In the CFWhite-Hot Seat: Avylinn Winter Plus Giveaway!

Author of Volatile, Avylinn Winter

Today I am so pleased to welcome fantastic author, and an amazing friend, Avylinn Winter to my blog where I’ll be probing into her writing habits and the secrets behind her ever complex characters.

I’ve known Avylinn since my early days on Wattpad, where I started out as a newbie writer on the online platform with absolutely no idea what I was doing! Avylinn had been around for a while with an ever growing fanbase and gaining over million reads on her story, Volatile. Despite being so popular, and extremely busy, she always took the time to help others, supporting new writers and offering to read those coming up in the ranks and give great advice. I became a super fan early on and was privileged when I got the chance to beta read her re-release of Volatile (mostly because I wouldn’t ever pass up an opportunity to get up, close and personal with two of the most complex and elusive characters).

Avylinn has re released her debut novel, first in her Treacherous Chemistry series. It’s available from today in Kindle Unlimited and to buy from Amazon in ebook or paperback! You’ll most definitely want to pick up a copy of this one as I can assure you it’s got all the feels and Dante and Chris will have you’re heart racing.

Here’s a little intro to the book:

Chris Sinclair fades under a dark cloud after losing his mother to cancer. On the cusp of adulthood, he doesn’t know where he should go or how to get there. But watching life pass him by was never the plan, and when he is forced to attend a concert in an attempt to coax him out of his shell, he discovers that life might have more to offer.

Dante Heron holds the audience between his delicate bow and the tips of his fingers. He plays the violin as if every heart is his to command, but the discipline needed to perfect his skills has left him with nothing to spare. He’s a fire that burns too bright or not at all—unpredictable and demanding.

When Chris is unexpectedly offered a job to travel around Europe as Dante’s assistant, or ‘friend’, he surprises himself by accepting. Their journey barely starts before Chris realizes he’s in over his head. Every step along the way is fraught with tension, and the farther they go, the closer they veer to a breaking point.

Invisible strings are at play, stitched into Dante’s life by those who should have taught him how to love. Perhaps Chris is right to be afraid, but sometimes, what you fear the most is what you can’t afford to lose

This story has been published previously in another version. This second edition includes material from the companion short story, Magnetic, and is extensively rewritten and expanded.

Now you’ve read the blurb, let’s meet the author…

Did you always want to be a writer, or did you fall into it one day? How did your writing journey start?

I totally did NOT see myself as a writer when I grew up. I’ve always loved reading, but no one ever said I could write. It was when my boyfriend bought me an e-reader (back when Sony had their version of one) that I started to download a lot of stuff I hadn’t normally come across. Those stories got me thinking that I could write if I tried. So I tried, and I started posting online. People liked it and since then I’ve tried to keep it up.

So we should all thank Avylinn’s boyfriend right now… You said you started out writing on Wattpad, what made you make the leap from the online community to publishing in the “real world”?

I think it was the success I’d had on Wattpad that lured me into thinking that it would be possible to make a break also in the ‘real world’. Turned out it wasn’t so easy to make that switch, but I’m happy I tried. Wattpad was a great place to grow up as a writer, to find my legs and all that, but it’s also more rewarding to have something solid in your hands at the end of the day. Wattpad also attracts mostly young readers, which is a bit different from writing for a mature audience. I would say that publishing for an adult audience taught me a lot about myself and maybe forced me to grow up a bit.

Having started on there too, I couldn’t agree more! It’s a totally different readership. What have you found are the main differences of online writing to traditional publishing?

Online writing is a lot more forgiving, and especially online readers who don’t expect a manuscript to be fully edited when they read it. I would say that it was healthy for me to have a bit of a lower bar to begin with. But it’s not only the editing, it’s the content and the subject matter. For instance, the categories that exist in traditional publishing, which have been around for a long time, do not exist so much on online platforms such as Wattpad. Crossovers between genres are much more common and readers won’t give you the evil eye if your book is not spot on genre specific. It was a bit of a shock for me to discover that when I left my safe corner and invited the rest of the world. People began to say that I wasn’t really writing Romance, and I couldn’t understand what they were talking about. I have learned more about that along the way, so I guess I’ve also complied to the rules now.

I can totally relate to that too! There are certain formulas you must follow to be considered a romance writer. So, do you have a writing ritual or can you write anywhere? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’m a total pantser! I like writing at home, but other than that, I don’t really have strategies that work. If I ever find one, maybe I’ll start to become a bit more productive again.

Same, Avy, same! Your latest re-release, Volatile, book one in the highly angsty Treacherous Chemistry series has gone through some major changes from its first release on Wattpad and with Pride. Can you tell us something about Volatile that no one else knows…

I think I’ve analysed that story to death, and I assume readers from both Wattpad and the first edition know everything there is to know… but of course, the second edition is a little bit different. I can say that some of the new influences comes from the fact that I met up with two classical violinists after a chance encounter on a train. So I got to question real life versions of Dante. One of them reminded me so much of him that it was a bit eerie. The other managed to be a complete opposite. Both were lovely!

Wow! A real life Dante! That’s amazing. How did the plot come about for Volatile? Was it the plot or the characters that spoke to you first?

Actually it was the premise that spoke to me first I think. I heard a violinist at one of Stockholm’s subway stations. He was good. Really good. I decided then and there that I would try to write something about a violinist. Then it sort of snowballed from there.

A busking violinist, I can hear it all now! Tell us your favourite scene from the book…

My favorite scene is one of the new ones. But it would be kind of a spoiler to talk about it. Let’s just say that it involves removing a lot of stuff from walls. I think that scene more than any other offers a release.

I know that scene 😉 Dante is an intriguing character… painfully reserved, private and intense. Was there a reason you wrote him so closed-off? Does he represent anything/anyone in your own life?

Dante is…well, to be honest, he’s to some extent autobiographical. Perhaps that was the reason why he was so easy to write. He’s me times five. So any thoughts he has, I’ve had, but I haven’t been through the things he’s been through. I’ve lived with pressure all my life, but not at the level Dante has experienced. I’ve been through those mood swings, but I want to think I’ve been a bit more communicative. Although, that’s probably just me trying to smooth it over. I learned a lot by writing Dante, actually. I learned that no matter how strange my emotions might seem, it’s better to talk about them openly than to be closed off. Especially with dear ones.

Ah, I see! The best, well-drawn and complex characters are the ones that are most like us, the anxious writers. I did the same with Micky in Responsible Adult…Chris in Volatile is also locked in his own head much of the time, coming to conclusions without discussing how he feels, self-doubting and under a cloud of depression that makes him unable to see what’s around him. What made you think he would be the best match for someone as intense and volatile as Dante?

Those two are not a perfect match by any means, at least not if you go by romance novel standards. At the same time, people who connect must feel some kind of empathy toward the other person, and empathy can be pretty hard unless you share some familiar ground. Between these two, Dante can understand Chris’ depression, and he doesn’t judge Chris for it. Chris can offer Dante a healthy dose of simplicity, as in, Chris was never asked to be more than who he is. Chris also offers a type of love that doesn’t ask for anything other than love in return. Dante has never known that love before.

I guess, in real life, there is no perfect match 😉 You write extremely angsty books with flawed characters, is this what you look for when reading for your own pleasure? Can you tell us your favourite book/character?

Oh, yes, I do have a soft spot for angsty novels. I can’t relate to a character if they’re completely angst free. I think at the moment, my favorite character would be Seong-Ye Yoon from the Criminal Intention series by Cole McCade. It’s hard to describe that guy, but he rubs all my soft spots.

Yeah, you got me hooked on those books too! Except, I’m Team Malcolm all the way 🙂 Is there a genre/book that you really want to write but haven’t? What’s stopped you (and how can we make you write it!!)?

I would like to write something that’s a bit of a commentary on a lot of current issues. Women’s rights is one such issue, but I’ve not decided in what context to frame it yet. I will have to think of this some more, and I’m afraid you can’t make me write it until I have a vague idea of a plot that’s not just random thoughts bunched together (I’ve tried that before and it never ends well).

OK, we’ll let you mull it over for a while! What are your next writing plans? Can we expect to see more of the Treacherous Chemistry series?

As for the series, I’ve decided not to publish Toxic again, which means that the series would go directly to what was formerly planned as book three. This is all a bit complicated, but hopefully it will be clear the day I decide to release the next book. But readers who are familiar with the original series, will see slight changes in Volatile to reflect the removal of Toxic. However, I would like for people to read Volatile as a stand-alone at this stage. I’m not entirely clear how my publishing journey will continue, or when.

We hope it will continue but as and when you are ready. And lastly, can you give any pearls of wisdom to budding authors wanting to take their first steps into writing/publishing? The do’s/don’ts and words of encouragement?

Write a shitty first draft. Write a slightly better second draft. Rewrite that second draft into something great. Also, don’t underestimate the role of a good editor. Then, to remember that writing the book is only part of it. Getting it out there and seen is a completely different story. But most of all, have fun! Don’t let insecurities and impostor syndrome get you down or steal your dreams.

Absolute banger of an answer!

Thank you, Avylinn. Best of luck with you release today. I, for one, am thrilled to see Chris and Dante back on the shelves (of Amazon that is, not the singles market, cause these two do get their HEA!).

Avylinn is also doing a giveaway in celebration of her release. All you need to do to be entered into a prize draw to win a paperback of Volatile is share her post on social media! You can find Avylinn’s giveaway here. And don’t forget to check out Volatile!

Thanks all for stopping by. If you’re an author and want to sit in the CFWhite-hot seat, then do get in touch!

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