Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Blog tour for Mogul by Ginger Voight

We had the pleasure of interviewing Ginger Voight, the woman who tortured, teased and tantalized readers with her Groupie Trilogy~

Three Chicks:  What was the inspiration for this book?

Ginger:  I’ve been a “groupie” since I saw my first “Monkees” rerun in 1979. I fell like a brick for Davy Jones, and since then I’ve always been a sucker for long-haired rocker boys. They are the rebels who dance outside the norm, and that’s very exciting. They can offer sex one minute and then sing about love and heartbreak the next. It’s the ultimate challenge to tame the wild boy with a slightly cracked heart of gold. It’s also the ultimate ego boost to win that one guy the whole world wants. So I wanted to play around in that sandbox for a while, to live vicariously through Andy as the groupie who gets her chance. To take it beyond that one-night-stand fantasy, however, was the true challenge. Plots require conflict. What got me excited enough to plant my butt in the seat was the ramifications of getting what all the girls want. I’ve seen that scenario play out in real life and I knew that it was rich with the organic, dramatic complications of expectations versus reality. It was actually, oddly, therapeutic to write it.

Three Chicks:  How did you come up with Andy and Vannie’s characters-are they based on anyone you have met?

Ginger:  Yes and no. I knew I wanted Andy to be a big girl, because to me, the whole “groupie” phenomenon is a lot like the “fat girl” phenomenon. Famous guys will take the groupie to bed but won’t share her with the world. Instead she’s kept romanced in secret, and then discarded because she was nothing more than “convenient” and temporary. Since I’ve had that experience as a “fat girl,” I knew that I could bring that emotional integrity to the story. So there’s a lot of me in Andy, but she’s actually a lot stronger and more self-assured than I ever was. There are some who feel Andy was a bit of a doormat, but I never saw her that way. I saw her as the first woman in Vanni’s life that would tell him no and walk away. That’s what made her stand out to him.
Vanni has a little bit of everything that made my own personal idols turn my head. He’s also a commitment-phobe, and I’ve met (and married) a few of those in my day, so he felt very familiar to me from the get-go. Basically he’s a mix of what I want most in a lover and what drives me the craziest about men in general. Honestly though, anyone I may have tried to mold him after became an afterthought to the man he became in the writing. These characters are really their own people.

Three Chicks:  Did you ever think of permanently changing the dynamics of the couple? (changing who Andy would end up with?)

Ginger:  The reason there are three books in this series is because I had that moment at the end of “Groupie.” I originally intended for Vanni to take the bullet for Andy, thus showing him exactly how much she’s come to mean to him and facilitating their HEA. Graham Baxter kinda came along and screwed everything up. He’s one of those characters who “wrote himself in” and as such, gave us that necessary juxtaposition of the good man vs. the bad boy. As a result, some of my beta readers were decidedly Team Graham. I couldn’t really blame them. He’s pretty awesome out of the box, certainly not the fixer-upper Vanni had proven to be. I realized at this point that the original HEA wouldn’t work for everyone, including me. I knew why she couldn’t stay away from Vanni, but even I also knew he was the worst possible choice. If I were her, I’d have picked Graham and told Vanni to go stuff himself. The challenge at that point, if I really wanted to commit to the Vanni storyline, was making him become the guy she needed him to be. By the time I wrote the cruise ship scene, I knew Vanni had not grown up enough to make that kind of sacrifice for Andy. He was still too self-centered. So I made a last- minute change to the story and voila… Book 2 (“Rock Star”) was born. I was able to give both Team Graham what they wanted and Team Vanni what they wanted, and every single character what they needed.

Three Chicks:  Tell us about your friendship with comedian Hal Sparks.

Ginger:  My friendship with Hal has been one of the most surprising left turns my life has taken. I certainly never would have predicted it or could have foreseen what it would mean to me when I first saw him on TV back in 2002. I caught an episode of “I Love the 80's,” and Hal’s clips stood out as the most entertaining. He was funny and smart and a complete wiseass. It was like everyone I already knew and loved was wrapped up in one convenient package. Over the next couple of years he remained on my radar, but I never considered myself a fan until late 2004. My husband asked Hal to send me a birthday message and he did. After that I realized Hal was a very unique celebrity in that he both desired and enjoyed fan interaction. He’s the kind of guy who will remember you, often by name, and he never forgets a kindness. There’s just something super evolved about the way he wants to connect with other human beings and the world around him; being around him inspires me to be better. It was his influence that taught me how to reach beyond the boundaries I had always accepted as “normal.” He’s not just a comedian, but a dramatic actor, musician, singer, writer, magician, radio host and political pundit – this is a guy who doesn’t believe in limitations other people want to set. That’s a very liberating person to have in your corner. I don’t know if I would have had the ovarian fortitude to self-publish and make a brand for myself out of my own sheer will without that influence. He gave me permission to be “seen.” I’ll always love him for that. He also provided boundless, unintentional research for the Groupie series, as I got to see both sides of the groupie phenomenon for better or worse. So I guess I owe him dinner, too.

Three Chicks:  Had you always planned that the series would be 3 books?

Ginger:  Like I said above, it was a complete surprise to me. The story was so much bigger than I had ever dreamed it would be. I started it as a sexy romp with a hot rock star, but there was a lot of human drama that rose from that first skeletal outline, not the least of which was Vanni’s emotional handicap thanks to his father’s abandonment. So I had a lot of loose ends to tie up, and one book… even two books… wasn’t going to cut it. At the end of Rock Star, I still hadn’t resolved Graham’s happily ever after, and I felt like I owed him that. Mogul was my love letter to Graham.

Three Chicks:  Groupie is more from Andy’s perspective, Rock Star is Vannie’s, Mogul is from what character’s perspective?

Ginger:  I had entertained the thought of writing each book from individual points of view (POV) with a first person narrative like the one I used in Groupie. Groupie would be Andy’s story, Rock Star Vanni’s and Mogul Graham’s. Inevitably I realized I needed a little more wiggle room in both Rock Star and Mogul. The plot demanded a third person narrative to tell the story without driving me (and the reader) crazy by dancing in and out of everyone’s POV. I got the great privilege of seeing the story from every single character in Mogul, including a much hated character from Rock Star, and some supporting characters I brought over from my previous, unrelated romance, Love Plus One.

Three Chicks:  Andy’s weight is a topic of more than one conversation in the series, how does her weight play a significant role in the book? Do you think a woman’s weight is an issue in literature?

Ginger:  I do, because I think the connection between a woman’s identity and her weight is a significant issue in life. Simply put you have a different life experience when you’re heavier and fit outside the cultural standard of beauty. That’s worth exploring, especially since as women our value is often tied directly to our appearance. We are continually given this paper doll cutout of what “ideal” women are supposed to look like to be happy or to be successful or to be loved. Pick up any magazine or watch any commercial and we’re constantly being told that we have to lose weight, cover gray, or get rid of wrinkles so that we can be happy and fulfill ourselves. Somewhere along the line somebody with something to sell said that we all have to change everything we are to be worthwhile, and we collectively agreed. As such, Hollywood is full of actresses to fit this standard, limited mold, even though they do not represent the average American woman. That’s the audience I want. I want to reach those girls who feel beat up because of some numbers on a scale, when I know first-hand that you can be loved and be happy no matter what you weigh. I got tired of seeing fat women being ignored in the books I read, and even more tired of seeing the “fat girl” used as comic relief or the personification of loneliness, desperation or unhappiness. In my books, these gals get to be the heroines who can live life bigger than society tells us we can. In Andy’s case, it lands her a hot rock star. That I’ve read reviews saying that she couldn’t possibly have both Graham and Vanni fighting over her because of her size proves that for far too many, fat is still a fatal flaw for women. I hope to challenge that with any book I write.

Three Chicks:  You write several genres of books; kids’ books, horror, romance, what’s your favorite?

Ginger:  I keep going back to romance, so I’d say that has the strongest pull. I get to fall in love, again and again, and that’s not a bad way to make a living. That said I do like the liberty of writing whatever story strikes my fancy at the time. I even write straight erotica under the pen name Ivy Greene. Whatever story gets the creative juices going is my favorite at the time.

Three Chicks:  In spite of his actions, why do you think Andy stayed for so long with Vannie?

Ginger:  In my perspective she didn’t. In the first two books they were apart way more than they were together. After she found out about Lourdes, she bailed. When he told her that he couldn’t offer her anything, she bailed. When she found out about Kat, she bailed. There were times he’d try to get her back and she turned him down flat. She even chose Graham over him several times, driving Vanni crazy in the process. Her friends and her work usually brought her back into Vanni’s world, but she proved time and again that she was willing to put her foot down when he acted like a ginormous douche. If anything, I think that’s why Vanni loved her so much. He had to work for Andy in ways he didn’t have to work for anyone else. Honestly, though, I think her feelings for Vanni often took her by surprise. She never meant to fall in love with him, but the heart makes its own excuses. I’m sure that she went back and forth between thinking she could go back to the way she was before she met him and hoping she wouldn’t. He was exciting. He made her feel alive. It’s amazing what we’ll tell ourselves to keep that kind of high going.

Three Chicks:  If they made a movie of Mogul, who would you like to see play the lead roles?

Ginger:  Sadly for Andy there aren’t a whole lot of size-16 actresses in her age group to play a romantic lead (which brings us back to the previous point about weight,) but model Chloe Marshall is kind of how I picture her in my head. That perfect mix of sensuality and innocence would prove heady tonic for a guy like Vanni. Ashley Graham is also another plus-size model who would fit the bill as “siren” enough to keep both Vanni and Graham on the chase. For my own purposes, I pictured Ryan Reynolds as Vanni and Robert Downey, Jr. as Graham – but that’s just me living out my own fan fantasies. I’d cast an Amy Adams type for Maggie and someone innocent like Ann Hathaway for Holly, and we can let Hal sink his teeth into Julian.

Three Chicks:  Were there any issues or questions, in your mind, left unresolved in the series?

Ginger:  Upon reflection I probably should have cleaned up the relationship between Vanni and his father, Angelo. It was such a driving force in what made him so emotionally unavailable, and yet I didn’t explore it much at all in book 3. Vanni had other priorities that demanded his time and attention. Who knows? Maybe there will be a book 4 somewhere along down the line.

Three Chicks:  What kind of books did you read growing up, what about now?

Ginger:  I discovered Harlequin romances when I was eleven and inhaled them by the stack. Janet Dailey quickly became my favorite author during that phase, and I still love her. I graduated to Danielle Steel and Jackie Collins thanks to my best friend, so I alternated between those glitzy, glamorous romances and Stephen King’s demented tales. (That probably explains why I like to drag my romance novels through the sewer and deal with the dark side of desire, etc… that and a steady diet of V.C. Andrews as a young adult.) Now I read authors like Jennifer Weiner and Jodi Picoult, and I also really like the minimalistic style of James Patterson. 

Three Chicks:  When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Ginger:  I figured it out when I was eleven, and I wrote my very first story as a sixth grade Halloween assignment in English class. The story I came up with was not Halloween-y at all, so when I didn’t get my paper handed back along with the rest of the class, I thought I was in trouble. I walked on shaking legs to the front of the class to ask my teacher (Mrs. Adams) where my paper was, and she pointed behind her to the bulletin board where it hung with a great big ol A on it. The heavens parted, angels sang, and I just knew THAT was what I wanted to feel forever.

Three Chicks:  What is your next writing project?

Ginger:  It’s actually a spin-off from The Groupie Trilogy, titled “Fierce.” I set up the story in Mogul, about a small town girl named Jordi who is ready to conquer the world of pop stardom despite being a size 20+ outcast. It’s going to be the most personal story I’ve tackled yet, and I’m a little extremely scared to write it. Just gotta open up my jugular and bleed my soul onto the page. No biggie! I hope to have it released by the end of 2013, along with two other books called “The Leftover Club” and “The Lovely Haunting.” Fingers crossed!

In the final book of Ginger Voight's Groupie Trilogy, Andy and Vanni have returned to Los Angeles to happily prepare for the birth of their child. A reformed Ladies' Man, Giovanni Carnevale now embarks on a fairy tale life of monogamy with the woman he loves, but the ghosts of his past still continue to haunt their new found happiness.

The Wilke family wants to see him pay for the damage he has done to their precious Baylee, who still lies in a vegetative state. For her brother, Donny, money will never be enough to make up for what Vanni has done, but that is where the Wilke family first seeks their revenge. They demand millions of dollars in restitution, which forces Vanni to reevaluate his career path and participation in his band, Dreaming in Blue.

To ensure he has enough money to make up for his mistakes as well as provide for his baby, Vanni takes on the job as judge for a new reality talent show called "Fierce." Here he champions an unlikely contestant, proving to his detractors that he truly is a man of substance - more than anyone could have imagined. This includes producer Graham Baxter.

Graham tries to move on, but when he discovers that Andy is pregnant he cannot stop dreaming of what might have been. Maggie watches on helplessly, as hopelessly in love with him as he is with someone else. She considers moving on before he shatters what is left of her heart. It takes a couple of matchmakers (and a fairy godfather named Jorge) from "Love Plus One" to show Graham a side of Maggie he's never seen before.

The biggest threat to Vanni and Andy's Happily Ever After is grifter Holly Neal, who returns to Los Angeles claiming to carry Vanni's baby. Graham and Andy suspect she is up to her old tricks, but Vanni knows truly turning over a new leaf means he has to do right by all the people he has wronged - including a child he may have conceived with another woman.

In the end, it is Andy and their baby who may pay the biggest price of all for his sins, when Baylee's unexpected death finally sends her psychotic brother over the edge.

Everything blows literally to pieces, forcing Vanni - and Graham - to risk it all for the sake of love.

Author Ginger Voight continues her popular GROUPIE saga with book three, amping up Rubenesque romance with steamy sensuality, and pulling the curtains off of celebrity royalty.

Our 4 star review:

“His voracious lust for “strange” had compromised the integrity of their relationship.” 

Ginger Voight’s Mogul continues where Rock Star left off. Giovanni Carnevale, “Vanni” is back with Andy Foster, the love of his life; the less on- again, than more off- again, love of his life. Andy finds herself ecstatically happy at being pregnant with Vanni’s baby. There are a myriad of legal problems, Vanni’s meltdown after his last break up with Andy resulted in Baylee Wilkes becoming paralyzed after accepting a ride with a drunken Carnevale. The Wilkes family is out for more than a five million dollar lawsuit, they want to string him up like a set of Christmas lights. His group Dreaming in Blue, is scattered across the globe. One of the members, Julian, is the brother of Holly, Giovanni’s ex fiancĂ©e. She tried to fleece him into believing she was pregnant with his child. He barely escaped the noose with the siblings from hell. Yet another escapade to chalk up to a drunken drugged out vacation from reality break up with Andy.

All should be good with our newly reunited couple, right? Only now there is an out for blood psycho brother of Baylee Wilkes, a disgruntled former band manager/ enabler/ blood sucker from the first two books, Leo, and a very pregnant Holly, claiming Vanni is the baby daddy. Vanni’s money troubles (he is negotiating with the Wilkes to settle their claim on behalf of their comatose daughter), force him to participate as a celebrity judge on a new talent show called Fierce. He actually finds himself enjoying the show and discovers a young woman named, Jordi Hemphill. This character is different than most of the others vying for a shot at fame. She is big on talent and like Andy; she is a healthy proportioned girl, with curves to spare. This character will be the subject of her own novel, which Voight is currently writing. Even bliss with Andy can’t keep the wolves at bay for poor Vanni.

After the tilt-a-whirl turmoil of Groupie/Rock Star the angst meter for Mogul has come down a notch or two. That’s not to say that Mogul doesn’t have its share of stomach churning, jaw dropping moments, but compared to its predecessors, it is more of a read with ease exercise. Graham Baxter is still in love with Andy, but also enjoys the company of his nurse, Maggie Fowler, as he continues his rehab to regain the use of his legs. The usual riffs (pun intended) with the members of Dreaming in Blue still bring disharmony to Vanni’s professional life. Is Holly’s baby Vanni’s? How will Andy, who has grown into an independent woman with an identity separate from Carnevale, deal with the attention Vanni continues to show to Holly? In the previous two books Andy was always the “kept” woman-always in the shadows, never publically recognized. This made it somewhat easier to accept her numerous break ups with Vanni. Part of this reader wanted more for her, more than the crumbs he seemed to offer. In Mogul, Vanni has evolved into a much more mature character who appreciates (maybe due to the dangerous slips he seems to take when Andy is absent from his orbit) the love of his life this time.

Mogul brings to a close Andy, Vanni and Graham’s stories. They may not be neatly packaged and bowed, but they are wrapped and ready to be gifted. Enjoy the conclusion to this series.


About the Author:
Ginger Voight is prolific author, freelance writer and optioned screenwriter. Her fiction is diverse, with novels like the edgy, coming-of-age drama DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS, and the fun family adventure for kids of all ages, COMIC SQUAD.

Having grown up reading different authors like Danielle Steel and Stephen King, Ginger has always been drawn more to story than to genre. This shows up in her various stories. Titles such as MY IMMORTAL and TASTE OF BLOOD are a delicious, heady mix of horror, suspense, and romance.
Genre romance, however, has held a special place in her heart, ever since she read her first Harlequin novel when she was only eleven. As a result, Ginger is making a name for herself writing romances of her own, starring women who look more like the average American woman rather than those traditionally represented in the size-biased American media. Her Rubenesque romances were created especially for those heroines with fuller figures, who can still get the man of their dreams if only they believe they can. Such titles include UNDER TEXAS SKIES, LOVE PLUS ONE, GROUPIE and PICTURE POSTCARDS.
Ginger was included in the best-selling book by Smith Magazine NOT QUITE WHAT I WAS PLANNING, featuring her six-word memoir.

Blog: http://gingervoight.com/Blog.html
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GingerVoight?ref=ts&fref=ts
Twitter: @Geevie

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