Review & Interview: THE OUTMATE by Victoria L. Trenton
Live life out loud.
Chrissie Laursen doesn’t date models. Having barely survived her battle with alcoholism and just out of a ten-year marriage that lasted nine years too long, she’s laser focused on her thriving Miami Beach business: promoting erotic photographers in local galleries. She has no time for the ego driven pretty boys that proliferate in that business. For so long she’s wondered if life and love would ever truly touch her that she decides to go it alone. Then she sees the glacial blue eyes and rugged, animal intensity of Nick Jessup, and her resolve begins to fracture.
Irresistibly drawn to him, she begins a relationship with Nick and soon becomes obsessed with his dominant, controlling personality. Even his dangerous past doesn’t scare her. But before their charged sexual energy culminates in passion, the peril of Nick’s past explodes into the present and he is sentenced to thirty-five years in prison for a horrific crime. Faced with the reality that her life can either return to the empty normalcy she’s always known or continue through the terrifying and exhilarating doorway that Nick’s arrival has opened…she makes a decision to do something that will never allow her to go back to the fragile life she’s just rebuilt.
A wild, erotic, and powerful journey of self-discovery, The Outmate shimmers with the intensity of what it means to be human-and the clarity that comes with finding your truth before it’s too late.
– See more at: www.theoutmate.com
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Interview with Victoria L. Trenton
Hi Victoria! Dawn here. Thank you for stopping by Up All Night Book Blog today. We’re very excited to talk to you more about your debut novel, The Outmate, and what it means to you to be an author. Going in to The Outmate, I had no idea what to expect so I went into it with eyes wide open.
For those who are not familiar with The Outmate, how would you describe it in three sentences?
The Outmate is an erotic crime thriller loosely based on a real life story. It tells the tale of a young woman who falls head over heels for the ultimate bad boy, only to find out he’s landed himself in prison for a horrific crime. When she realizes, after pledging herself to this man heart and soul, that he may never come home to her, there are no lengths to which she will not go to free him.
What or who inspired you to write and publish The Outmate?
The inspiration came from real life. My Beloved is an inmate, and I originally wrote several of the scenes (especially the sexy ones) as a way to entertain both of us while we are apart. Mind you, although the characters are based on us, my M and I will never go to the lengths Nick and Chrissie do- that part is fictional. But the imagination is a funny thing… it takes you places you wouldn’t dare to go in real life. It wasn’t until I was two years into it that my Beloved said, “Okay you’ve got something there. You need to finish it.” The Outmate was published a year later.
Based upon readers’ reactions to date, what has surprised you most?
I was afraid at first that I’d made Nick too ferocious on the page for people to relate to him at all. He is, without a doubt, a psychopath. I worried readers would not see how much emotion he has bottled up inside of him. But they get it. Readers have told me time and time again how they can see the man behind the monster, and how they wish they could get inside his head. (Hint: you never will. You will have to judge him solely on Chrissie’s account, and the account of others.) It was immensely gratifying for me to see readers look further than the shock value of the events of the story, and see what really mattered- the overwhelming love these two people have for each other.
I must admit I was blown away with the choices that Chrissie ends up making. I felt that she definitely loses her moral compass and there were several WTF moments for me! Haha! But at the same time, I found I couldn’t NOT finish reading about Chrissie and Nick. What do you think about Chrissie’s situation that makes this so difficult to put down once you start reading?
There are supposed to be WTF moments! J I did that on purpose. Chrissie comes across as mild mannered and sweet early in the novel, but she has a very deep streak of darkness that Nick brings out of her. As far as why you can’t put it down, I think all of us have an inner savage. All of us secretly long for a way to give in to that shady part of ourselves without repercussions. Chrissie does that. She doesn’t give a damn about the world or it’s rules as long as she can have the man she loves, and live the life she has always dreamed of. That’s why you can’t stop reading it. She goes over the edge most of us would never dare to cross.
Victoria, as soon as I finished, I had to go listen to your radio and podcast interviews. (Strong Prison Wives; The Source Radio Interview; Todd-Cast; V. Trenton’s Press Page) You are very articulate and passionate about your book and your life. If you could share one thing to help others better understand what it means to be a prison wife, what would it be?
I think the most important thing I can tell you about being a prison wife is that the stereotype most of society holds for us is untrue. We’re not desperate, and we don’t lack self-esteem. In fact quite the opposite. Prison wives are some of the strongest women I’ve ever met in my life. We hold down two or three jobs just to pay the bills and take care of our children, wait in line at three in the morning to see our men, and never cry when anyone else can see because we have to keep up a positive face to the rest of the world. We are the women in line behind you in the grocery store. We are the nurses who console you in the ER when you are sick. We are the businesswomen arranging international events and attending massive conventions. We are the pizza delivery girls. We come from all facets of life, all backgrounds, and all socioeconomic standards, but we have one thing in common: We love an inmate. We are proud to do so.
As I understand, it took you a few years to write and publish The Outmate. Do you think you would have written and published without your Beloved’s encouragement?
No. I have to be honest there. I couldn’t have. He was my Muse and my Mentor and he drove me to finish this novel for both of us. It wasn’t just encouragement… He outright ordered me, “Woman! You will have this done by June of 2013!” I’m laughing as I write this because it is so hysterical to me. That is what I tried to get across in the novel. Chrissie is equally bossed and bullied by Nick. But it cracks her up as much as it encourages her. Sometimes even scares her. Art imitates life. No, I could not have done it without him. That’s why I wrote the dedication at the beginning of the novel to him the way I did.
You mention in one of the interviews that you have written other stories in the past. After having published The Outmate and The Mastermind (book 2), do you think you’ll publish any of your earlier writing?
I don’t think so. I look back on my earlier work before The Outmate and I see the potential… but I wasn’t quite there yet as a writer. There was something missing. Passion. I hit my stride as a writer with The Outmate. I sometimes worry what I’ll write after this. It was such an all encompassing heartfelt write for me, I wonder if I can ever equal it?
Speaking of book 2, can you share a snippet or a teaser from it with our readers?
I will, but those who have not read The Outmate will not quite get it. I am taking a chance on the second book. It will not be written solely from Chrissie’s perspective. It will be from three different points of view. Nick’s, Chrissie’s, and a new character… her Aunt Shannon:
My name is Shannon Laursen. It used to be Shannon Miles, but that was long ago, and I was a very different person. My name is Shannon Laursen again now. I have a lovely daughter, Kaley, and a son David. We reside in Sunny Isles, Florida in a beautiful home near the water. The insurance company paid it off for us years ago when it all transpired. It’s a good thing, too, because I never would have been able to afford it on my own. Not on a librarian’s budget. I got lucky. Very lucky, although not everyone hearing my story might think so. The opinions of the naysayers mean very little to me. I know what I have and I know how I arrived here.
I owe it all to Him.
Three years ago, I was married. It was a stable marriage and we lived in a quiet home on a small street in a small town. Kaley was fourteen at the time and David was ten. My husband Troy and I had been married for what seemed an eternity. I was forty-five years old, and life was wearing me down. Sometimes when I looked in the mirror, or at Kaley’s sweet young face, it angered me. Where had my youth gone so quickly? It felt as if it wasn’t long ago that I was Kaley’s age, with my whole life before me. At forty-five I realized that wasn’t the case anymore. I was a mother, I was middle aged, and I was only growing older from that day forward. My brilliant red hair was fading. My white skin was wrinkling. My body was sagging. It was sobering. At times it caused me to cry. I tried never to do so in front of Troy, as I tried not to do so many things in front of Troy, but I think he knew.
The day it all began, I was crying too. Troy cheerfully went to work and the kids to school. I stood in the hallway with my keys in my hand, dressed in an impeccable navy suit and sensible shoes, and I just couldn’t do it. I could not go to work. The weight of my simple life pressed down so hard on my shoulders that I felt I would fall to my knees. The idea of pacing through those quiet rows of books couldn’t be borne. I dialed the office on my cell phone and left a message for my boss that I would not be in. I claimed I was ill. I was ill; I just didn’t know it then. It took me a long time to realize how ill I was and the manner of my illness. The realization all started that very day.
I often wonder what would have happened had I gone to work that day. It might have played out differently. Or perhaps it would not have. Maybe there’s just no avoiding the Fates when they decide it’s time for you to open your eyes.
As a new author, what have you learned about the process that you would share with an aspiring author?
I learned not to write in a linear fashion. So many writers get caught up thinking they need to write beginning to end. I didn’t do that with The Outmate. I just wrote what I felt. The hardest part of writing The Outmate for me, was when I had to go back and tie all the bits and pieces together into something cohesive. But by then, I’d already unleashed all my passion and inspiration onto the page. It was tedious, putting it all together, but it was like paying your bills. A necessity. Everything I needed was already there. I just had to get it done.
When writing, what helps you get into the minds and hearts of your characters?
For me, these characters are so closely based on my Beloved and I that I tap into it with very little effort. I know him, and I know myself so well that when I write these characters the words just flow. Usually my best writing comes after I visit him. That’s only once every two months because he’s so far from me, but after I leave him, I’m so high on life and so full of poetic nonsense that I have to write. It just streams out of me and it’s the best feeling in the world. The Muse is fully with me then.
What are some writing must-haves (snacks, music, etc) for you while writing?
Popcorn! Must have popcorn. I joke about it often with my Beloved… I’m usually a very proper, fastidious creature but introduce popcorn and I turn into a little forest animal. I end up with popcorn all over the floor the next day- in the keyboard, on the floor, all over the place! I don’t know why. All I know is popcorn turns me into a raving beast.
As far as music, I like to write to music about wolves. There is Florence and the Machine’s “Howl”, and there is Oh Land’s “Wolf and I”. Those are just a few examples. They make me feel closer to him when I cannot be physically with him. Sometimes I just put on samples of wolves howling and loop them… they inspire me.
And to wrap-up, what is the last book to keep you up all night reading?
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Funny story about that. My Beloved told me months ago to read it and as he has excellent taste in literature I usually jump when he suggests something. For some reason this time, I stalled. I finally did order it but it was delayed for weeks. The day it arrived was probably one of the lowest points of my life- I was very sick, I’d disappointed those I loved, I wasn’t sure how I’d pay my bills, and I was at a crossroads in my life yadda yadda. Then BOOM it landed in my mailbox. That book changed my whole perspective on life. I really do think it kept me from dying. I’d like to meet the author some day just to tell him how he saved me. Funny, to end an interview promoting someone else’s book, no? But there it is.
Thank you SO much for the time today and for the opportunity to read and review The Outmate. Keep us posted on book 2!
You can reach Victoria and see more regarding the book via her website: www.theoutmate.com
Also you can connect with her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/
Dawn’s Review 4 Stars
Wow! What a crazy, mixed-up, wild ride The Outmate took me on! I was constantly messaging Abby to say, I can’t believe that just happened…OMG, no way, Chrissie just did that!?
Going into The Outmate, I had no expectations whatsoever and I’m really glad for that. I knew that Chrissie meets Nick, whose past catches up to him and who then goes off to prison. What I didn’t know was what to expect after that. Victoria Trenton introduced me to prison wives, the pain and solitary life it can be for them, and a look into prison culture. Her writing had me feeling Chrissie’s emotions, from her desperation, to vindictiveness, to her pleasure and pain, to her love.
Throughout the book, I had mixed emotions about Nick and how far down the rabbit-hole Chrissie goes with him. It was intriguing and fascinating and I swear I was reading with my chin dropped quite often. From the start to finish, I found myself unable to put the book down and there were twists that I didn’t expect or couldn’t imagine. As much as I found myself intrigued with the book, initially I didn’t find myself completely fascinated with Nick, even seeing him through Chrissie’s eyes. He unsettled me yet I found myself falling under his spell.
Going into this, be prepared that some parts might be tough to swallow or read, but you may find yourself unable to put it down and in the end, ready for book 2.
ARC provided for honest review