during the tough years as a single mother, or losing the love of my life (luckily to find him again). But I have to say that one of the few advantages of getting older is that the calmness you see on the surface is, actually, more the reality, and you can wear, and admit to, those battle scars with pride.
And as a writer, the misconception might be that I’m writing ‘formula’ erotica with little sensitivity or intellect, when in fact the romantic erotica I write is very intense and lyrical, and I am determined that the Unbreakable Trilogy will be forged in my own style, with my own voice.
TRC: Writers Block is a very real phenomenon for many authors. How do you handle the stress and anxiety of Writers Block?
Primula: As I’ve said above, dealing with the stress of deadlines is all about discipline and organisation. You must have some kind of outline, no matter how shadowy, before you can start writing. Writers Block can be a killer, though, because if you can’t get that first line out, it can be like a physical pain as well as a personal sense of frustration and failure and no-one in your poor, long-suffering family (if they are not themselves writers) will understand. Hell, it’s just a story, for goodness sake! Not a speech for the Prime Minister! But to you it’s a challenge that you’re unable to face.
So my advice is don’t get stale and just sit staring at the blank screen. Instead, get up, go for a walk, bake a cake, stare out of the window, have a glass or two of wine, but know that you must, eventually, return to that wretched page or screen. I do have my own particular corner of the house to write in now, but more often than not the first, glorious line (even if I change it later, at least the ice has been broken) comes to me in the bath/in the car/at the stove…
TRC: Many authors bounce ideas with family, friends and fellow authors. With whom do you bounce ideas?
Primula: Very occasionally with my husband, and recently with other writers at the workshops and festivals I have attended. But mostly I keep ideas to myself and let them grow inside me. Even though I know discussing the process out loud might make sense of a plot or character, or help shape it, I am very protective of my work and am happier discussing it with my editors, which I did for the first time this year, going all the way to their office in London and talking about nothing but The Golden Locket for four hours with people who knew as much if not more about it than I did – and although they wanted me to make some pretty scary changes, being treated like a professional was BLISS.
TRC: On what are you currently working?
Primula: I am nearing the end of Book 3 of the Unbreakable Trilogy. I deliberately left the whole summer before starting this so I could get The Golden Locket edited and out of the way, and coming back to Gustav and Serena has been fun, but really sticky going at times. There are some tricky loose ends to tie up but I am loving weaving more challenges into Serena and Gustav’s relationship, as well as showing how far they have come in this trilogy and how strong and tender they are when they are together – and how it is meant to be forever.
TRC: Would you like to add anything else?
Primula: Only the fact that it surprises some people to learn that I nearly quit the erotica world 18 months ago because the magazines and imprints seemed to be folding up, and the money we were earning per story barely made it worth the time writing. I got halfway through my ‘literary’ novel when my editor at Avon Books asked me, in the wake of the 50 Shades phenomenon, to write an erotic romance for Harper Collins. And how could I refuse?
Coronation chicken or well done cheeseburger with loads of mayo on the side.
Lemon posset or cheesecake.
Favorite TV Show
Dark or Milk Chocolate
Bad grammar and incorrect use of apostrophes.
Secret Celebrity Crush
TRC: Thank you Primula for taking the time to answer our questions. WE wish you all the best.
Primula and HarperCollinsUK is offering an ecopy of THE GOLDEN LOCKET to three (3) lucky winners at The Reading Cafe.
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4. Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY
5. Giveaway runs from November 27 to November 30, 2013